Kean Falls to Division I Rutgers in Season Opener

Kean Falls to Rutgers in Season Opener

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (11/17/09) - The Kean University women's basketball team opened the 2009-10 season against Rutgers University, falling to the Division I Scarlet Knights, 85-49, at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Tuesday evening. 

Senior guard Melissa Beyruti (Union City, N.J.) scored 10 of her 17 points in the first seven minutes of the game, as the Cougars jumped out to a 17-13 lead over the Scarlet Knights, before a 13-0 run gave Rutgers the lead for good.

Rutgers, who has advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament in each of the last seven seasons and appeared in the 2007 National Championship game, was led by senior guard Brittany Ray (Bronx, N.Y.), who finished with a game-high 20 points.

Rookie Naimah Clemons (Newark, N.J.) scored a team-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, for the Cougars, who have advanced to three straight NCAA Division III tournaments. 

In the opening half, senior guard Cardiss Jackman (Tobyhanna, Pa.) gave Kean a 3-2 lead just 30 seconds into the game, and Beyruti (pictured right) would score five straight points for the Cougars, as they took a 10-6 lead on a lay-up by Piscataway native Tiffany Patrick (Piscataway, N.J.) just 3:25 into the game. 

After Rutgers rattled off five straight points, the Cougars would regain the lead following a 7-2 run, as Beyruti closed out the spurt with five straight points, including a three-pointer to give Kean the 17-13 lead with 13:31 remaining in the opening half.

Ray gave the Scarlet Knights the lead for good on a pair of free throws with 11:37 to go in the half as part of a 13-0 run that built the Rutgers lead to 26-17.  A Beyruti three-pointer pulled Kean back within six points, however Rutgers used a 9-0 run and a 10-0 run to build a 45-25 lead at the break.

In the second half, Rutgers held the Cougars scoreless for nearly eight minutes, as the Scarlet Knights used a 15-0 run to build a 66-29 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game. 

The Cougars outscored Rutgers, 20-19, over the final 10 minutes of the game, with Clemons (pictured left) scoring 13 of her points in that stretch.

For the game, Clemons also had a team-high five assists and added five rebounds, while Patrick finished with nine points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Also in double-figures for Rutgers, sophomore April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.) finished with 12 points, while sophomore Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) added 11 points.