NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Rutgers women’s basketball program handed out its year-end awards at its annual Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, April 13, at the New Brunswick Hyatt.
Sophomore Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) led the list of award winners, earning recognition as the team’s Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player.
Pondexter, a 5-9 sophomore guard, was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press after leading RU with 18.3 points and 4.9 assists per game, adding 5.1 rebounds per contest. The first rookie in conference history to earn first-team all-BIG EAST honors, she also was one of 12 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given each year to the top female point guard in Division I.
Senior Mauri Horton (Minneapolis, MN) received four honors – the Scholar-Athlete Award, the Cagers Club Award, the Collins Award, given each year to the student-athlete who made the most academic improvement from the previous season, and the Most Courageous Award. The 5-8 guard, a third-team all-BIG EAST selection, ranked second for RU with 11.5 points per game as the Scarlet Knights’ lone senior.
Sophomore Chelsea Newton (Monroe, LA) was named the team’s Best Defensive Player. The 5-11 guard was one of two Scarlet Knights to start every game this season, collecting 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a team-best 1.9 steals per contest.
Sophomore 6-4 center Rebecca Richman (Bronx, NY) was named the Most Improved Player, more than doubling her scoring average from last season. Freshman 6-0 forward Aquisha Cahoe (Philadelphia, PA) earned the Most Inspirational Award, while freshman 5-7 guard Courtney Locke (San Marcos, TX) received the Coaches’ Award. In addition, freshman Pei Chao (Somerset, NJ) was named the Manager of the Year.
Former RU point guard Janet Malouf also became the 24th individual to be inducted into the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Malouf was one the greatest point guards in Rutgers history, leading the Lady Knights to four NCAA Tournament berths (1986-89) and two Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championships (1987-88) while starting 125 of RU’s 129 games during her career “On the Banks.”
She established the Rutgers career (718) and single-season (209, 1986-87) assist records, marks that stayed atop the record charts for a dozen years. The team’s assists leader all four of her seasons, Malouf still holds the freshman (5.6 apg) class record at Rutgers, while her 202 career steals still rate ninth on the RU charts at the time of her induction.
A selection to the 1986 Atlantic 10 All-Freshman Team as well as the 1989 Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team, Malouf won a gold medal with the 1986 U.S. Select Team at the Jones Cup Tournament in Taiwan.
Rutgers finished the 2002-2003 season with a 21-8 overall record and a 13-3 mark in the BIG EAST Conference to finish second in the regular-season standings. The Scarlet Knights appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six years, advancing to the second round.