HOUSTON, Texas (February 10, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team closes out its Texas road swing on Tuesday night taking on Houston at 8 p.m. (EST) in its first visit to Hofheinz Pavilion.
• Tuesday’s American Athletic Conference matchup with Houston tips off at 8 p.m. (EST) at the Hofheinz Pavilion. Rutgers student radio, WRSU, will also be in attendance to cover all the action live.
• Head coach C. Vivian Stringer enters the matchup one win shy of 400 for her career at Rutgers. She would become just the second coach in Rutgers basketball history - men’s or women’s - to win 400 games, joining former women’s coach Theresa Grentz, who compiled a 434-150 record from 1976-1995.
• Rutgers enters the contest at 18-5 overall and 9-3 in the American after winning its third straight game over SMU courtesy of a buzzer-beating tip-in by sophomore Rachel Hollivay. The Scarlet Knights had three players score in double figures in the win, led by sophomore Kahleah Copper with 20 points.
• Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper leads RU in scoring and field goal percentage. She is fifth in the American with 15.8 points per game and second in the league in field goal percentage (57.2 percent). She has led RU in scoring 11 times in 23 games.
• Junior Betnijah Laney is averaging just shy of a double-double with 12.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures 14 times in 21 games played, recording 11 double-doubles in that span.
• Sophomore Rachel Hollivay enters the matchup seventh nationally in blocks per game (3.3). That figure is tops in the American.
Houston will be coming off its first American Athletic Conference victory, a 48-39 win at Cincinnati on Saturday that had snapped an 11-game losing streak. The Cougars will meet the Scarlet Knights sporting a 5-18 overall mark and 1-11 record in the American.
In the win, Houston had four Cougars in double figures led by sophomore forward March’ Amerson with 11 points and senior center Yasmeen Thompson with her fourth double-double of the season in contributing 10 points and 13 rebounds. Additionally, Cincinnati’s 39 points were the fewest for a Houston opponent since November 2009.
Senior forward Te’onne Campbell, who netted 10 points in the Cougar win on Saturday and narrowly missed a double-double, leads Houston at 9.9 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds per outing. She has scored in double figures 10 times this season.
Amerson is next on the stat sheet with 9.4 points per game, while Thompson is contributing 7.3 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game. Thompson’s rebounding average lands her sixth in the conference.
ALL-TIME SERIES WITH HOUSTON
Last time out against Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights earned their first AAC home victory by downing the Cougars, 68-47, at the RAC on Jan. 4. After being held to single digits for the first time this season at USF in the previous game, RU’s Kahleah Copper rebounded with 25 points, one shy of her career-high.
Additionally Copper hauled in nine boards, while Betnijah Laney recorded 17 points along with a career-high 15 rebounds and Syessence Davis dished out the ball seven times with no turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights found themselves behind, 34-33, with 14:14 on the clock in the second half, but from there RU controlled the tempo the rest of the way. Copper drove her way to the basket to give Rutgers its first lead since the midway point of the first half, an advantage the Scarlet Knights would not relinquish.
Copper’s bucket started a 10-4 outburst by the Scarlet Knight that saw RU take a 48-43 edge with 10:48 remaining. RU extended its lead by as many as 23 in the closing minute of the game.
Houston had two in double figures. Marissa Ashton came off the bench for a career-high 19 points. Demetria Foreman had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
MILESTONE COACHING ALERT
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer is approaching another milestone in her career. Stringer is approaching her 400th career victory “On The Banks”, needing one more victories to accomplish the feat.
All-Time Rutgers WBB Coaching Records (By Wins)
Theresa Grentz - 434-150/ (1977-95) 19 seasons
C. Vivian Stringer - 399-202/(1995-present) 19 seasons
Ellen Johns - 6-5/(1974-75) One season
Dottie McCrea - 5-9/(1975-76) One season
A member of the Scarlet Knights has scored 20 or more points 14 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 eight times thus far this season, the most since April Sykes did so six times during the 2010-11 campaign and Brittany Ray did so seven times in 2009-10.
Epiphany Prince holds the mark for the most 20-point games in the last five years, recording 16 in the 2008-09 season.
Copper notched 24 points and Betnijah Laney dropped in 20 against Temple (Jan. 25), marking the fourth time this year RU has had two Knights score 20 or more points in a game. RU also had two Scarlet Knights drop 20 or more points against UConn (Tyler Scaife – 22; Kahleah Copper 20), Howard (Rachel Hollivay – 26; Kahleah Copper – 23) and Memphis (Kahleah Copper – 23; Tyler Scaife – 21).
After blocking two shots against SMU (Feb. 8), Hollivay moved one block away from fifth place all-time in the category.
With two more blocks, Hollivay will pass Tanya Hansen’s 75 (1990-91) and LaTonya Johnson’s 74 (1991-92) blocks, moving into fourth on RU’s single-season list.
Hollivay is 24 blocks shy of tying former great Sue Wicks’ single-season record of 97 blocks, set during the 1986-87 season. If the Columbus, Miss., native averages 4.0 rejections per contest over the final six regular season games, she will tie the record.
Freshman Tyler Scaife has been dishing and swishing over the last four contests, averaging 16.5 points and 3.8 assists per game.
The rookie has scored in double figures and recorded at least four assists in five of the last eight games, including her career-high with six-assist, outing against Memphis (Jan. 14). She also scored 21 points in that contest.
Syessence Davis has been generous with the ball through the first 23 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 14 of RU’s 23 games this season.
She tied her season-high of seven assists last time out against SMU, marking the fifth time this year she dished out seven helpers. RU is 5-0 in those contests.
THE WINNING FORMULA
The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney has been used 13 times this season. That starting five is 10-3.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
RU has scored 30 or more point in the paint in 17 of its last 19 games and 19 times this season. The team has won the points in the paint battle in 17 of 23 games and is 16-1 in those contests.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home to the RAC to host UCF on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. It will be the annual “Play 4 Kay” game in supporting breast cancer awareness on the court, across the campus, in the community and beyond. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game to help “Pink Out” the RAC, with pink t-shirts available to the first 1,000 fans on Saturday.
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