PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Jan. 6, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball heads to Cincinnati for its first meeting with the Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
• Tuesday’s American Athletic Conference matchup with Cincinnati tips off at 7 p.m. EST. Live video will be available on Bearcats TV via gobearcats.com.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 11-2 overall after defeating Houston, 68-47, in its second conference matchup. Two Scarlet Knights scored in double figures, as Kahleah Copper scored 25 points and Betnijah Laney notched 17 points and 15 rebounds.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is sixth in the American with 16.4 points per game and second in field goal percentage (58.7 percent).
• Junior Betnijah Laney has notched six straight double-doubles, averaging 13.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per game this season. Her rebound average is tied for tops in the American.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup tied for eighth nationally in blocks per game (3.4). That figure leads the American.
• Junior Syessence Davis has recorded at least three steals in nine straight contests and now leads the conference with 3.2 steals per game.
The Bearcats enter the contest on a three-game slide after a tough schedule to open conference play, falling on the road, 67-34, to No. 1/1 UConn (Dec. 29) and to No. 7/7 Louisville, 64- 45 (Jan. 4). Cincinnati also fell to SMU at home, 54-43, in between the two losses to the top two teams in the American. Prior to the losing streak, Cincinnati had won five straight.
Two Bearcats, Dayeesha Hollins and Jeanise Randolph, average double figures with 13.3 and 11.6 points, respectively. Randolph also serves as Cincy’s biggest threat on the glass, as her 8.5 rebounds per game is the fifth best mark in the conference. Nearly a third of Hollins’ scoring this season – 31 percent – has been done at the free throw line, where the senior guard is 49-of-60 for an 81.7 percent clip – the second-best percentage in the American.
Six Bearcats boast at least 70 percent free throw percentages through 14 games, as UC owns the second-best team percentage (72.6) from the charity stripe in the league.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH CINCINNATI
Rutgers leads Cincinnati, 9-1, all-time after suffering its first lost to the Bearcats in school history, 57-48, on March 2, 2013.
Rutgers was led by Erica Wheeler with 15 points in the loss, while Betnijah Laney added 14 points,
five rebounds, four assists and five steals in the loss.
The Bearcats had a trio in double figures led by Dayeesha Hollins with a game-high 17 points. Current Bearcat Tiffany Turner, one of the other double-digit scorers in last year’s meeting, contributed 11 points in the win. She has seen action in just one game this season.
The Scarlet Knights, who outrebounded the Bearcats, by 24 in the first meeting, were outrebounded, 34-31.
Trailing by 10 with eight minutes remaining in the game, Rutgers proceeded to go on a 10-2 to pull within two. Laney broke through the Bearcat defense for back-to-back lay-ups as her Scarlet Knights were down, 46-44, with 3:08 to go. After a pair of free throws by Cincinnati’s Lesha Dunn gave the Bearcats a four-point cushion following, Laney was fouled going to the hole on the opposite end of the court. While Laney missed the free throw, senior Monique Oliver hauled down the rebound. Sophomore Shakena Richardson was fouled and put RU back at the free throw line where she sunk both shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:12 left.
However, Cincinnati used the free throw line to its advantage in last year’s meeting as it had through 14 games last season. Richardson’s free throws would be the final points the Scarlet Knights would register. Cincinnati captured the next eight points from the line as they went 8-of-14 from the stripe for the game’s final margin.
EARLY AND OFTEN
Sophomore Kahleah Copper made her first attempt from the field in 12 of 13 games this season. She leads RU with a 58.7 percent shooting clip, which is good for second in the league.
ESSY ON THE D-FENSE
Junior guard Syessence Davis has proved to be invaluable on defense this season. Against Houston on Jan. 4, Davis recorded three steals, her ninth 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).
Davis currently ranks first in the American with 3.2 steals per game.
Syessence Davis has been generous with the ball through the first 13 games of the 2013- 14 campaign, averaging 4.5 assists per game.
The Neptune, N.J., native has handed out five or more assists in eight of RU’s 13 games this season.
GETTING TO THE POINTS
The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 12 of their 13 games this season. On the season, RU is averaging 67.4 points per game. That is 11.4 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.
STREAK OF SUCCESS
The Scarlet Knights have won seven straight, tying for longest win streak since winning eight straight games from Nov. 13, 2011 – Dec. 2, 2011 to begin the 2011-12 season
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
For the third straight game, two of the top five rebounding players in the American will square off. RU junior Betnijah Laney, tied for first in the league with 10.9 rebounds per game, will do battle with Cincinnati’s Jeanise Randolph, whose 8.5 rebounds per game is good for fifth in the league. Laney faced Houston’s Yasmeen Thompson, formerly fifth with 8.4 rebounds per game, and
topped her, 15-10, on the glass on Jan. 4. USF sophomore Alisia Jenkins entered the conference opener leading the American on the glass, but fell to Laney, 13-9 on Dec. 28.
Two of the top three defensive teams in the league will matchup when RU takes on Cincinnati
Tuesday night. Rutgers is second in the American, allowing 53.3 points per game, while Cincinnati is third with 58.6 points allowed per game.
Junior forward Betnijah Laney has registered six consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 16.5 points and 12 rebounds in the last six Scarlet Knight outings.
The double-double streak is the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years, while her total this season (eight) is four 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 three games, Laney has combined to go 21-of-39 for 53.8 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 13 games
of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in 12 of the first 13 games played to date. Copper is the first Scarlet Knight 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. However she rebounded for 25 points in the next game with Houston, one point shy of her career-mark.
Only two Scarlet Knights scored in double figures last time out for the second consecutive game, with Betnijah Laney registering 17 points and Copper coming one point shy of career-high with 25 points.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 34.9 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint in eight of its last nine games and 10 times this season.
The team won the points in the paint battle in 11 of 13 games, and is 10-1 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
Houston - 12-0- Cougars held scoreless for 4:31
Rutgers will gear up for its first meeting with SMU on Saturday, Jan.11 at 2 p.m. The game will be featured on the American Digital Network.
It will also be 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.
Professional Simon Sez caller Steve Max will also 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.