PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 2, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team kicks off the New Year by hosting Houston on Saturday, Jan. 4 at noon at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights are currently riding a six-game win streak and are 6-0 at home this season.
Rutgers returns home to kick off the AAC home slate with Houston with Military Appreciation Day, as well as, the Amazing Christopher at halftime.
All active and retired military personnel with ID can purchase a $10.00 reserved or $5.00 general admission ticket to RU’s first AAC game of the year.
The Amazing Christopher will perform at halftime and is widely recognized for his original and unique blend of puppetry and dance which has appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and “The American Comedy Awards.” His act has appeared at halftime of NBA and NCAA games for over the past 20 years.
The first 1,000 fans can pick up a USA Block R magnet. Also don’t forget to pick up a Briyona Canty trading card available to the first 200 fans at the ticket table.
• Saturday’s American Athletic Conference-matchup with Houston tips off at noon E.T. Live video will be available via RVision, with Danny Breslauer and Ed Cohen on the call. Additionally, WRSU, the Rutgers student station at 88.7 FM, will be at the RAC to cover all the action.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 10-2 overall after defeating USF, 66-53, in its conference-opener. Two Scarlet Knights scored in double figures, as RU went on a 21-0 run in the first half and never looked back.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is seventh in the American with 15.7 points per game and fourth in field goal percentage (58.6 percent).
• Junior Betnijah Laney has notched five straight double-doubles, averaging 13.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game this season. Her rebound average is second-best in the American.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup tied for sixth nationally in blocks per game (3.5). That figure is good for tops in the American.
Houston enters the matchup after dropping its first two conference games to UCF (67-59) and USF (77-54), respectively. The Cougars last victory came at Rice on Dec. 20, when the squad won by a 67-54 margin. Junior Demetria Foreman scored a career-high 20 points in the win to lead all scorers.
Sophomore guard Alecia Smith scored 15 points in each of Houston’s last two games to lead the offensive attack. The Cougars led after the first half of both of their American matchups, taking a 31-27 lead into the locker room against UCF on Dec. 28 and a 31-30 over USF on Dec. 31.
However, Houston was outscored a combined 90-51 in the second half of their last two games while going cold from the field, shooting just 22.3 percent (15-67) in the final stanza.
On the season, Te’onna Campbell is the Cougars’ leading scorer, averaging 11.3 points per game on 40 percent shooting. Marche Amerson is the only other Houston player to average double-digit points with 10.3 points per game.
On the glass the Cougars are paced by Yasmeen Thompson, whose 8.1 rebounds per game are good for fifth in the American.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH HOUSTON
Saturday’s matchup with the Cougars represents the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
RUTGERS ALL-TIME IN CONFERENCE GAMES
Rutgers began its brief stint in the American with a 66-53 win over USF.
Prior to the American, the Scarlet Knights were 201-94 (.681) all-time in BIG EAST regular season games. RU went 116-31 (.789) in conference home games and conversely was 85-63 (.574) all-time in BIG EAST regular season road games.
RUTGERS IN CONFERENCE OPENERS
Rutgers opened play in the American 1-0 by defeating USF, 66-53 on Dec. 28. RU went 12-6 in BIG EAST openers as well as 16-2 in BIG EAST home openers prior to joining the American. The Scarlet Knights have won eight of their last 11 conference openers.
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.
RU is 6-0 at home to start the season for the second straight year. Rutgers has gone 141-21 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 6-0 this season.
Rutgers at the RAC over the last 10 years:
2012-13: 13-2 (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 Syracuse, St. John’s)
2008-09: 14-4 (Tennessee, USF, Pittsburg, 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 (Boston College, Miami)
GETTING TO THE POINTS
The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 11 of their 12 games this season. On the season, RU is averaging 67.3 points per game. That is 11.3 points more than the squad averaged last year and the best scoring average since the Final Four season in 2006-07 when the Scarlet Knights averaged 64.4 points per game.
THE WINNING FORMULA
The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the fourth time this season against USF. That starting five is 4-0.
STREAK OF SUCCESS
The Scarlet Knights have won six straight, tying for longest win streak since winning six games spanning Dec. 18, 2011 – Jan 14, 2012.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
For the second straight game, two of the top-five rebounding players in the American will square off. RU junior Betnijah Laney, second in the league with 10.5 rebounds per game, will do battle with Houston’s Yasmeen Thompson, whose 8.4 rebounds per game is good for fifth.
USF sophomore Alisia Jenkins and Laney, who are first and second, respectively, in the American Athletic Conference on the glass, competed last time out in RU’s conference-opener.
Junior forward Betnijah Laney, a two-time member of the AAC Honor Roll and reigning Player of the Week, has registered five consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 16.4 points and 11.4 rebounds in the last five Scarlet Knight outings. The double-double streak is the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years, while her total this season (seven) is five shy of Kia Vaughn’s 12 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season. That double-double mark is the most in the last 10 seasons.
In the last four games, Laney has combined to go 29-of-48 for 60.4 percent from the floor. To date, Laney has registered double figures in all but two appearances.
THE WILL TO SCORE
Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in 10 of the first 12 games of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in 11 of the first 12 games played to date. Copper is the first Scarlet Knights since Epiphanny Prince in the 2006-07 season to start the year off with 11 straight double figure performances. Prince kicked off the 2006-07 national championship game season running away with 11 straight double figure contests.
Copper’s streak came to an end against USF, against which she was 4-of-10 from the field for nine points. Only two Scarlet Knights scored in double figures last time out, with Betnijah Laney registering 18 points and Tyler Scaife scoring 14. It was just the second time in 2013-14 that two or fewer Scarlet Knights scored in double figures.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 34.5 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint in seven of its last eight games and nine times this season. The team won the points in the paint battle in 10 of 12 games, and is 9-1 in those contests.
OFF AND RUNNING
The Rutgers women’s basketball team has taken some rather large runs in games this season. The five runs are listed below in periodically descending order.
UMass - 10-0 - Minutewomen held scoreless for 4:27
Howard - 10-0 - Bison held scoreless for 1:04
Davidson - 15-0 - Wildcats held scoreless for 7:49
Sacred Heart - 21-0 - Pioneers held scoreless for 9:50
USF - 21-0 - Bulls held scoreless for 8:28
EARLY AND OFTEN
Sophomore Kahleah Copper made her first attempt from the field in 11 of 12 games this season. She leads RU with a 58.6 percent shooting clip, which is good for fourth in the league.
ESSY ON THE D-FENSE
Junior guard Syessence Davis has proved to be invaluable on defense this season. Against USF on Dec. 28, Davis recorded four steals, her eighth 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 seven games, Davis has averaged 4.3 steals per game and currently ranks second (3.2) in the American in the category.
After traveling to Cincinnati on Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Scarlet Knights will welcome SMU on Saturday, Jan. 11 on Alumni Appreciation Day. All Rutgers alumni will have the opportunity to purchase $10.00 reserved seats and $5.00 general admission tickets. Alumni interested in the offer can contact the ticket office at 866-445-GORU.
Also on Jan. 11 against SMU, Professional Simon Sez caller Steve Max will be on hand at halftime, putting a new twist on the classic kids’ game. Max is known nationally for his appearances on TV shows and at NBA halftimes. Rutgers women’s Basketball would like to invite Junior Knights to participate in the Simon Sez halftime show. The first 50 members interested can call the ticket office at 866-445-GORU to sign up for a complimentary game ticket and participation in the halftime show. Tickets will be available at a discounted rate for guests of participating Junior Knights members.
Follow Rutgers women’s basketball on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersWBB), Twitter (www.twitter.com/RutgersWBB) and Instagram (www.instagram.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.