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The Next Chapter Starts
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? Nearly 100%.

Key Events: Commencements
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
Graduating Seniors:

Dana Boonen
Linda Miles
Tasha Pointer
Tammy Sutton-Brown

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

WNBA representative Renee Brown prepares players for the WNBA draft
» watch the video

Tasha Pointer and Tammy Sutton-Brown attend WNBA draft day

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.
» view article

“Sparks claim first WNBA title” by Beth Harris, The Associated Press 9/17/03 An account of Tammy’s play in the final game.
» view article

WBL Basketball Pioneers: Mariah Burton Nelson Q&A
Nelson talks about playing in the first, and short-lived, professional women’s basketball league, the WBL.
» view article

“NCAA Division I graduation rates rise to 62 percent; increase attributed to increased eligibility standards”
NCAA press release 9/02/03
Graduation rates for Division I athletes, including statistics from 2001.
» view article

“Playing the agent game” The NCAA News & Features 5/27/02
Chart shows statistical chances of becoming a professional athlete.
» view article

Related links:

Eligible Draft Prospects, as of April 19, 2001

2001 WNBA Draft Board – Complete Draft Results

History of professional women’s basketball.

Official site for the WNBA

Official site for NCAA Women’s Basketball

Rutgers’ links to articles from the 2000-2001 Season’ (New Jersey’s Home on the Internet) archive of Rutgers’ basketball stories for 2001

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