The return of senior Cappie Pondexter to the Rutgers lineup was upstaged by two freshmen who helped the Scarlet Knights hand Pat Summitt one of her worst losses at Tennessee. Matee Ajavon scored 20...

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The return of senior Cappie Pondexter to the Rutgers lineup was upstaged by two freshmen who helped the Scarlet Knights hand Pat Summitt one of her worst losses at Tennessee.

Matee Ajavon scored 20 points, and fellow freshman Essence Carson added 14 points and 13 rebounds as No. 24 Rutgers held eighth-ranked Tennessee to 16 first-half points in a 65-51 victory yesterday.

“The freshmen grew up a lot and we as a team grew up a lot,” Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said after besting Summitt in the game that pitted two of the four women coaches with 700 career wins. “We learned how to win.”

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Rutgers (7-2) not only won, it embarrassed Tennessee (8-3) on a day Pondexter played for the first time this season. Pondexter, Rutgers’ leading scorer the past two seasons, had one point in 15 minutes. She missed the first eight games for reasons that have not been disclosed.

The 51 points tied for the second fewest scored by Tennessee in a game. The Vols’ record low is 46 against Louisiana Tech in 1982. The first-half total was two points shy of the Vols’ record low set against Virginia in 1996.

“We weren’t good in any aspect of our game tonight,” Summitt said.

Other Top 25 games


No. 2 Duke 89, Rhode Island 63


Jessica Foley scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half to lead the Blue Devils (21-1) over the Rams in the first round of the Auburn (Ala.) Holiday Classic. Tanya Rhodes scored 17 points to lead Rhode Island (2-8).

At No. 3 Baylor 92, Montana St. 47


Sophia Young scored 19 points to lead the Bears (10-1), who shot 58 percent. Kati Burrows led Montana State (6-4) with 19 points.

No. 10 Michigan St. 67, No. 11 Connecticut 51


Lindsay Bowen had 20 points as the Spartans (11-1) beat the Huskies in Hartford, Conn. It was the worst home loss for Connecticut (6-3) since a 16-point defeat to Miami on Feb. 21, 1992.

At No. 17 Maryland 67, Massachusetts 63


Crystal Langhorne of Maryland (9-1) had 26 points in the first round of the Terrapin Classic. Brooke Campbell had 12 points for Massachusetts (6-4).

No. 19 DePaul 75, Valparaiso 49


Khara Smith had 18 points and 16 rebounds to lead DePaul in Hanover, N.H. Jenna Rubino added 16 points for DePaul (9-2). Betsy Rietema led Valparaiso (5-5) with 13 points.