PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 16, 2014) – The No. 23 Rutgers women’s basketball team hosts defending national champion and the nation’s No. 1 ranked team in Connecticut on Sunday, Jan. 19 at the RAC. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. in front the of the ESPN2 cameras with Pam Ward and Rebecca Lobo on the call. Limited tickets remain for Sunday’s game.
Drums of Thunder will be performing at halftime. The group is a renowned corps of 35 4th and 5th grade drumming students from Hillside Elementary School in Montclair, N.J.
Fans can also pick up a Tyler Scaife trading card available to the first 200 fans at the ticket table.
• Sunday’s American Athletic Conference matchup with No. 1/1 UConn tips off at 3 p.m. (EST) at the RAC. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2, with Pam Ward and Rebecca Lobo on the call.
• Danny Breslauer and Max Scheiner will have the game on WCTC and while WRSU, Rutgers student radio, will also be on hand with James Stumper and Dave Servedio to cover all the action.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 13-3 overall after suffering a 74-73 overtime loss at Memphis, ending a nine-game win streak. Two Scarlet Knights, Kahleah Copper and Tyler Scaife, notched 20-point efforts in the loss, but it was not enough, as the Tigers held RU off the board in the final 1:25 of the extra period to seal the win.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is sixth in the American with 16.6 points per game and leads the league in field goal percentage (61.3 percent).
• Junior Betnijah Laney is averaging a double-double at 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures 11 times in 14 games played, recording nine double-doubles in that span.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup eighth nationally in blocks per game (3.3). That figure is tops in the American.
• Junior Syessence Davis has recorded at least three steals in 10 of 12 contests. She is second in the league with 2.9 steals per game.
UConn visits Piscataway with the longest win streak in the country having won their last 24 games dating back to last season. The Huskies last lost, 61-59, to then No. 2 Notre Dame in the Big East Championship game on March 12, 2013. The No. 1/1 Huskies are a perfect 18-0 in 2013-14. Only UConn and Notre Dame remain undefeated on the year.
So far this season UConn has defeated six ranked opponents by a margin of 20.1 points per game, including then-No. 3 Stanford (76-57), then-No. 8 Maryland (72-55), then-No. 13 Penn State (71-52), then-No. 2 Duke (83-61), then-No. 21 Cal (80-47) and No. 7 Baylor (66-55).
The Huskies win over Baylor on Jan. 13 snapped the Lady Bears’ NCAA-leading home win streak of 69 games.
Five UConn players are currently in double figures, as Breanna Stewart’s 18.1 points per game is good for third in the American. As a team, UConn averages 83.7 points per game this season and boasts a +36.7 scoring margin to lead the league.
The Huskies lead the league in every scoring category except 3-point field goal percentage, in which the team is second with a 33.8 percent mark. The Huskies are tops in free throw percentage (76.2) and field goal percentage (49.7).
UConn is also stingy defensively, surrendering just 47 points per game while holding the opposition to 30.1 percent shooting. Both of those marks lead the conference.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH UCONN
Sunday’s meeting between the Scarlet Knights and the Huskies marks the 37th meeting between the two schools.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team went up by as many as 10 points early in last year’s contest with No. 3/2 Connecticut at the RAC, but ended the game falling to the Huskies, 65-45.
After the Scarlet Knights took the 10-point lead with 14:20 in the first half, Connecticut produced a 12-2 run to take over the lead for good. Moriah Jefferson gave the Huskies a 18-17 lead with 7:48 on the clock and later capped the run on the traditional three-point play for a 22-18 Connecticut edge.
Rutgers would cut the gap to one twice, but Connecticut would hold Rutgers to only one field goal over the first half’s final 3:08 and close the half on a 7-2 run to enter intermission ahead, 33-27.
Five points in the first 30 seconds of the second half gave the Huskies its first double digit lead of the afternoon. Rutgers would pull within nine on three occasions, the last coming off a Richardson three-pointer with 12:35 remaining which left the Scarlet Knights trailing, 38-47. From there, Connecticut would outscore the Scarlet Knights, 18-7, for the game’s final margin.
The Huskies have won the last 10 meetings with the Scarlet Knights. RU’s last victory over UConn, was back on Feb. 27, 2008 in a 73-71 victory.
GETTING TO THE POINTS
Rutgers has one of the highest scoring averages under C. Vivian Stringer’s 19-year tenure “On the Banks” with the 2013-14 squad.
On the season, RU is averaging 68.2 points per game. That is 12.2 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 Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 15 of their 16 games this season.
