Midnight Madness, that’s what they call the first official practice
in NCAA basketball. The Scarlet Knights make the tradition their own
by respelling it as MidKnight Madness. All over the country, bands
play, fans cheer, and the players respond in kind. Not a game has been
played; everybody’s just getting psyched, drumming up the spirit
needed to prevail in the season ahead.
Prevailing looked possible for the Scarlet Knights as they entered
the 2000-01 season. In Division I’s crowded field, they were
ranked #4. That sounded impressive to everyone but some of the true
competitors on Stringer’s team. To them that ranking should
be, it would be: Number One. No wonder they titled their media guide “Mission:
But for all the noise and flash of Midknight Madness, the real first
practice was quietly intense. The players gathered on the sidelines
beneath a legacy hanging in the rafters: The jerseys of former Scarlet
Knights gone pro, and the NCAA tournament banners for 1999 and 2000.
Pressure? Did you say pressure? Coach Stringer’s first words
to her team were an FYI on preparation: “What we are about
to embark on is going to be a very long journey,” she said.
And it wouldn’t be easy. Between first practice and the first
official game, the Scarlet Knights would lose one of their best players
to injury, and senior Linda Miles would be suspended for attitude
October 13: It’s Midnight Madness
Freshman Mandy Clark makes a big first splash by
strutting around the court wearing a mask from the movie “Scream” while
her teammates perform a choreographed dance.
October 14:First Official Practice
Coach Stringer begins by telling her students that they
are on a world-class team.
Tasha Pointer’s First Practice Since
Wearing goggles because she still has occasional blood
in her eye, Tasha nonetheless plans to play in the season opener
on November 17.
Freshman Tattoos in the News
A local paper interviews freshmen Mandy Clark, Dawn McCulloch
and Nikki Jett. It reports the team is counting on them to fill
the shoes of the departed Stewart and Gilmore. The article also
describes Clark’s and McCulloch’s tattoos: Clark’s
right arm shows a bulldog dunking; McCulloch’s has a basketball
with the number 35 inside it.
October 18: Justin Stringer Recovering
ESPN reports that recovery is going well for Justin Stringer,
Coach Stringer’s 16 year old son. “I am extremely grateful
to the Lord because He really spared Justin’s life.” Coach
Stringer says. She also admits that it has been a challenge concentrating
on basketball since Justin was injured.
November 9: Stringer Elected to Women’s
Basketball Hall of Fame.
A member of the Hall’s third induction class, some whisper
that Stringer should have been elected last year, because her record
was better than some others who were selected at the time.
November 10: Doctors Order Fowler to Sit Out Indefinitely
Christina Fowler, one of the team’s best “pure” shooters,
suffers two concussions in one month just before the
season starts. Fowler was a recipient of the Coca-Cola Classic Scholar-Athlete
in the 1999-00 season.
Coach Stringer speaks at first practice
» watch the video
The Scarlet Knights meet the press
» watch the video
“Stringer’s son ‘doing
very well’” by
Associated Press ESPN.com 10/18/00 Stringer admits she
has not been “in
tune” with her team.
“Pointer playing again after vision scare” by Associated
Press ESPN.com 10/18/01 Pointer details shooting and her recovery
“Rutgers’ Flagship Team Ready to Set Sail For Title” by
Harvey Yavener The Trenton Times 10/20/00 Linda Miles fantasizes
openly about beating UConn and cutting down the net as the winner
of the Final Four:
“Stringer, Grentz heading to hall” by Greg Tufaro Home
News Tribune 11/9/00 Stringer and her predecessor at Rutgers, Theresa
Grentz, are elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame” in
“Pointer sees it all clearly now” by Kelly Whiteside
USA Today 11/10/00 Pointer recounts her shooting and talks of the
“Stringer fights off tragedies” by Kelly Whiteside USA
Today 11/10/00 Stringer discusses coping.
“Trio of freshmen grows close” by Greg Tufaro Home
News Tribune 11/10/00 Mandy, Dawn and Nikki talk about filling the big
shoes of last year’s seniors.
Home of the NCAA
Playing season and practice hours for scholarship athletes
Basketball Hall of Fame
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