PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 18, 2013) – Denied by DePaul and Connecticut last week, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer will go for career win #900 when her Scarlet Knights travel to #23/21 Syracuse on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. tip. 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 nationally on the CBS Sports Network with Brent Stover and Deb Antonelli on the call. Fans can also tune into WCTC with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call, as well as, WRSU with Michael Rivera and Alex Lo providing all the action.
The Scarlet Knights are looking to return to the win column on Tuesday against the Orange after suffering a heartbreaking 60-57 loss at DePaul last Tuesday and a 65-45 setback to #3/2 Connecticut on Saturday. RU enters the game at 14-10 overall and 5-6 in BIG EAST play.
Senior center Monique Oliver stands a top the stat sheet as the lone Scarlet Knight in double figures at 10.2 points per game. She is also second on the team in rebounding hauling in 4.9 boards per game. Oliver, who had been coming off the bench in the previous seven games in battling a deep ankle bruise, returned to the starting line-up on Saturday against Connecticut. Starting in place of the injured Chelsey Lee, Oliver captured seven points and six rebounds.
Senior guard Erica Wheeler is second on the squad in scoring at 9.9 points per game. She has poured in double figures in 11 of Rutgers’ 24 games to date and has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring six times. She leads the team in steals at 2.9 per game and is second in assists at 2.5 per contest.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney is third on the team at 9.3 points per contest along with 4.2 boards per game. Laney is averaging 11.7 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. 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 two weeks ago at the RAC. Lee suffered a knee injury at DePaul last Tuesday and is expected to miss Tuesday’s game with the Orange.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. CONNECTICUT
The Rutgers women’s basketball team went up by as many as 10 points early in Saturday’s game with #3/2 Connecticut at the RAC, but ended the game falling to the Huskies, 65-45.
Rutgers opened up the game on a 14-4 run led by six points from senior center Monique Oliver and five points from sophomore Shakena Richardson. Oliver, who has been battling a deep ankle bruise, was in the starting line-up for the first time in seven games, getting the nod for the injured Chelsey Lee.
After the Scarlet Knights took the 10-point lead with 14:20 in the first half, Connecticut produced a 12-2 run to take over the lead for good. Moriah Jefferson gave the Huskies a 18-17 lead with 7:48 on the clock and later capped the run on the traditional three-point play for a 22-18 Connecticut edge.
Rutgers would cut the gap to one twice, but Connecticut would hold Rutgers to only one field goal over the first half’s final 3:08 and close the half on a 7-2 run to enter intermission ahead, 33-27.
Five points in the first 30 seconds of the second half gave the Huskies its first double digit lead of the afternoon. Rutgers would pull within nine on three occasions, the last coming off a Richardson three-pointer with 12:35 remaining which left the Scarlet Knights trailing, 38-47. From there, Connecticut would outscore the Scarlet Knights, 18-7, for the game’s final margin.
The Huskies had five in double figures led by Morgan Tuck, who came off the bench for 15 points. Stefanie Dolson finished the game with 14 points, while Kalena Mosqueda-Lewis captured 12, and Jefferson netted 10 in the victory.
Richardson was the lone Scarlet Knight in double digits with 10 points. RU senior guard Erica Wheeler hauled in a game-high seven rebounds, while Richardson grabbed six.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH SYRACUSE
Rutgers and Syracuse will meet for the 39th time with the Scarlet Knights holding a 32-6 advantage in the all-time series, including a 20-5 mark in BIG EAST games. RU has won the last three meetings lincluding last season’s 55-44 victory at the RAC in the Scarlet Knights’ BIG EAST opener.
Syracuse enters Tuesday’s game sporting a 21-3 overall record and 9-2 record in conference action. The Orange were ranked No. 23 in last week’s Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
The Orange is currently riding a five-game win streak dating back to a 64-59 loss to Villanova on Jan. 26. Syracuse also fell in contests with Temple and Connecticut. At home, Syracuse is undefeated at 11-0.
Senior center Kayla Alexander leads a trio of players averaging double figures at 17.6 points per game along with a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per contest. Alexander is second in the BIG EAST in scoring and third in the conference in rebounding.
Second on the squad in scoring is senior guard Elashier Hall at 10.4 points per game along with 6.0 rebounds per game, followed by senior guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas at 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per appearance.
Head coach Quentin Hillsman is in his seventh season with the Orange and sports a 141-80 overall mark. Hillsman has led Syracuse to five consecutive post-season appearances, including last season’s WNIT semifinal appearance.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. SYRACUSE
No. 10 Rutgers women’s basketball, led by a pair of double-digit scorers, defeated Syracuse, 55-44 in its 2012 BIG EAST opener on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at the RAC.
Former guard April Sykes paced the Scarlet Knights with 14 points, while fellow guard Khadijah Rushdan added 13 points.
The Scarlet Knights got out to a four-point lead with Sykes and Betnijah Laney scoring the game’s first two baskets. Syracuse responded with its own 4-0 spurt to tie the game. It was the first of three ties in the opening half, which also featured four lead changes. The seesaw battle ceased at the 7:30 mark when RU pulled ahead 17-16 on a layup from Laney.
Rutgers closed the first half on a 13-2 run sparked by guard Erica Wheeler who had a team-high seven first-half points, including five straight in the final four minutes. The Scarlet Knights went into the break leading 28-20 as Sykes chipped in six points, while center Monique Oliver and Laney each had four points.
Sykes connected on a three-pointer to start the second half, helping the Scarlet Knights pull ahead by 11 (31-20) but the Orange continued to battle back outscoring Rutgers 12-5 in the first 8:15 of the second period. A scoring drought by RU contributed to the unbalanced run as the Scarlet Knights went 4:22 between points.
Syracuse eventually tied the score at 36-36 with 8:15 to play, the fifth and final time the score was tied for the game.
The Scarlet Knights jumped in the driver seat from that point as Rushdan scored five-straight points with Rutgers in the midst of 7-0 run (43-36) at the 7:04 mark. Syracuse inched closer, converting on one of two free throws but Sykes answered with a three to put RU ahead 46-37. Rushdan capped the stretch with a free throw as she and Sykes were the only scorers during the Scarlet Knights’ 11-1 run.
Rushdan scored 11 points in the second half to help RU secure the win.
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 199-91 (.686) 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 114-31 (.786) in conference home games.
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used 11 different starting line-ups through the season’s 24 games thus far. Coach Stringer used the line-up of guards Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, and Shakena Richardson, forward Betnijah Laney, and center Monique Oliver in the last game against UConn. The last time the line-up was used was back on Dec. 2 in a 58-56 loss at Boston College
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-5 against the Top 25 in 2012-13.
AND YOUTH SHALL LEAD YOU
The Rutgers freshman and sophomores accounted for 72.5% percent on playing time on Saturday against the nationally-ranked Huskies.
On the season, first- and second-year Scarlet Knights have accounted for 64.1% of the playing time this season.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team will travel to St. John’s on Saturday, February 23 for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off. The two squads faced each other in their BIG EAST openers back on January 6th with the Red Storm emerging with a 48-44 win in the first meeting.