CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati women's basketball team struggled to get the offense going on a frigid night in the Queen City, dropping a 78-58 decision to Rutgers, Tuesday in American Athletic Conference play inside Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats offense fired at a 32.8 percent clip (19-of-58) from the field and a 4-of-16 (.250) effort from behind the three-point line. Rutgers shot 55.2 percent (32-for-58) and held a 44-22 advantage in the paint and scored 18 points on the fast break.
UC was 16-of-16 from the free-throw line, becoming the seventh NCAA Division I team this season to post a perfect number of 15 or more made free throws in a game.
Senior Jeanise Randolph (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional North) led the way with 16 points, adding a career best 8-of-8 effort from the free-throw line. She just missed the double-double, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
Dayeesha Hollins (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods/Michigan) returned after missing the past two games due to injury. The redshirt senior finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Senior Kayla Cook (South Webster, Ohio/South Webster) tallied 10 points.
The Bearcats found themselves in a 35-25 halftime hole after trailing early and pulling to within two with just under seven minutes left.
The Scarlet Knights ran out to a 17-8 lead in the first eight minutes, using an 8-0 run and taking advantage of a slow offensive start for the Bearcats, who made just two of their first 10 shots.
UC did not give up the fight, pulling off a 13-6 run of its own over nearly five minutes, making the margin 23-21 with 6:52 remaining in the opening half. The teams traded buckets and UC held the two-point deficit at 27-25 with 3:43 to go in the half before the offense went cold.
Over the next 8:36, spanning halftime, Rutgers had a 20-0 run that put the game away, leading 47-25 with 14:47 to go. During the run, UC missed nine shots and turned it over six times.
Rutgers' Kahleah Copper finished with a game-high 21 points, also grabbing seven rebounds. Betnijah Laney earned the double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while Tyler Scaife poured in 18 in the win.
UC returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m. ET, heading south to take on Houston in another American matchup at the Cougars' Hofheinz Pavilion. The Bearcats return to Fifth Third Arena on Jan. 18, taking on Temple at 2 p.m. ET.