PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 15, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home Wednesday looking to snap a three-game losing streak and pick up its first BIG EAST victory against Providence at 7:30 p.m. Fans can tune into WCTC with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call, as well as WRSU with Erik-Ray Sepulvedua and Dominic DiLeo providing all the action. Additionally, the game can be viewed via RVision on Scarlet Knights.com.
The Scarlet Knights enter Wednesday’s game with the Friars at 9-7 overall and 0-3 in the BIG EAST. RU opened BIG EAST play with a pair of thrillers - a 48-44 setback to St. John’s at the RAC on Jan. 6 and a 66-57 overtime loss at #15/13 Louisville last Tuesday - along with a 66-47 setback at #2/3 Notre Dame on Sunday.
Senior guard Erica Wheeler leads RU at 11.1 points per game. She has poured in double figures the last six consecutive games, including a team-high 17 points on Sunday at #2/3 Notre Dame. Since BIG EAST play started on Jan. 6, Wheeler has averaged 15.7 points in league action. Wheeler is also averaging 2.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.4 assists per contest.
Senior Monique Oliver is second on the stat sheet at 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Oliver has seen limited playing time the last few games. After missing the second half of the Dec. 30 game at #13/15 Tennessee, all of the final non-conference contest with La Salle on Jan. 2 and playing limited minutes in the BIG EAST opener against St. John’s on Jan. 6 with an ankle sprain, Oliver was back in form narrowly missing a double-double against the Cardinals on Jan. 8. Oliver shot 5-of-8 from the floor to capture 10 points and hauled in a game-high nine rebounds. However, early foul trouble kept her sidelined for most of Sunday’s contest with the #2/3 Fighting Irish.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney is third on the team at 8.0 points per contest along with 4.3 boards per game. Laney led RU last 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. Last Tuesday at Louisville, she was one of four Scarlet Knights in double figures with 12 points.
RU’s last win - a 54-50 win over La Salle on Jan. 2 - brought head coach C. Vivian Stringer closer to the 900-win mark needing only six more victories to reach the milestone.
LAST TIME OUT - AT NOTRE DAME
The Rutgers women’s basketball team fell, 71-46, to #2/3 Notre Dame in front of a sold out crowd at Purcell Pavilion Sunday afternoon.
The Rutgers post players got into early foul trouble resulting in seniors Chelsey Lee and Monique Oliver spending a majority of the first half on the bench.
In traffic underneath the Notre Dame basket, Precious Person emerged with the steal and the fast break on the other end as Rutgers trailed 18-10 with 11:10 left in the opening stanza. From there, however, Notre Dame went on a 10-3 run holding the Scarlet Knights without a field goal for a six-minute stretch. All three RU points during the run came from the line.
With Lee and Oliver combining for seven first half minutes, the Fighting Irish were able to take a 37-17 lead into the half.
Second half action started with a 7-0 run by Notre Dame and finished with the Fighting Irish outscoring the Scarlet Knights, 34-29 for the game’s final margin. The Irish led by as many as 30, ahead 63-33 with 6:30 remaining. Senior Erica Wheeler, who finished with a game-high 17 points, used back-to-back three’s to close the deficit to 65-42 with 3:42 left.
All five Notre Dame starters registered double figures led by Skylar Diggins with 15 points. Jewell Loyd added 14 points, Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride 11 points, and Ariel Braker notched 10 points in the win for the Irish.
The Providence Friars enter Wednesday’s game at 5-10 overall and have opened up BIG EAST play with a pair of losses at the hands of Georgetown (79-64) and #15/13 Louisville (70-62).
Senior guard Symone Roberts leads the Friars at 14.6 points and 3.5 rebounds and has led her squad in scoring in eight contests thus far this season. Sophomore guard Tori Rule, coming off a 20-point performance against the Cardinals on Saturday, is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game along with 4.2 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Briana Edwards is pouring in 9.3 points per game along with a team-leading 8.3 rebounds per contest. Her rebounding average is fourth in the BIG EAST.
Head coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl is in her first year at the helm of the Friar program. She comes to Providence after spending the last five seasons at St. Francis (Pa.) helping to guide the Red Flash to two Northeast Conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH PROVIDENCE
Rutgers owns a 25-1 record against Providence, including an 19-game win streak that dates back to Jan. 29, 1997. Last season RU defeated the Friars 68-47 in Providence. The Scarlet Knights’ only loss of the series came in Providence.
LAST TIME VS. PROVIDENCE
Rutgers guard Khadijah Rushdan tallied a game-high 21 points to lead the No. 24/20 Scarlet Knights past Providence College, 68-47 on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 at Alumni Hall.
With the victory, Rutgers posted its second-straight 20-win season and ninth in the past 10 campaigns. It also marked the 32nd 20-win season for head coach C. Vivian Stringer and 13th at RU.
Rutgers and Providence traded leads three times to start the first half with the Friars tying the score at 14-14 on a Rachel Barnes layup with 10:57 on the clock. That basket would stand as the final field goal of the first half for the Friars as the Scarlet Knights went on to outscore 23-7 over the remaining 9:03 of the opening period.
Rushdan, guard Erica Wheeler and center Monique Oliver each scored seven points in the first half as RU took a 37-21 advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, Rushdan erupted on the offensive end, scoring 14 points, including seven-straight to start the half as the Scarlet Knights built a 21-point lead (47-26). The Friars cut the deficit to as low as 15 points on two occasions, however, Rutgers kept a comfortable cushion, closing out the 68-47 victory.
RU forced 21 Providence turnovers leading to 18 points in addition to dominating in the paint, outscoring PC 28-18, including a 15-6 edge in second chance points.
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 194-88 (.688) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. Rutgers is 84-58 (.592) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are 110-30 (.786) in conference home games.
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 (losses 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)
With two fouls each early in the first half against #2/3 Notre Dame on Sunday, RU’s experienced post players saw limited action. Fifth-year senior Chelsey Lee played only five first half minutes, while Monique Oliver was limited to only two minutes on the court. Additionally Kahleah Copper picked three first half fouls limiting her to five minutes.
ON THE BOARDS:
Chelsey Lee collected a game-high seven rebounds on Sunday against the #2/3 Fighting Irish to surpass the 600-rebound mark. She currently has 601 rebounds in her career.
MOST POINTS ALLOWED:
The 37 first half points by the Irish on Sunday were the most allowed by a RU opponent this season. The previous high was 31 at Boston College when RU trailed the Eagles, 31-27 at the half.
The 20-point Fighting Irish halftime lead also ties the largest RU deficit at the intermission. The Scarlet Knights also trailed by 20, 33-13, at the half at then #10/11 Tennessee on Dec. 30.
The 71 points totaled by Notre Dame ties for the most points by an RU opponent in a game this season. Princeton also tallied 71 in their 71-55 win over the Scarlet Knights on Nov. 29.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team remains at home and will host the Georgetown Hoyas on Tues., Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at the RAC. The game will air on the CBS Sports Network with Brent Stover and Deb Antonelli on the call.
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.