PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 28, 2013) – After picking up career victory #900 on Tuesday night against USF, head coach C. Vivian Stringer and her Scarlet Knights will go for win #901 on Saturday afternoon at Cincinnati. The game, which tips off at 5:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena, will be RU’s final regular season road contest of the 2012-13 campaign.
Fans can tune into WRSU with David Servedio and Bryan Walsh providing all the action. The game can also be viewed at GoBearcats.com.
BRIEF LOOK AHEAD
The Scarlet Knights return home for the 2012-13 regular season finale against Pitt on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at the RAC. The first 900 fans will receive a commemorative C. Vivian Stringer 900 poster and pin.
Additionally, RU will honor its four senior managers - Ryan Pinnock, Monique Wagner, Vaunique Brown, and Matthew Schiff - and four senior Scarlet Knights - Brittany Lapidus, Chelsey Lee, Monique Oliver, and Erica Wheeler.
The Scarlet Knights snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night and helped head coach C. Vivian Stringer become the seventh Division I coach - men’s or women’s - and fourth women’s coach to reach the 900-career win milestone in a 68-56 victory over USF.
The victory improved RU to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in the BIG EAST. Rutgers currently sits in ninth place in the league standings heading into the season’s final two games. The Scarlet Knights can finish anywhere between a seven seed and an eleven seed based on results from USF, Villanova, Georgetown, and Marquette.
Seniors Monique Oliver and Erica Wheeler lead the Scarlet Knights both averaging 10.2 points per game.
Wheeler is coming off a season-high 24-point performance against USF Tuesday night, a game which saw the Scarlet Knight go 6-of-11 from downtown. She has poured in double figures in 14 of Rutgers’ 27 games to date and has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring eight times this season. Wheeler leads the team in steals at 2.7 per game and is third in assists at 2.6 per contest.
Oliver also checks in as RU’s leading rebounder averaging 5.1 grabs on the glass. She came off the bench on Tuesday against the Bulls to net three points and haul in three rebounds. Oliver has previously started the last three games, getting the nod in place of the injured Chelsey Lee who suffered a knee injury at DePaul back on Feb. 12.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney is third on the team at 9.6 points per contest along with 4.7 boards per game. On Tuesday against USF, Laney joined Wheeler in the 20-point club with 20 points and narrowly missed a double-double in also contributing nine rebounds in the victory. In BIG EAST action, she is averaging 11.7 points per game in BIG EAST action, which includes a career-high 24 points performance on Jan. 16 against Providence,
LAST TIME OUT - VS. USF
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer picked up her 900th career victory as the Rutgers women’s basketball team downed South Florida, 68-56, at the RAC, Tuesday. Stringer became just the seventh Division I NCAA basketball coach – men’s or women’s – and the fourth women’s basketball coach to reach that plateau.
The Scarlet Knights snap a four-game losing streak and improved to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in BIG EAST play. The Bulls fell to 19-8 and 8-6 in conference contests, ending a three-game win streak.
Rutgers was led by a pair of 20-point scorers with senior Erica Wheeler capturing a season-high 24 points and sophomore Betnijah Laney pouring in 20 points. Laney was just shy of a double-double performance as she hauled in a game-high nine rebounds.
USF was led by Courtney Williams with 15 points off the bench. Andrea Smith, the BIG EAST’s second leading scorer notched 11 in the loss.
The first half was back-and-forth, with RU leading by three, 27-24, with 3:51 remaining. The Scarlet Knights then went on an 8-0 run to close the period, including a three-point buzzer-beater by sophomore guard Syessence Davis as time expired to take a 35-24 lead into the locker room.
RU led by as many as 16 in the second half at the 12:16 mark as Wheeler drained one of her six three-pointers on the evening to give the Scarlet Knights a 51-35 edge. The Bulls chipped away and moved to within eight, 57-49, with 5:14 to play, however USF was limited to just one field goal the rest of the game
The Scarlet Knights shot a blistering 51.0 percent (25-of-49) from the floor in their best shooting game since their Jan. 30 victory at Marquette seven games ago.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH CINCINNATI
The Scarlet Knights will face the Bearcats for the tenth time with Rutgers holding an unblemished 9-0 record all-time against UC. RU earned a 55-46 come from behind win in the first meeting with the Bearcats back on Feb. 9 at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 in Cincinnati.
The Bearcats have won two straight heading into their final regular season home game. With a 59-50 win at Pitt and 64-45 victory over Providence last week, Cincinnati enters Saturday’s game at 11-16 overall and 3-11 in BIG EAST competition.
Junior guard Dayeesha Hollins is the lone Bearcat in double figures averaging 15.1 points per game along with 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists. She was also the lone player to reach double figures in the last meeting collecting 20 points against the Scarlet Knights.
Senior center Lesha Dunn is second on the stat sheet at 7.0 points per contest along with 5.2 rebounds per game. Junior forward Tiffany Turner leads Cincinnati on the glass at 5.8 rebounds per game.
Jamelle Elliott is in her fourth season at the helm of the Bearcat program. She was a former student-athlete and assistant coach at Connecticut.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. CINCINNATI
The Rutgers women’s basketball team overcame a nine-point second half deficit to rally for a nine-point victory, 55-46, over Cincinnati on Feb. 9 at the RAC.
Cincinnati had a 30-23 halftime lead and led by nine, 34-25, with 16:22 left in the second half. From there, however, Rutgers proceeded to take a 15-2 run and held the Bearcats scoreless for nearly a 10-minute period. Sophomore Shakena Richardson helped to tie the game up at 36-36 as she tore down the court following one of her career-high eight rebounds to feed classmate Betnijah Laney on a fast break. Laney, who finished with 12 points, would cap the run at the 7:32 mark as the Scarlet Knights led 40-36.
Kayla Cook ended the drought for the Bearcats by knocking down a three-pointer and pulling her team within one, 40-39, but Cincinnati would get no closer. Rutgers followed by racking up eight unanswered points and denying the Bearcats a bucket for a stretch of nearly five minutes.
Down the stretch, Rutgers sunk all six of its free throw attempts over the game’s final 30 seconds for the final margin.
Senior Monique Oliver, who came off the bench for the sixth-straight game poured in 13 points, with nine of those points coming in the first stanza. Laney and Richardson both netted 12 in the RU victory.
Cincinnati’s lone player in double figures, Dayeesha Hollins, captured 20 points going 6-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line.
The Scarlet Knights crashed the boards, outrebounding the Bearcats, 45-21, for RU’s largest rebounding margin to-date in BIG EAST play.
AND YOUTH SHALL LEAD YOU
On the season, first- and second-year Scarlet Knights have accounted for 64.7% of the playing time. Four of the five starters in RU’s last game – Christa Evans, Betnijah Laney, Rachel Hollivay, Syessence Davis, and Erica Wheeler – were either freshman or sophomores.
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 200-93 (.683) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. Rutgers is 85-62 (.578) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are 115-31 (.788) in conference home games.
The Scarlet Knights are not known for their three-point shooting, but RU shot a blistering 50.0 percent from behind the arc on Tuesday against USF. Rutgers connected on 8-of-16 from three-point range including a 6-of-11 performance by Erica Wheeler, tying her career-high in three-pointers made.
USF, meanwhile, entered the game as the conference’s second best squad from three-point range shooting 32.0 percent. The Bulls were limited to 20.0 (5-of-20). USF missed their first five shots from downtown and only player sunk more than two attempts.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home for senior night against Pittsburgh on Monday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m.