Monday, February 14, 2005
By Mike Ballard
RAPTOR OF THE WEEK
Sophomore guard Kelly Stafford turned in a pair of fine performances during a 1-1 week for the Rutgers-Camden women’s basketball team. She collected a game-high 21 points her season high in a loss at Richard Stockton College Feb. 9, then scored 13 points and had a carer-high and game-high eight assists in a 79-70 victory over Kean University Feb. 12. She added three steals in that game, one shy of her career high.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (7-17/2-13)
The Lady Raptors used Senior Day to end their nine-game losing streak as they outlasted Kean University, 79-70, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game Feb. 12 in Camden.
Freshman guard Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional) collected 14 points to lead five Rutgers-Camden players in double figures, and junior center Megan Rulon (Sewell, NJ/Clearview Regional) added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
The Lady Raptors also recognized their lone player who will be graduating this spring, guard/forward Lisa Geiger (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester), who is a senior academically despite having junior eligibility. She is a three-year letterwinner for the Raptors after missing the entire season during her first year in college due to an injury.
Rutgers-Camden built a 40-36 halftime lead as Geiger had nine points and Hafiz added eight in the opening half. For Kean, freshman forward Chi Clark had 10 points and freshman forward Kimberly Smith added eight in the opening 20 minutes, which featured six lead changes and three ties.
The Lady Raptors opened up a 46-36 lead with the first three field goals of the second half, but Kean rattled off 11 straight points to take its last lead of the night, 47-46. Rutgers-Camden followed with an 18-6 run, sparked and capped by field goals from Rulon, to take the lead for good.
In addition to Hafiz and Rulon, sophomore guard Kelly Stafford (Gloucester City, NJ/Gloucester) notched 13 points and a career-high eight assists for the Raptors, while Geiger and junior forward Carmen Zimmitt (Woodstown, NJ/Woodstown) had 12 points apiece. Hafiz added five steals and Zimmitt had eight rebounds.
Stafford’s old high for assists was six, accomplished twice, most recently against Lincoln Jan. 8.
For Kean, Smith finished with a game-high 18 points and added nine rebounds. Freshman forward Brittany Cleveland notched a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Clark finished with 13 points, while senior guard Missy Magyar had 12 points, five assists, four steals and six rebounds.
In their other game of the week, the Lady Raptors saw Richard Stockton College senior forward Takisha Pride collect a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to lead the Ospreys over Rutgers-Camden, 67-51, in Pomona Feb. 9.
Junior forward Lisa Zak and sophomore guard Jenna Shenk paced four Ospreys in double figures with 12 points apiece. Pride notched 11 en route to her sixth double-double of the season and sophomore forward Alicia Morris added 10.
Morris and junior forward Krystle Umscheid also added nine rebounds for Stockton, which had a commanding 55-35 advantage off the boards.
Stockton held the Lady Raptors scoreless for the first 7:26 while racing out to an 18-0 lead. The Ospreys held the Raptors to 4-for-25 shooting (16.0 percent) from the floor in the first half while building a 41-17 halftime lead. Stockton went 16-for-40 (40.0 percent) from the floor, including 3-for-5 (60.0) from three-point range, in the opening 20 minutes.
Rutgers-Camden fought back in the second half behind Stafford, who scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the second half. The Raptors opened the second half with a 21-5 run to cut Stockton’s lead to 46-41. Stafford later sank a free throw to slice the Raptors’ deficit to 51-48 before Richard Stockton College pulled away and coasted to its 16-point win.
In addition to Stafford, freshman guard Krystal Jankowski (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) tied career highs with one blocked shot and a game-high four assists, while Zimmitt blocked a shot and had five steals, tying career highs in both categories. Zimmitt and Jankowski also tied for the team high with six rebounds apiece.
MEN’S BASKETBALL (2-22/0-16)
The Scarlet Raptors dropped a pair of New Jersey Athletic Conference games last week as their losing streak stretched to 12 games. Rutgers-Camden lost at Richard Stockton College, 89-66, Feb. 9 and dropped an 83-66 home decision against Kean University Feb. 12.
Junior forward Armet Coles scored a game-high 25 points and added a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double to power Kean over the Raptors in Rutgers-Camden’s final home game of the year. During the Senior Day festivities, the Scarlet Raptors recognized four players and a manager who are completing their Rutgers-Camden basketball careers: senior guard Tyrone Rucker (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken), a four-year letterman and team captain, senior center/forward William Jarett Mutts (Vineland, NJ/Bridgeton), senior guard Paul Smith (Vineland, NJ/Vineland), whose eligibility expired last semester, and guard Paul Turkot (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township), who has junior eligibility but will graduate this spring. Also honored was Wilma Cangieter (Hackensack, NJ/Hackensack), who has served as the men’s basketball team manager for four years and also was a member of the track and field program (2002) and volleyball programs (2000 and 2001) at Rutgers-Camden.
