PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 7, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team opens up tournament action in the second round of the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament as the No. 9 seed taking on No. 8 seed USF at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 p.m. at the XL Center. The winner of Saturday’s No. 8/No. 9 second round match-up will advance to face top-seeded Notre Dame in the tournament’s quarterfinals on Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday’s second round game will air on the BIG EAST Network on ESPN3.com live as well as airing on tape delay at 4 p.m. on SNY. Bob Picozzi and LaChina Robinson will be on the call. All BIG EAST Tournament action will also be aired on WCTC with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer as well as on WRSU with Dominic DiLeo and Michael Rivera.
POST SEASON COVERAGE
BIGEAST.org/WBB will provide live stats and carry all post-game press conferences live. Also follow post-season action on twitter with #RHoops and #BEWBB13.
Rutgers IN THE BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
Rutgers is 23-16 (.590) all-time in the BIG EAST Championship. The Scarlet Knights have advanced to the championship game on four occasions, including winning the tournament during the 2006-07 season.
The Scarlet Knights have reached the semifinals 10 times in the 18 years since RU joined the BIG EAST. RU has won a game in the BIG EAST Championship in seven of the last eight years.
RUTGERS QUICK HITS
• Rutgers enters the BIG EAST Tournament sporting a 16-13 overall record. The Scarlet Knights went 7-9 in conference play to earn the No. 9 seed in the tournament.
• Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer became the third Division I coach to reach the 900-career win milestone during the 2012-13 season. She is fourth women’s basketball coach and seventh coach – men’s or women’s to accomplish the feat. Other coaches that have reached the 900+ win mark include Pat Summit (Tennessee), Jody Conradt (Texas), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bob Knight (Indiana/Texas A&M), and Jim Boehiem (Syracuse).
• The Rutgers roster features four seniors, no juniors, five sophomores, and four freshmen. The underclassmen have represented 65 percent of the playing time and 55 percent of the total points scored by the Scarlet Knights this season.
• The Scarlet Knight roster boasts two 1,000 points scorers in center Monique Oliver and guard Erica Wheeler. Oliver captured her 1,000th point against LIU-Brooklyn in December. She now has 1,189 career points and is 24th on RU’s all-time scoring leaders list. Wheeler notched her 1,000th point at Cincinnati in RU’s final regular season road game and now has 1,018 career points. She is 32nd on the all-time scoring leaders list.
• Rutgers tied with Marquette for ninth in the BIG EAST standings but claims the No. 9 seed on the tie break due to the Scarlet Knights’ 72-54 victory over the Golden Eagles back on Jan. 30. The No. 9 seed is RU’s lowest seed since 2002.
• Rutgers defeated USF, 68-56, on Feb. 26 to give head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory. Senior guard Erica Wheeler had a season-high 24 points in the victory.
The winner of the No.8 USF/No. 9 Rutgers second round contest will advance to the quarterfinals to face No. 1 seed Notre Dame. The Scarlet Knights fell, 71-46 to the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind. on Jan. 13. Senior guard Erica Wheeler led RU with 17 points in the loss.
• Rutgers has played two overtime games this season, going 1-1 in those contests. The Scarlet Knights lost to #15/13 Louisville, 57-66, but downed Villanova, 58-50.
• RU has gone 1-6 against the top 25 this season. The Scarlet Knights earned a 42-34 victory over #21/22 Miami on Dec. 16.
• Senior Monique Oliver leads the Scarlet Knights with three double-doubles on the year and 11 in her four-year career “On The Banks”. Oliver has led RU in scoring 10 times and reached double-figure scoring in 13 contests this season. Additionally, the senior Scarlet Knight has led Rutgers in blocked shots 13 times this season and 58 times in her career.
• Senior and leading scorer Erica Wheeler has led RU in scoring 11 times this season and reached double figures on 16 occasions. She has also led the team in steals 13 times.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH USF
The Scarlet Knights hold a 7-1 all-time advantage over USF and have won four-straight in the series including a 68-56 decision that gave head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory on Feb. 26.
