PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 14, 2013) – Denied by DePaul on Tuesday night, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer will go for career win #900 when her Scarlet Knights host #3/2 Connecticut on Saturday at 4 p.m.. With a win, Coach Stringer will become just the seventh NCAA basketball coach - men’s or women’s - and the fourth women’s basketball coach to accomplish the feat. The game will air on SNY with Gary Apple and Meghan Culmo on the call. Fans can also tune into WCTC with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call, as well as, WRSU with Erik-Ray Sepulveda and David Servedio providing all the action.
The game will be the annual WBCA Play 4Kay Pink Night, in memory of the late Kay Vow, former coach at North Carolina State. Fans are asked to wear pink to the game.
The Scarlet Knights snapped a three-game win streak despite a second-half comeback on Tuesday night at DePaul. The Blue Demon’s
Brittany Hrynko sunk a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in the game to lift her team to a 60-57 win over Rutgers and deny RU head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory.
Despite battling a deep ankle bruise and having come off the bench in the last seven games, senior Monique Oliver returned to the top of the stat sheet two weeks ago, which included a game-high 13 points in RU’s game with Cincinnati last weekend. Oliver is averaging 10.3 points per game and is second on the squad in rebounding at 4.8 boards per contest.
Senior guard Erica Wheeler is second on the squad in scoring at 10.2 points per game. She has poured in double figures in 11 of Rutgers’ 23 games to date and has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring six times.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney, who last week was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll, is third on the team at 9.5 points per contest along with 4.3 boards per game. Laney is averaging 12.3 points per game in BIG EAST action, including a career-high 24 points performance on Jan. 16 against Providence, as well as a 12-point game against Cincinnati last Saturday. She also netted eight of her 12 points in overtime against Villanova back on Feb. 2.
On the boards, the Scarlet Knights are led by fifth-year senior Chelsey Lee at 5.3 rebounds per game. Lee hauled in a game-high nine rebounds as RU outrebounded the Cincinnati, 45-21, in their biggest rebounding margin in BIG EAST play to-date last Saturday at the RAC.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. DEPAUL
The DePaul Blue Demons denied Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory despite her Scarlet Knights rallying from an 18-point deficit to fall, 60-57, Tuesday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Rutgers, who trailed 37-19 in the opening moments of the second half, outscored DePaul, 38-25, in second half play and failed to get a good look at the basket for a three-pointer to send the game into overtime as time expired.
Midway through the second half and trailing by double figures, Rutgers managed a 17-4 run to take its first lead since the opening portion of the game. Freshman Rachel Hollivay scored 12 second half points to help lead the comeback, including a short jumper to tie the score at 48-48 with 8:11 left. Nearly a minute later, sophomore Betnijah Laney gave RU a 50-48 advantage and its first look at the lead since the 17:06 mark of the first half.
After Laney extended the Scarlet Knight to a three-point advantage on a free throw, DePaul rattled off six answered points to regain the lead and held a 57-53 edge with 1:50 remaining.
Sophomore Syessence Davis had two straight buckets, including being fouled on a fast break off a steal by senior Erica Wheeler to tie the game at 57-57. Davis went to the line for the and one with just 47 seconds left to play. Davis missed the free throw and in a scramble for the rebound saw DePaul take possession of the ball.
The Blue Demons inbounded the ball from the baseline underneath their basket twice and eventually got Brittany Hrynko a look from beyond the arc for DePaul to take a 60-57 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
Rutgers had a chance to sent into overtime by was unable to get a good look at the basket. Wheeler tried a shot, but her three fell short.
Wheeler and Hollivay finished the game with 12 points each.
Connecticut, ranked No. 3 by the Associated Press and No. 2 by the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, comes to the RAC with a 23-1 overall record and 10-1 mark in BIG EAST play. The Huskies lone loss of the year has been a 73-72 setback to Notre Dame on Jan. 5. Since then, UConn has rattled off 11-straight wins including a 105-49 victory over Providence on Tuesday night.
Entering the week, the Huskies lead the nation in scoring offense (82.9 ppg), scoring defense (46.8 ppg), scoring margin (36.0), field goal percentage defense (.304), and assists (21.2 apg). Additionally UConn is second in the nation in field goal percentage (.498) and assist/turnover ratio.
In all, four Huskies are averaging double figures on the stat sheet.
Sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who leads the coutnry in three-point field goal percentage, leads UConn at 16.8 points per game along with 5.9 rebounds per contest. She is shooting 49.3 percent from behind the arc.
Junior center Stefanie Dolson, who is shooting at a nation-leading 62.7 percent clip, is second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game along with 6.3 rebounds. She is followed by freshman center Breanna Stewart who is averaging 13.5 points along with a team-leading 7.0 rebounds per game. Addtionally, Kelly Faris is pouring in 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.
