NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Rutgers women’s basketball program recognized the accomplishments of the 2003-2004 team at its annual Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet April 18 at the New Brunswick Hyatt.
Junior Chelsea Newton (Monroe, LA) led the list of award winners, earning recognition as the team’s Most Valuable Player, Most Courageous Player and Most Inspirational Player. A 5-11 guard, Newton started 20 of the 21 games she played in this season, ranking second for the Scarlet Knights in scoring (11.0 ppg), assists (3.1 apg) and steals (1.6 spg). The Cagers Club also created a new annual honor, the Chelsea Newton Scarlet Heart Award, and presented it to its namesake.
Junior Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) was named the team’s Best Offensive Player after leading the Knights with 17.9 points, 4.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game. The 5-9 guard earned All-America honors from the Associated Press (third team), Full Court Press (third team) and Kodak/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (honorable mention). A finalist for three national player-of-the-year awards (Wooden Women’s Award, State Farm Wade Trophy and Naismith) as well as this year’s Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard), Pondexter also was named to the 2004 Kodak/WBCA All-Region 1 Team, was unanimously selected to this year’s All-BIG EAST First Team, and earned a spot on the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team after averaging a tourney-best 23.3 points per game in leading RU to a runner-up finish.
Senior Dawn McCullouch (Long Beach, CA) was named the team’s Best Defensive Player and received the Cagers Club Award. The 5-9 guard averaged 10.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest, earning spots on the BIG EAST and Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Teams.
Junior Rebecca Richman (Bronx, NY) was honored as the winner of the Scholar-Athlete Award. Richman, a 6-4 center, posted averages of 4.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game. Sophomore Michelle Campbell (Princeton, NJ) was named the team’s Most Improved Player. The 6-2 forward started 28 of 33 games, averaging 7.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Senior 6-3 forward Shalicia Hurns (Indianapolis, IN) received the Coaches Award after posting 7.8 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per contest. Junior 6-2 forward Mariota Theodoris (Riviera Beach, FL) was the winner of the Kevin Collins Award, given annually to the most improved student-athlete. Junior Jarvis Smith (St. Louis, MO) and sophomore Pei Chao (Somerset, NJ) were named the Managers of the Year.
Former RU standout Liz Hanson (1992-96) also became the 25th member of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Hanson was one of the most accurate outside shooters in Rutgers history, finishing her career second on the three-point field-goal percentage (100-280, .357) chart. Hanson also completed her career tied for first in steals (287), second in three-point field goals made, three-point field goals attempted and free-throw percentage (356-440, .809), third in both assists (474) and free throws made, sixth in free throws attempted, and ninth in scoring (1,413). She established the RU single-season steals record (117, 1993-94), a total that remains the highest single-season mark in Scarlet Knight history, men’s or women’s.
Hanson helped lead the Scarlet Knights to two Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament titles (1993-94) and a pair of NCAA Tournament berths during her time “On the Banks,” earning first-team all-Atlantic 10 honors as a sophomore (1993-94). A member of the 1994 and 1995 Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Teams, she twice was a member of the Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team (1994-95), earned a spot on the 1994-95 Atlantic 10 All-Second Team, and won a bronze medal at the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival as a member of the East Team.
The Scarlet Knights (21-12, 10-6 BIG EAST) advanced to their sixth NCAA Championship in the last seven years, and finished as the runners-up at the 2004 BIG EAST Championship.