EL PASO, Texas (April 3, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team will play for the WNIT championship on Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m. against UTEP in a sold out Don Haskins Center. The game will air on CBS SportsNetwork with Thad Anderson and Ceal Barry on the call.
• The Rutgers women’s basketball team travels to UTEP for the WNIT championship on Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m. The game will air on the CBS SportsNetwork. Additionally Danny Breslauer will call all the action for the Rutgers IMG Radio Network airing on WCTC (1450am), as well as streamed at ScarletKnights.com.
• The Scarlet Knights advanced with a 62-52 semifinal win at fellow American Athletic Conference member USF on Wednesday night.
• RU enters at 27-9 overall and earned an at-large bid to the 64-team WNIT.
• American Freshman of the Year Tyler Scaife poured in a game-high 22 points from off the bench and redshirt sophomore guard Briyona Canty posted her first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
• UTEP advances following a 66-62 win over South Dakota St. in front of 12,222 at the Don Haskins Center.
• Copper leads RU in scoring (16.1 ppg) with 30 double figure scoring games. She is also hauling in 6.0 rebounds per game.
• Second Team All-American Athletic Conference pick Betnijah Laney is averaging just shy of a double-double with 12.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. She has scored in double figures 23 times, recording 15 double-doubles in that span.
• Sophomore center Rachel Hollivay enters the championship game at 3.5 blocks per game and ranks eighth nationally. She has 123 blocks this season, which is the RU single-season record.
A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The Rutgers women’s basketball team missed out on an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and is making its first ever WNIT appearance.
The Scarlet Knights are one of three teams from the American Athletic Conference to earn a WNIT bid - joining USF and SMU
Additionally, four teams from the Big Ten - Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan & Northwestern - were selected to the WNIT. RU joins the Big Ten next season.
SCOUTING THE MINERS
The Miners enter the WNIT championship game at 29-7 overall and finished with a 12-4 mark in Conference USA. Along the way to the championship contest, UTEP has defeated Arkansas St. (74-64), Saint Mary’s (76-64), Colorado (68-60), Washington (70-63) and South Dakota St. (66-63).
The Miners have a trio averaging double figures led by senior forward Kayla Thorton at 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. Thorton has registered 18 double-doubles on the year. Next on the stat sheet is redshirt sophomore guard Jenzel Nash at 11.5 points, while redshirt senior Kristine Vitola, a native of Latvia, is pouring in 11.1 points and 5.7 boards.
UTEP ‘s Don Haskins Center was sold out for its 66-63 semifinals and following their win over the Jackrabbits in the semifinals, sold out the game in two hours.
ALL TIME SERIES
Saturday’s game will mark the first meeting between the Scarlet Knights and Miners.
The Scarlet Knights have a long storied history of post-season play - RU has appeared in 172 post-season contests.
NCAA - 35-23 -(.603)
WNIT - 5-0 - (1.00)
American Tournament - 1-1 – (.500)
BIG EAST Tournament - 23-17 – (.575)
Atlantic-10 Tournament - 24-9 – (.727)
AIAW Nationals - 7-2- (.778)
AIAW Satellite - 1-1 - (.500)
EAIAW Regionals - 13-10 - (.565)
TOTALS - 109-63 (.632)
Under head coach C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers has made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, going 27-14 in that span.
RU has reached the NCAA Final Four in 2000 and 2007 and won the AIAW National Championship in 1982.
With the 62-52 win over USF in the semifinals of the WNIT, Rutgers captured its 27th win of the 2013-14 season, the most wins by the Scarlet Knights since 2007-08
The Scarlet Knights last reached the 27-win mark in 2007-08 when RU finished the season at 27-7.
A WNIT finals victory would give RU the most wins since the 2004-05 season when the Scarlet Knights went 28-7.
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 66.6 points per game. That is 10.5 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 29 of their 36 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. 67.3 (29 games) 2002-03 – 21-8 – 2nd Round
4. 66.5 (36 games) 2013-14 – CURRENT SEASON
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
* Current Assistant Coach Tasha Pointer helped with that scoring average by averaging 6.8 assists per game as a sophomore. She is Rutgers all-time assists leader (men or women).
