Prince leads No. 6 Rutgers past Temple

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Rutgers looked refreshed after a nearly three-week layoff.

Epiphanny Prince scored 20 points to lead No. 6 Rutgers to a 70-34 victory over Temple on Sunday.

Rutgers had been off for the last 18 days for exams, last playing on Dec. 12, against Princeton.

"We had a chance to recharge ourselves after playing a brutal schedule early in the season," said Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer after the Scarlet Knights scored a season-high points. "We were a little burned out before the break."

The long layoff didn't seem to hurt the Scarlet Knights (9-2), who jumped out to a 38-14 lead by the half. Rutgers played stellar defense, holding Temple (7-7) to just one field goal over the last 15:44 of the first half.

Leading 16-12 with 11:04 left, Rutgers went on a 22-2 run to close out the half. Matee Ajavon scored seven points during the spurt. She scored all 14 of her points in the first half.

"It's a new season now," Ajavon said. "December's over and we're gaining experience."

Temple made just three field goals in the first half and had 13 turnovers.

"We didn't execute and we played a little scared," Temple coach Dawn Staley said.

Rutgers scored the first five points of the second half before Ashley Morris scored nine straight for Temple to close the gap to 43-23.

The Owls would get no closer, trailing by as many as 36 points.

Morris finished with 15 points to lead Temple, which scored its fewest points since losing to Duke 112-34 on Dec. 12, 1998.

"We're going to bury this tape. This is the worst loss in my short coaching career," Staley said. "Either our team is going to respond to it or not. You have to have a short term memory."

For the first time in four games, Stringer went with most of her usual starters. In the previous three games, Stringer had started the "Pace Setters," a nickname given by the coach to her reserves.

Stringer had been starting the "Pace Setters" to give them a chance to get into the flow of the game and gain more confidence. She first started them against Army.

The only usual starter missing on Sunday was Essence Carson, who is sidelined with a stress fracture in her right foot. She last played against California and missed the victory over Princeton. She may return for the Big East opener on Jan. 5 against St. John's.

"I hope she can play soon. She's progressing, but hasn't practiced yet," Stringer said.

Temple had won three straight games, including a 65-40 win over Penn on Thursday night. The victory was a record 16th straight in the Big Five for the Owls, who broke the mark set by Saint Joseph's between 1991-92 and 1995-96.

Scarlet Knights guard Khadijah Rushdan injured her right knee with 5:07 left in the second half driving to the basket.

"She has had a history of bad knees, we'll wait and see," Stringer said.

Rutgers, which has won 32 of the 41 meetings between the teams,
honored assistant coach Tasha Pointer and Shawnetta Stewart at the
half. The two will be inducted into the Scarlet Knights' hall of
fame in April.