PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 13 , 2012) –The Rutgers women’s basketball team kicks off the home portion of its 2012-13 schedule hosting the George Washington Colonials at 7:30 p.m. at the RAC. The game can be heard live on WCTC (1450 AM) with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call as well WRSU (88.7 AM) with Erik-Ray Sepulveda and Mike Rivers. Wednesday’s game with the Colonials can also be viewed on RVision at ScarletKnights.com
Seniors Erica Wheeler and Chelsey Lee each reached double figure scoring and sophomore Christa Evans captured a career-high nine points and nine rebounds in the 57-51 season opening loss at #10/11 Georgia on Sunday.
Wheeler finished the afternoon with a game-high 12 points. Lee, who sat out last season with a shoulder injury, returned to the court to add in 11 points in the loss.
Tied at 12-12 midway through the first half, Georgia used a 16-6 run to take a 10-point advantage, 28-18, as the teams went to the locker rooms at the half.
The second half opened up for RU on an 11-1 run not allowing the Lady Bulldogs a field goal for over seven minutes.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney capped the run to pull the Scarlet Knights within two, 31-29, with 12:47 remaining.
Georgia went up by as many as 10 with two minutes remaining and managed to hit on eight of nine attempts from the line down the final stretch. Wheeler closed the gap back to five with 16 seconds left and had a chance to pull her Scarlet Knights to within three with 10 seconds remaining but was unable to connect.
The Scarlet Knights won the battle of the boards, 42-29, led by Evan’s nine boards and Laney’s seven.
SCOUTING GEORGE WASHINGTON
The Colonials are under the direction of first-year head coach Jonathan Tsipis, who previously had spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at powerhouse Notre Dame. Prior to Tsipis taking the reigns, the Colonials closed out the 2011-12 campaign going 11-18 overall and 4-10 in Atlantic-10 action.
Tsipis inherited a veteran squad that includes three fifth-year seniors in Tara Booker, Sara Mostafa, and Brooke Wilson, along with seniors Danni Jackson, Megan Nipe, and Shi-Heria Shipp. Jackson was a Preseason All-Atlantic 10 Third Team selection who led the team in scoring at 12.0 points a game and dished out a team-leading 3.0 assists per contest. Booker was also a third team preseason selection who also averaged 12.0 points per game. She also led the Colonials at 7.0 rebounds per game, in field goal percentage (.429) and three-pointers (47). Mostafa meanwhile averaged 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest before eight games into last season suffered a season-ending injury.
In GW’s season opener, the Colonials captured a 80-47 win over UT Arlington with Danni Jackson notching 13 points, seven assists, and three steals. Megan Nipe and sophomore Chakecia Miller each had 12 points in the second half, which saw GW outscore the Mavericks 53-23.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. GEORGE WASHINGTON
Wednesday will mark the 40th meeting and the sixth consecutive year the former Atlantic-10 rivals have face each other on the hardwood. The Scarlet Knights have won six of the last seven meetings, including the last two contests.
LAST TIME VS. THE COLONIALS
Four Scarlet Knights scored in double-figures led by a game-high 23 points from Monique Oliver in Rutgers’ 75-54 win over the Colonials at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. back on Dec. 30, 2011. With the victory over George Washington, the Rutgers women’s basketball program earned its 800th victory.
Oliver also added eight rebounds, while former guard April Sykes scored 17 points, followed by classmate Khadijah Rushdan with 13 and senior guard Erica Wheeler with 11 points. Rushdan was one rebound shy of a double-double with a game-high nine boards. She also chipped in six assists. Rushdan became the second player in Rutgers history to post over 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists with a first-half assist on a made basket from Sykes at the 14:52 mark.
Rutgers forced 23 GW turnovers, leading to 28 points off those miscues. The Scarlet Knights also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Colonials, 36-10.
The Scarlet Knights scored the opening basket on a layup from Oliver. The score went back and forth with three ties in the first three minutes, as George Washington eventually took its only lead of the game – a one-point advantage (8-7) at the 15:37 mark. RU would regain the lead with a jumper from Sykes at 14:52 (9-8) and never looked back. Despite a couple runs from George Washington, RU was still able to hold onto its double-digit lead, pulling ahead by as much as 26 points with 10:20 left to play.
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
First starting line-up of the 2012-13 season included Erica Wheeler, Briyona Canty, Monique Oliver, Betnijah Laney, and Chelsey Lee.
The Scarlet Knights used 11 different starting lineups last season. Each of Rutgers’ five sophomores earned a start last season. Betnijah Laney led last season’s rookies with 11 starts.
WELCOME BACK CHELSEY LEE
Chelsey Lee wasted no time in making her comeback known scoring the first four points of the 2012-13 season. The fifth-year senior had six points on 3-of-4 shooting at the half along with a pair of rebounds. The second half saw Lee make both her field goal attempts and add another pair of boards. While scoring 11 points total, Lee played just eight minutes in the first half and seven in the second half due to foul trouble. Lee missed the 2011-12 season with a shoulder injury.
With nine points against Georgia, sophomore Christa Evans replaces her previous career-high of four points. She netted four points on four occasions last season with the most recent coming against USF on Jan. 21, 2012. Her nine rebounds against the Lady Bulldogs was also a career mark surpassing her previous high of six against Fordham on Dec. 8, 2011.
Sophomore Briyona Canty, who got the starting nod at the point, dished out five assists for a new career mark. As a freshman she registered four assists in a pair of contests last occurring against USF on Jan. 21, 2011.
OLIVER HOSTING BLOCK PARTY
Senior center Monique Oliver moved into the Rutgers record books for all-time blocked shots last season and is currently in sixth place with 147 rejections. This season, Oliver could become just the fifth Scarlet Knight with 200 career blocks and just the fourth Scarlet Knight with over 1,000 career points and 200 career blocks.
Oliver needs two more blocks to surpass Tammy Sutton-Brown (1997-01) for fifth place all-time in the Rutgers record books.
900 WINS IN SIGHT
Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer has collected 885 career victories, just 15 shy of the 900-win mark. Stringer, who is currently first among active coaches in career win, sits behind former Tennessee head coach Pat Summit (1,098) and former Texas mentor Jody Conradt (900).
Rutgers has a week in between games and will return to action at Temple on Wednesday, November 21 at 7 p.m.