The Scarlet Knights did not get the national championship
they hoped for in 2001, but they could still be proud. They had
a 20-win season, including their upset of #1 Notre Dame. Coach
Stringer received her third consecutive nomination for Naismith
Coach of the Year; All-Stars Tasha Pointer and Tammy Sutton-Brown
both scored over 1,000 career points, and several other players
recorded personal bests.
But a record-making career in college sports did not protect the
seniors of the Scarlet Knights from the question that nags every
matriculating college student: What next?
Very, very few athletes get to play professionally. The NCAA reported
1.9% of college players went pro in basketball in 2002. For women
basketballers in particular, only the most recent decades have offered
any jobs at all. At least six different professional leagues for
women have been started since 1975; few survive. The WNBA, arguably
the best-known, started only in 1997 and continues to struggle. Several
of Coach Stringer’s players were eligible and interested, but
their experiences have varied widely.
That is why the best coaches, like C. Vivian Stringer, say their
job is never just about basketball, it is about educating their players
in life’s bigger picture. And that is why another statistic
is equally important, and not to be taken for granted: the graduation
rate. The national average in 2001 for women basketball players,
according to the NCAA, was 65%. Coach Stringer’s rate in 2001?
April 5 – 7: WNBA Combine
Tasha Pointer, Tammy Sutton-Brown, and roughly 100
hundred other women basketball players go to Chicago for three
invitation-only days of media interviews and scrimmages in front
of the 16 coaches of the professional WNBA. What the coaches
see will determine who gets picked on Draft Day.
April 20: WNBA Draft Day
Only 64 of the 100 women who competed at the Combine
wind up being drafted. Adding to the buzz: For the first time
in the WNBA’s five year history, Draft Day is televised.
Tammy Sutton-Brown is drafted by the Charlotte Sting in the in
the second round (No. 18 overall).
Tasha Pointer is drafted by the Portland Fire in the fourth round.
She will compete with Jackie Stiles for a spot on the team.
May 2: WNBA Training Camps open.
May 11: Tasha Cut from Portland Fire
May 17: Rutgers’ Commencement
May 28: WNBA Season Tip-Off
September 1: Tammy Plays WNBA Finals
Tammy Sutton-Brown is the highest scoring player on
the Sting in the final game of the playoffs. The Sting lose to
the LA Sparks, 82-54. Tammy ends the year third among WNBA rookies
in field goal percentage (49.0), and third in blocked shots (1.34).
October 12: Stringer Starts Another Season
WNBA representative Renee Brown prepares players for the WNBA draft
» watch the video
Tasha Pointer and Tammy Sutton-Brown attend WNBA draft day
» watch the video
“Women's pro basketball wins fans
all its own”
By Justin Brown Special to The Christian Science Monitor 7/19/02
The state of the WNBA, summer 2002.
claim first WNBA title” by Beth Harris, The
Associated Press USAToday.com 9/17/03 An account of
play in the final game.
Basketball Pioneers: Mariah Burton Nelson Q&A
Nelson talks about playing in the first, and short-lived,
professional women’s basketball league, the WBL.
“NCAA Division I graduation rates
rise to 62 percent; increase attributed to increased eligibility
NCAA press release 9/02/03
Graduation rates for Division I athletes, including statistics
“Playing the agent game” The
NCAA News & Features
Chart shows statistical chances of becoming a professional
Eligible Draft Prospects, as of April 19, 2001
2001 WNBA Draft
Board – Complete Draft Results
History of professional
Official site for the WNBA
site for NCAA Women’s Basketball
to articles from the 2000-2001 Season
Injersey.com’ (New Jersey’s Home on the Internet) archive
of Rutgers’ basketball stories for 2001