RU is undefeated on USF’s home court, winning all four match-ups, while the Bulls lone win in their four appearances in Piscataway happened on January 31, 2009 with a 59-56 victory.
VS. USF IN THE BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
The Scarlet Knights and the Bulls have never faced each other in the BIG EAST Tournament.
LAST TIME 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 on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
The Scarlet Knights snapped a four-game losing streak to give their coach the elusive milestone victory
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.
KNIGHT NOTES FROM THE USF GAME:
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Senior guard Erica Wheeler and sophomore forward Betnijah Laney led Rutgers, posting their 14th and 12th double-digit scoring games of the season, respectively.
Wheeler set a season-high with 24 points, her first time with 20 or more, and tied a season-best in field goals made (8).
Laney posted 20 on the night, her second time with 20 or more on the season, and was one rebound shy of notching a double-double with a team-high nine.
It was the first time since 2010 the Scarlet Knights had two athletes with 20 or more points in a game. Last time it happen was on Dec. 12, 2010 as April Sykes poured in 32 and Khadijah Rushdan added 23 win a victory over Boston College
Rutgers shot 59.1 percent in the opening half against USF, its best mark since compiling a shooting percentage of 66.7 in the second half of a 72-54 win at Marquette on Jan. 30.
NO PLAYING CATCH-UP
RU trailed just once in the contest, by three points, with 7:59 remaining in the first.
BEYOND THE ARC
RU shot 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, its second-best performance from deep this season.
Rutgers posted a 12-point victory over the Bulls taking 20 less shots than its opponent. The Bulls outshot the Scarlet Knights, 69-49.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB:
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer became the third Division I coach to reach the 900-career win milestone during the 2012-13 season along with UNC’s Sylvia Hatchell on the women’s side and Syracuse’s Jim Boehiem on the men’s side in a 68-56 win over USF on Feb. 16.
Georgia head coach Andy Landers won his 900th career victory the two days earlier, however the NCAA lists his career win total at 818 because Landers garnered 82 wins at Roane State College. The NCAA only counts victories at four-year institutions in its career records.
Other Division I coaches who have reached the 900-career victory mark include Tennessee’s Pat Summit, Texas’ Jody Conradt along with Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight and Boeheim in men’s hoops.
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.
Of the five sophomores on the RU roster, they are led by guard/forward Betnijah Laney who is averaging a team-second best 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. She has stepped up in BIG EAST action where she averages 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Of the freshman class, Kahleah Copper leads the rookies in points (5.3), rebounds (3.5), and minutes (16.7). Additionally, she has garnered five starts.
The Scarlet Knights boasts no juniors and the current crop of sophomore will get a boost next season with Illinois transfer Alexis Burke will be available to take the court.
FIGHTING THE INJURY BUG
The Scarlet Knights lost the services of sophomore point guard Briyona Canty to knee surgery at the end of December.
Throughout the BIG EAST season, senior center/forward Monique Oliver has seen limited playing time thanks in part to a deep ankle bone bruise suffered against Tennessee on Dec. 30
After missing the second half of the Dec. 30 game with the Lady Vols, 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, Oliver was back in form narrowly missing a double-double against Louisville 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 the Jan.13 contest with the #2/3 Fighting Irish.
Oliver then came off the bench the next seven straight contests. During those games, she averaged 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds as the
Scarlet Knights’ “sixth woman”. Included in her off the bench performances was a season-high 23 points, 16-rebound performance against Marquette.
Oliver returned to the starting line-up due to another RU injury. Fifth-year senior Chelsey Lee, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, suffered a sprain MCL in the Feb. 12 contest at DePaul. Lee missed the next five games but returned to the court for her senior night in the regular season finale on Monday against Pitt. Lee will be available for the BIG EAST Tournament.
