SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Monique Oliver scored a career-high 27 points, Khadijah Rushdan had 15 points and matched her career high with nine assists, and Rutgers beat No. 25 Syracuse 78-67 on Tuesday night.
The win for Rutgers (10-6, 3-0 Big East) was its third straight and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Orange (13-3, 1-2), who had won their first 12 home games. Syracuse's other losses were to top-ranked Baylor and last week at then-No. 15 Georgetown.
After falling behind early, the Scarlet Knights quickly rallied behind Oliver. She had 14 points in the first 9:33, outplaying Syracuse center Kayla Alexander as Rutgers built a double-digit lead in the first 11:33 and kept it for most of the rest of the game.
Elashier Hall led the Orange with a career-high 23 points, Erica Morrow had 15, and Alexander, their leading scorer at 15 points a game, finished with six.
Despite her size advantage, the 6-foot-4 Alexander was no match for the 6-2 Oliver from the outset, and the Scarlet Knights quickly took advantage of the middle. Oliver scored six points and April Sykes drained a 3 to lead Rutgers on an 11-0 run that erased a four-point Syracuse lead.
The Orange missed three times, committed two fouls, had a shot blocked and lost the ball twice during the Rutgers spurt. Syracuse went nearly six minutes between baskets in squandering a strong start keyed by eight straight points from Hall.
Oliver's basket off the glass at 10:27 gave her 14 points and Rutgers a 19-12 lead as the Scarlet Knights found repeated openings in the Syracuse zone — in the lane, under the basket and on the wing.
Rutgers outscored Syracuse 20-10 to close the half with a 39-22 lead. The Orange committed 15 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Scarlet Knights, shot 28 percent (8 of 29), and were outscored 22-6 in the paint in the period.
Held scoreless in the first half, Alexander got her first points of the game on a short jumper in the lane off a nice feed from Carmen Tyson-Thomas with 15:07 left and the Orange behind 48-32.
Syracuse trailed by double digits for nearly 22 minutes before Morrow scored five straight points to key a late 9-2 run. Alexander scored four points, showing some spunk in converting a follow off the glass over Oliver. She then swatted away a shot by Oliver and made a pair of free throws to move the Orange within 59-50 with 5:57 left.
Syracuse never got closer than eight the remainder of the game as the Scarlet Knights hit 7 of 8 foul shots in the final minute.