PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 9, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home for its first ever meeting with the SMU Mustangs on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. The game will air as part of the American Digital Network package.
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.
It is also the second opportunity this season for members of the Junior Knights ages five through 12 to shoot foul shots on the RAC court following the game. Interested children can sign up for both the Junior Knights and foul shots on the court for free at the ticket table in the lobby of the RAC.
Also don’t forget to pick up a Precious Person trading card available to the first 200 fans at the ticket table.
• Saturday’s American Athletic Conference matchup with SMU tips off at 2 p.m. (EST). The American Digital will broadcast Saturday’s game against SMU with Tara Petrolino and LaChina Robinson on the call. WCTC and WRSU will also be on hand at the RAC to cover the action live.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 12-2 overall after defeating Cincinnati, 78-58, in its third conference matchup. A trio of Scarlet Knights scored in double figures, as Kahleah Copper scored 21 points, Betnijah Laney notched 16 points and 10 rebounds and Tyler Scaife tied her career-high with 18 points.
• 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 seven straight double-doubles, averaging 13.7 points and 10.8 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 (3.2). That figure is tops the American.
• Junior Syessence Davis has recorded at least three steals in nine of 10 contests. She is second in the league with 2.9 steals per game.
The Mustangs enter the contest at 11-4 (2-2 American) after grinding out an 80-75 double overtime win against Memphis at Moody Coliseum on Jan. 7. SMU held the Tigers scoreless for the final 3:06 of the second overtime, rattling off a 7-0 run to seal the victory.
Akil Simpson, No. 7 in the American in scoring with 14.4 points per game, led the Mustangs with 22 points and 13 rebounds as one of four SMU players in double figures. Keena Mays, who leads the American this season with 19.5 points per game, recorded 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
Mays is among the top of the league in other categories as well, as she is sixth in assists (4.0) assists third in free throw percentage (80.5), fourth in steals (2.1), sixth in 3-point percentage (36.1), 3-pointers made (2.3).
Simpson has proven her worth as a double threat this season, averaging 8.1 rebounds on the glass as well. Her 58.2 shooting clip is third best in the league.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH SMU
Saturday’s meeting between the Scarlet Knights and the Mustangs marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
EARLY AND OFTEN
Sophomore Kahleah Copper made her first attempt from the field in 13 of 14 games this season. She leads RU with a 60.2 percent shooting clip, which leads the conference. She has also scored in double figures in 13 of 14 contests.
She notched 20-point efforts in each of the last two games, becoming the first Scarlet Knight with back-to-back 20 points since April Sykes at the end of the 2010-11 season.
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. Her streak came to end and against Cincinnati, but Davis still ranks second in the American with 2.9 steals per game.
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).
Syessence Davis has been generous with the ball through the first 14 games of the 2013-14 campaign, averaging 4.3 assists per game. The Neptune, N.J., native has handed out five or more assists in eight of RU’s 14 games this season.
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 7-0 at home to start the season for the second straight year. Rutgers has gone 142-21 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 (Tennessee, 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, Pittsburgh, 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 13 of their 14 games this season. On the season, RU is averaging 68.1 points per game. That is 12.1 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 fifth time this season against Cincinnati. That starting five is 5-0 and accounted for 68 of RU’s 78 points against Cincinnati in their last outing.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
For the fourth straight game, two of the top 10 rebounding players in the American will square off. RU junior Betnijah Laney, second in the league with 10.8 rebounds per game, will do battle with SMU’s Akil Simpson, who averages 8.1 rebounds per contest.
Previously, Laney battled three players in the top five in rebounding and bested all three of them. She out-rebounded Cincinnati’s Jeanise Randolph, whose 8.5 rebounds per game was good for fifth in the league, by a 10-8 margin in RU’s win on Jan. 7
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 RU’s conference-opener leading the American on the glass, but fell to Laney, 13-9 on Dec. 28.
Junior forward Betnijah Laney, has registered seven consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 16.4 points and 11.7 rebounds in the last seven Scarlet Knight outings. The double-double streak is the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years, while her total this season (nine) is three 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.
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 11 of the first 14 games of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in 13 of the first 14 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. However, she rebounded in the next two games with Houston and Cincinnati, respectively, to pour in 25 and 21 points.
Three Scarlet Knights scored in double figures last time out, with Copper scoring 21, Tyler Scaife notching 18 and Betnijah Laney registering 16 points.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 35.6 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint in nine of its last 10 games and 11 times this season. The team won the points in the paint battle in 12 of 14 games, and is 11-1 in those contests.
Against Cincinnati, Rutgers scored 44 of its 78 points in the paint
OFF AND RUNNING
The Rutgers women’s basketball team has taken some rather large runs in games this season. The six 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
Cincinnati - 20-0-Bearcast held scoreless for 9:05
The Rutgers women’s basketball team hits the road again traveling to Memphis on Tuesday, Jan. 14 for its first ever meeting with the Tigers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (EST).
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