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College Basketball:
Raptor of the Week: Imani Hafiz

Monday, January 29, 2007

By Mike Ballard
RutgersCamden Sports Correspondent

Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional)

Junior guard Imani Hafiz averaged 22.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 steals during a pair of New Jersey Athletic Conference games last week. Her biggest game came in a 69-60 win over Ramapo Jan. 27 in Camden, when she notched a career-high 26 points, including 10-for-12 from the foul line. She went 7-for-7 from the line in the last three minutes to help the Raptors post the win. She also added seven rebounds, a game-high seven steals and three assists. In a loss at No. 21-ranked Kean on Jan. 24, Hafiz collected a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds, while tying for game-high honors with five steals.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (7-11 overall//2-6 NJAC)

Wed. 24 Kean University 82, Rutgers-Camden 48
Sat. 27 Rutgers-Camden 69, Ramapo College 60

Upcoming Games

Mon. 29 Brooklyn College 7 p.m.
Wed. 31 at Richard Stockton College 6 p.m.

Sat. 3 at New Jersey City University 6 p.m.
Wed. 7 Rowan University 6 p.m.
Mon. 12 at Gwynedd-Mercy College 7 p.m.
Wed. 14 at The College of New Jersey 6 p.m.
Sat. 17 Kean University 1 p.m.

The Rutgers-Camden women’s basketball team split a pair of New Jersey Athletic Conference games during the week, losing on the road at powerful Kean University (82-48, Jan. 24) and bouncing back with a 69-60 home victory over Ramapo College (Jan. 27) to snap a three-game losing streak.

Junior guard Imani Hafiz (Franklinville, NJ/Delsea Regional) scored a career-high 26 points and junior guard Krystal Jankowski (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) had a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 19 rebounds to power Rutgers-Camden over Ramapo College.

The Lady Raptors scored the first six points of the game and held an 8-2 lead, aided by six straight points from Hafiz. Rutgers-Camden led by as many as 14 points in the opening half (28-14) before settling for a 32-21 halftime lead. Hafiz had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening half, while Jankowski had eight points and nine rebounds.

For Ramapo, freshman center Beth Weinmann had six points and five rebounds in the opening half.

Despite their lead, the Lady Raptors also entered halftime with three fouls apiece on Hafiz and Jankowski. Only 2:37 into the second half, both players had four fouls and sat for three minutes before playing most of the remainder of the game. Jankowski fouled out with 57.9 seconds remaining.

Ramapo took advantage of the Raptors’ foul trouble and roared back into the game. The Roadrunners tied the contest at 54-54 with 4:48 remaining on a three-pointer by senior guard Kelly Bartz. They took their lone lead of the game at 56-54 on a layup by Weinmann before the Lady Raptors bounced back.

Junior guard Jennifer Williams (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City) tied the game at 56-56 on a jumper with 3:49 remaining, then added a foul shot at 3:02 to give Rutgers-Camden the lead for good, 57-56.

The Raptors scored 10 of their last 12 points from the foul line, including 7-for-7 shooting by Hafiz and 3-for-4 from freshman guard Alexis Culbreath (Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Township). A field goal by Williams produced Rutgers-Camden’s only points from the floor in the last three minutes.

Hafiz went 10-for-12 from the foul line on her way to 26 points, which passed her previous high of 22 against Lincoln University (Jan. 8, 2005). She also added seven rebounds and a game-high seven steals.

Jankowski’s 19 rebounds – 13 off the defensive glass – passed her high of 15 against Valley Forge Christian (Nov. 28, 2005).

Ramapo received a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds from Weinmann, while Bartz had a team-high 16 points. Senior guard Keona Palmer had 14 rebounds and a game-high four assists for Ramapo. She added nine points.

In their first game of the week, the Lady Raptors were on the receiving end of a record-setting performance by Kean University sophomore guard Melissa Beyruti. She recorded a career-high 33 points, including a program record-setting nine three-pointers, as the Cougars toppled the Raptors, 82-48, in a NJAC game Jan. 24 in Union.

With her 27-point performance from behind the arc, Beyruti broke two Kean women’s basketball program records. Her record nine treys broke the previous mark of eight set by Janae Brumby in the 2003-2004 season. She also set the new standard for three-pointers in a season, breaking her own record set last season of 63. The nine treys raised Beyruti’s total to 70 this year.

The Cougars, who are ranked No. 21 nationally in both the and the USA Today ESPN Top 25 polls, improved to 17-1 overall and 7-0 in the NJAC.

