Freshman Raigyne Moncrief scored a season-high 27 points and Theresa Plaisance added 16 to lead No. 15 LSU to a 69-65 win over Rutgers on Friday in the Women's Invitational at Barclays Center.
LSU (5-1) was missing DaShawn Harden and Danielle Ballard, who were suspended for a game after being ejected for fighting in a game against Louisiana Tech last week. The pair were tossed after a video review by officials.
Even without the two, the Lady Tigers were too much for the Scarlet Knights (4-2).
LSU led by four at the half and increased the advantage to 48-41 before Rutgers rallied to within 50-49. That's as close the Scarlet Knights could get.
The Lady Tigers bumped the lead back up to eight before the Scarlet Knights rallied to 68-65 with 21 seconds left. Betnijah Laney missed a 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds left and LSU held on.
Kahleah Copper scored 16 points and Briyona Canty added 13 to lead Rutgers.
The Lady Tigers will face Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines beat Texas Tech 82-71 in the first game of the doubleheader.
Trailing 20-19 late in the first half, Moncrief scored six straight points, including going end-to-end on two consecutive layups. The Lady Tigers led 29-25 at the half as neither team really could get going offensively. They combined to shoot 17 for 61 from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Rutgers got better in the second half, but was done in by 29 turnovers.
Laney returned to the Rutgers lineup after missing the last two games with a right ankle sprain. She had 11 points and seven rebounds.
This was the first real test for C. Vivian Stringer's young Scarlet Knights. In the past the Hall of Fame coach would put her team through a rigorous non-conference schedule facing numerous Top 25 teams. With no seniors on this year's squad, Stringer will only play Top 25 members LSU and Georgia before beginning conference play.
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