Rutgers 56, UTEP 54
April 5, 2014 -- Tyler Scaife drove the length of the floor and finished with a layup with two seconds on the clock as Rutgers defeated UTEP 56-54 to win the 2014 WNIT Championship in front of a sold-out crowd at the Don Haskins Center (12,222) in El Paso, Texas.
It was all Rutgers in the first half, using stifling defense to hold UTEP to just 18.2 percent shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers. RU went into halftime with a comfortable 30-16 lead.
The lid finally came off the basket in the second half for UTEP as they used a 12-2 run to pull within three (39-36) at the 11:39 mark. The Miners fought all the way back and took their first lead of the game since the 15:33 mark of the first half going up 50-48 with just over five minutes to play.
Trailing 54-52 with five seconds left, Chrishauna Parker grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on the put-back shot to tie the game at 54s. That’s when Scaife took the inbounds pass and drove coast-to-coast for the winning bucket.
Kahleah Copper scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the win for the Scarlet Knights. Copper was named the WNIT Tournament MVP. Scaife netted 18 points including 10 of the team’s 12 points in the final eight minutes of the game. She was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Kristine Vitola, an All-Tournament Team selection, scored 16 points including making 10-of-11 from the charity line to lead the Miners. Jenzel Nash finished with 11 points and Kayla Thornton added eight points along with nine rebounds.
Rutgers finishes the season with a 28-9 record and were playing in the WNIT for the first time in program history. UTEP was also making their first appearance in the WNIT and end a great season with a 29-8 record.
The sell-out crowd of 12,222 was the seventh largest championship game in WNIT history. The championship game sold out in less than two hours following UTEP’s victory over South Dakota State in the Semifinals. It was the fastest sell-out in WNIT Tournament history, faster than New Mexico in 2001 and Wyoming in 2007. The Lobos sold out The Pitt (18,018) in five hours. Wyoming sold out Arena-Auditorium (15,462) in eight hours.
Kahleah Copper – Rutgers (MVP)
Tyler Scaife - Rutgers
Kayla Thornton – UTEP
Kristine Vitola – UTEP
Courtney Williams – South Florida
Steph Paluch – South Dakota State