PISCATWAY, N.J. (December 26, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to the road and will close out 2012 by heading to #13/15 Tennessee to face the #13/15 Lady Volunteers at 1:00 p.m. on Dec. 30. The game will be aired on Fox Sports South with Bob Kesling on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli on color.
On the radio, the game will air on WCTC (1450 am) with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call and on WRSU with David Servedio and Michael Rivera calling the action. Fans can also watch via UTSports.com.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team will be looking to extend its current win streak as the Scarlet Knights have won five straight and enter Sunday’s contest with a 8-3 overall mark.
RU will be in its first true road test since a Dec. 2 loss at Boston College. Rutgers is currently 1-3 away from the friendly confines of the RAC where the Scarlet Knights have won eight consecutive games dating back to last season.
Senior Monique Oliver continues to lead the Scarlet Knights on the stat sheet as the lone RU player in double figures at 13.3 points per game along with a team-leading 5.8 rebounds per contest. Oliver was one of four Scarlet Knights in double figures with a team-leading 14 points in RU’s last game - a 28-point victory over Stony Brook on Dec. 21. The Las Vegas, Nev. native is also the newest member of the Scarlet Knights’ 1,000 point club joining the ranks five games ago against LIU Brooklyn back on Dec. 6.
Classmate guard Erica Wheeler is second on the stat sheet at 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals, and 2.3 assists.
Forward Chelsey Lee, who has returned to the starting five in the last two games, is third on the team in scoring at 8.2 points per game along with a team second best 4.7 rebounds per contest.
RU’s 72-44 win over Stony Brook in its last game before the break for the Holiday brought head coach C. Vivian Stringer closer to the 900 win mark needing only seven more victories to reach the milestone.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. STONY BROOK
Four Scarlet Knights landed in double figures powering the Rutgers women’s basketball team to its largest victory of the season in last Friday evening’s 72-44 win over Stony Brook.
While Stony Brook pulled to within three, 28-25, with just over a minute remaining in the first half, Rutgers outscored the Seawolves, 40-19, in the second half to take the 28-point victory.
Ahead 32-25 at the half, the Scarlet Knights came out of the locker room on a 15-3 tear. Senior forward/center Monique Oliver contributed six points during the run and ended the game just shy of a double-double with a game-high 14 points and nine rebounds. Classmate Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) poured in all 11 of her points in the second half, including her lone three-pointer which gave Rutgers a 20-point edge with 7:45 left in the game. Wheeler also nabbed a career-high tying six steals helping RU to 29 points off Stony Brook’s 28 turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights allowed the Seawolves just five field goals in the second stanza and held Stony Brook from converting a field goal over the game’s final 4:16.
Joining Oliver and Wheeler in double figures was sophomore Betnijah Laney with 11 points and Rachel Hollivay, who had her first double figure contest of her career with 10 points.
Tennessee will host Davidson on Friday night, a team that Rutgers defeated 55-49 on Nov. 25, before welcoming the Scarlet Knights to Knoxville.
The Lady Vols enter Friday’s contest with the Wildcats sporting a 7-3 overall record, including a 4-1 mark at home at Thompson Boling Arena. The Lady Vols opened up the Holly Warlick-era with a season-opening 80-71 loss to Chattanooga but then proceeded to win seven straight games before falling recently to #3 Baylor (76-53) and #1 Standford (73-60).
Junior guard Meighan Simmons and freshman forward/center Bashaara Graves lead the Lady Vols both averaging double figures. Simmons, who is averaging 17.1 points and 3.8 reobunds per game, has UT in seven of its 10 contests to-date including dropping 33 points on North Carolina in early December. Graves is averaging 14.1 points along with a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per contest.
Holly Warlick is in her first season at the helm of the storied Lady Vol program, but is no stranger to the Tennessee sidelines. Warlick has been a part of the Tennessee program for more than three decades as an All-American point guard and 27-season as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH TENNESSEE
Sunday will be the 22nd meeting between the Scarlet Knights and Lady Vols. The two teams have met six times in NCAA Tournament action, including both of RU’s Final Four appearances.
