Rutgers Women's Basketball 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Big East (22-9, 10-6)

Rutgers has had a couple earlier than hoped exits from the NCAA Tournament over the last couple of years. They won a game at least in the 2011 tournament, but met their end two days later in a blowout loss against eventually National Champions Texas A&M. This is a Rutgers team that has the talent to reach the Sweet Sixteen, but Coach C. Vivian Stringer will need her offense to be much more efficient than they have been during the regular season.

Big Wins: 11/25 vs Georgia Tech (59-40), 1/14 Louisville (71-68), 1/24 DePaul (65-64)
Bad Losses: 1/17 at St. John’s (57-62), 1/29 at Georgetown (36-54), 2/15 at West Virginia (50-60)
Coach: C. Vivian Stringer (17 seasons at Rutgers)

Why They Can Surprise:
Rutgers may not have the most efficient offense, but they make up for it with all-around solid defense. The key piece to the defense is 6-2 center Monique Oliver. She is a fine shot blocker and it takes a bigger, stronger post player to have much success in the paint when Oliver is on the floor. Oliver is also a very important scorer and rebounder for the Scarlet Knights. When she is scoring in the post, it creates room for guards April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan to shoot or slash to the basket. Sykes is the shooter on this team, but she is also a fine defender and a superb overall player who can do pretty much everything. Rushdan is the experienced point guard and can use her quickness to get to the basket and score or find her teammates.

Why They Can Disappoint:
But overall this is a pretty young team and a pretty bad shooting team. Syessence Davis, Betnijah Laney, Briyona Canty, Christa Evans and Shakena Richardson are all freshmen who are major contributors. There were times when Rutgers started four freshmen. What happens with those freshmen is what usually happens with talented freshmen. Sometimes they are great and sometimes they make mistakes. Sykes, Rushdan and other upperclassmen like Nikki Speed and Erica Wheeler have to lead by example in March or this could be another disappointingly short postseason for Rutgers.

Probable Starters:
Khadijah Rushdan, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg, 3.4 apg, 5.8 rpg
April Sykes, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 5.5 rpg
Syessence Davis, Freshman, Guard, 1.9 ppg, 1.0 apg
Betnijah Laney, Freshman, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Monique Oliver, Junior, Center, 11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.8 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Briyona Canty, Freshman, Guard, 2.9 ppg, 1.5 apg
Christa Evans, Freshman, Center, 0.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Shakena Richardson, Freshman, Guard, 2.2 ppg, 1.2 apg
Nikki Speed, Senior, Guard, 2.1 ppg, 1.5 apg
Erica Wheeler, Junior, Guard, 8.0 ppg, 1.5 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 61.7 (177th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.0 (39, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.5 (67, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.0 (23, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.2 (300, 14)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.5 (178, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (114, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (116, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.2 (100, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
Rutgers    2011    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Louisiana Tech
Rutgers    2011    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Texas A&M
Rutgers    2010    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Iowa
Rutgers    2009    NCAA        Round of 64 win over VCU
Rutgers    2009    NCAA        Round of 32 win over Auburn
Rutgers    2009    NCAA        Regional Semifinal loss to Purdue
Rutgers    2008    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Robert Morris
Rutgers    2008    NCAA        Round of 32 win over Iowa State
Rutgers    2008    NCAA        Regional Semifinal win over George Washington
Rutgers    2008    NCAA        Regional Final loss to Connecticut
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        Round of 64 win over East Carolina
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        Round of 32 win over Michigan State
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        Regional Semifinal win over Duke
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        Regional Final win over Arizona State
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        National Semifinal win over LSU
Rutgers    2007    NCAA        National Final loss to Tennessee

*all team stats through 3/1

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