PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 14, 2012) – Freshman Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) made her RAC debut with 10 points and six rebounds, while senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) posted her first double-double with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Rutgers women’s basketball team defeated George Washington, 56-52, in the Scarlet Knights’ home opener.
Rutgers picks up its first victory of the 2012-13 campaign and improves to 1-1 overall, while George Washington drops to 1-1 on the year.
Late in the second half, which saw 10 lead changes and six ties, Oliver hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 50-50 with just over three minute remaining. Senior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) then came away with a critical steal and was immediately fouled to stop the Scarlet Knight guard on what would have been a fast break down the court. At the line Wheeler knocked down both her attempts from the line and Rutgers went back on top by two.
George Washington’s Megan Nipe hit a jumper from the left corner to knot the score at 52-52 with 1:41, but it would be the last points the Colonials would make.
Oliver return to lead back to Rutgers on the next play on a 16-footer and on the ensuing George Washington possession, senior Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) swatted away a potential game-tying lay-up by the Colonials’ Sara Mostafa.
As both teams traded possessions, Wheeler ended up back at the line icing a pair of free throws for the final four-point margin.
Rutgers once again outrebounded the competition for the second straight game, hauling 41 rebounds, 11 more than the Colonials.
Additionally, the Scarlet Knights improved on their free throw shooting from last Sunday where they shot only 27.3% from the line at #10/11 Georgia. After struggling early from the line going 6-of-12, Rutgers connected on 16-of-17, including their final 10 attempts from the charity stripe, in the second half finish the game at a 75.9% clip.
George Washington was led by Mostafa and Danni Jackson with 10 points apiece.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action at Temple on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.
- With the 56-52 win over George Washington, Rutgers moves to 33-6 all-time in its first home game of the season, including a 14-4 mark under head coach C. Vivian Stringer.
- Tonight marked the 40th meeting between Rutgers and George Washington and the sixth consecutive year the former Atlantic-10 rivals have faced each other.
- Rutgers improved to 31-9 all-time against George Washington. RU defeated four members of the Atlantic-10 Conference last season, and the win moved RU up 197-41 all-time, including a 23-11 mark under Stringer.
- Rutgers has won seven of the last eight contests against George Washington, including the last three. The win over the Colonials last season, marked the 800th victory in program history.
- Senior forward Monique Oliver tabbed her 148th career block, moving her into a tie for fifth all-time at Rutgers with former Scarlet Knight Tammy Sutton-Brown (1997-2001). Tanya Hansen is above Oliver in fourth all-time on the Scarlet Knights’ blocks list with 245 career rejections.
- Freshman Kahleah Copper had her first double-digit scoring game, finishing with 10 points. The guard also grabbed six rebounds, second on the team behind veteran forward Monique Oliver’s 10.
- Senior forward Monique Oliver notched her 550th career rebound with her 10 grabs on the night. Oliver led the team with 20 points, her seventh career 20-point scoring game, and first since the 2010-11 season. It marked her ninth career double-double and first of the season after leading the Scarlet Knights with six double-double efforts in 2011-12.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
“I wish it could have been much cleaner and much more decisive, but then again, there are some things we learned. Each game I’m looking to see how different people function in pressure situations, and understand what it is we want. (Kahleah Copper) was quick, she was persistent. Defensively she was there. She took good drives that we’ve needed in there. We changed the line up the second half, just because we wanted to see what that looked like as well with presses. We want to get the freshmen ready, and we count on the upperclassmen to maintain and do what they do.”
“It’s all the little things, and they are manageable and they are things we can correct. We just have to work harder and I do think that this group, they really do try. We try and we are capable of being better and doing better and we will do better. I’m not at all down on us or down on this team. We’re fine. We just have some work to do and we need to realize that everyone who is going to come is going to play their best game.”
“I’m counting on Chelsey (Lee), Monique (Oliver), and Erica (Wheeler), to continue to drum home the importance on ‘this is our house’ and that we have to come to play. We don’t have time to get warmed up. We just have to get better.”
Senior Forward Chelsey Lee
On the game feeling similar to the 2010-11 game against GW:
“I think as a unit we tried to stay focused and not lose control of the game.”
On freshman Kahleah Copper’s performance:
“She stepped up big time. Rutgers is known for having good guards, Coach Stringer always says, so the guards always get it the hardest. She definitely stepped up as a freshman guard, and to step up at that time in the game and finish like she did, that was big for her. I’m definitely proud of her.”
Senior Forward Monique Oliver
On hitting the 16-footer with the score tied:
“I actually hesitated a couple of times because I just wanted to be patient and didn’t want to force the shot in. Then I saw it was open so I took the shot. “