Kean scored the first basket of the game and never trailed, building a 28-20 halftime lead. Beyruti led the way for Kean with eight points while senior Chi Clark chipped in with five points and five rebounds. For the Scarlet Raptors, Hafiz recorded six points and seven rebounds while junior guard Carmen Oyola (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) and sophomore forward Crystal Pezzano (Brockton, MA/Brockton) each had five.

The Cougars outscored the Raptors, 54-28, in the second half as they shot 21-for-45 (46.7 percent) from the floor in the final 20 minutes, including 7-for-16 (43.8) from three-point range. The Cougars extended their lead early in the second half on a 17-2 run during a span of 3:30. Beyruti led the attack with a trey at 17:11 and contributed six points in the span. Junior Chari’ Cooper also recorded six points in the run.

Cooper finished the night with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Clark recorded her own double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Hafiz led the Raptors with 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Senior forward Karen Carter (Pennsauken, NJ/Pennsauken) added six points to pass the 400-point plateau for her career, climbing to 404. Jankowski passed the 400-rebound plateau for her career, grabbing six boards to lift her total to 401.

MEN’S BASKETBALL (5-14 overall/ 1-7 NJAC)

Wed. 24 Kean University 80, Rutgers-Camden 49
Sat. 27 Ramapo College 71, Rutgers-Camden 67

Upcoming Games
Wed. 31 at Richard Stockton College 8 p.m.

Sat. 3 at New Jersey City University 8 p.m.
Mon. 5 at Eastern University 8 p.m.
Wed. 7 Rowan University 8 p.m.
Wed. 14 at The College of New Jersey 8 p.m.
Sat. 17 Kean University 3 p.m.

The Rutgers-Camden men’s basketball faced two of the top teams in the New Jersey Athletic Conference during the week. Although the Raptors went 0-2 in those games, they nearly pulled off a major upset against powerful Ramapo College before the Roadrunners held on for a 71-67 win in Camden Jan. 27. In their first game of the week, the Scarlet Raptors dropped an 80-49 decision at Kean University Jan. 24.

Sophomore forward Tim Wesley scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half to rally Ramapo past Rutgers-Camden.

Ramapo, which trailed 31-25 at halftime and was down by as many as 11 points three times in the second half (the last being at 59-48 with 7:09 remaining), went on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 63-63. Wesley had 10 points and two steals in that run to knot the game with 4:12 remaining.

With the score tied at 67-67, Ramapo took the lead for good on a rebound and putback by sophomore forward Kevin Findlay with 26 seconds remaining. Ramapo added its final points with six seconds remaining on a pair of foul shots by junior guard Ahmad Mosby.

The Roadrunners have won 25 of the last 29 games against Rutgers-Camden, including nine straight, and lead the all-time series, 35-12.

In addition to 19 points from Wesley, Mosby notched 16 points and senior guard Antoine Pryor added 15for Ramapo (15-4 overall and 6-2 in the NJAC). Wesley also added five steals to tie the Raptors’ freshman guard Joshua Askew (Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Township) for game-high honors.

For Rutgers-Camden, senior guard Dane Nicholson (Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit) had a game-high 29 points, including 5-for-8 shooting from three-point range and 6-for-6 shooting from the foul line. Nicholson also had six rebounds and four steals as he pushed his career total to 156 steals. He is one steal shy of the program record set by Marvin Young from 1977-81.

Nicholson’s 29 points also raised his career total to 1,074 as he moved into 11th place on the program’s list. He moved past both Phil Larsen (1953-57) and Keith Harris (1963-67), each of whom notched 1,053 points during their career. Nicholson’s next target is James Washington (1995-98), who scored 1,141.

Senior forward Sydney Francis (Camden, NJ/Woodrow Wilson) paced Rutgers-Camden with nine rebounds and added 18 points.

In their first game of the week, the Raptors saw Kean University junior guard Lamar Wright score 31 points and add nine rebounds to lead the Cougars to an 80-49 victory over visiting Rutgers-Camden Jan. 24.

Wright went 5-for-8 from three-point range and added three steals and two assists, as the Cougars (12-7 overall and 3-4 in the NJAC) snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Cougars led from the opening tip, as they raced out to an 11-0 lead just 2:49 into contest behind five points from senior forward Bryan Keller and four points from Wright. The Scarlet Raptors cut the deficit to one point at 22-21 on a three-pointer by Nicholson with just under 10 minutes left in the opening half. Kean answered back and scored 17 straight points and closed the half on a 20-4 run to take a 42-25 lead into halftime.