PLAYING TO THE CROWD
Rutgers will be playing in front of a sold out Don Haskins Center on Saturday afternoon, vying for the WNIT championship in front of 12,222 people.
It will the second largest crowd RU has played in front of this season after having taken to the court in front of 14,327 people at Louisville. The Scarlet Knights also were in front of 10,167 at UConn.
LIVING IN THE PAINT
RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint in 27 of its 36 games this season, including 36 at USF in semifinal on Wednesday.
The Scarlet Knights’ season-high of points in the paint is 52, recorded against Wagner (Dec. 13) and UCF (Feb. 15).
Rutgers has registered 40 or more points inside six times this campaign.
Redshirt sophomore guard Briyona Canty was a member of the starting five for the second straight game against USF on Wednesday, as she notched her first career double-double.
Canty recorded 12 points, one shy of her career-high and hauled in a career-high 12 boards, the first double figure rebounding effort of her career.
In WNIT play, Hollivay is averaging 4.8 blocks per game, which includes eight rejections against Seton Hall in the third round and at USF in the semifinals. The eight blocks were one shy of her career mark.
Hollivay currently stands at 123 rejections in 2013-14 and is third (men or women) in blocks in a single season. Only Hamady Ndiaye (2009-10) and Roy Hinson (1982-83) on the men’s side have blocked more shots in a single season, swatting 145 and 144, respectively.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Rutgers has won the battle on the boards in 23 of its 36 games going 21-2 when winning the war on the glass.
Betnijah Laney leads RU in rebounding at 8.7 boards per game, ranking her fourth in the American Athletic Conference, behind Stefanie Dolson of UConn and Alisia Jenkins of USF.
Laney has had 17 double digit rebounding efforts this season.
Sophomore center Rachel Hollivay reset her career-mark on the boards hauling in 14 rebounds vs. Seton Hall. It was her most rebounds since collecting 10 boards at SMU (Feb. 8).
Additionally Briyona Canty reset her rebounding high in RU’s WNIT semifinal win at USF. Canty’s previous high was eight, also coming against the Bulls (Mar. 3).
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 24 of the last 32 games, as her 2.9 steals per game average leads the American and is 10th nationally.
With three steals against USF in the WNIT semifinals, Davis became just the third Scarlet Knight with 100 or more steals in a season. She currently has 102 on the year.
RU forced the Crimson into 20 turnovers in its second round WNIT win over Harvard. RU has forced the opposition into at least 20 turnovers 15 times in 36 games.
Conversely, the Scarlet Knights committed only eight in the win over Harvard, the fewest since suffering six in the 90-50 win over UCF on Feb. 15.
Rutgers has committed fewer than 20 turnovers in 29 games, fewer than 15 miscues in 21 games and less than 10 three times.
NO MESSY, ESSY
Syessence Davis currently ranks 21st nationally in assist/turnover ratio and is second in the American in the category.
Against Harvard in second round WNIT play, Davis dished out a season-high eight assists and committed just two turnovers.
Davis had four assists to no turnovers coming against Delaware in the first round of the WNIT and SMU in the quarterfinal of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
The junior point guard has committed no turnovers in four other contests - Texas Tech (3 ast/0 to), USF (7 ast/0 ), Cincinnati (5 ast/0 to) and Houston (2 ast/0 to).
Syessence Davis has been generous with the ball through the 36 games of the 2013-14 campaign, averaging 4.2 assists per game. The Neptune, N.J., native has handed out five or more assists in 16 contests this season.
She has handed out a season-high eight assists in the second round WNIT victory over Harvard and also dished out seven helpers on five occasions this year.
A member of the Scarlet Knights has scored 20 or more points 22 times in 2013-14, the most 20+ point outings since the 2010-11 season when RU had a Scarlet Knight reach the milestone 15 times.
Kahleah Copper has reached the 20+ point milestone 11 times thus far this season, the most since Brittany Ray did so seven times in 2009-10.
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