Jan. 5, 2005
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Make it three upsets in a row for Rutgers – and thiswas the biggest one of all.
Cappie Pondexter scored 16 points and Rutgers rallied from a double-digitdeficit in the second half Wednesday night to knock off No. 1 LSU 51-49 inovertime for its third win over a Top 10 team in eight days.
So now the question is, should the 14th-ranked Scarlet Knights (9-2) jumpall the way to the top spot in the women’s college basketball poll?
“It doesn’t matter what they think,” Rutgers guard Nikki Jett said. “Webelieve we’re No. 1.”
The victory capped a remarkable week for former University of Iowa head coach C. Vivian Stringer and herScarlet Knights, who had never beaten three Top 10 teams in a row.
They beat then-No. 8 Tennessee 65-51 at home last Wednesday and then snappedNo. 4 Texas’ 41-game home winning streak on Sunday, rallying from an 18-pointsecond-half deficit for a 51-47 win.
“I just want to make sure we are in a good seeded spot come the NCAAs,”Stringer quipped. “To tell you the truth, I hope we are voted down to 15,because we function real bad when we’re mad. I’m serious, we don’t do well whensomeone sets you up there.”
Ironically, Iowa – Stringer’s former team – is now the only unbeaten team in women’s college basketball. The Hawkeyes are 13-0 and play Penn State tonight in Iowa City.
Chelsea Newton, who hit the go-ahead basket in overtime, stole a pass atmidcourt with about two seconds left to ice it.
Seimone Augustus had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Tigers(13-1), but she missed a potential game-winning 15-foot shot at the end ofregulation and two free throws in overtime, when LSU missed four from the line.
Michelle Campbell added 12 points and Jett had 11 for Rutgers, which forced21 turnovers, including eight by usually steady LSU point guard Temeka Johnson.
The win over a No. 1 team was the fourth in Rutgers’ history. The ScarletKnights beat Penn State 84-70 on Jan. 12, 1991, Tennessee 87-77 on Jan. 17,1994, and eventual national champion Notre Dame 54-53 on Feb. 17, 2001.
“I always knew they were a good team,” said Augustus, the only LSU playerto score in double figures. “I think they’ll be talking about Rutgers now.They are a talented team with a lot of good freshman.”
After Wendlyn Jones missed two free throws early in overtime, Newton hit ajumper to give Rutgers a 49-47 lead with 3:29 to go.
Pondexter stretched the lead to four points with two free throws with 2:11to go. Augustus made one of two free throws with 1:52 left and again with 1:06to play, cutting it to 51-49.
After Essence Carson missed a layup for Rutgers, Tillie Willis of LSU missedin the lane with 10 seconds to play.
Pondexter missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4.9 seconds to play,but Newton stole the pass upcourt to send the crowd of 7,214 into a deliriousroar.
“When you hold someone to 51 points in 45 minutes you need to win,” LSUcoach Pokey Chatman said. “We didn’t. We’ll work on it.”
Rutgers, which was having a woeful game shooting, hit eight of nine shots towipe out an 11-point second-half deficit.
A driving layup by Pondexter with 3:20 to play gave the Scarlet Knights a43-42 lead.
Augustus put LSU right back in front by grabbing the rebound of a missed3-pointer by Scholanda Hoston and scoring underneath for a 44-43 lead. Adriving layup by Johnson and a free throw by Sylvia Fowles stretched the leadto 47-43 with 1:39 to go.
Pondexter drove the right side of the lane for a layup with 1:17 to go toget Rutgers to 47-45.
After Jones was called for an offensive foul, Pondexter fed Campbell for atying layup with 40.9 seconds to play.
LSU had two chances to win in regulation. Johnson missed a wild drive withjust under 20 seconds to go, but Jones got the rebound.
After a timeout with 14.1 seconds to go, Augustus missed a 15-foot jumperwith about two seconds to go.
Trailing 14-13 with less than eight minutes left in the first half, LSU wenton a 13-6 spurt with Augustus scoring eight points and setting a great backscreen that led to a layup by Willis.