PISCATAWAY, N.J. - If it's Sunday at Rutgers, the play is the thing - good or bad - at the finish when the home team battles other top-10 women's basketball opponents.
It was all good yesterday for the Scarlet Knights with 30 seconds left in the game as senior Matee Ajavon stripped Louisiana State center Sylvia Fowles of the ball to help give No. 7 Rutgers a 45-43 nonconference win over the No. 6 Tigers (4-2).
Two weeks ago, in another tight game, it wasn't so good when sophomore Epiphanny Prince fouled Stanford guard Candice Wiggins with a tenth of a second left.
Prince's error gave Stanford, now ranked fourth, a 60-58 win in the season opener.
Yesterday, Prince wisely backed off when LSU's Quianna Chaney went for a long three-pointer in an attempt to win at the buzzer.
The victory should propel Rutgers (3-1) back into the top five when this week's Associated Press poll is released today.
Next up for the Scarlet Knights is a visit to St. Joseph's on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Fowles, likely to be the overall No. 1 or No. 2 choice next April in the WNBA draft, credited Ajavon with catching her by surprise when Fowles put the ball on the floor.
"When I put the ball on the floor, she got her hands on it and took it," Fowles said.
Points were hard to come by in this matchup of defensive specialists and was highlighted by the inside battle between Fowles and Rutgers sophomore center Kia Vaughn.
"I thought it was really physical," LSU coach Van Chancellor said.
Vaughn was the only Rutgers player in double figures with 13 points. Chaney had 16 points for LSU, while Fowles had 13 and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Rutgers shot a dismal 38.6 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers to 19 miscues by the Tigers, who shot 36 percent.
Contact staff writer Mel Greenberg
at 215-854-5725 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his blog at go.philly.com/womhoops.