Wright led the Cougars with 18 first-half points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field, while Nicholson paced Rutgers-Camden with 11 points and two steals in the opening stanza.

In the second half, the Scarlet Raptors could only pull within 14 points at 44-30 with 17:45 remaining, as the Cougars led by double-digits throughout the final half on their way to the 31-point victory.

As a team, Kean recorded 23 assists on the team’s 31 field goals and outrebounded the Scarlet Raptors, 50-36. Keller, senior forward Brett Wyatt and senior guard Bryan Miller each dished out five assists, while Keller added 14 points in the victory. Miller finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Wyatt added eight points and nine rebounds.

For Rutgers-Camden, Nicholson notched 18 points and added five rebounds and two steals. Francis added a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors.


Fri. 27 Lebanon Valley College Indoor Track & Field Invitational


Rutgers-Camden Winners:
* Mike Fox, 800 M, 2:03.8
* Travis Stewart, 1,600 M, 4:50.2
* Men’s 4x800 Relay, 8:34.3

Rutgers-Camden School Records:
* 55 M, Patrick Eigbe, 6.8 (Old: Eigbe, 7.11, Feb. 19, 2006 at NJAC Indoor Championships)
* 1,600 M, Travis Stewart, 4:50.2 (first time competing in event)
* Triple Jump, Michael McClain, 33-7 (first time competing in event)
* Men’s 4x200, 1:42.7 (first time competing in event)
* Shot Put, Becca Taylor, 30-11 (Old: Taylor, 27-10.65, Jan. 19, 2007 at Collegeville Indoor Classic)

Upcoming Meets

Sat. 3 at Frank Colden Invitational (Ursinus College) 10 a.m.
Mon. 19 at NJAC Championships (John Bennett Indoor Athletic Center, Toms River) 4 p.m.

Fri. 2-
Sat. 3 at ECAC Championships @ Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Fri. 9-
Sat. 10 at NCAA Championships @ Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN)

Rutgers-Camden freshman Becca Taylor (Haddon Heights, NJ/Haddon Heights) and sophomore Patrick Eigbe (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) broke their own program records in the shot put and 55-meter dash, respectively, and the Scarlet Raptors set three more marks in first-time events as they competed in the Lebanon Valley College Indoor Track & Field Invitational Jan. 27 in Annville, Penn.

Taylor finished second with a shot put of 30-11 to break her own mark of 27-10.65 set Jan. 19 at the Collegeville Indoor Classic.

Eigbe also finished second in a time of 6.8 in the 55-meter dash finals, shortly after lowering his mark to 6.9 in qualifying. His old record of 7.11 had been set at the New Jersey Athletic Conference Indoor Championships Feb. 19, 2006.

The Rutgers-Camden men also established program marks at 1,600 meters, the triple jump and the 4x200 relay while competing in those events for the first time. The 2006-07 season is only the second indoor track season for Rutgers-Camden.

In the 1,600-meter run, sophomore Travis Stewart (Runnemede, NJ/Triton Regional) finished first in a record-setting time of 4:50.2. Sophomore Michael McClain (Sewell, NJ/Bishop Eustace Prep) set a mark of 33-7 while finishing fifth in the triple jump, and the men’s 4x200 relay team finished second in a 1:42.7 clocking.

Raptor junior Mike Fox (Hainesport, NJ/Rancocas Valley) also posted a win with a 2:03.8 clocking in the 800-meter run. Freshman teammate Frank Iwanicki (Edgewater Park, NJ/Holy Cross) finished third in that event in 2:07.2.

The Rutgers-Camden men also won the 4x800 relay (8:34.3) and finished third in the 4x400 relay (3:55.4).

In addition to his record-setting triple jump, McClain finished sixth in the long jump (15-11) and 13th in the 55-meter dash (7.7).

Sophomore Stefon Coleman (Penns Grove, NJ/Penns Grove) finished seventh at 200 meters (26.0) and fourth at 400 meters (56.9).

Eigbe also finished 12th at 200 meters (28.1), while sophomore Jonathan Salamon (Bridgewater, NJ/St. Joseph-Metuchen) was seventh at 5,000 meters (18:14.7). Sophomore Brandon Gordon (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township) was fourth at 1,600 meters (5:00.4) and freshman Akeem Lloyd (Atlantic City, NJ/Atlantic City) finished eighth at 1,600 meters (5:18.3).

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