Monday, March 28, 2005

Rutgers gets UT rematch

PHILADELPHIA — C. Vivian Stringer knows how special it is to do it once.

Her Rutgers team now gets a chance to do it twice in the same season.

The third-seeded Scarlet Knights (28-6) advanced to the regional final yesterday with a 64-58 win over No. 2 seed Ohio State (30-5), setting up tomorrow night's rematch between Stringer's club and Tennessee at the Liacouras Center.

Rutgers beat the Lady Vols 65-51 on Dec. 29.

''It's not often that many people beat Tennessee,'' Stringer said. ''That's why we still talk about the time we did beat them.''

Tennessee was without senior point guard Loree Moore in that game, and it's not a game that any Lady Vol is proud of.

''That was not us,'' UT junior Shanna Zolman said. ''That was not Tennessee basketball by any means. Revenge obviously would be great.''

That chance at revenge wasn't a sure thing until Rutgers senior guard Cappie Pondexter made a pair of free throws that put the Scarlet Knights up 62-52 with 27 seconds left yesterday.

Pondexter scored 24 points and had four assists to lead the Scarlet Knights past a Buckeye team that beat them earlier in the year.

''I'm excited deep down inside, but at the same time, I know we have another 40 minutes to play,'' Pondexter said.

''We have to play Tennessee next.''

Rutgers took a 22-20 lead over Ohio State on a layup by Essence Carson and didn't trail for the rest of the game.

A jumper by Chelsea Newton ran Rutgers' lead to 39-30, but the Buckeyes closed the gap to 44-42 on two free throws by center Jessica Davenport, who led Ohio State with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

In the first meeting of the year between Tennessee and Rutgers, the Lady Vols shot 27.8 percent from the floor and committed 17 turnovers to only six assists.

''They're playing a lot better,'' Newton said. ''Loree Moore is playing now. This is a totally different team that we're playing, and we know that.''

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