PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 7, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team begins a pair of BIG EAST road games meeting up with the Louisville Cardinals on Tues. Jan. 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the KFC YUM! Center. Tuesday’s game will air on the CBS Sports Network with Brent Stover and Deb Antonelli on the call. Fans can also listen to Ben Cain and Alex Lo on WRSU.
The Scarlet Knights opened up BIG EAST action on Sunday falling to 9-5 on the season with a 48-44 setback to St. John’s at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights overcame a 15-point deficit with four minutes remaining to pull within two of the Red Storm with 15 seconds remaining. The loss had snapped a nine-game home win streak that had dated back to Feb. of last season.
Senior Monique Oliver continues to top the stat sheet despite missing the second half against #13/15 Tennessee, all of the La Salle contest and playing limited time on Sunday vs. St. John’s recovering from a sprained left ankle. Returning to the hardwood against the Red Storm, Oliver went 0-of-2 from the field with a rebound and a steal in only 10 minutes of action. A BIG EAST Preseason Selection, she currently leads the squad with 11.1 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Classmate guard Erica Wheeler is second on the stat sheet and the other Scarlet Knight averaging double figures at 10.2 points. She has poured in double figures the last four games. Wheeler came off the bench for a team-high 14 points against La Salle, and netted 11 points against Stony Brook, then #14/15 Tennessee, and St. John’s. Wheeler is also averaging 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.6 assists per contest.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney is third on the team at 7.9 points per contest along with 4.1 boards per game. Laney led RU on Sunday against St. John’s with 15 points while she tied her season-high with 11 points and career-high with seven rebounds in the final non-conference contest with La Salle
RU’s win over La Salle in their last victory brought head coach C. Vivian Stringer closer to the 900 win mark needing only six more victories to reach the milestone.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. ST. JOHN’S
The Rutgers women’s basketball team had a late second half surge thwarted in the final seconds as the Scarlet Knights fell, 48-44, to the St. John’s Red Storm to open up 2012-13 BIG EAST play on Sunday afternoon at the RAC.
After trailing the Red Storm by 15 with 4:02 left in the game, RU exploded on a 14-2 run and pulled to within two, 46-44, with 15 seconds remaining. After being fouled, St. John’s Amber Thompson went to the line. Thompson missed the free throw and prepared for a second attempt as it was realized that St. John’s was in a one-and-one situation. Thompson went back to the line for a do over and sank both free throws to put the visitors up by four for the game’s final margin.
Rutgers trailed 27-14 in the first half, but used a stifling defense while shooting 50 percent (12-of-24) in the second half to outscore the Red Storm 30-21 in the second stanza.
Sophmore Betnijah Laney poured in 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half. Senior Erica Wheeler was the other Scarlet Knight in double figures with 11.
St. John’s Shenneika Smith led all scorers with 18 points with Nadirah McKenith and Aliyyah Handford each netting 10 points apiece.
Looking at a 13-point halftime deficit, the Scarlet Knights were able to pull within six opening second half action on a 9-2 run. Wheeler drilled a long jumper near the top of the lane with 13:11 on the clock to cap the run as RU trailed 29-23. St. John’s then limited Rutgers to just two field goals during the next seven and a half minutes to take its largest margin of the game, 44-29, before the Scarlet Knight made the late surge.
The Cardinals enter Tuesday night’s contest at 12-3 overall and are coming off a BIG EAST opening loss against DePaul on Saturday, 86-80. The loss had snapped a three-game win streak. As of last week, the Cardinals were ranked 11th in last week’s Associated Press Poll and 10th in last week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
At the KFC YUM! Center, the Cardinals are 7-1 this season. Their only loss was a one-point, 48-47, loss to Kentucky
Louisville has three student-athletes averaging double figures led by junior guard Shoni Schimmel at 11.9 points per game. Last season, Schimmel picked up First Team All-BIG EAST and regional all-america honors. Sophomore forward Sara Hammond is pouring in 11.6 points along with hauling in a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior forward Monique Reid is adding in 10.6 points per contest.
Jeff Walz is at the helm of the Cardinal program sporting a 131-59 record in his sixth season with the program.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH LOUISVILLE
RU trails in the all-time series, 4-5, splitting last year’s series.. All four of the Scarlet Knights wins have come during BIG EAST play at the RAC.
LAST TIME VS. LOUISVILLE
Rutgers guard Erica Wheeler scored a then career-high 23 points, including a buzzer beating three-pointer as the No. 8/9 Scarlet Knights moved past No. 16/15 Louisville, 71-68 in overtime Jan. 14 at the RAC.
Rutgers and Louisville were locked in a back and forth matchup which featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes. The Scarlet Knights received contributions across the board as three players tallied double figures with former guard April Sykes adding 19 points, while center Monique Oliver chipped in with 17. Former guard Khadijah Rushdan narrowly missed a triple double with nine points, a career-best 11 rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
The Cardinals led by as much as 13 points, but Rutgers erased that deficit and tied the game (48-48) for the first time in the second half on a layup from Rushdan with 7:46 left in regulation. Sykes was a major force for the Scarlet Knights as she scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half. She also combined with Rushdan and Wheeler to score all 20 points as Rutgers outpaced Louisville 20-7 during the stretch to tie the game at 48.
