Previewing 5 incoming transfers for Rutgers heading into new season

Photo by Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez | The Daily Targum

Last season surely wasn’t the season Rutgers women's basketball fans were hoping for. After finishing 6-24 and going a dismal 3-13 in Big Ten conference games, head coach C. Vivian Stringer described the season as “gut-wrenching.”

But many factors played a part in last season’s shortcomings. Three-year starter and leading scorer Tyler Scaife sat out with a medical redshirt, as well as five transfer players due to NCAA transfer rules.

If one thing is for sure, it’s that the Scarlet Knights have a new-look this season, with a roster bolstered with transfers who are now ready to hit the court and make an impact.

Nigia Greene

Greene is a graduate student from the University of Miami, playing in a competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). While at Miami, she was a three-year starter since her sophomore season and shot 37.1 percent from three-point range during her senior season. The 5-foot-10-inch guard should bring valuable experience over to Rutgers and is a phenomenal ball handler, only turning the rock over seven times in her junior season.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick

“Fitz,” as her teammates like to call her, is a graduate transfer from St. Joseph's. The 5-foot-9-inch guard is the definition of a three-point specialist, leading St. Joe's in three-pointers made (57) during her junior season, as well as during her sophomore season (53). 

"We needed the outside shooting,” said Stringer. “Anyone who has ever come into the gym sees her practicing all day every day, night and day, working on her shot. She's going to be able to help us in a big way." 

Fitzpatrick is averaging 7.1 points per game in her career but once dropped a career-high 26 points against Rhode Island during her junior season. As well as leading St. Joe's in three-pointers, she also led their team in free throw percentage both her sophomore and junior seasons, shooting .906 and .833 from the charity stripe, respectively. 

After sitting out last season, Fitzpatrick is eager to get back on the court. 

“I can’t wait to finally play and represent the best program and best university in the country,” she said. “Committing to play for Rutgers and coach Stringer is my proudest basketball moment.”

Stasha Carey

Carey is a junior transferring from Pitt and one of the Knights's most impressive transfers. During her two seasons at Pitt, she averaged 9.4 points per game as well as 7.3 rebounds per game. Carey is a “can-do-it-all” type of player, working her way up in the Pitt record books in multiple categories. 

During her freshman season, Carey "finished with the fourth most rebounds by a freshman in program history (245), the second most blocks (47), and the fifth most steals (48)," according to the Rutgers women's basketball roster website.

“She's 6-foot-2 and can shoot at the 3-point range," Stringer said. "She is able to go inside and her moves are tight. Lots of big people have a whole lot of space to operate, but as soon as they move outside the space they drop the ball or whatever. She is very uncanny in that respect."

Carey also comes with NCAA Tournament experience, playing in a game her freshman season where she posted a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Carey is an extremely valuable addition to the Knights, as she is a tenacious rebounder as well as someone who you can count on for 10-plus points in every game.

Caitlin Jenkins 

A 6-foot-3-inch junior, Jenkins played her freshman season at Southern Mississippi before playing her sophomore season at Southern University at Shreveport. During her freshman season, she averaged a double-double, posting 12.2 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game. While at Southern Mississippi, she was named Second Team All-Conference USA as well as being named to the All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams.

Ciani Cryor 

Cryor is a 5-foot-5-inch sophomore point guard from Georgia Tech. During her freshman season at Georgia Tech, she averaged 5.7 points per game, 2.4 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game. She played in 29 games and made 12 starts, including one game where she dropped a career-best 19 points against Notre Dame. 

“She's going to add quickness, and that again helps us with that '55,'” Stringer said, on Cryor's utility in Stringer's signature "55" press defense.

Clearly, building team chemistry is going to be the greatest challenge, but Stringer doesn’t feel worried. 

“The difference maybe with this group is so many of them have been here on campus and have been able to practice with the team. It will be different,” she said.

If Rutgers wants to make a run at the NCAA Tournament this season, something it has achieved only one time in the last four seasons, it's going to have to win 20-plus games, a daunting task considering last season’s failures. Having a hall of fame coach like Stringer at the wheel should at least ease the growing pains of this new-look Knights program.