Rutgers Scoring Average Under C. Vivian Stringer
1. 70.0 (35 games) 1998-99 – 29-6 – Elite Eight
2. 68.7 (32 games) 1997-98 – 22-10 – Sweet 16
3. 68.2 (16 games) 2013-14 – CURRENT SEASON
4. 67.3 (29 games) 2002-03 – 21-8 – 2nd Round
5. 65. 6 (31 games) 2000-01 – 23-8 – 2nd Round
6. 64.4 (36 games) 2006-07 – 27-9 – National Runner-up
7. 64.0 (35 games) 1999-00 – 26-8 – Sweet 16
8. 63.9 (32 games) 2005-06 – 27-5 – Sweet 16
9. 63.2 (35 games) 2004-05 – 28-7 – Elite 8
10. 63.1 (34 games) 2008-09 – 21-13 – Sweet 16
11. 62.5 (33 games) 2003-04 – 21-12 – 1st Round
12. 61.9 (28 games) 1995-96 – 13-15
13. 61.4 (33 games) 2010-11 – 20-13 – 2nd Round
14. 61.0 (34 games) 2007-08 – 27-7- Elite 8
15. 60.9 (32 games) 2011-12 – 1st Round
16. 57.8 (34 games) 2009-10 – 19-15 – 1st Round
17. 57.2 (28 games) 1996-97 -11-17
18. 56.0 (30 games) 2012-13 – 16-14
19. 55.6 (29 games) 2001-02 – 9-20
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 8-0 at home to start the season for the second straight year. Rutgers has gone 143-21 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.
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)
SOME WILL WIN, SOME WILL LOSE
RU had a nine-game win streak come to halt in their last game - a 74-73 setback at Memphis. The win streak was the longest since RU captured 12 straight victories from Dec. 8, 2007 – Jan. 26, 2008. Entering the week, the streak had been tied for the seventh-best in the country this season.
EARLY AND OFTEN
Sophomore Kahleah Copper has made her first attempt from the field in 15 of 16 games this season. She leads RU and the American with a 61.3 percent shooting clip. She has also scored in double figures in 14 of 16 contests.
ESSY ON THE D-FENSE
Junior guard Syessence Davis has proved to be invaluable on defense this season. Davis has recorded three or more steals in 10 of the last 12 games, as her 2.9 steals per game average is second in the American.
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 15 games of the 2013-14 campaign, averaging 4.4 assists per game. The Neptune, N.J., native has handed out five or more assists in 10 of RU’s 16 games this season.
THE WINNING FORMULA
The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the seventh time this season against Memphis.
Despite losing their first game together against the Tigers, that starting five is 6-1 this season and accounted for all 73 points in the Memphis loss.
RUTGERS VS. THE TOP-25
Rutgers is currently 1-1 against the Top 25 in 2013-14, as UConn represents the third ranked foe of the season.
Nov. 29 – vs. #15/17 LSU L, 65-69
Dec. 21 – vs. #16/15 Georgia W, 61-58
Memphis shot just 36.0 percent from the field against RU despite the Tigers’ win. The Scarlet Knights are 4-1 to begin conference play and have held all five opponents to below 40 percent shooting.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
In five of RU’s first six games of conference play, two of the top 10 rebounding players in the American will have squared off.
RU junior Betnijah Laney, currently second in the league with 10.7 rebounds per game, will do battle with UConn’s Stefanie Dolson, who is third with 9.4 rebound per game.
Laney faced four consecutive opponents ranked in the top five in the American in rebounding to begin conference play. She beat or tied all four players, including current rebounding leader, Alisia Jenkins of USF.
Jan. 11 vs. SMU - Laney vs. Akil Simpson - Result: Laney 11, Simpson 11
Jan. 7 vs. Cincinnati - Laney vs. Jeanise Randolph - Result: Laney 10, Randolph 8
Jan. 4 vs. Houston - Laney vs. Yasmee Thompson - Result: Laney 15, Thompson 10
Dec. 28 vs. USF - Laney vs. Alisia Jenkins - Result: Laney 13, Jenkins 9
Junior forward Betnijah Laney, had her double-double streak snapped against SMU, finishing with eight points and 11 rebounds. She owns nine double-doubles this season, while her streak of seven straight was the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years.
Her season total is the most since Kia Vaughn’s 12 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season. To date, Laney has registered double figures in all but three appearances.
THE WILL TO SCORE
Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in 12 of the first 16 games of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in 14 of the first 16 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, as Copper led all scorers with 23 points. Scaife notched a career-high 21 points and Laney recorded 15 points.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
Rutgers scored 34 of its 73 points in the paint its last time out against Memphis. RU has scored 30 or more point in the paint in 11 of its last 12 games and 13 times this season. The team has won the points in the paint battle in 13 of 16 games and is 12-1 in those contests.
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 35.5 points in the paint.
OFF AND RUNNING
The Rutgers women’s basketball team has taken some rather large runs in games this season. The eight runs are listed below in periodically descending order.
Northeasterm - 16-0 - Huskies held scoreless for 7:03
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 is back on the road for a trip to Orlando for the first ever meeting with UCF on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The game will be available on the American Digital Network with Bob Picozzi and Debbie Antonelli calling all the action.
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