Second-Half Surge Lifts Kean Women Past Rutgers-Newark, 80-70

UNION, N.J. (1/21/12) – The Kean University women's basketball team scored 23 straight points in the second-half to erase a double-digit deficit in defeating Rutgers-Newark, 80-70, in New Jersey Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon.

Junior guard Naimah Clemons scored 21 of her 25 points in the second-half for the #16/19 Cougars (16-3, 7-0 NJAC).  For the Scarlet Raiders (13-5, 6-3 NJAC), senior guard Kendra Johnson finished with a game-high 30 points.

The Scarlet Raiders led for most of the first half, using a 15-3 run late in the half to lead by as many as 12 points at 36-24 on a lay-up by Johnson with 3:26 remaining.  Kean senior guard Brittany Powell (pictured left) knocked down a jumper in the paint as the half ended to pull the Cougars back to within single digits at 39-30 at the break.

Johnson had 11 points and three steals in the first half, while sophomore guard ShaQuanna Marshall knocked down all three of her shots, including two from behind the arc for 10 points for Rutgers-Newark, who shot 50.0 percent (15-of-30) from the floor in the first half.

For the Cougars, junior forward Simone Smith had eight points and six rebounds, and Powell chipped in with seven points.

In the second half, Rutgers-Newark opened up a 49-34 lead after senior forward Lori Nieves capped a 7-0 run with a layup at the 16:38 mark.  The Cougars scored the next 23 points of the game to erase the 15-point deficit and take a 57-49 lead midway through the half, as Clemons scored nine points in the run and gave the Cougars an eight-point lead with the lay-up with 9:49 remaining. 

The Scarlet Raiders were able to pull back to within three points as Johnson knocked down the three-pointer, however the Cougars extended the lead back out to as many as 12 points following a three-point play by senior forward Danielle McFadden (pictured right) with less than three minutes remaining and Clemons knocked down both free throws and had a lay-up in the final 90 seconds to seal the victory. 

The Cougars shot 54.3 percent (19-of-35) from the floor in the second half and had a commanding 45-29 edge in rebounding for the game. 

Smith finished with the double-double for the Cougars, posting 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Powell added 17 points.  McFadden chipped in with 10 rebounds and a team-high four assists.

For Rutgers-Newark, Marshall added 16 points, four assists and three steals.

Kean returns to action on Wednesday, January 25, when they travel to Richard Stockton College for the NJAC South Division match-up.  Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.