C. Vivian Stringer walked into the tiny gym, a string of players in tow. Her eyes darted around the room, taking in the sweating walls and wooden bleachers.
She must be in the wrong place, she thought. Maybe she had stumbled into an auxiliary gym. Maybe this was just a spot to warm up. It couldn't be where her team was about to play in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers: Weird things seem to happen to coach at tourney time
"We're trying to make this a program on the rise," said forward Shala Reese, the conference player of the year. "Last year, it was a step back, but what we've done this year is definitely a step forward." Western Kentucky has knocked the Scarlet Knights out of the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1994. That was a different era for both teams, back when WKU was among the elite in women's college hoops and before C. Vivian Stringer established Rutgers as a national power.
It has not been an easy year for Shalicia Hurns. The Rutgers junior sat out the first half of basketball season after transferring from a junior college. She then waited to play another three weeks - or what seemed like an eternity - for a professor to post a grade. Later, her coach suspended her for four games after violating a team rule. Heck of a first year, huh? All told, Hurns, one of two JUCO transfers to open the season on the Rutgers' roster, started in fewer than a third of the Scarlet Knights' games this year. Yet as Rutgers heads into an NCAA Tournament first-round matchup with Western Kentucky on Saturday, Hurns is expected to play a critical role.
North Jersey Media Group
They walked into the Big East Tournament with the swagger of a team to beat and walked out from their first game with the limp of a team that had been badly beaten. Now, the Rutgers University women's basketball team is approaching the NCAA Tournament a little differently.
Women's Basketball: Rutgers sets for today's NCAA Tournament opener - Courier News
Dereck Whittenburg fell short again, and this time there was no one to bail him out. Pittsburgh ruined Wagner's first NCAA Tournament with an 87-61 victory in the Midwest Regional, and nothing Whittenburg told his players was enough Friday night -- 20 years after he began one of the event's most memorable moments.
Men's Basketball: Pittsburgh dumps Wagner 87-61 - Courier News
Carmelo Anthony found a clear path to the second round by driving to the basket instead of tossing up jumpers. His aggressiveness in the second half rubbed off on his teammates as Syracuse overcame tenacious Manhattan for a 76-65 win Friday in the East Regional.
Men's Basketball: Syracuse knocks off tenacious Manhattan - Courier News
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