Tonight as part of the ACC-Big Ten challenge against powerhouse Duke, RU alum and WNBA all-time great Cappie Pondexter will have her number 25 retired. Fitting because one of the biggest wins in program history came in the 2007 regional semifinals against the top seeded Blue Devils. The Scarlet Knights avenged an embarrassing 40 point loss to the same Duke squad in the first home game after Cappie had graduated.
Pondexter had a tremendous career on the banks (as evidenced by her name appearing 120 times in the current media guide), leading the team in scoring, FT%, and to the NCAA tournament all four years, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice plus Elite 8 once. They won back to back Big East titles her junior and senior years, including a perfect 16-0 conference record in ‘05-’06. She also mentored many of the players that would go on to be national runner up the following season.
Statistically in her Rutgers career all-time, she scored over 2,000 points (2nd all-time at RU), is 6th in assists, 10th in steals, 2nd in FT made, 4th in Three point field goals made, 6th in FT%, and 1st in 3-point %. For single-season, her senior year total is 4th highest for points and scoring average, 7th in FGM, 5th in FTM, 5th in 3s made, and 1st in 3-point %. She’s also one of only three Lady Scarlet Knights to score 40 points in a game (Sue Wicks and Alicia Sheeler the others). She has the highest freshman scoring average in program history.
In terms of accolades to list just some of them; she was the 2005 NCAA Tournament Philadelphia Region Most Outstanding Player, 2006 Kodak All-American, 4 time 1st Team All-Big East (the first player to do so), National Player of the Year finalist twice (‘04 & ‘06), and the 2006 Women’s Basketball News Service National Player of the Year. She was an AP First Team All-American in 2006.
After leaving RU, basketball has taken Pondexter around the world in international play for the USA (winning the 2008 Olympic gold), the Turkish league, and the Russian league. Her teams won the Russian league 3 consecutive years and Turkish league title once.
Nationally, she was selected 2nd overall by Phoenix in the 2006 WNBA Draft. As a rookie, she was named to the Western Conference WNBA all star team, the first of seven all-star appearances. She won two WNBA titles including Finals in MVP award in 2007. She was listed as one of the 20 greatest players in league history in it’s 20th season anniversary. Statistically, in the history of the WNBA, she ranks 5th in points, 8th in assists, 11th in 3-pointers made, 8th in free throws made, and 6th in free throw percentage.
Congrats Cappie! We hope this accolade is better than the Shooting Stars, even if it is not quite as cool as a Gold Medal, or a title in 3 different leagues.