PISCATAWAY, N.J. (December 4, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team will be looking to put its two-game losing streak in the rearview mirror when they meet up with the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds on Thursday night at the RAC The game will be air on WCTC (1450 am) with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call and on WRSU with John Manganelli and Dylan MacKinnon calling the action. The game is also available on RVision at ScarletKnights.com.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team fell to 3-3 on the year with a 71-55 loss at Princeton and a 58-56 heartbreaker at Boston College last week. The Scarlet Knights head home this week where they are currently 2-0.
Senior guard Erica Wheeler leads RU at 12.0 points per game, which included a season-high 19 points at Boston College on Sunday. Wheeler is also averaging 3.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
Classmate and forward/center Monique Oliver is the other Scarlet Knight in double figures with 11.6 points per game and a team-leading 6.0 rebounds per game.
LAST TIME OUT - AT BOSTON COLLEGE
The Rutgers women’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to Boston College, 58-56, at Conte Forum Sunday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights overcame an 11-point first half deficit to take its first lead since the early moments of the game with four minutes remaining. After Boston College’s Kerri Shields used a driving lay-up to put her team ahead by two with five seconds remaining, the Scarlet Knights’ desperation shot by Erica Wheeler was off the mark as time expired.
Wheeler led all scorers with a season-high 19 points. Laney and freshman Kahleah Copper each had nine points with Copper also hauling in a game and season-high six rebounds.
SCOUTING LIU BROOKYLN
The Blackbirds, members of the Northeast Conference, come to the rack with a 2-3 overall record. In their last outing, LIU Brooklyn snapped a three-game losing streak with a 65-63 win over Towson. The Blackbirds’ redshirt sophomore guard Kelly Robinson scored the game-winning lay-up with 29 seconds remaining in overtime for the win.
Senior guard Krystal Wells leads the team with 14.4 points per game, while junior guard/forward Cleandra Roberts is averaging 10.3 points along with a team-leading 9.7 rebounds per game.
The Blackbirds return one starter and seven letterwinners from a team that went 21-10 in 2011-12 and 10-8 in the NEC. They were picked to finish sixth in the NEC.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH LIU BROOKLYN
The Scarlet Knights and Blackbirds will meet for the third time in history and the first since February 16, 1981. RU holds a 2-0 all-time record against LIU Brooklyn scoring over 100 points in the previous two meetings. Rutgers took a 117-53 victory in the first meeting in 1979 and a 106-60 victory in 1981. Both those games were played on the Rutgers campus.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game with La Tech, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer has coached against the Lady Techsters nine times including with Cheyney State in the inaugural NCAA Championship Game in 1982.
Sunday will also be Rutgers’ fifth appearance in the Maggie Dixon Classic. The Scarlet Knights have gone 2-2 at the Maggie Dixon Classic including a 59-42 win over Army in 2008, the first year the Maggie Dixon Classic was held at MSG, and a repeat win over the Black Knights in 2009 with a 59-38 victory. RU fell 68-54 to Tennessee in 2009 and Texas A&M 79-50 in 2010.
The Maggie Dixon Classic is named after former Army head coach Maggie Dixon, who was lost after an arrhythmic episode to the heart just weeks after guiding the Blacks Knights to the 2006 Patriot League title and the first ever NCAA Tournament appearance for any Army basketball team. Dixon passed a little over a month shy of her 29th birthday.
PROTECTING HOME COURT
The Scarlet Knights have had an outstanding track record of success at home during the previous nine seasons under head coach C. Vivian Stringer. Rutgers is 124-20 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. RU suffered just one home loss in 2010-11 against Connecticut.
