PISCATWAY, N.J. (January 1, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team enters 2013 by competing in its final non-conference contest of the season. The Scarlet Knights will take on La Salle on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the RAC before heading into BIG EAST Play. The Scarlet Knights, who had a five-game win streak snapped on Sunday with a 66-47 setback at then-#15/13 Tennessee, enter the game against the Explorers with an 8-4 overall mark and riding a eight-game home win steak. On the radio, the game will air on WRSU with Mike Cantor and Dylan MacKinnon calling the action. Fans can also watch via RVision at ScarletKnights.com with Danny Breslauer on the call..
The Rutgers women’s basketball team will be looking to put its 19-points, 47-66, loss at Tennessee behind and concentrate on extending its eight-game home win streak on Wednesday against La Salle.
The Scarlet Knights will be rounding our non-conference competition having gone 8-4 overall against non-BIG EAST schools including a 6-0 home mark, a 1-4 road mark, and 1-0 neutral site record.
Senior Monique Oliver continues to lead the Scarlet Knights on the stat sheet but is questionable for Wednesday’s game after suffering an ankle sprain at Tennessee. Oliver is averaging a team-best 12.1 points as the lone Scarlet Knight in double figures along with a team-best 5.3 rebounds.
Classmate guard Erica Wheeler is second on the stat sheet at 9.8 points, including 11 points against the Lady Vols on Sunday. Wheeler is also averaging 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.3 assists per contest.
Forward Chelsey Lee, who has returned to the starting five in the last three games, is third on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game along with a team second best 4.9 rebounds per contest.
RU’s last victory, a 72-44 win over Stony Brook on Dec. 21, 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. TENNESSEE
The Rutgers women’s basketball team’s five-game win streak came to a halt on Sunday in a 66-47 loss at the hands of #13/15 Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Rutgers got the bulk of its scoring from off the bench led by freshman Kahleah Copper with a career-high 13 points. Senior Erica Wheeler also added in 11 points as the other Scarlet Knight in double figures.
The Lady Vols had a trio in double figures with Isabelle Harrison registering a game-high 18 points along with 11 rebounds. Meighan Simmons contributed 15 points, while Bashaara Graves had a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards.
Tennessee took a 18-4 run to start the game, not allowing the Scarlet Knights points until the 14:19 mark of the first half. The Lady Vols led 33-13 at the half with 11 of RU’s 13 points coming from the bench. Tennessee capitalized on its inside game and off Scarlet Knight turnovers capturing 14 first half paint points and 15 points off RU miscues.
While Rutgers matched up better in the second half with the Scarlet Knights outscoring the Lady Vols, 34-33 in the second stanza, Tennessee led by double figures the entire half.
Tennessee limited the Scarlet Knights to just 34.6 percent from the floor in the game including 22.2 percent in the first half.
SCOUTING LA SALLE
Like the Scarlet Knights, La Salle will also be closing out non-conference play on Wednesday and enter the game with RU sporting a 4-9 overall mark. The Explorers have struggled at home this season going, but have fared better on the road at 3-4. La Salle’s non-conference plate has been full with the likes of Georgetown, Florida, Villanova, and North Carolina, but enter Wednesday’s game against RU on a three-game win streak. During that streak, the Explorers have down Central Connecticut State (70-46), Fairfield (60-50), and St. Peter’s (72-55).
Redshirt senior guard Brittany Wilson leads La Salle at 18.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She is followed by senior guard Ebonne Jones at 10.2 points per contest along with 4.5 boards per outing. Senior guard Shanel Harrison has been pouring in 9.2 points per game and is second on the Explorers in rebounding at 6.1 grabs per game.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH LA SALLE
Rutgers and La Salle will be meeting up for the sixth time in history with the Scarlet Knights leading the all-time series 4-1.
After the Explorers won the first meeting back in 1976, the Scarlet Knights have been the victors in the last four meetings, including last seaosn’s 61-48 win in Philadelphia.
LAST TIME VS. LA SALLE
Former guard Khadijah Rushdan scored a game-high 20 points as the RU women’s basketball team remained unbeaten with a 61-48 road win at La Salle on at Tom Gola Arena back on Nov. 19, 2011.
Guard April Sykes was the other Scarlet Knight in double figures with 12 points. Sykes also hit a milestone against the Explorers, moving into sole possession of 10th place in Rutgers history with 101 career made three pointers.
Both teams struggled to find the basket in the opening minutes, going 0-for-10 and combining for 11 turnovers in the first 4:44 of action. Rushdan scored the first points of the contest on a jumper at 15:16. The Explorers took their only lead of the game at 8-7 on a three-pointer from Jada Payne, however the Scarlet Knights answered with a trey from guard Erica Wheeler to pull ahead 10-8. Rutgers never looked back, closing out the first half with a 10-point lead (30-20).
Rushdan had 11 first-half points, while Wheeler added six.
La Salle threatened the Rutgers lead to start the second half, going on a 5-0 run to make it 30-25. The Explores cut the advantage to five points twice more but it was the closest they would get as the Scarlet Knights maintained the edge down the stretch.
Sykes hit a three pointer with 8:51 left in the second half to make it 46-35. The made basket moved her into a tie with Liz Hanson (1992-96) for 10th place on the all-time list with 100 three pointers all-time. The record-breaking three came with 5:46 remaining on a pass from guard Nikki Speed. Speed ended the night with a game-high five assists.
The Explorers got to within seven (52-45)points but the Scarlet Knights went a perfect 6-for-6 from the line as Rushdan, Speed and Monique Oliver each connected on their pair of free throw attempts. Rushdan and guard Briyona Canty added layups in the final 22 seconds to seal the 61-48 win.
DURING THE STREAK
The Scarlet Knights’ five-game win streak came to an end at Tennessee on Sunday During that span, RU had 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 had been shooting 46.5 percent from the field while holding opponents to just 28.2 percent from the floor.
The Scarlet Knights were also generous with the ball averaging 17.6 assists per game during the span.
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 128-20 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The Scarlet Knights have won eight straight on their home court dating back to last season and are currently 6-0 at the RAC this season.
Rutgers at the RAC (losses in parentheses)
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)
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-2 against the Top 25 in 2012-13. RU opened up the season against #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 #21/23 Miami. Most recently, the Scarlet Knights suffered a 66-47 setback at then-#13/15 Tennessee on Dec. 30.
ON THE DOWN LOW
Rutgers 13 first half points against the Lady Vols on Sunday were the fewest scored by the Scarlet Knights this season. The previous low was 16 as they led then-#21/23 Miami, 16-15, on Dec. 16.
The 47 points total scored in Sunday’s loss were the second lowest point total by the Scarlet Knights in the Rutgers-Tennessee series. The lowest total was 46 when RU fell, 59-46, in the national championship game in Cleveland, Ohio on April 3, 2007.
FROM OFF THE BENCH:
Freshman guard Kahleah Copper set a career-high with 13 points against the then#13/15 Tennessee Lady Vols, leading RU in scoring.
Copper made her RAC debut on Nov. 14 with 10 points and six rebounds in Rutgers’ 56-52 win over George Washington. She is also the first member of the freshman class to be among the starting five makings her first career start at Princeton on Nov. 29.
Copper currently leads the rookies averaging 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 14.8 minutes a game.
Rutgers begins BIG EAST play on Sunday, January 6 at 11:30 a.m. hosting St. John's in front of ESPNU cameras.
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