Tennessee has won the last eight meetings with RU’s last victory over the Lady Vols coming in a 65-51 win back on Dec. 29, 2004 at the RAC.
Rutgers will be looking for its first ever win on the Lady Vols’ home court. The Scarlet Knights are 0-6 at Thomas Boling Arena. RU suffered an 87-51 loss in their last game in Knoxville back on Dec. 30, 2010.
LAST TIME VS. TENNESSEE
The No. 11 Rutgers women’s basketball fought back from a 13-point deficit but fell short at the end against No. 6 Tennessee, 67-61 on Dec. 13, 2011 at the RAC. Formerguards April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan led the Scarlet Knights with a game-high 27 points from Sykes, while Rushdan chipped in with 16.
Tennessee built a 13 point lead in the first half, pulling ahead of the Scarlet Knights 31-18 with 6:53 left. Rutgers rallied down the final stretch of the first half, going on a 10-2 run to cut it to a five-point game at the half (33-28). Sykes scored four points during the spurt, while Rushdan, center Christa Evans and guard Erica Wheeler each added a basket.
Rutgers carried its momentum into the second half, outscoring the Lady Vols 7-3 to take a one-point (37-36) lead – its first of the game. The Scarlet Knights added to the advantage, moving ahead by as much as five points at the 15:38 mark (43-38). Sykes and Rushdan combined for Rutgers’ first 11 points of the second half and Wheeler connected on a jumper to give RU its biggest advantage.
The lead changed four more times with Tennessee eventually pulling away in the final 5:42. The Lady Vols held RU without a field goal for a span of 7:57, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 13-0, including three baskets from behind the arc.
DURING THE STREAK
The Scarlet Knights are currently riding a five game win streak and during that span, RU has been outscoring its opponents by 20.6 points per game and outrebounding the opposition by an average of 9.2 boards per contest.
During the win streak, RU has been shooting 46.5 percent from the field while holding opponents to just 28.2 percent from the floor.
The Scarlet Knights have also been generous with the ball averaging 17.6 assists per game during the span.
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-1 against the Top 25 in 2012-13. RU opened up the season against then-#10/11 Georgia with a 57-51 setback and captured its first win over a ranked opponent on Dec. 16 with a 42-34 victory over then-#21/23 Miami.
DOUBLE FIGURE DAY:
Rutgers had four in double figures in the victory over Stony Brook in their last game. It was the first time this season RU had four in double figures and the first time since the Scarlet Knights’ loss to West Virginia on Feb. 15, 2012 had four players pour in double digits.
Monique Oliver was just shy of her second double-double of the year with a game-high 14 points and nine boards. It was the seventh time this season and 24th time in her career the senior Scarlet Knight has led her team in scoring. It was also Oliver’s eighth double figure night this season and 53rd of her career.
Betnijah Laney had her third double figure game of the season and seventh of her career, rebounding after scoring no points against #21/23 Miami. It was the first time in the last seven games Laney posted double figures having last accomplished the feat with a season-high 15 points against Davidson on Nov. 25.
Erica Wheeler had all 11 of her points in the second half shooting 5-of-9 from the field in the second stanza. It was Wheeler’s fifth double digit scoring effort of the 2012-13 campaign and 35th of her career. It was her first double figure game since capturing a season-high 19 points at Boston College on Dec. 2.
Rachel Hollivay added in 10 points setting a new career and season mark. Her previous high of six points was netted in RU’s victory over Davidson back on Nov. 25.
PUTTING UP THE POINTS
Rutgers has scored 60 points or more in three of its last four games. The 72 points in their last contest, a 72-44 win over Stony Brook, was one point off the Scarlet Knights’ season high of 73 captured against LA Tech on Dec. 9 at the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The 28-point victory, however, was RU’s largest of the season, surpassing the 27-point win, 73-46, over the Lady Techsters.
Rutgers will close out its non-conference schedule hosting La Salle on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights will open up BIG EAST play four days later on Sunday, Jan. 6 hosting St. John's at 11:30 a.m. in front of ESPNU cameras.
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