2011-12: 12-3 (Tenn, Notre Dame, St. John’s)
2010-11: 12-1 (UConn)
2009-10: 10-5 (Stanford, Temple, Notre Dame ‘Cuse, St. John’s)
2008-09: 14-4 (Tenn, USF, Pitt, UConn)
2007-09: 14-1 (Stanford)
2006-07: 11-2 (Duke, UConn)
2005-06: 11-1 (Temple)
2003-04: 14-1 (UConn)
2002-03: 11-2 (BC, Miami)
OLIVER NEARS CENTURY MARK
Senior center Monique Oliver will be looking to become the 32nd Scarlet Knight to join the 1,000-point club needing just 18 more points to join the list.
ANOTHER CENTURY MARK
Senior Chelsey Lee will be playing in her 100th career game on Thursday night. To date, the Miami, Florida native has appeared in a Scarlet Knight uniform in 99 contests with 62 career starts. She will join fellow seniors Erica Wheeler and Monique Oliver with over 100 career games to their credit.
Since returning from last year’s shoulder injury, Lee has played in all six games with three starts averaging 5.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
OLIVER HOSTING BLOCK PARTY
Senior center Monique Oliver moved into sole possession of fifth on Rutgers all-time blocked shots leaders list with her three rejections on Nov. 29 at Princeton surpassing Tammy Sutton-Brown (1998-2002). Oliver has 153 career blocks to her credit. Tanya Hansen (1988-92) sits in fourth place all-time with 245 career blocks.
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.
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used five different starting line-ups through the season’s first six games.
Georgia, GW: Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Oliver, Lee
Temple: Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Evans, Lee
Davidson: Wheeler, Laney,, Davis, Evans, Oliver
Princeton: Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Copper, Oliver
BC: Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Richardson, Oliver
Of note: In the last game at Boston College, sophomore Shakena Richardson garnered her first start of the 2012-13 season and second of her career. Against Princeton last Thursday, freshman Kahleah Copper collected her first career start.
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.
SECOND HALF SILVER LINING
After trailing Princeton 38-22 at the half last Thursday, both RU and the Tigers scored 33 points in the second the second half. After going 0-for-2 in first half action, sophomore guard Shakena Richardson came off the bench to notch a career-best 10 second points shooting 3-of-5, including a three, from the floor and connecting on 3-of-4 at the line in the second half. Richardson followed with her first start of the 2012-13 season and second career start at Boston College.
PERFECTION FROM THE LINE
Rutgers shot 100% from the line against Boston College connecting on all seven free throw attempts. Rookie Kahleah Copper led the way going 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. It was the Scarlet Knights’ best night from the line since shooting 90.9 percent (10-of-11) at the stripe against Connecticut on March 4, 2012.
MOVING UP THE LIST:
Erica Wheeler’s lone three-pointer at Princeton on Nov. 29 moved her name up to eighth on the made three-pointers list as she cleared former Knights Liz Hansen (1992-96), Matee Ajavon (2004-08), and Mauri Horton (1999-2003). Wheeler has 116 career three-point field goals and needs 16 more three-pointers to pass Epiphanny Prince (2006-09) for seventh all-time.
After ten shots behind the arc vs. Davidson on Nov. 25, Wheeler moved up to ninth in the attempted three-pointer category passing Mauri Morton (1999-03). She currently has 359 three-point attempts in her four-year career. She needs 15 more attempts to move past Matee Ajavaon (2004-08) into eighth .
Sophomore Syessence Davis garnered her fourth career starting nod and first of the 2012-13 campaign against Davidson and has remained among the starting five in the last three RU contests. She tied her career mark in steals with five against the Wildcats and dished out the ball a career-high eight times. Since becoming a member of the starting five, she is averaging 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
Rutgers will travel to the world’s most famous arena to take on La Tech in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is 11 a.m. If you have not already contacted the Rutgers Sports Information Office with any credentials needs for the Maggie Dixon Classic at MSG, please contact Kimberly Zivkovich – firstname.lastname@example.org – as soon as possible.
Following Sunday’s contest with the Lady Techsters, RU will be back at the RAC for a trio of contests hosting Southern on Dec. 12, Miami on Dec. 16, and Stony Brook on Dec. 21.
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