PISCATWAY, N.J. (December 7, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team will be making its fifth appearance at the Maggie Dixon Classic Sunday morning at 11 a.m. when they take on Louisiana Tech at Madison Square Garden. The game will air on WCTC (1450 am) with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call and on WRSU with Erik-Ray Sepulveda and Mike Rivera calling the action.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team snapped a two-game skid with a 58-32 win over LIU Brooklyn to enter the Maggie Dixon Classic at 4-3 on the year. The Scarlet Knights will be making their fifth appearance at the Maggie Dixon Classic and 15th appearance at the “world’s most famous arena” - Madison Square Garden.
Senior forward/center Monique Oliver scored a game-high 18 points en-route to reaching the 1,000 career point mark Thursday night against LIU Brooklyn and leads the Knights at 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. She also added in a career-high six steals in the win.
Classmate Erica Wheeler is next on the stat sheet at 10.6 points per game along with 2.7 assists and 2.9 steals per contest.
The victory also brought head coach C. Vivian Stringer closer to the 900 win mark needing only 11 more victories to reach the milestone.
Following Sunday’s game with La Tech, the Scarlet Knights will be home the next three games - Southern, Miami, & Stony Brook.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. LIU BROOKLYN
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returned to the win column with a 58-32 victory over LIU Brooklyn Thursday night at the RAC in its largest victory since a 33-point, 62-29 win over Iona on Dec. 18, 2010.
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, 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, 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.
SCOUTING LOUISIANA TECH
The storied Lady Techsters are currently 2-4 overall including dropping a 77-26 contest to Texas A&M on Tuesday. La Tech fell in three straight games to open the 2012-12 season in contests with Tulane (59-66), South Carolina (58-82), and Mississippi State (57-55) but rebounded in close victories over Central Arkansas (65-63) and Ole Miss (57-54).
Headed by Teresa Weatherspoon, the former WNBA all-star who won a national championship as a Lady Techster, La Tech returns six letterwinners and only one starter from last year’s team that went 17-15 overall and advanced to the championship of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The Lady Techsters were picked to finish second in the league this season according to the conference preseason polls.
Senior forward Brittany Lewis leads the way as one of a duo of Lady Techsters in double figures at 11.8 points and a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per outing. Redshirt sophomore guard Kelia Shelton is pouring in 11.0 points per game and a team-second best 6.0 boards per contest. Rookie guard Lulu Perry is averaging 9.3 points per game.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH LA TECH
The Scarlet Knights and Lady Techsters meet up for the fifth time in school history with Louisiana Tech holding a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. RU won the last meeting, 76-51, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Shreveport for the first victory in the series.
Three of the four meetings with La Tech have come at Madison Square Garden with the Lady Techsters walking away the victories in all three meetings. Last meeting at the Garden was on Dec. 19, 1981 with the Scarlet Knights falling 83-73 in the Manufacturer’s Hanover Tournament.
RUTGERS AT THE GARDEN
Rutgers is 4-10 all-time when playing games at Madison Square Garden. Three of the 14 appearances have come against Sunday’s opponent, Louisiana Tech.
Including Sunday’s appearance, the Scarlet Knights have appeared at MSG in five of the last six seasons for the Maggie Dixon Classic. From the 1977-78 season until 1980-81, the Scarlet Knights annually played in the Manufacturer’s Hanover Tournament held at MSG.
1/1/78 vs. Montclair State ...... L, 84-64
1/2/78 UCLA .................................. L, 104-77
12/22/79 Louisiana Tech........... L, 93-89 (ot)
12/23/79Maryland ........................ L, 78-77
12/19/80 Long Beach State .... W, 71-64
12/21/80 Louisiana Tech .......... L, 67-60
12/19/81 Louisiana Tech .......... L, 83-73
12/19/81 Cheyney State ............ W, 86-82
1/3/99 Tennessee ....................... L, 68-54
1/2/00 Tennessee ....................... L, 58-51
12/8/07 Army .................................. W, 59-42
12/14/08 Army ............................... W, 59-38
12/13/09 Tennessee.................... L, 54-68
12/19/10 Texas A&M.................. L, 50-79
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.
MAGGIE DIXON CLASSIC HISTORY
Sunday will 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.
1,000 AND COUNTING
Thursday night at the RAC senior Monique Oliver became the 32nd Scarlet Knight to reach the 1,000-point career mark.
Oliver reached the century mark on a driving lay-up with 8:22 left in the second half to give RU a 54-26 advantage over LIU Brooklyn and ended the night leading all scorers with 18 points.
Oliver has exactly 1,000 career points and needs 10 more points to move past Dawn McCullouch (2000-04) for 32nd on the all-time Rutgers scoring charts.
ANOTHER CENTURY MARK
Senior Chelsey Lee played in her 100th career game on Thursday night against LIU Brooklyn.
To date, the Miami, Florida native has appeared in a Scarlet Knight uniform in 100 contests with 62 career starts. She joined 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 seven games with three starts averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
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 four 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 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game.
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used six different starting line-ups through the season’s first seven 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
LIU: Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Evans, Oliver
Of note: 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.
Freshman Precious Person notched 12 points in RU’s last game, a 58-32 win over LIU Brooklyn, As the Scarlet Knights’ second leading scorer, Person scored in double figures for the first time in her career. She was nearly perfect from the field, sinking six of seven from inside the arc, connecting on the first six shots, missing her seventh attempt in the late stages of the game.
POURING IN THE POINTS:
The 37 points scored by the Scarlet Knights in the first half of Thursday night’s victory were the most points in a half scored by the team this season. It surpasses RU’s first previous first half high of 31 recorded at Temple on Nov. 21st and the previous high of 35 in a half captured in the second stanza of games with Temple and Davidson.
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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