PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 24, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Temple for a 2 p.m. meeting with the Owls on the American Digital Network.
• Saturday’s American Athletic Conference matchup with Temple tips off at 2 p.m. (EST) at the McGonigle Hall. A live video feed of the game will be provided via the American Digital Network, with Jeff Brightwell and Sylvia Crawley on the call. WCTC will also be in attendance to cover all the action live.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 14-4 overall after getting back in the win column against UCF. The Scarlet Knights never trailed in the game, as three players scored in double figures en route to a 69-48 victory Wednesday night.
• Freshman Tyler Scaife has been named American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for two straight weeks, averaging 18.0 points per game in the last five contests.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is sixth in the American with 16.8 points per game and leads the league in field goal percentage (60.8 percent). She has led RU in scoring 10 times in 18 games.
• Junior Betnijah Laney is averaging just shy of a double-double 12.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures 16 times in 15 games played, recording nine double-doubles in that span.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup ninth nationally in blocks per game (3.2). That figure is tops in the American.
Temple welcomes the Scarlet Knights to McGonigle Hall for the first time since Nov. 21, 2012 looking to get back on track after falling, 74-70, against Penn on Wednesday night. Four Owls scored in double figures in the loss, but Penn scored the last four points in the final 47 seconds to seal the win.
Two Owls boast double-digit scoring averages in guard Feyonda Fitzgerald (12.8) and forward Natasha Thames (11.9), while the next three leading scorers average between 9.6 and 9.9 points per game.
A large chunk of the Owls offense has relied on 3-point shooting this season. Temple is third in the league in 3-pointers made (100) and attempted (5.6) per game, as Tyonna Williams leads the team with 30 converted deep balls and is sixth in the league in that category.
On the glass, the Owls are paced by Thames, who averages 8.4 rebounds per game. That average is good for sixth in the American, while her 52.5 field goal percentage is good for eighth. The 6-foot Thames has gotten it done defensively, as well, ranking ninth in steals (1.9) and tying for eighth in blocks (1.1) per game.
The backcourt combo of Fitzgerald and Williams has been generous with the ball this season, as the duo is ranked eighth and ninth respectively in assists per game. Fitzgerald averaged 3.9 to Williams’ 3.7.
Three of the top ten players in the American in minutes played per game are on Temple. Williams averages 32.8 minutes for fifth place, Thames averages 32.2 minutes for seventh place and Fitzgerald averages 31.4 minutes for ninth place.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH TEMPLE
Former conference rivals in the Atlantic-10 (1983- 95) and now for a brief one year in the American, the Scarlet Knights and Owls will meet for the 48th time in school history. RU makes the trip to Philadelphia for the 21st in series history where Scarlet Knights own a 14-6 advantage on the Owls’ home turf.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team went on a 23-2 run and kept the Temple Owls scoreless over a period of seven and a half minutes in the first half en-route to a 66-50 win back on November 21, 2012 in their last appearance at McGonigle Hall.
The Scarlet Knights were able to capitalize on 24 Owl turnovers leading to 29 points. Fourteen of those 24 Temple turnovers occurred in the opening stanza, resulting in 20 of Rutgers’ 31 first half points.
After starting the game shooting just 1-of-7 from the field with only two points in the game’s first four minutes, the Scarlet Knights erupted into its 23-2 run with seven different Knights in the scoring mix.
Despite RU being outscored, 36-35, in the second half, the Owls never got closer than 14 in the game’s final minutes.
Rutgers led by as many as 34 points last time out against UCF. RU has held 30+ point leads on five teams this season – (37 - vs. Wagner; 33 - vs. Sacred Heart; 31 – vs. Howard; 31 - at Davidson).
It was the second time the Scarlet Knights had a 30+ point edge against on the road and first against an American opponent this season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper shot 88.9 percent from the floor in RU’s last outing at UCF, almost tying her career mark in field goal percentage. Her best effort from the floor was in shooting 90 percent (9-of-10) at Cincinnati on Jan. 7. Copper has shot 80 percent or better in three games this season.
A member of the Scarlet Knights has scored 20 or more points 10 times in 2013-14, the most 20+ point outings since the 2011-12 season when RU had a Scarlet Knight reach the milestone nine times.
Kahleah Copper has reached the 20+ point milestone six times thus far this season, the most since April Sykes did so during the 2010-11 campaign and Brittany Ray did so seven times in 2009-10.
Tyler Scaife notched a career-high 22 points and Copper dropped in 20 in RU’s outing against No. 1 UConn (Jan. 19), marking the third time this year RU has had two Knights score 20 or more points in a game. RU had two Scarlet Knights drop 20 or more points against Howard (Rachel Hollivay – 26; Kahleah Copper – 23) and Memphis (Kahleah Copper – 23; Tyler Scaife – 21).
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 68.0 points per game. That is 12.0 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 17 of their 18 games this season.
1. 70.0 (35 games) 1998-99 – 29-6 – Elite Eight
2. 68.7 (32 games) 1997-98 – 22-10 – Sweet 16
3. 68.0 (18 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
EARLY AND OFTEN
Sophomore Kahleah Copper has made her first attempt from the field in 17 of 18 games this season. She leads RU and the American with a 60.8 percent shooting clip. She has also scored in double figures in 16 of 18 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 11 of the last 14 games, as her 2.7 steals per game average is third 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 17 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 11 of RU’s 18 games this season.
She tied her season-high of seven assists last time out against UCF, marking the fourth time this year she dished out seven helpers. RU is 4-0 in those contests.
THE WINNING FORMULA
The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the ninth time this season against UCF. That starting five is 7-2 this season.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
In seven of RU’s first eight 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 rebounds per game, welcomes Temple’s Natasha Thames, who is currently sixth in the league in rebounding.
Laney faced six opponents in the first seven league games ranked in the top five in the American in rebounding. She beat or tied all but two players, falling only to UConn’s Stefanie Dolson and UCF’s Brittni Montgomery.
Jan. 22 vs. UCF - Laney vs. Brittni Montgomery
Result: Montgomery 8, Laney 2
Jan. 19 vs. UConn - Laney vs. Stefanie Dolson
Result: Dolson 10, Laney 4
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
THE WILL TO SCORE
Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in 13 of the first 18 games of the 2013-14 season.
Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper has reached double figures in 16 of the first 18 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 has rebounded in the last five games, scoring at least 20 points four times.
In RU’s last time out, Copper (16), Scaife (13) and Canty (11) scored in double figures.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
Rutgers scored 32 of its 69 points in the paint its last time out against UCF. RU has scored 30 or more point in the paint in 13 of its last 14 games and 15 times this season. The team has won the points in the paint battle in 14 of 17 games and is 13-1 in those contests.
On the season, Rutgers is averaging 35.1 points in the paint.
Come cheer on the Rutgers women’s basketball team at the American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships this March at Mohegan Sun Arena. All-session tickets to all nine games of the championship are available through the Rutgers Ticket Office at $99 each, discounted by nearly one third of the face value.
Deadline to preorder tickets is Friday, Feb. 7. Rutgers season ticket holders can log into their accounts here while non-season ticket holders can call 866-445-GoRU to place their order. Seats will be allocated based on priority point order as of June 30, 2013 and there is a maximum of eight tickets per account.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home to host Louisville on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. The game will air on the CBS SportsNetwork with Brent Stover and Debbie Antonelli on the call.
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.