On Thursday, December 1 Sky guard Cappie Pondexter will be at the Rutgers Athletic Center to watch the Scarlet Knights take on Duke. It will be a particularly special night for Pondexter, as Rutgers University will be retiring her No. 25 jersey at halftime of the game. The jersey retirement, just the third in Rutgers history, marks the coronation of an excellent college career for Pondexter – Rutgers’ second-leading all-time scorer.
When Pondexter arrived at Rutgers in 2002, she made an immediate impact. Her freshman season saw her average a Rutgers freshman single-season record 18.3 points per game en route to a 21-8 record, just one season after Rutgers finished 9-20. Pondexter also dished out 4.9 assists per game, which was third-most all-time for a Rutgers freshman. Her contributions helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament and led to Pondexter being just the second Scarlet Knight to receive the Big East Rookie of the Year Award.
The 2003-04 season saw more of the same for Pondexter, as she averaged 17.9 points per game, second-most all-time for a Rutgers sophomore. Additionally, Pondexter proved herself to be a defensive threat, averaging 1.8 steals per game. Unfortunately for Rutgers, the season ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 74-69 loss to Chattanooga.
Pondexter’s junior season got off to a delayed start, after she missed most of nonconference play for personal reasons. By the time Big East play rolled around, though, Pondexter was locked in and ready to go for the Scarlet Knights, averaging 14.7 points per game and leading Rutgers to a 14-2 record in conference play. The team finished as the runner-up in the Big East Tournament and was awarded a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Pondexter led the team to victories in their first three games before they fell to top-ranked Tennessee in the Elite Eight. Pondexter’s contributions didn’t go unnoticed, however, as she was named the Philadelphia Regional’s Most Outstanding Player, averaging 24 points in Rutgers’ four games. The Elite Eight appearance was Rutgers’ first since 2000 and just the third in school history.
Pondexter’s college career ended with a bang, as the Scarlet Knights went 27-5 in her senior season, including a perfect 16-0 in Big East play. Pondexter’s level of play surged, as well, as she averaged 21.6 points per game, the fourth-best single-season mark in Rutgers history. And she recorded the school’s fifth-ever 40-point game against South Florida on January 11, 2006. The 2005-06 season also saw Pondexter become just the second-ever Scarlet Knight to eclipse the 2,000-career point threshold, finishing her career with 2,211 points. Pondexter became the first (and only) Rutgers player to be named Big East Player of the Year following the season and was also named the 2006 Women’s Basketball News Service National Player of the Year. The Scarlet Knights were, once again, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They won their first two games before falling to Tennessee in the Sweet Sixteen. Pondexter finished her career second all-time in Rutgers history in scoring (2,211 points), first in three-point percentage (.426) sixth in assists (470) and sixth in free throw percentage (.792).