PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers women’s basketball team (21-11, 10-6 BIG EAST) has received the seventh seed in the Midwest Region of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. The Scarlet Knights will face 10th-seeded Chattanooga (28-2 overall, 13-0 Southern Conference) in the first round Saturday, March 20, in Chattanooga, TN. Game times have yet to be determined.
This marks Rutgers’ 15th invitation to the NCAA Tournament, and sixth bid in the last seven years. Second-seeded Vanderbilt and 15th-seeded Lipscomb will face-off in the other first-round game at the Chattanooga site, and the winners of the two first-round games will advance to the second round. That game will be played Monday, March 22, in Chattanooga, TN. The winner of that game will advance to the Sweet 16 in Norman, OK.
The Scarlet Knights are 21-11 overall and 10-6 in the BIG EAST Conference this season following a 75-57 loss to No. 23/19 Boston College (25-6, 11-5 BIG EAST) in the BIG EAST Tournament’s championship game March 9 in Hartford Civic Center. Rutgers received votes in last week’s Associated Press (13, 35th) and ESPN/USA Today/WBCA Coaches Top 25 (18, 33rd) Polls (March 8). Junior All-American Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) leads the Scarlet Knights with 18.2 points and 4.3 assists per game. Junior 5-11 guard Chelsea Newton (Monroe, LA) has a 10.7 points-per-game average, while senior 5-9 guard Dawn McCullouch (Long Beach, CA) is adding 10.2 tallies per contest. Senior 6-3 forward Shalicia Hurns (Indianapolis, IN) leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game.
The Mocs are 28-2 overall and 20-0 in the Southern Conference this season following an 86-68 victory over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference Tournament title game on Saturday, March 6 to claim their fourth consecutive tournament crown. Chattanooga owns the longest active winning streak in the nation at 26 games. The Lady Mocs also own the nation’s top winning percentage at 93.9 percent and have won the most games in the country this season.
The 10th seed is the highest in the 21-year history of Southern Conference women’s basketball. The Lady Mocs have not lost a game all season in the friendly confines of McKenzie Arena, owning a 13-0 home record.
Chattanooga received votes in last week’s Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today/WBCA Coaches Top 25 Polls (March 8). Katasha Brown leads the Lady Mocs with 14.4. points per game. Tiffany Patton leads the team in rebounding with 6.0 rebounds per game. Rutgers has never faced Chattanooga before.
RU owns an overall NCAA Tournament record of 19-14 (.576). This is the second time that Rutgers has been a seven seed, and the second time that the Knights have played in the Midwest Region. RU has posted an 8-3 (.727) record when playing in the first round. In last year’s first round, the No. 4 Scarlet Knights defeated No. 13 Western Kentucky 64-52 in Athens, GA.
Since head coach C. Vivian Stringer came to “the Banks,” Rutgers has posted an 11-5 (.688) mark in its five NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Second Round (2001, 2003), Sweet Sixteen (1998), Elite Eight (1999) and Final Four (2000).
Every NCAA Tournament game is being shown on the ESPN family of networks. Please check your local listings for games and times. In addition, WCTC 1450 AM and WRSU 88.7 FM are broadcasting every Rutgers NCAA Tournament game.