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Carson, Prince each score 17 to lift Rutgers past Marquette

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was happier with her team's effort against Marquette.

Essence Carson scored 17 points and Epiphanny Prince added five of her 17 points on free throws down the stretch to lead No. 5 Rutgers past Marquette 65-61 on Tuesday night.

Stringer wasn't pleased with the Scarlet Knights' performance in a 58-50 victory against St. John's last Saturday night. It was a much different story against Marquette.

"I thought we made a great team effort," Stringer said. "We played with a lot more intensity. Of course, this [Marquette] is a better team, so it was particularly rewarding to see us play as we did,"

The victory was the 789th of Stringer's career.

Matee Ajavon scored 14 points and Brittany Ray added nine for Rutgers (12-2, 2-0 Big East), which won its seventh straight game. Ajavon sat out the conference opener against St. John's on Jan. 5 to rebuild the strength in her legs.

Carson started after coming off the bench for the last two games. The senior, recovering from a stress fracture in her foot, was sidelined for three weeks with the injury, but only missed two games as Rutgers had an extended break for exams.

"I feel great," she said. "It feels good to be back."

Rutgers led 37-33 at the half before Marquette (9-6, 1-1) charged back to make it a game.

Trailing by eight, the Golden Eagles used a 15-0 run to take a 48-41 lead with 14:58 to play.

Krystal Ellis scored six of her 15 points during the run while Angel Robinson added five of her 13 for Marquette.

Stringer said that she changed her defense to a triangle and two which kept Marquette from pulling away. Rutgers went man-to-man on Ellis and Robinson and it worked.

"We changed on defense which I think stymied them a bit," Stringer said.

The Scarlet Knights held Marquette scoreless for the final 6:20 and went ahead to stay on five free throws by Prince for a 63-61 lead 4:16 to play. Carson hit two free throws for the final margin.

Prince had gone 0-for-7 from the foul line in Rutgers' win over St. John's.

Ellis' layup gave Marquette a 61-58 lead before the Scarlet Knights turned up their defense.

The Golden Eagles missed their last nine shots and two free throws.

"It's the reason they're No. 5 in the nation because they finished out the game and we didn't," said Marquette coach Terri Mitchell. "Even though we didn't come out with the victory, we can keep our heads high because we understand that we can play with the top teams in the conference, top teams in the nation."

Rutgers fell behind by seven midway through the second half, but stayed close and went ahead 58-57 on Brittany Ray's long 3-pointer with 8:04 to go.