PISCATAWAY, N.J. (December 6, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team returned to the win column with a 58-32 victory over LIU Brooklyn Thursday night at the RAC as senior Monique Oliver (Miami, Fla.) became the 32nd Scarlet Knight to reach the 1,000-point career mark.
Oliver, who reached the century mark on a driving lay-up with 8:22 left in the second half to give RU a 54-26 advantage, led all scorers with 18 points.
The win, which snaps a two-game skid for the Scarlet Knights, improves the squad to 4-3 overall and is the largest victory since a 33-point, 62-29 win over Iona on Dec. 18, 2010. LIU Brooklyn meanwhile falls to 3-4.
Rutgers opened the game outscoring its opponent, 9-1, and held the Blackbirds without a field goal for the game’s first 5:13. Freshman Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.), who ended the night 4-of-5 from the field, forced her way to the basket with 11:01 left in the first half to give the Scarlet Knights a double figure edge the rest of the way.
RU held a 37-19 advantage at the half marking not only its largest margin at the intermission this season, but also the most points scored by the Scarlet Knights in a half this season.
While Rutgers held LIU Brooklyn to just eight field goals in the opening half, the Scarlet Knights limited the Blackbirds to only five in the second half action and allowed just 15 points.
Freshman Precious Person (Jonesboro, Ga.), who was the other Scarlet Knight in double figures, gave Rutgers its largest lead, 58-27, with 6:35 remaining in the game on two of her career-high 12 points. It was the first time Person hit double figures in her career as she hit went 6-of-7 from the field hitting her first six shots.
LIU Brooklyn was led by Tamkia Guz with 10 points and five rebounds.
Along with her game-high 18 points, Oliver added in a career-high six assists and continued to excel from the free throw line hitting 4-of-5. Senior Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) also added in nine points and five boards as RU held a 42-29 advantage on the boards.
The Scarlet Knights return to action at the Maggie Dixon Classic on Sunday at the World’s Most Famous Arena – Madison Square Garden. Rutgers and Louisiana Tech will open up play at 11 a.m. followed by St. John’s and Duke.
Breaking the Streak
- Tonight’s win puts head coach C. Vivian Stringer at 889 career victories. Stringer is first among active coaches in career wins, and is now just 11 shy of the 900-win mark.
- Rutgers breaks a two-game losing streak after the win over the Blackbirds. The win keeps the Scarlet Knights undefeated at 3-0 at the RAC.
- RU has hosted each of the three games in the series with LIU-Brooklyn, and the win puts RU 3-0 all-time over LIU-Brooklyn.
All About Oliver
- Monique Oliver’s 18 points in the game send her past the 1,000 plateau. She is the 32nd person in Rutgers women’s basketball history to reach this mark.
- Oliver tabbed six steals on the night, topping her previous career high four steals.
- Oliver went 7-12 from the field, a new season high in both field goals made and field goal attempts.
- Erica Wheeler’s seven attempts from behind the arc move her up to eighth in attempted three-point field goals with 366. She moves past Matee Ajavon (2004-08) who previous sat in eighth in program history with 363.
- Rutgers finished the first half with their biggest lead of the season. The Scarlet Knights led at the intermission 37-19, an 18-point lead. Previously, the largest halftime lead was 17 points in the Nov. 14, 56-52, win over George Washington.
- The 37 first half points were also the most points first half points Rutgers has scored this season. RU surpassed its previous high of 31 points at the half from the win over Temple.
- Freshman Precious Person notched 12 points on the night, a new career and season high. Person was the second leading scorer on the court for the night, behind teammate Monique Oliver. The 6’1 Jonesboro, Ga., native was nearly perfect from the field, sinking six of seven from inside the arc.
- Freshman Ariel Butts finished the game leading the team in rebounds with seven, marking a career and season high for the Columbus, Ga., native.
- Erica Wheeler stripped four balls, tying her season high with four steals.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On the strong start: “It’s important because we have been starting slow, and we get so worn down that it gets hard to recover. I think we need to, and we will, try and push tempo on the offensive side. I think we made a conscious effort to do that. For each person coming in to not slow it down, and to just continue to push tempo and get to the boards.”
“I think that the second half, why I could be disappointed in the second half, is because the same number of shots was taken, but the percentage was greatly different. There were a lot of different people on the floor, so that might attribute to that. I’m not going to try to worry unnecessarily but I would be concerned because we need to put together the second half together just as well as we did the first half. I think that it was because there were different people on the floor at different times.”
On Precious Person: “It was honestly huge. I think that you probably know that we’ve been struggling shooting, but she was strong. We need someone that can be calm and do that, and it was good. I think that shooting is just a work in progress. We’re still trying to put our transition part of the game together, and trying to figure out, as Chelsey said, ‘what do we do?’ as individuals.
On her 1,000th career point: “I wasn’t even aware I was going to hit my 1,000th point. I just thought of it as another basket, but it was exciting.”
On having a big first half lead: “Even before the game, we were talking and telling each other that we had to come out stronger that we have been doing so that we don’t have to struggle during the second half. I felt like everyone came out with energy and really got into the flow of things.”
On having Chelsey Lee back on the court: “I feel like she’s almost back to her old ways. Seeing her get those rebounds was good to see. I think it’s just going to take her a game at a time to get back into her regular flow.”
On coming back from her injury: “After being confident in who you are as a player and playing for so long, and then sitting out a year, to have to come back and work your way back into the feel of things has definitely been a challenge thus far. My teammates support me, but it has just been a challenge trying to get back to playing as myself.”
The most difficult part of getting back on the court: “Coach Stringer asked the team a question earlier today ‘who are we, and I think it’s identifying what I do. I used to use rebounds as a way to get on the floor. I knew that no one would outrebound me or rebound more than I did. I think it’s reconnecting with the things that I did that got me on the floor.
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