In a first half which featured six lead changes and two ties, Kean held a 40-36 lead at the break aided by 15 points from Coles and 10 by junior forward B.J. Hamby. For the Raptors, freshman guard Kenny Yu (Queens, NY/Townsend Harris) collected 14 points in the opening half, tying his career high he had against Hood College Nov. 20. Yu finished with a career-high 21 points and tied his career highs of four assists and two steals.
After Rutgers-Camden tied the game at 42-42 early in the second half, Kean took the lead for good, 44-42, on a layup by Coles. That field goal triggered a 20-1 run by the Cougars, giving Ken a commanding 62-43 lead midway through the half.
Hamby finished with 19 points for the Cougars, while junior guard Tan Kesler added 14. Kean’s junior guard Danny Del Valle, who entered this week tied for 32nd nationally among all Division III players in steals per game (2.5 spg), finished with five steals and nine assists, both game-high totals.
En route to his career point high, Yu shot 6-for-8 from the floor, including a torrid 5-for-6 from three-point range. He also added four steals.
Rucker went 6-for-13 from three-point range and finished with 18 points for the Raptors, while sophomore guard/forward Dane Nicholson (Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit) had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
In their opening game of the week, Richard Stockton College senior center Brian Hiltner collected a double-double with game-high totals of 17 rebounds and 21 points, including his 1,000th career point, to power the Ospreys over the Scarlet Raptors, 89-66, in a Pomona Feb. 9.
Hiltner, who started his collegiate career at Rutgers-Camden during the 2000-01 season before transferring to Stockton, became the 18th Osprey player to reach the 1,000-point plateau and collected his 10th double-double of the season.
Five other Stockton players reached double figures, including junior forward Tobias Smith, who scored 14 points. Junior guard Chris Jones and freshman guard Mario Lancioni each scored 13 points, while senior guard Jose Rodriguez and sophomore guard Kris Polk each added 11 points.
With Rutgers-Camden holding a 17-14 lead, Lancioni ignited a 21-0 run with six consecutive points. He finished the first half with 11 of his 13 points as the Ospreys took a 42-24 halftime lead.
Rutgers-Camden received 18 points from Nicholson and freshman guard Amir Fantroyal (Sicklerville, NJ/Timber Creek). The 18 points were a career high for Fantroyal, whose previous high was 17 against Ramapo Dec. 4, 2004. That 18-point total also was significant for Nicholson, pushing the sophomore over 500 points for his career. He finished the two-game week at 520 career points.
Rucker added 14 points for the Raptors, while Yu had a career-high seven rebounds (passing his old mark of five, established three times) and tied his career high of four assists.
When the Rutgers University-Camden softball team opens its season March 8 with a home doubleheader against Neumann College, the Lady Raptors will be in a new position.
For the first time in program history, Rutgers-Camden is the defending New Jersey Athletic Conference champion. The Raptors also enter their 2005 season with another Rutgers-Camden first: they have been named No. 16 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Pre-season Top 25, marking the program’s debut in that poll.
Rutgers-Camden, which posted a school-record 36-11 season last year, returns seven letterwinners from its championship squad, including the pitching combination of junior Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, NJ/Haddon Heights), the NJAC Player of the Year, and senior Becky Johnson (Bridgeton, NJ/Cumberland Regional). Schlichtig and Johnson combined to post a 0.59 team ERA as Rutgers-Camden captured the NCAA Division III team ERA championship. It was the second ERA crown for the Raptors in three seasons, as pitcher Sarah O’Malley captured the individual NCAA Div. III title in 2002 with a 0.47 ERA.
The other returning letterwinners for NJAC Coach of the Year Carl Taylor include senior shortstop Celeste Chinappi (Bellmawr, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) and four sophomores: outfielders Autumn Millett (Richwood, NJ/Clearview Regional) and Tara Fisher (Upper Deerfield, NJ/Cumberland Regional), third baseman Alaina Giles (Willingboro, NJ/Holy Cross) and catcher Mo Baney (Deptford, NJ/Deptford).
Schlichtig, Chinappi, Millett, Baney and Johnson all earned First Team All-NJAC honors, while Schlichtig, Millett and Johnson were named to the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Regional all-tournament team. Schlichtig, Chinappi and Millett each earned All-ECAC Metro Honors, with Schlichtig also being named Co-Pitcher of the Year in the ECAC Metro region.