PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 27, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team heads to the home of the Brooklyn Nets for the Barclays Women’s Invitational this weekend. The Scarlet Knights open up play with No. 15/17 LSU on Friday at 1 p.m.
• Friday’s contest at the Barclays Center with LSU will air on WCTC 1450 AM with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call. Additionally, RU’s student station – WRSU 88.7 FM – will also air all Friday afternoon’s action with Dylan MacKinnon and Dylan Mruczinski.
• Rutgers enters Friday’s game at 4-1 coming off 69-38 victory over Howard in a game that saw two Scarlet Knights post double-doubles and sophomore center Rachel Hollivay nearly capture a triple-double.
• Sophomore center Rachel Hollivay netted a career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds vs. Howard last Friday and posted nine blocks, just one rejection short of RU’s first triple-double since 2011.
• Classmate Kahleah Copper notched her second career double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
• Copper continues to lead RU at 17.6 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds per contest followed by Hollivay at 13.8 points per game and 5.8 points per game.
• Leading rebounder, junior forward Betnijah Laney, who is averaging 11.7 grabs per contest, missed the last two games due to an ankle sprain suffered three games ago against LaSalle. on Nov. 17.1
Like the Scarlet Knights, the Tigers come to the Barclays Center at 4-1 overall. After suffering an 88-67 loss to Louisville in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT, LSU has rattled off two straight victories including an 81-69 win over Louisiana Tech and a 73-54 victory against Hampton.
A quartet of Tigers are averaging double figures through the first five games of the season led by senior forward Theresa Plaisance at 13.6 points per game along with a team-leading 7.8 rebounds per game.
Rookie guard Raigyn Moncriff is adding 10.8 point per game, with junior guard DaShawn Harden at 10.6 points per game and sophomore guard Danielle Ballard at 10.0 points per game.
LSU, which enters ranked at No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll and at No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last season. The Tigers went 22-12 overall and 10-6 in SEC play ending the season with a 73-63 loss to California in the regional semifinal.
Nikki Caldwell is in her third year at the helm of the LSU program. A 1994 graduate of the University of Tennessee, she helped the Volunteers to an 118-13 record during her four-year career and the 1991 national championship. Prior to LSU, Caldwell spent three seasons as the head coach at UCLA.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH LSU
Rutgers leads the all-time series with LSU, 5-1, including wins in the last three meetings. The two squads last met in 2007 with RU edging LSU, 45-43, at the RAC.
Rutgers also defeated the Tigers during its 2007 NCAA Tournament run to the championship game, defeating LSU, 59-35, in the national semifinal game in Cleveland, Ohio.
LAST TIME VS. LSU
Kia Vaughn scored 13 points as No. 7/7 Rutgers posted a 45-43 victory over No. 6/5 LSU on November 25, 2007 at the RAC. The contest was a rematch of the previous season’s Final Four national semifinal game.
Vaughn had eight of her 13 points in the first stanza. A late steal by Matee Ajavon helped the Scarlet Knights defeat the highest ranked team at the RAC since Feb. 19, 2005- a 59-48 upset of then No. 5 Notre Dame.
Ajavon and sophomore guard Epiphanny Prince added eight points each while senior guard Essence Carson and junior forward Heather Zurich finished with six apiece.
Senior Quinna Chaney paced the Lady Tigers with 16 points. Senior center Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and 12 rebounds. The teams combined for 39 turnovers in the game.
With RU holding a 44-43 edge with 58.6 seconds left in the game, Ajavon drove the left side of a heavily-populated lane with Fowles grabbing the defensive rebound. The Lady Tigers got the ball inside to Fowles with 28 seconds left, but Ajavon doubled-down with Vaughn and stripped the ball from the All-American.
LSU fouled Prince and she drained one of two from the charity stripe with 9.3 seconds remaining. The Lady Tigers had one last opportunity, choosing not to use their final timeout. A 3-point attempt by Chaney– for the win –hit the back glass with Rutgers escaping with the 45-43 triumph.
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 138-21 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The Scarlet Knights went 13-2 at the RAC last season, including a victory over No. 21/22 Miami and are currently 3-0 this season.
THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF HOWARD
The Scarlet Knights defeated Howard, 69-38, last Friday night at the RAC. It was RU’s first victory of at least 30 points since Dec. 15, 2010 against Kean (90-56). RU held Howard to 38 points, holding an opponent to under 39 points for the first time since defeating Miami, 42-34, on Dec. 16, 2012.
Rutgers also posted a season-high 57 rebounds against Howard. It was the most rebounds since RU notched 54 on Dec. 5, 2011 in a win against Miami.
THE WILL TO SCORE
Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in four of the first five games of the 2013-14 season.
Thus far, sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in each of the five games played to date. Copper is the first Scarlet Knights since Epiphanny Prince in the 2006-07 season to start the year off with five straight double figure performances. Prince kicked off the 2006-07 national championship game season running away with 11 straight double figure contests.
ALMOST A TRIPLE DOUBLE
Sophomore Rachel Hollivay almost captured a triple-double in RU’s last contest, a 69-38 victory over Howard. Hollivay had a career nights with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks. Her nine blocks were the most by a Scarlet Knights since Kia Vaugh captured nine blocks against St. John’s back on Feb. 28, 2009.
RU’s last triple-double performance was by Khadijah Rushdan in 2011 with 13 points, 10 points and 10 assists against Pittsburg. The only other Scarlet Knight to have recorded a triple double is current assist coach Tasha Pointer.
Hollivay was the third Scarlet Knight to post a double-double this season.
The Scarlet Knights forced Howard into 23 turnovers last Friday night, RU’s fifth-straight opponent that has suffered at least 20 miscues. It is RU’s longest such streak since the team forced six-straight opponents into at least 20 turnovers from Dec. 6, 2012 – Dec. 21, 2013.
I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
In games with UMass and La Salle, RU averaged 28.5 points from off the bench. Against UMass, the Scarlet Knights registered 35 points from the non-starting five, including a then career-high 14 points from sophomore center Rachel Hollivay.
Syessence Davis has also been generous with the ball through the first four games of the 2013-14 campaign averaging 4.8 assists per game. The Neptune, N.J. has handed out five or more assists in four of RU’s five games to date and has averaged 5.7 assists over the last three games.
MORE CAREER NUMBERS
Tyler Scaife got her first career starting nod in last Friday’s win over Howard and tied her career-high with 13 points in the process.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Two players, Kahleah Copper and Rachel Hollivay, recorded double-doubles last Friday night, the second time this season that feat was accomplished.
Rachel posted her first double-double of her career with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Copper added 23 points and 13 boards against the Bison.
Betnijah Laney and Copper combined for double-doubles in RU’s 65-51 win against Northeastern (Nov. 13). Copper dropped 26 points and 11 rebounds against the Huskies while Laney contributed 15 points and 13 boards.
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