SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- April Sykes scored 14 points, Monique Oliver grabbed 13 rebounds and No. 13 Rutgers held on to beat Arizona State 59-52 and win the San Juan Shootout title Saturday.
Sykes was 2 of 3 from behind the arc en route to winning tournament MVP honors.Khadijah Rushden pitched in 13 points and nine rebounds for the Scarlet Knights (6-0) despite playing just 20 minutes because of an injury."We needed her tonight," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said.Guard Deja Mann led Arizona State (4-1) with 11 points, including 5 of 5 on free throws.Rutgers shot 36.7 percent for the game, including 2 of 5 3-point attempts, and held the Sun Devils to 28.6 percent shooting, including 25.6 percent in the second half. Arizona State hit 1 of 7 3-point attempts.Rutgers grabbed the lead early and never trailed, taking a 33-25 advantage into halftime. But Arizona State battled back in the second, making it a 1-point game with less than two minutes to play.Rutgers pulled away in the final minute, as Rushden and Oliver both hit two free throws as the clock ticked down.Stringer said her team's toughness and composure were the keys to overcoming 18 turnovers and stopping the late run by Arizona State."We didn't give up," she said. "We got hit, we fell down, but we got up."Center Kali Bennett had 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots to lead the Sun Devils, who scored 12 points off those 18 turnovers and led in most statistical categories, including points in the paint (32-26), points off turnovers (12-11), second-chance points (16-11), steals (10-9) and assists (10-4).The Sun Devils also had a 50-49 rebounding edge and got 21 points from their reserves, but shot just 47.8 percent from the free-throw line.Stringer credited Arizona State's "extremely aggressive defense" and said the tough challenger gave her the opportunity to see "who are our warriors.""This was a pressure game," she said.