PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 7, 2013) – Senior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) earned BIG EAST Honorable Mention and freshman Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) earned BIG EAST All-Freshman Team honors it was announced on Thursday by the conference on the eve of the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters.
Syracuse senior guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award and Connecticut senior guard Kelly Faris was chosen as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Faris and DePaul sophomore guard Brittany Hrynko shared honors as the BIG EAST Most Improved Players. DePaul senior guard Anna Martin was selected for the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award.
Wheeler leads the Scarlet Knights at 10.6 points per game and recently became a member of RU’s 1000-career point club. The Miami, Fla. native ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in steals per game (2.6) and also averages 2.4 assists per game. 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. She captured a season-high 24 points against USF on Feb. 26 which helped give head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory.
Wheeler’s name is scattered throughout the Rutgers record books. In the single season record books, Wheeler is currently fifth in three-point field goals attempt (172) and with 50 made three-point shots this season is just five three-point field goals away from cracking the top 10. In the RU career record books, Wheeler’s name can be found 32nd all-time in scoring (1,018), fifth all-time in three-point field goals made (155), fifth in three-point field goals attempted (494), and 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.314). With her appearance in Saturday’s BIG EAST Tournament second round game against USF, Wheeler will crack the top 10 in career games played. She is also just seven steals away from placing her name among the top 10 in all-time steals.
Copper led this year’s crop of freshmen as the Scarlet Knight underclassmen have accounted for 65.0 percent of the playing time and 55 percent of the total points scored this season. Copper leads the rookies in points (5.3), rebounds (3.5), and minutes (16.7). Additionally, she has garnered five starts. The Philadelphia, Pa. native led Rutgers in scoring with 13 points at Tennessee and 12 points in a BIG EAST win over Georgetown. She also hauled in five or more rebounds in a game on eight occasions, including a season-high eight against Stony Brook.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team begins BIG EAST Tournament action on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the XL Center. The ninth seeded Scarlet Knights will take on eighth seeded USF in second round action. The game will be available on ESPN3 live and on tape delay at 4:00 p.m. on SNY.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RUAthletics and www.twitter.com/RutgersWBB) for all of the latest news and updates. Fans also receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on both social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.