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Early spurt

Rutgers takes early lead and holds on to defeat Dartmouth

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Posted: Saturday March 13, 1999 12:00 AM

  Rutgers' Tasha Pointer takes the ball from Dartmouth's Nicci Rinaldi as the Scarlet Knights strip the game from the Big Green. AP

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Shawnetta Stewart scored all 15 of her points in the first half and led a game-opening 12-point spurt that led No. 9 Rutgers to an 84-70 win over Dartmouth in the first round of the Midwest Regional on Friday night.

The third-seeded Scarlet Knights (27-5) built a 28-point, first-half lead and they were never threatened in advancing to a second-round game against sixth-seeded Arizona (18-10) on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.

The Wildcats of the Pacific 10 rallied from a 17-point, second-half deficit to defeat Florida 87-84 in overtime in the opener at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Rutgers' campus.

The Rutgers' game against the Ivy League champions had none of the excitement. The Lady Knights of the Big East were too quick, too strong and too talented for Dartmouth (19-9), which was making its second NCAA appearance in four years and third overall. The Big Green remains winless in the tournament.

Tammy Sutton-Brown had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Rutgers, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last year before losing to three-time defending champion Tennessee. Linda Miles added 13 points and Tomora Young 10. Stewart did not play in the second half.

Courtney Banghart, who led the nation in 3-point field goal accuracy at about 40 percent, hit 6 of 15 from long range and finished with 19 points. Erin Rewalt was the only other Dartmouth player in double figures with 12 points.

Sutton-Brown gave Rutgers the lead for good, putting in the rebound of a Linda Miles' jumper. Young and Stewart followed with 3-pointers to push the lead to 8-0. Sutton-Brown added two free throws before Stewart, who was 4 of 6 from 3-point range in the half, hit a jumper from the left wing.

After missing its first six shots and committing two turnovers, Gyvonne Pinkston hit a 3-pointer with 15:28 to go to finally get the Big Green on the scoreboard.

Dartmouth, which earned its NCAA bid by beating Princeton in a playoff, finished 22 of 62 from the field, or 36 percent, against the nation's third best scoring defense (54.9 points).

The victory was the 10th in 11 games and the 17th in 19 for Rutgers, which shared the regular-season conference title with Connecticut. It also seemed to indicate the Knights are back on track after a disappointing loss to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Gov. Christie Whitman was among the 3,155 fans attending the game.

 
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