Head coach Geno Auriemma is in his 28th season at UConn sporting a 827-130 record. Associate head coach Chris Dailey is a Rutgers Class of 1982 grad.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH CONNECTICUT
UConn has a grip on the all-time series with a 29-6 advantage, winning nine-straight against the Scarlet Knights, including last season’s BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal victory in Hartford, Conn, 49-34.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. CONNECTICUT
No. 23/19 Rutgers women’s basketball snapped a five-game win streak, falling 49-34 to third-seeded Connecticut in a quarterfinal matchup of the BIG EAST Championship at the XL Center back on March 4, 2012.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense held the Huskies to its lowest point total in conference tournament play since 2004, however its offense continued to struggle tonight as RU shot 24.4 percent from the floor, its lowest percentage since Feb. 5, 1997.
RU fell behind 3-0 on a trey from Carolina Doty, before Monique Oliver continued where she left off last night, laying a shot in while being surrounded by defenders. Doty responded, draining her second bucket from beyond the arc to give the Huskies a 6-2 advantage.
Connecticut continued production from three with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis pouring in a pair of threes on back-to-back possessions, extending RU’s deficit to nine (14-5) with 11:57 left in the half. The Huskies would add to its lead which grew as high as 17 in the first period, before the Scarlet Knights ended the half on a 5-0 run on a jumper from guard Erica Wheeler and a three from April Sykes. UConn took a 12-point lead into the locker room, after shooting seven-for-15 (.467) from three-point range, including Mosqueda-Lewis’ 15 first half points, all coming from three.
Khadijah Rushdan looked to continue to cut into RU’s deficit, scoring RU’s first-two buckets of the half, but the Huskies again responded with layups from Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson to maintain the 12-point differential.
Rutgers made another push at Connecticut, pulling within eight (34-26) with 12:53 left in regulation, following a pair of free throws from Oliver and a shot banked off the glass by Wheeler. The Scarlet Knights held UConn scoreless for 7:33 during the second half, forcing four turnovers and nine missed shots during the spurt.
The three ball proved to be deadly for the Scarlet Knights again, as a pair of treys extended the lead back to 14-points (42-28) with 6:43 to go in the game. Rutgers hung around coming within eight with 3:44 left but were unable to make a final push at the Huskies.
Wheeler led RU with a team-high 13 points, while Rushdan chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. All 34 of Rutgers’ points came from its starters.
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 199-90 (.689) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. Rutgers is 85-60 (.586) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are 114-30 (.792) 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 133-21 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The Scarlet Knights are currently 11-1 at the RAC this season.
Rutgers at the RAC (losses in parentheses)
2012-13: 10-1 (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)
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used 11 different starting line-ups through the season’s 23 games thus far.
Georgia, GW (0-1):
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Oliver, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Evans, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Copper, Oliver
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Richardson, Oliver
Davidson, LIU:, LA Tech, Southern (4-0):
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Evans, Oliver
Miami, Stony Brook, Tenn, Louisville, ND (2-3):
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Oliver, Lee
La Salle (1-0)
Hollivay, Copper, Person, Evans, Richardson
St. John’s (0-1)
Hollivay, Oliver, Laney, Wheeler, Richardson
Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall (2-1)
Laney, Wheeler, Davis, Lee, Copper
Wheeler, Davis, Laney, Evans, Lee
Villanova, Cincinnati, DePaul (2-1)
Wheeler, Davis, Richardson Laney, Lee
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-4 against the Top 25 in 2012-13.
ROOKIE’S SECOND HALF SURGE
Freshman Rachel Hollivay was a large part of Rutgers’ second half surge in Tuesday’s nights game with DePaul.
Hollivay poured in a career-high 12 points all in the second half as RU rallied from a 19-point deficit and outscored the Blue Demons, 38-25, after trailing 37-19 at the half. She started the second half and went 5-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line while adding a pair of blocks and four rebounds
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
The Scarlet Knights captured 25 points off turnovers on Tuesday at DePaul thanks in part to a career-high eight steals by Erica Wheeler. Wheeler surpassed her previous high of seven in RU’s final non-conference game against La Salle.
To date, Wheeler leads the team in steal with 69 total, averaging 3.0 per game. Ranking third in the conference in the category, she has led RU in steals in 12 games.
POINTS AND REBOUNDS
With a game-high nine rebounds in RU’s overtime loss at Louisville on Jan. 8, senior Monique Oliver collected her 600th career board to become the 11th Scarlet Knight with over 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.
Oliver currently has 1,140 career points and 636 career rebounds. She needs 21 rebounds to move up in the Top 15 in the RU record books in rebounding. Additionally with her 23-point performance on Wednesday at Marquette she moved into 26th all-time on the scoring leaders list. She needs four more points to move past Brittany Ray (2006-10) into 25th on the all-time list.
MOVING UP THE LIST
Erica Wheeler has 142 career three-point field goals and needs three more three-pointer to pass Shawnetta Stewart (1997-2000) for fifth all-time.
She currently has 451 three-point attempts in her four-year career. She needs 18 more attempts to move past April Sykes (2008-12) into fourth all-time.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team hits the road for two games. The Scarlet Knights will be in a “New York State of Mind” as they travel to #23/21 Syracuse on Tuesday, Feb. 19th in a game to air nationally on the CBS Sports Network and St. John’s on Saturday, Feb. 23.