#27 Rutgers Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
#27 Rutgers Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
Rutgers Team Page


Rutgers boasted a very good team last year. They ended up going 12-6 in their debut season in the Big Ten and beat some very good teams day in and day out. A late slide that included a couple losses to Northwestern relegated Rutgers to an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Scarlet Knights did beat Seton Hall, but winning that eight/nine game left them matched up with Connecticut in the second round and that is never a good thing.

2014-15 Record: 23-10, 12-6
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: C. Vivian Stringer
Coach Record: 432-216 at Rutgers, 952-351 overall

Kaleah Copper is one of the best players in the Big Ten. The 6-1 wing averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. She has WNBA potential with her size and ability to attack the basket. A more consistent mid-range jumper would be ideal for the next level, but for now she will do plenty of scoring by getting to the charity stripe and finish inside the arc. Copper’s size is tough for Big Ten opponents to deal with, but she is not the only big player on the team. Rachel Hollivay, a 6-4 senior center, and Ariel Butts, a 6-3 senior center, both have plenty of experience. The Scarlet Knights also add Victoria Harris, a 6-3 freshman who is the highest regarded recruit in the class.

Despite those options in the frontcourt, Rutgers could have some problems on the glass now that Betnijah Laney and her 10.7 rebounds per game are gone. But the bigger issue is the team’s three-point shooting. The team connected on just 2.3 three-pointers per game, ranking among the worst teams in the nation in that category. Tyler Scaife is a fine guard and a very dangerous scorer inside the arc. She averaged 14.8 points per game, but made just ten three-pointers. Briyona Canty will run the point. She is not much of a scorer at all, but can effectively run the point. Cynthia Hernandez is by far the most productive and effective outside shooter on the team. The 5-7 senior made 27 three-pointers last year and could even step into the starting lineup this year if Coach C. Vivian Stringer wants to play small.

Final Projection:
Losing Alexis Burke, who was not granted a sixth year of eligibility, does hurt the depth a little. But newcomers like Khadaizha Sanders have potential to be difference makers. There are holes to fill and finding a shooter or two would be great, but this team won without hitting long balls last year and they can do it again. But it would help Copper get space if there were a few shooters on the floor.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Briyona Canty, Senior, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Cynthia Hernandez, Senior, Guard, 3.7 points per game
Tyler Scaife, Junior, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Kahleah Copper, Senior, Forward, 16.3 points per game
Rachel Hollivay, Senior, Center, 6.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.7 (87th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.2 (105, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (38, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.1 (45, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 2.3 (338, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (153, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (156, 12)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (139, 7)
Assists Per Game: 16.1 (24, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.4 (133, 8)

Madness 2016 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#18 Kahleah Copper

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#71 Victoria Harris
#78 Khadaizha Sanders


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