OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
The votes are in and the members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team have voted juniors Betnijah Laney and Christa Evans along with sophomore Kahleah Copper captains for the 2013-14 season.
“There are different types of leaders, but as far as myself, I try to lead by example,” said Laney of her role. “I never try to slack and I go hard through everything hard – drills, practice, games. Another big thing is to talk to my teammates. If I see someone isn’t getting something, I let them know and try and help them out. I make sure I’m there for them on and off the court.”
“It feels good to named captain, but at the same time, it’s a big responsibility,” added Laney, RU’s returning leading scorer. “I’m leader by example, but at the same time I think one of my biggest strengths is how I relate to my teammates.”
“I wasn’t really expecting it, so to be voted by my teammates to be a captain, it’s truly an honor,” said Evans. “I think I’m accessible and trustworthy. I know the team can depend on me. I’d do anything for these guys. I’d even run through a brick wall for them.”
While Evans considers herself more a quiet leader, she knows that examples she sets both on and off the court can have an impact.
Evans, an exercise science major with a goal to becoming a physicians assistant following graduation, feels that not only the hard work she puts on the court can rub off on her teammates, but the determination to succeed in the classroom as well.
“While on the court, I have no problem telling people behind the scenes what you need to work on,” Evans added, “while as for off the court, I’m always trying to study and be ahead of the game, which provides an example to my teammates.”
For Copper, being named captain in just her second year “on the banks” knows that her teammates recognize how quickly she has matured.
“It means I have to demonstrate I’m a leader on the court and off the court at all times,” said Copper. “I can lead the team by example. If Coach Stringer asks me to demonstrate a concept or something defensively I can show the team how to do it.”
Freshman point guard Tyler Scaife received one of the highest honors last week at American Athletic Conference Media Day without even having taken the court for a game yet.
Scaife, a two-time Gatorade Arkansas Girls Basketball Player of the Year and top overall rated point guard by ESPNU Hoopgurlz in the Class of 2013, was named the AAC’s Preseason Freshman of the Year.
“I got on twitter and someone had tweeted me,” said Scaife on finding out about the honor. “Kah (Kahleah Copper), who was at media day, also had texted me to let me know.”
However, does the rookie Scarlet Knight feel any extra added pressure now?
“It’s an honor, but I feel like it makes me continue to work hard,” noted Scaife. “I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just going to go out there and play how I play.”
ATTENTION ON ALEX
While Tyler Scaife has received a lot of attention, don’t forget RU’s other newcomer Alex Alfano.
Alfano averaged 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists out of Red Bank Catholic and also has the ability to connect from long range.
“It’s much more detailed. It’s the little things that matter,” said Alfano of the adjustment to the collegiate level. “It’s not only making sure about the big picture, it’s just as important that you are getting the small things. Details are big.”
As far as the biggest thing she’s picked up since arriving “on the banks”, Alfano noted Rutgers’ trademark defense and how to adjust to an opponent who is quicker and not get beat.
“Aside from the basketball end of it and being able to play for Coach Stringer, it was also the opportunities you have coming out of Rutgers,” said Alfano of her choice to come to RU. “Those opportunities just seem endless.”
MARCH MADNESS AT MOHEGAN
Betnijah Laney and Kahleah Copper got a firsthand look at the site of the 2014 AAC Women’s Basketball Tournament when they attended the conference’s media day last week. The conference tournament will be held at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., at the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
“I think it’ll be really nice. It’s a big place and has a lot of activities going on. It’ll be nice for the teams as well as the spectators,” said Laney.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Copper of the site. “My family is going to be able to come up there and see us play and also it’s not too far, so a lot of Rutgers fans can make the trip to watch us play.”
MICHELLE EDWARDS GOES INTO HIGH SCHOOL HALL
While it was announced that Director of Basketball Operations Michelle Edwards was being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame over the summer, last weekend Edwards was inducted into another hall of fame - her high school’s.
Edwards was inducted to Boston’s Cathedral High School Hall of Fame, where she a high school All-American and was the first female in the state of Massachusetts to score more than 2,000 points at the high school level.
Season tickets for Rutgers women’s basketball are still available by calling the ticket office at 866-445-GORU (4678) or via the internet at tickets.scarletknights.com.
Don’t forget to pick up your Barclays Center Women’s Invitational Tickets for over Thanksgiving weekend. The invitational being played at the home of the Brooklyn Nets features Rutgers, LSU, Michigan and Texas Tech Tickets are on sale now and available for purchase via Ticketmaster by visiting www.barclasyscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000 or at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center, located at 620 Atlantic Avenue. Group tickets are also available by calling 855-GROUP-BK.
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