Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Monique Oliver's 14 points led the way for Rutgers, which shot 61.5% from the field in taking down Louisiana Tech 73-46. The Lady Techsters only shot 25% from the field, and were led by the 16 points and nine rebounds of Brittany Lewis.
Ah, the Maggie Dixon Classic. This is a good tradition, and I'm happy to be part of it.
Any oddities during the next week or so may be blamed on the computer I'm using while my baby is in the shop- this is my mom's eeePC, and it's ridiculously tiny. Very portable, with a battery life that would make the Energizer Bunny blush, but with all the speed of Kara Braxton running full court.
It was pleasant and relaxed coming in, and it was nice seeing all the usual suspects again.
Kym Hampton's voice is going. It's getting painful. Can we please kiss and make up with Tari Phillips already?
Sue Wicks was also at the game, and it's very wrong of me to notice that she still fills out a pair of blue jeans quite well, despite being forty-mumble. That's got to be an awkward situation, stuck between your alma mater and a dear friend, and MSG didn't help by putting her on the spot on camera.
It's 36-22 at the half in favor of Rutgers, and Rutgers is shooting really well. It's terrifying and somewhat abnormal. I'm surprised Stringer hasn't let her team hear it for showing such offensive potency.
Unfortunately, Louisiana Tech's most noticeable skill has been flopping with a prowess that would make Mery Andrade blush and DeMya Walker give approval. C'mon, guys. You're better than this. Right? The whistles have also been pretty wild.
I was very disappointed in Louisiana Tech. I would have expected them to be more in Spoon's mold, but about the only thing they have in common with her as a player is intense stubbornness and a distinct lack of shooting ability. I don't know if she's not getting the recruits, or if she's just not getting through to these kids, but something's not right here.
There was a point where I thought Courtney Hayes was a dead woman. She attempted badly to defend a three-pointer, where defense was defined as standing several feet away from the shooter and bouncing once like she was on a pogo stick. The shot went in. Hayes brought the ball up. Spoon called timeout, slapped the ball out of Hayes's hands, and started ripping her several new orifices. Tavasha Anderson was the first player in off the bench, if my scribbled math is correct, but other than one good defensive stand against Monique Oliver, I don't remember what she did. Kelia Shelton came off the bench to drive the lane, and she did a good job of exploiting RU's foul issues to get to the line- all but three of her points were from the line. Jelena Vucinic came into the game late and proceeded to prove why she didn't come into the game until late- she was extremely wild on her drives, and she did look lie she was trying to Force Choke one of the Rutgers players. Savanna Langston was the last Lady Techster in, and she seemed obsessed with shooting the elbow jumper. Seriously, hon, you're 6-2, that doesn't have to be your only shot.
Whitney Frazier's shot was badly off in the first half, and even after she finally got one to fall early in the second half, she was still fairly wild, and I think she lost confidence in her shot by the end of the game. Lulu Perry brought it on defense- she's mighty quick. Got caught up in a couple of quick fouls in the second half, though. Janay Borum kept going for long shots, out by the NBA line. She hit some closer, especially in the second half. Jasmine Bryant was unremarkable. We were very impressed with Brittany Lewis, who hit the boards on both ends of the floor and had one resounding block. She did a little bit of everything. I think my favorite was the offensive rebound and putback that bounced hiiiiiigh off the rim, then fell softly and sweetly through.
Seriously, though, La Tech. Y U NO BETTER?
Everyone played for Rutgers, I think. No, seriously, everyone, including Brittany Lapidus, who I refuse to believe is a senior. I would have issues believing you if you told me she was a senior in high school. Anyone and everyone affiliated with Rutgers in the building, and possibly a few other people in a few other places, was rooting for her to hit one of the shots she took, and it was clear that everyone wanted her to score when one of the posts (Butts, I think) gave up an easy shot in the lane to flip it over her shoulder to Lapidus. Shakena Richardson has an incredible knack for the flashy play, whether it was a dramatic steal off the inbounds or a flip over her shoulder to go in the basket. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't able to finish either of the and-1s. I'd say she's adorable, but I think she'd hurt me. Ariel Butts showed nice moves in the lane, but committed the sorts of fouls one finds in freshman posts. Very popular with her teammates, though; they were screaming and cheering whenever she scored. Rachel Hollivay looked good, but was prone to defensive lapses and careless mistakes. I can see why she was such a highly rated recruit. Chelsey Lee was first off the bench and came on strong in the second half. She and the other posts really did a good job of finding each other. Kahleach Copper played a bit in the second half and had one block that must have impressed me at the time. Precious Person played well, but to be honest and horribly wrong, I was too distracted by her name to take much note of her play. Surname as a noun/given name as an adjective is a very distracting combination. I'm sorry. She really does look like a good player, but I'm going to have to do a lot of growing up to take her seriously.
Look, I told you everyone played for Rutgers, so the bench paragraph is going to be long.
Christa Evans started the game, and did a lot of scrappy work underneath, setting screens to get her teammates free. Near as I could tell, that was her job. Monique Oliver took a little bit to get started, but when they gave her the ball, stuff pretty much got done. She's a load down there. She's a little scary. Betnijah Laney kept trying to get long shots, and I don't know if that's her forte or not. I don't think she's as comfortable in the Stringer system as she thought she would be. But I could be wrong. That happens to me a lot. Erica Wheeler got into foul trouble early in the first half, and never really let the refs get out of her head. I don't know why Syessence Davis got the start, but I don't remember anything major that she did. I guess she did that sneaky point guard thing where she dished out assists without me noticing.
Late in the second half, Rutgers showed flashes of why I used to like them- the defense created offense, and offense that was crisp in its passing. Richardson had a steal that led to a rapid-fire four-pass sequence ending in a lay-up.
I think the officials got bored with Louisiana Tech's flopping, because the calls were not as favorable to them in the second half. It was a rough game by the end; the defensive styles of both teams lend themselves to rough play.