PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 1, 2012) – No. 23/19 Rutgers women’s basketball’s Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.), April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.), Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) earned All-BIG EAST recognition, as announced by the league office Thursday.
Four RU players are the most to earn honors for the Scarlet Knights since the 2007-08 season, while Rushdan’s first team selection marks the first Rutgers player to receive the honor since Epiphanny Prince in 2009.
Rushdan finished the regular season as the team’s second-leading scorer at a career-best 13.3 points per game (18th in the BIG EAST), to go along with 5.5 rebounds and a team-best 3.6 assists (tied for 10th in the league). The point guard recorded a career-high 20 double-digit scoring games, including three 20-point performances and a double-double in the season finale against Marquette. A preseason all-conference honorable mention, Rushdan became the 30th member of RU’s program to reach the 1,000-point mark and the second player in Rutgers’ history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. A member of last season’s All-BIG EAST Second Team, the Wilmington, Del., native has been named to the State Farm Wade Watch List, the USBWA National Player of the Year Watch List and is a candidate for the 2012 Naismith College Player of the Year.
Sykes, also a preseason all-league honorable mention, is pacing the Scarlet Knights with a team-leading 13.4 points per game (17th in the conference) and 5.6 rebounds. She leads the team with 21 double-figure scoring games, starting the season off with 10-plus points in eight of the first nine games. Sykes is second on the team in double-doubles with four and has reached 20-plus points in four games, including a season-high 27 points versus then-No. 6 Tennessee. The Starkville, Miss., native became the 31st member of the Scarlet Knights to score 1,000 career points.
Oliver was named an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention after receiving second-team honors last season. The junior forward produced a team-best five double-doubles on the year and ended the regular season with a career-high 7.3 rebounds per contest (ninth in the league) and 11.6 points. The Las Vegas, Nev., native also ranked third in the conference in blocked shots, averaging 1.8 per game and sixth in field goal percentage (.553).
Laney rounds out the honors, earning a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team – the first Rutgers player to do so since 2007. The rookie became the highest scoring (187) and rebounding (117) true freshman at RU since Epiphanny Prince in 2006-07. She tallied five double-digit scoring games and RU’s first double-double by a first-year player since the 2008-09 season. In her collegiate debut, Laney was the first true freshman to start in six years and recorded 18 points – the most in a rookie debut since 1996.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on both social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.