Shawnetta Stewart scored 28 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and added 6 assists to lead No. 15 Rutgers to a 72-46 rout of No. 6 UCLA last night in Piscataway, N.J.
Stewart scored 18 in the second half as Rutgers (6-2) broke away after leading 28-24 at the half.
"Our defense is back," Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We demonstrated some stuff to ourselves and sent a message across the country that our defense is going to be as stingy as it was last year."
UCLA (5-3) forged a 33-32 lead 4 1/2 minutes into the second half when Erica Gomez completed a three-point play. Tammy Sutton-Brown put Rutgers back in front with a layup, triggering a 17-3 run that ended with Stewart's three-pointer with 9 minutes 52 seconds to play.
Rutgers, sixth nationally in scoring defense at 54.6 points per game, kept the Bruins at bay while adding to its margin from the foul line. Rutgers was 8 of 10 at the line in the last five minutes and held UCLA scoreless.
Rutgers built a 25-9 lead in the first half with a 15-0 run that saw UCLA go almost nine minutes without scoring.
Tasha Pointer had 16 points and Linda Miles 12 for the Scarlet Knights.
LA. TECH 94, PURDUE 62: In Ruston, La., Tamicha Jackson scored 26 points, freshman reserve Catrina Frierson added 19 and the No. 3 Lady Techsters stopped the No. 11 Boilermakers. Louisiana Tech (7-1) snapped a two-game losing streak against defending national champion Purdue (8-2), which ousted the Lady Techsters in the semifinals of last year's NCAA tournament.
"It was by far our best home performance of the year. We've gone in spurts at home, but tonight we had a total performance," Lady Techsters Coach Leon Barmore said.
KANSAS 71, ARIZONA 68: In Lawrence, Kan., Lynn Pride had 19 points and her layup with 27.6 seconds remaining finished a rally by the No. 23 Jayhawks (7-2) against the No. 14 Wildcats (9-1).
N.C. STATE 70, NEW HAMPSHIRE 44: In Raleigh, N.C., Summer Erb scored 14 first-half points to lead the No. 4 Wolfpack (10-0), which matched the program's best record to this point and remained the only Division I school whose men's and women's teams are undefeated.
PENN ST. 79, PITTSBURGH 56: In State College, Pa., Helen Darling scored 15 points and Andrea Garner had a career-high 14 rebounds for the No. 9 Lady Lions (8-2).
DUKE 66, LIBERTY 45: Peppi Browne had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the No. 17 Blue Devils (10-1) in the championship game of the Sun Splash Shootout in Nassau, Bahamas.
ILLINOIS 88, CAL-STATE NORTHRIDGE 69: In Champaign, Ill., Tauja Catchings scored 28 points and Allison Curtin added 24 to lead the No. 18 Illini (9-3).
TULANE 81, NICHOLLS ST. 51: In Houma, La., reserve Britt Themann scored 18 points, joining four starters in double figures for the No. 24 Green Wave (8-0).
TEXAS 76, ARIZONA ST. 63: In Austin, Edwina Brown scored 28 points, including 14 in a decisive second-half run, to lead the 25th-ranked Longhorns (8-3).
UC SANTA BARBARA 77, USC 53: Four players scored in double figures to lead the No. 22 Gauchos (9-3) at home.