CLEVELAND – Rutgers' improbable run isn't over.
The Scarlet Knights earned their first trip to the national championship behind Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer with another unlikely scenario — dominating the LSU Lady Tigers from the opening tip.
Matee Ajavon scored 16 points and Rutgers (27-8) hounded 6-foot-6 Sylvia Fowles to beat LSU 59-35 in the national semifinals Sunday night.
Rutgers' seniorless cast of relentless defenders frustrated Fowles and held her to five points and seven rebounds.
Swarming defense and a hot touch outside the line smothered LSU, which scored the fewest points ever in the Final Four — Louisiana Tech had 44 vs. Tennessee in '87 title game.
The Lady Tigers (30-8) ended a surprising tournament run behind acting head coach Bob Starkey, who was thrust into the spotlight when coach Pokey Chatman abruptly resigned March 7 amid allegations of improper conduct with one or more former players
The Rutgers crowd chanted Stinger's initials "C-V-S" in the closing minutes. Stringer was hugged by her entire staff as she makes her way back to the title game 25 years after she took Cheyney there.
With five freshmen on the roster, the Scarlet Knights started the season 2-4 and is just the third No. 4 seed to reach the championship. They'll face the winner of the North Carolina-Tennessee game and try to become the lowest seed to win an NCAA title.