PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 3, 2013) – 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.
Fans can tune into WCTC with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call as well as on WRSU with Mike Cantor and Dylan MacKinnon providing all the action. The game can also be viewed on RVision at ScarletKnights.com.
The Scarlet Knights are looking to return to the win column following a 56-48 setback at Cincinnati on Saturday. Rutgers had previously broken a four-game losing streak that gave head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory in their last home contest last Tuesday against USF
The loss to Bearcats dropped RU to 15-13 overall and 6-9 in the race for a seed at the upcoming BIG EAST Tournament.
The Scarlet Knights are led by senior Erica Wheeler at 10.4 points per game. Additionally the senior leads the team at 2.7 steals per game and is third on the squad at 2.5 assists per game. Wheeler had a team-high 15 points in Saturday’s loss at Cincinnati which made her the newest member the RU 1,000 career-point club. Wheeler became the 33rd member of the club and currently has 1,003 points in her four-year career. Wheeler poured in a season-high 24-points against USF last Tuesday night, a game which saw the Scarlet Knight go 6-of-11 from downtown. She has poured in double figures in 15 of Rutgers’ 28 games to date and has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring nine times this season.
Fellow senior Monique Oliver checks in as Rutgers’ second leading scorer at 9.9 points per game along with 5.0 rebounds per contest. Oliver has come off the bench in her last two appearances and appeared in just 15 minutes at Cincinnati with two points and four rebounds. Oliver has been limited with a deep ankle bruise suffered against Tennessee at the end of December.
Sophomore Betnijah Laney is third on the team at 9.8 points per contest along with 4.8 boards per game. Laney was the other Scarlet Knight in double figures on Saturday at Cincinnati with 14 points. Last 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 11.9 points per game in BIG EAST action, which includes a career-high 24 points performance on Jan. 16 against Providence,
LOOKING AT THE BIG EAST TOURNEY
A Rutgers win would ensure the Scarlet Knights a No. 9 seed playing in the No. 8/No. 9 game on Saturday at 2 p.m. RU would play either Villanova or USF based on the following scenarios:
• Nova Loss/USF Loss = Play USF
• Nova Win/USF Win = Play USF
• Nova Win/USF Loss = Play USF
• Nova Loss/USF Win = Play Nova
The winner of the No.8/No. 9 game will advance to play the No. 1 seed on Sunday at 2 p.m. The No. 1 seed will either be Notre Dame or UConn which will be determined on Monday night.
If the Scarlet Knights fall to Pitt on Monday, RU will be either a No. 9 or a No. 10 seed based on the following scenarios:
• Marquette loss – Rutgers a No. 9 - based on the tie-break
• Marquette win – Rutgers a No. 10
If RU is the No. 10 seed, the Scarlet Knights would play No. 15 Providence at 6 p.m. on Friday. The winner would advance to the play the No. 7 seed on Saturday at 6 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT - AT CINCINNATI
Despite overcoming a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 48-48 with just two minutes remaining, the Rutgers women’s basketball team fell, 56-48, to Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday evening.
Rutgers was led by Erica Wheeler with 15 points, while Betnijah Laney added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals in the loss.
The Bearcats had a trio in double figures led by Dayeesha Hollins with a game-high 17 points. Lesha Dunn added 14, while Tiffany Turner contributed 11 points in the win.
The Scarlet Knights, who outrebounded the Bearcats, by 24 in the first meeting, were outrebounded, 34-31.
Trailing by 10 with eight minutes remaining in the game, Rutgers proceeded to go on a 10-2 to pull within two. Laney broke through the Bearcat defense for back-to-back lay-ups as her Scarlet Knights were down, 46-44, with 3:08 to go.
After a pair of free throws by Cincinnati’s Lesha Dunn gave the Bearcats a four-point cushion following, Laney was fouled going to the hole on the opposite end of the court. While Laney missed the free throw, senior Monique Oliver hauled down the rebound. Sophomore Shakena Richardson was fouled and put RU back at the free throw line where she sunk both shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:12 left.
Richardson’s free throws unfortunately would be the final points the Scarlet Knights would register. Cincinnati captured the next eight points from the line as they went 8-of-14 from the stripe for the game’s final margin.
Rutgers led just once in the game. A 15-foot jumper from Laney gave Rutgers its only lead of the game, 14-13 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening half, Cincinnati responded by scoring six-straight unanswered points to start a 14-5 run. Hollins, who netted 11 of her 17 points in first half action, capped the Bearcat run by sinking two shots from the free throw line to give her squad a 27-19 edge with 1:18 left until the intermission.
The Scarlet Knights trailed 27-21 at the intermission, but opened up second half play on a 5-0 run to pull within one, 29-28 with 16:31 on the clock. The Bearcats punched back with eight unanswered points and went up by as many as 10 three times before the Scarlet Knights made their comeback.
The Panthers enter the regular season finale with a 9-19 overall record but are still searching for its first BIG EAST win of the year and stand at 0-15 in conference play. Pittsburgh has dropped 15 straight since opening up league play and last picked up a victory on Jan. 2 in a 55-54 win at Old Dominion.
Pitt has dropped their last 35 regular season contests in BIG EAST play. The Panthers last BIG EAST win during the regular season campaign came on Feb. 15, 2011 in a 60-57 victory over Providence.
Brianna Kiesel leads the Panthers at 15.0 points per game along with 4.8 rebounds per contest. Asia Logan is the other Panther in double figures at 14.7 points per game along with a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per game, ranking her fifth in the conference in the category.
Pittsburgh is led by Angus Berenato, who is in her 10th season at the helm of the Panther program. She holds a 444-410 record in 29 seasons as a head coach and a 161-146 record at Pitt.
LAST TIME OUT - VS. PITT
Former guard Khadijah Rushdan scored a game-high 14 points and center Monique Oliver added her team-leading fourth double-double of the season at the Petersen Events Center back on Jan. 10, 2012.
Rushdan helped Rutgers to a 13-point first half lead, scoring 12 of her 14 points in the opening 20 minutes. April Sykes added nine first-half points and ended the game with 11, inching closer to the 1,000-point mark with 980 career points. Oliver ended the game with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Rutgers dominated Pittsburgh offensively, outscoring 40-12 in the paint, including a 20-6 mark in second chance points. The Panthers did not record a point in the paint until the 3:34 mark in the first half. The Scarlet Knights also capitalized on several Pitt miscues, scoring 29 points off 21 turnovers.
RU received contributions from the bench, edging Pitt in another offensive category as it held a 24-14 advantage. Betnijah Laney scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while guard Briyona Canty added 10 points off the bench.
Pitt never led in the contest as the Scarlet Knights continued to pull away in the second half, ballooning a 13-point lead to their largest – a 24-point edge with 2:08 left to play in the game.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH PITTSBURGH
RU and Pitt will meet for the 29th time with Rutgers holding a sizeable advantage in the all-time series leading the Panthers 25-3. The Scarlet
Knights have won the previous three match-ups against Pitt.
RUTGERS IN ALL-TIME BIG EAST GAMES
The Scarlet Knights are 200-94 (.680) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. Rutgers is 85-63 (.574) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights are 115-31 (.788) in conference home games.
AND YOUTH SHALL LEAD YOU
On the season, first- and second-year Scarlet Knights have accounted for 65.0% of the playing time this season.
1,000 AND COUNTING
Senior Erica Wheeler is the newest member of the century club becoming the 33rd member of the RU 1,000 points list on March 2 at Cincinnati with her team-high 15 points against the Bearcats.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team will head to Hartford, Conn. and the XL Center for the 2013 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament.