PISCATAWAY, N.J. (December 16, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team welcomes #16/15 Georgia to the RAC on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.to close the nonconference schedule. Fans can also welcome back former Scarlet Knight and WNBA All-Star Essence Carson, who will sign autographs starting at 1 p.m.
Former Scarlet Knight standout and WNBA All-Star Essence Carson will be in attendance as RU closes out the non-conference schedule signing autographs in the main concourse of the RAC starting at 1 p.m. Additionally fans will also have a chance to win great prizes with basketball bingo. Bingo cards will be available prior to tip off at the ticket table in the lobby along with Kahleah Copper trading cards available to the first 200 fans.
• Saturday’s game with No. 16/15 Georgia tips off at 2 p.m. Live video will be available via RVision on scarletknights.com, with Ed Cohen and Danny Breslauer on the call. Additionally, WRSU, the Rutgers student station at 88.7 FM, will be at the RAC to provide all the action.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 8-2 overall after defeating Sacred Heart, 71-51. Four Scarlet Knights scored in double figures.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll on Dec. 16 after averaging 16.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in an undefeated week. It was her third time on the honor roll this season.
• Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is sixth in the American with 16.1 points per game and fourth in field goal percentage (60 percent).
• Junior Betnijah Laney has notched three straight double-doubles, averaging 11.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season. Her rebound average is second-best in the American.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup fifth in the nation in blocks per game (3.8). That figure is good for tops in the American.
No. 16/15 Georgia visits the RAC for the first time since Dec. 8, 2008, which is also the last time the Scarlet Knights topped the Bulldogs. The SEC-foe is unbeaten at 11-0 on the season, having defeated its opponents by an average of 22.6 points. On the road, Georgia is 2-0 in 2013. The Bulldogs are one of 13 teams still undefeated on the year.
UGA won its most recent contest on Dec. 17 against Lipscomb, 81-46. Three Bulldogs, Khaalidah Miller, Merrit Hempe and Shacobia Barbee, scored in double figures.
The Bulldogs’ largest margin of victory this season came against Kennesaw State on Dec. 15, when UGA topped the Owls, 91-32.
Leading the squad in scoring is Tiaria Griffin, who averages 15.0 points per game. Three other Bulldogs average double-digit scoring outputs, including Khaalidah Miller (11.4), Shacobia Barbee (11.3) and Erika Ford (10.5).
Barbee is Georgia’s leader on the glass with 8.7 rebounds per contest, as she also has a team-high 3.6 assist per game.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH GEORGIA
The Scarlet Knights enter their contest with the Bulldogs trailing the all-time series, 3-9. Georgia has won the last two matchups against RU, both of which were held in Athens, Ga.
RU opened the 2012-13 season at Stegeman Coliseum to face the then-No. 10/11 Bulldogs on their home floor. Georgia held a 28-18 advantage at the half, but the Scarlet Knights closed the gap to start the second stanza, going on an 11-1 run to make it 31-29 with 12:47 remaining.
However, UGA was able to keep its distance down the stretch, gaining a 10-point lead with under two minutes remaining and hitting eight of nine free throw attempts to close it out.
Christa Evans led RU’s returning players with nine points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting, while Laney started the game and finished 3-of-13 with seven points.
The only other returners to have a scoring impact were Briyona Canty, who dished out five assists, and Syessence Davis, who notched two points.
Tiaria Griffin, Georgia’s leading scorer this season (15.0 ppg), scored five points off the bench in last year’s meeting, while senior guard Khaalidah Miller started the contest and paced the squad with 12 points. Erika Ford and Shacobia Barbee, who average 10.5 and 11.3 points per game, respectively, notched a combined 13 points in last year’s meeting.
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 140-21 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 5-0 this season. RU is 5-0 at home to start the season for the fourth straight year.
Saturday will feature two of the nation’s all-time winningest coaches in Rutgers’ C.Vivian Stringer and Georgia’s Andy Landers.
Both Stringer and Landers captured their 900th career victories last season. Stringer, in stints with Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers has compiled 909 wins to date. Landers has 916 victories to his name with three seasons at Roane State and 39 seasons with the Bulldogs.
NATIONS TOP DEFENSES SQUARE OFF
Rutgers and Georgia are among the two top stingiest defenses in the country. The Scarlet Knights rank 10th in field goal percentage defense allowing opponent to shoot just 32.5 percent from the field and ninth in scoring defense with opposition scoring on average 53.5 points per game. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are sixth in scoring percentage defense with opponents shooting just 31.3 percent from the floor and fourth in scoring defense with the opposing team averaging 48.7 points per game..
LIVING IN THE PAINT
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 36.0 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint in each of its last six games and eight times this season. The team won the points in the paint battle in eight of 10 games, and is 7-1 in those contests.
OFF AND RUNNING
Rutgers started off the second half of last Sunday’s victory over Sacred Heart on a 21-0 burst to run away with the game.
The Pioneers were unable to score their first points of the second half until the 11:10 mark left in the game on free throws by Shelby Hickey. Sacred Heart’s first second half field goal did not come until 10:25 remaining. By then the Scarlet Knights held a sizeable, 56-27, advantage.
During the run, RU shot 53 percent from the field hitting eight of 15 shots from the floor, while the Pioneers missed their first 10 shots from the field, including eight from three-point range.
FIRST HALF IMPRESSIONS
Rutgers opened its Dec. 12 win over Wagner on a 12-4 run and never looked back. The Scarlet Knights took a commanding 47-19 halftime lead and a trio of Scarlet Knights put away double figures by the intermission.
The 28-point halftime edge was RU’s largest lead at the intermission this season and the 47 points were the most by the squad at the half this season.
Additionally RU shot a blistering 60 percent from the floor connecting of 21 of its 35 first half shots.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD
Rutgers’ 83 points against Wagner was the highest point total this season and most since the team defeated Providence, 87-61, at the RAC on Jan. 16, 2013.
The team’s 30-point margin of victory was the second-highest recorded this season and third victory of at least 30 points.
LANEY LANDING SHOTS
Junior forward Betnijah Laney, a two-time member of the AAC Honor Roll, has registered three consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 15.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last three Scarlet Knight outings. She had her most productive game from the floor against the Wagner on Dec. 12, shooting 9-of-14 from the field for a 64.3 percent clip. In the last two games, Laney has combined to go 20-of-34 for 59 percent from the floor.
To date, Laney has registered double figures in all but two appearances and has collected five double-doubles.
CAN’T STOP CANTY
After not scoring in contests with Texas Tech and Davidson, redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty returned to form, averaging 9.0 points and 4.0 assists per game over the last two contests.
Canty netted seven points in RU’s victory over Sacred Heart (Dec. 15) and 11 points in the win over Wagner (Dec. 12). Canty also converted at least one 3-pointer in each of the last two games after not connecting from downtown in the previous four games.
The redshirt sophomore also dished the ball out six times against Sacred Heart (Dec. 15), only one assist shy of her career mark set against UMass (Nov. 20) earlier this season.
ESSY ON THE D-FENSE
Junior guard Syessence Davis has proved to be invaluable on defense this season. Against Sacred Heart on Sunday, Davis recorded three steals, her sixth consecutive game of three or more thefts.
Davis recorded a career-high seven steals against Wagner on Dec. 12, surpassing her previous best effort of five which was captured on four occasions, most recently at Davidson (Dec. 4). In the last four games, Davis has averaged 4.8 steals per game and currently ranks second in the American in the category.
DISHIN’ & SWISHIN’
Sophomore Kahleah Copper reset her career mark in assists for a second time this season, dishing the ball out six times in RU’s 83-53 win over Wagner on Dec. 12.
She fell one assist shy of matching that mark against Sacred Heart on Dec. 15, notching five in the win.
THE WILL TO SCORE
Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in nine of the first 10 games of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in each of the 10 games played to date. Copper is the first Scarlet Knights since Epiphanny Prince in the 2006-07 season to start the year off with 10 straight double figure performances. Prince kicked off the 2006-07 national championship game season running away with 11 straight double figure contests.
Copper notched 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Sacred Heart to continue the streak. Other notable scoring performances from the Scarlet Knights’ win was junior Betnijah Laney’s 11-point showing, freshman Tyler Scaife’s 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting and Rachel Hollivay’s fifth double-digit total of the season (15 points).
Since suffering a concussion at Northeastern on Nov. 13 and returning to the court at UMass on Nov. 20, sophomore center Rachel Hollivay is averaging 4.4 blocks per game. She has notched a minimum of three blocks in six of the last seven games.
Against Howard, Hollivay swatted away nine Bison shots, the most since Kia Vaughn captured nine blocks against St. John’s back on Feb. 28, 2009.
The RU forced Sacred Heart into 18 turnovers in its 20-point win, as the Pioneers became the first opponent since Princeton in the season-opener (Nov. 10) to record less than 20 miscues.
The stingy defensive streak was the team’s longest such streak in the last 10 years, as the opposition is averaging 20.6 turnovers per game.
Additionally, after the Scarlet Knights racked up 29 turnovers in a loss to No. 15/17 LSU (Nov. 29), RU responded with only 11 turnovers, a season-low, the next day against Texas Tech (Nov. 30).
The Scarlet Knights have posted 12 or fewer miscues in three of the last four games. Rutgers has committed fewer than 20 turnovers in seven of its 10 games to date.
Rutgers returns to action after the Christmas holiday beginning American Athletic Conference action in the Sunshine State. RU will travel to USF for a meeting with the Bulls on Saturday, Dec. 28 in the first of seven appearances on the American Digital Network.
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