In the days surrounding the Scarlet Knights’ opening game, newspapers
played up the coming season with a mixture of stats, profiles and palm
reading. Rutgers had a shot at the national title, but key players
would have to mature, was the general thread. Nearly all the stories
mentioned Coach Stringer’s son Justin, still in recovery. Journalists
reported that seniors were helping run practices to make it easier
for Coach Stringer to care for him.
Coach Stringer’s life has been touched as much by family crisis
as by professional success. Her daughter Nina was disabled at an
early age. Her husband Bill died suddenly of a heart attack in 1992.
Her oldest son David had trouble with the law. Justin’s accident
became a reason for journalists to review these facts the same way
a new season triggered reminders that Stringer was a perennial Coach-of-the-Year.
As new grief mixed with old in the press, Coach Stringer spoke in
interviews of anguish, spiritual faith, and how basketball provided
her with a refuge.
The players, for their part, claimed to be inspired by watching
Coach Stringer cope with her crisis while running the
team. But Coach Stringer wasn’t impressed. She saw a half-hearted
effort dogging both games and practices. By winter break,
she had suspended two
freshman and senior Linda Miles — again — for attitude
November 17: “Unacceptable” Opening
Rutgers beats California by 19 points, but Coach
Stringer tells her team their performance was "unacceptable." They
must learn to step up now if they want a chance with the real
November 26: Fourth Classic Title
Rutgers takes its fourth consecutive RU Coca-Cola Classic
title, beating George Washington 81-54. Karlita Washington scores
December 3: First Loss
Coach Stringer looks prophetic when nationally ranked
Georgia whips her team 82-53.
December 6: RU Wins Big East Opener
Tasha Pointer is the high scorer, Linda Miles the leading
rebounder as the Big East Conference schedule officially begins.
December 8: Struggling to Win
Rutgers, now ranked 7th, doesn’t take the lead until the second
half. After the game, words like “selfish,” “lazy,” and “uncommunicative,” (among
the ones we can print) are thrown around the locker room.
December 12: Freshman Suspensions
Mandy and Nikki are kicked off the team for not showing
enough effort in practice. Coach says she can forgive a lack of
skill, but not a lack of will. This has big repercussions: The
two players will lose their scholarship. But Coach must do it out
of fairness to other players.
December 21: Nikki Returns
Nikki’s back, and Rutger’s humiliates St Joseph’s
80-38. Mandy watches from the sidelines.
December 22: Mandy Returns
Just before Christmas break, Mandy declares herself ready
to practice, and the team votes her back on.
December 29: Another Significant Loss
Rutgers’ place among the top teams is questionable after it
loses to 19th ranked Florida.
Coach Stringer sets the bar a little higher
» watch the video
Stringer on her family
» watch the video
“Stringer Turns to the Court and Finds Refuge from Misfortune” by
Ron Dicker The New York Times 11/17/00 Stringer talks about what
keeps her going.
“Rutgers waits for Lion’s roar” by Greg Tufaro
Home News Tribune 11/17/00 Rutgers tries to bring the lion out in
Olympian Tammy Sutton-Brown.
“For Rutgers, National Title Is
Within Grasp” by Brian
Falzarano North Jersey.com’s Herald News 11/17/00 Stringer’s
Awesome Foursome help keep the team on course.
“Post-concussion symptoms keep Fowler on sideline” by
Greg Tufaro Home News Tribune 12/8/00 Fowler discusses her frustration.
Big East Conference
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