Ajavon, Scarlet Knights extend winning streak to 10

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Even with 10 straight victories, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer isn't happy with her team's play.

Matee Ajavon scored 23 points to lead No. 5 Rutgers to a 70-57 win over Louisville on Sunday.

"We just have to play smarter, that's all I have to say," Stringer said. "If the good Lord gives us calmness and good decisions, we might be something.

"We should be much better," she added. "We rush and we strain. I don't like to just win. We're not executing; we turn the ball over 20 times. Give me a break. You kidding me? The problem is, soon as I say something they all get tight."

Ajavon scored 15 of her points in the second half, including 10 straight late in the game for Rutgers (15-2, 5-0 Big East). Kia Vaughn added 15 points and nine rebounds. Essence Carson had 14 points and Epiphanny Prince 13.

For Louisville (12-6, 1-4), Big East scoring leader had a deceptive 20 points, 17 in the second half. She also had a game-high 13 rebounds.

"I thought we played hard," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "We come away with 21 offensive boards, and for us to only get 11 points out of that is not very good."

The Cardinals were also hurt at the free-throw line, finishing 8-of-19; 7-of-15 in the second half when they were trying to get back in the game. Combined with a 33.8 shooting percentage, Louisville never really had a chance.

Rutgers led 41-30 when Ajavon scored her team's next 10 points, keeping her team's lead at 11 points.

With under six minutes to play and down 53-42, Louisville began to foul Vaughn -- a 42 percent free-throw shooter. She was fouled five times and made seven free throws, her last left the score 58-46 with 3:34 to play.

"I figured let's roll the dice and try and foul her," Walz said. "We couldn't stop any of the others."

"They shouldn't doubt me," Vaughn responded. "When it counts I put them in."

Louisville cut the gap to seven in the final few minutes, but Rutgers hit six of seven free throws to keep the Cardinals at bay.

Rutgers went up by double digits for the first time six minutes into the second half, extending a six-point lead on baskets by Vaughn and Heather Zurich. That came during a 9-2 spurt that left Rutgers with a 43-30 lead with under 13 minutes to play.

The margin stayed that way until the final few minutes, and would up at 13 points when Rutgers kept making its free throws.

Rutgers shot 50 percent, outrebounded Louisville 43-34, but that did not leave Stringer completely satisfied.

"We have not played well as a team," she said. "[Eight] assists will tell you that. We've been carrying each other, pretty much. I would just like to see us put more things together. And I'm not sure what I'm seeing right now."

Rutgers led 32-23 at the half on the strength of shooting 50 percent. Defense played a prominent roll as well, as McCoughtry was hounded into making just one of six shots.

There were five lead changes in the half, with Louisville's last being 17-16. Rutgers then ran off eight straight points, with Ajavon hitting a pair of 3s to jump-start the spurt.