Louisville scored on its first possession in overtime with a jumper from Cierra Warren to pull ahead 62-60. Rutgers responded with a layup from Oliver to tie the game for the 10th time, however, the momentum swung again in the Cardinals’ favor on another basket from Warren. The lead changed hands a total of five times in overtime as Sykes connected on a three-pointer to put the Scarlet Knights ahead by one (65-64).
A layup from Oliver gave RU a 67-66 edge, but an answer from Shawnta’ Dyer put the Cardinals on top at 68-67. With 1:41 left to play, Rushdan drove to the basket and came up short on a layup. She grabbed an offensive rebound but her next shot was off the mark and the ball eventually bounced around to Wheeler who took a look at the shot clock and with seconds remaining hoisted up a desperation three that put the Scarlet Knights ahead by two (70-68).
Rutgers forced a turnover on the next Louisville possession and the Cardinals were denied in the closing seconds as Oliver blocked a layup from Bria Smith. Rushdan grabbed the final rebound and made one of two free throws with one second remaining to seal the win.
RUTGERS IN BIG EAST OPENERS
Rutgers is 12-6 all-time in BIG EAST openers and 10-2 when the first conference game of the season is played at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights have won seven of their last 10 BIG EAST openers, including three-straight before falling, 48-44, to St. John’s on Jan. 6. RU defeated DePaul 60-57 in 2009-10, upset No. 11/12 Georgetown 70-53 during the 2010-11 campaign and downed Syracuse last season, 55-44. The
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 194-86 (.692) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. Rutgers is 84-56 (.600) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are 110-30 (.786) in conference home games.
SCARLET KNIGHTS FACE BIG EAST ON ROAD
Rutgers has won its first BIG EAST road game in each of the past three seasons. The Scarlet Knights defeated Pittsburgh 63- 39 on Jan. 10, 2012. RU also earned a win over Syracuse in 2010-11 and topped Pittsburgh in 2009-10. Rutgers is 7-9 all-time in BIG EAST road openers.
PROTECTING HOME COURT
The Scarlet Knights have had an outstanding track record of success at home during the previous 10 seasons under head coach C. Vivian Stringer. Rutgers is 129-21 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The Scarlet Knights are currently 7-1 at the RAC this season
Rutgers at the RAC (osses in parentheses)
2012-13: 7-1 (St. John’s)
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)
SECOND HALF SURGE
In their last four games, Rutgers has been averaging 18 points and shooting ,292 at the half, while their opponents have been averaging 24 points and shooting .360 from the field at intermission. The second half though has seen the Scarlet Knights surge. In second half action in the last four games, RU has been outscoring the opposition by an average of 8.3 points per game and has shot .495 in the second stanza.
Opponent: 1st 2nd Final:
Stony Brook 32/25 40/19 72-44
Tennessee 13/33 34/33 47-66
La Salle 13/11 41/39 54-50
St. John’s 14/27 30/21 44-48
RU Shooting Percentage:
Opponent: 1st 2nd Final:
Stony Brook .458 (11-24) .571 (16-28) .519 (57-52)
Tennessee .222 (6-27) .480 (12-28) .346 (18-52)
La Salle .200 (5-25) .484 (15-31) .357 (20-56)
St. John’s ,304 (7-23) .500 (12-24) .404 (19-47)
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used nine different starting line-ups through the season’s first 14 games.
Georgia, GW (0-1):
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Oliver, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Evans, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Evans, Oliver
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Copper, Oliver
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Richardson, Oliver
LIU:, LA Tech, Southern(3-0):
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Evans, Oliver
Miami, Stony Brook, Tenn (2-1):
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Oliver, Lee
La Salle (1-0)
Hollivay, Copper, Person, Evans, Richardson
St. John’s (0-1)
Hollivay, Oliver, Laney, Wheeler, Richardson
Note: The starting lineup against La Salle featured all underclassmen with three freshman and two sophomores getting the nod. That marked the first game of the season where more than one freshman had started and the first game of the season where there had not been a senior in the lineup. The last time a freshman started in a game was against Princeton on Nov. 14 when Kahleah Copper took the court for the opening minutes. Rachel Hollivay and Precious Person both garnered their first career starts.
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-2 against the Top 25 in 2012-13. RU opened up the season against No. 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.
The Scarlet Knights will only have two days between Sunday’s game with St. John’s and their next Top 25 foe taking on No. 11/12 Louisville on Tuesday. RU will also face #5 Notre Dame on Sunday.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team continues its two-game road swing at Notre Dame meeting up with the #5/5 Irish in South Bend on Sun. Jan. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in front of the ESPNU cameras.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RUAthletics and www.twitter.com/RWomenBBall) and for all of the latest news and updates. Fans also receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on both social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.