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 135-21 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The Scarlet Knights went 13-2 at the RAC this season.
Rutgers at the RAC (losses in parentheses)
2012-13: 12-2 (St. John’s, UConn)
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)
AWAY FROM HOME
The Scarlet Knights hold just a 3-11 mark away from the friendly confines of the RAC this season.
RU had one neutral site contest, a 73-46 win over LA Tech at Madison Square Garden in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
In true road contests, Rutgers posted a 2-11 mark with wins over Marquette and Temple. Of those 11 losses on the road, seven were by 10 points or less.
GETTING THE STARTING NOD
Rutgers has used 13 different starting line-ups through the season’s 29 games thus far.
Georgia, GW (0-1):
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Oliver, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Canty, Evans, Lee
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Copper, 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
BC, UConn, Syracuse, St. John’s (0-4):
Wheeler, Laney, Davis, Richardson, Oliver
USF, Cincinnati (1-1):
Evans, Laney, Hollivay, Wheeler, Davis
Oliver, Laney, Lee, Wheeler, Richardson
1,000 AND COUNTING
On Dec. 6 vs. LIU Brooklyn at the RAC, senior Monique Oliver became the 32nd Scarlet Knight to reach the 1,000-point career mark.
Oliver reached the mark on a driving lay-up with 8:22 left in the second half to give RU a 54-26 advantage over LIU Brooklyn and ended the night leading all scorers with 18 points.
Classmate 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.
HUNDREDS OF APPEARANCES
Senior Chelsey Lee played in her 100th career game on Dec. 6 against LIU Brooklyn. She joined fellow seniors Erica Wheeler and Monique Oliver with over 100 career appearances.
With a second round appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament, Erica Wheeler will move into a tie for ninth in career games played in a Scarlet Knight uniform with 129 appearances.
SCARLET KNIGHTS IN OT
The Scarlet Knights have played in 36 overtime games during their history, including two this season with the Jan. 8 loss at Louisville, 66-57, and the Feb. 2, 58-50, win over Villanova. It was the second consecutive year the Scarlet Knights and Cardinals went into OT. RU holds a 21-15 (.583) all-time mark in OT.
The Scarlet Knights are not known for their three-point shooting, but RU shot a blistering 50.0 percent from behind the arc on Feb. 26 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 one player sunk more than two attempts.
MOVING UP THE LIST:
With six three-pointers against USF on Feb. 26, senior Erica Wheeler moved into fifth all-time in three-point field goals made surpassing Shawnetta Stewart (1997-00).
Wheeler has 155 career three-point field goals and needs 10 more three-pointers to pass Cappie Pondexter (2002-06) for fourth all-time.
She currently has 494 three-point attempts in her four-year career recently moving into fifth all-time against the Bulls. She needs two more attempts to move past Brittany Ray (2006-10) for third all-time.
Additionally, Wheeler cracked the single season record books in three-point attempts for the second time in her career. Vaulting into the top 10 with 10 attempts from downtown on March 2 against Cincinnati, Wheeler moved up the list again with seven three-point attempts in the regular season finale against Pitt into fifth. She now has 172 attempts from behind the arc this season and needs three more to surpass Mauri Horton (2001-02) into fourth place.
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 1,189 career points and 668 career rebounds.
With her 16 rebounds at Syracuse on Feb. 19 night, she cracked the top 15 in rebounding at RU. She currently sits in 14th all-time and needs 18 more to move into 13th all-time past Tammy Sutton Brown (1997-01).
Additionally with her 23 points against the Orange, she moved into 24th all-time on the Scarlet Knights scoring leaders list. Oliver needs 21 more points to move into 23rd and surpass Patty Coyle (1978-82).
With a second round victory over No. 8 USF on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights would advance to the quarterfinal round to take on No. 1 Notre Dame on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the XL Center. The game will be aired on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Brooke Weisbrod calling the tournament action.