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Fall Season

A Tough Start
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 problems.

Key Events: Official Season, Fall
November 17: “Unacceptable” Opening Win
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 competition ahead.

November 26: Fourth Classic Title
Rutgers takes its fourth consecutive RU Coca-Cola Classic title, beating George Washington 81-54. Karlita Washington scores 20 points.

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.




Record for this period: 8 wins 2 losses

Coach Stringer sets the bar a little higher

Coach Stringer sets the bar a little higher
» watch the video

Stringer on her family

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’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.

Related links:

Big East Conference

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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