1:00 PM ET, March 1, 2008
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- C. Vivian Stringer isn't ready to say goodbye to her three seniors yet. There is still work to be done.Seniors Essence Carson and Matee Ajavon each scored 14 points and No. 4 Rutgers hit a season-high 10 3-pointers to beat Syracuse 64-49 on Saturday."They are perhaps some of the greatest players who have been here," said Stringer, tearing up. "I wasn't prepared to say goodbye to them. It's difficult for me to detach myself emotionally from them."While it was the last home game for Carson, Ajavon and Katie Adams, the Scarlet Knights have a huge game on Monday night in Hartford against top-ranked Connecticut with the Big East regular season championship on the line. Rutgers will then play in the Big East tournament next weekend as either the one or two seed before the NCAA tournament begins in a few weeks."We still have a lot of basketball left. We could have 10 games," Stringer said. "So it's not goodbye yet."The Scarlet Knights (24-4, 14-1) moved a half-game ahead of top-ranked Connecticut in the Big East. The Huskies played at DePaul later Saturday night.Erica Morrow scored 15 points to lead Syracuse (21-7, 9-6), which is having one of its best seasons ever. The Orange were ranked for the first time in school history earlier this season and are in a battle for the fifth seed in the conference with Louisville and Pittsburgh."Who would have thought we'd be 21-7 and ranked this year for the first time," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. "We have a chance to make a big jump."It's been an emotional week for Rutgers, beginning with Stringer becoming only the third women's basketball coach to win 800 games when the Scarlet Knights beat DePaul on Wednesday night.Ajavon, Carson and Adams have been the most successful trio in school history, winning two Big East regular season titles, the school's first conference tournament title and a trip to last season's national championship game."It's a tribute to them that we had a sellout crowd who appreciates all that they have done," Stringer said.They were honored before the game and given a long ovation from the crowd, framed jerseys and flowers. The trio has already won 106 games in their careers at Rutgers -- the most by a group under the Hall of Fame coach."Now that the day is here it's really different," Carson said. "You can't put into words thinking about the last game at the RAC."Buoyed by the emotion from the pregame ceremony, Rutgers jumped out to a 14-6 lead midway through the first half. Syracuse answered with a 12-2 spurt capped by Vionca Murray's layup with 5:30 left in the half. They were the last points the Orange would score before the break, as the Scarlet Knights closed the half on a 12-0 run capped by Brittany Ray's 3-pointer with 30 seconds left that gave Rutgers a 28-18 lead.Rutgers continued its scoring spurt to start the second half. The Scarlet Knights scored eight of the first 10 points to take a 36-20 lead just 2 minutes into the half. The Orange finally got a field goal on Jones' 3-pointer at 17:42, but could get no closer than nine the rest of the game.Ray finished with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Rutgers, which was 10-for-21 from behind the arc, is 29-3 all-time against Syracuse."They made 10 3s," Hillsman said. "When they make 3s like that they'll win a lot more games."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||17-47 (.362)||25-50 (.500)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-22 (.273)||10-22 (.455)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-11 (.818)||4-10 (.400)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||13 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|