PISCATAWAY, N.J. — It was hard to tell which coach was more frustrated in the aftermath of No. 14 Rutgers’ 45-34 victory over Georgia in the Jimmy V Classic on Monday night.
Glancing at a stat sheet that reflected 51 turnovers between the teams, including 25 by hers, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said, "No doubt, I’m upset."
"We can win by 20 points or we can win by two, it depends on how the game is played. But, hey, a win’s a win so we’ll leave it at that," Stringer said.
Georgia coach Andy Landers, whose team was playing its seventh game in 13 days, refused to blame his team’s recent stretch as the reason for its season-worst 26 turnovers.
Instead he said poor "discipline and the lack of fundamentals" were the reasons for his team’s third-lowest scoring output in 35 seasons.
"Rutgers did what they do well," Landers said. "But we weren’t very good at all."
Rutgers survived thanks to junior guard Epiphanny Prince, who scored 14 points.
Prince, who was 5-of-15 from the field, scored nine points in the second half. Junior guard Brittany Ray added 13 points for Rutgers (4-2).
Rutgers went more than 5 minutes without a field goal in falling behind 20-11 before responding with a 12-2 run over the final 8 minutes of the half to take a 23-22 lead on Ray’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Rutgers, which never trailed in the second half, capitalized on Georgia’s sloppy play to outscore the Lady Bulldogs 12-3 over the first 8 minutes of the second half.
Georgia committed turnovers on seven straight possessions during the spurt and totaled 17 in the second half.
"I felt like when we went into our (defensive) press and our zone, they really couldn’t handle it," Prince said. "We tried to do that as much as possible."
Stringer tried to jump start her team by benching center Kia Vaughn and inserting junior Rashidat Junaid into the starting lineup. The move saw mixed results, as Vaughn finished with four points and two rebounds in 28 minutes, while Junaid had six points in 12 minutes
"I just wanted Kia to have the opportunity to see how the game should be played," Stringer said. "But I don’t think it did a whole heck of a lot. I hope it’s a one-game thing, because it needs to be. It’s time for us to play."
Stringer announced after the game that guard Jasmine Dixon, part of Rutgers’ heralded five-player freshman class, has decided to transfer. Dixon, the California high school player of the year last season, averaged 8.8 minutes in five games.
"I don’t think Dixon will be with us," Stringer said. "You know, it’s just not a good fit. Let’s leave it at that. She’ll be fine, we’ll be fine."