Top 10: 2004 Countdown - Toward No.1

As households rapidly prepare the bubbly and sparkling wines (technically, it's not champagne unless it's bottled in a particular region of France, and hence the American moniker of sparkling wine) in anticipation for the festivities and upcoming celebrations of the oncoming of 2005, we will take a walk down memory lane and look back at what 2004 had to offer the Rutgers faithful.

Rutgers fans were treated to quite the roller-coaster ride in 2004. Both the football team and men's and women's basketball squads had their share of ups and downs, highs and lows, taking fans to inspiring heights all while, seemingly at the same time, painstakingly knocking them over the head with a reality check the size of a 2 by 4.

For the next several paragraphs and during the next few days, into the new year, we'll relive and rehash back to the sites, sounds and scripts of yesterday as we remember the best of Rutgers 2004 athletics.

In the first segment of this installment we counted down from the 10th through 6th most positive developments in Rutgers athletics.  In this segment, we continue with the countdown, towards number 1.

In the second segment of this installment we counted down from the 5th through 3rd most positive developments in Rutgers athletics.  In this segment, we finish our journey.

 

 

No. 2 - Rutgers Basketball Advances to NIT Finals

On March 31st, 2004, a Scarlet-clad star emerged, as Rutgers and Iowa State battled valiantly in front of a frenzied Rutgers contingent in the world's greatest arena.  

His name, Quincy Douby.  In a performance unseen in recent Rutgers memory Douby displayed basketball heroics Rutgers fans have dreamed of for years.  

Douby scored a career-high 35 points in the NIT semis.

Quincy Douby and Curtis Stinson, two of the unknown young guards in America put on a show fans of both schools will not soon forget.  The stakes higher, this time it was on a national setting on ESPN2 and in front of a frenzied Rutgers contingent, with every shot by these phenomenal youngsters sending his team closer to the NIT Championship game.  In the end it was Quincy Douby's 35 points overwhelming Stinson's 32 as the Scarlet Knights survived despite a desperation trey by the Cyclones to send the game into a second overtime.

Shooting a remarkable 10-18 from the field, including 6-11 from downtown, Douby averaged 24.0 points and shot at a 60% clip through the first four games of the NIT tournament.  Sean Axani would contribute 17 rebounds, a new career high, including 8 on the offensive glass, to go along with his 8 points.  Ricky Shields added 16 points, including 9-11 at the free throw line.  

The Rutgers Men's Basketball team went on to defeat the Iowa State Cyclones, 84-81 in overtime, and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament Finals at Madison Square Garden in New York, for the first time in school history.  

For a few short days, a walk near New York's MSG would have one think Rutgers had relocated their main campus to the Big Apple.

 

No. 1 - C. Vivian Stringer Reaches a Milestone

On December 8th, 2004 Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer etched her name in the record books ... again.  Coach Stringer, at the expense of the Princeton Tigers, became the 21st Division I coach to reach the milestone of 700 victories.  Coach Stringer is 4th on the all-time women's wins list, rapidly approaching LSU's former coach, Sue Gunter (retired this past year).

 

 

 

 

 

C. Vivian Stringer (Courtesy of ScarletKnights.com)

Winner of numerous Coach of the Year Awards, a 2001 inductee into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Coach Stringer is perhaps best known for being the only coach, men's or women's, to lead three different schools to the NCAA tournament Final Four.  In 1999-2000, C. Vivian Stringer put the finishing touches on this marvelous accomplishment by leading the Lady Knights to a 26-8 record including a berth in the Final Four.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. Vivian Stringer arrives at Rutgers (Courtesy of ScarletKnights.com)

"If I set out to win by way of numbers, it would've been a daunting task." Stringer said. "There's no way I would've done it. I think you need to see what's in front of you, but not so far down the road. . . . You just produce the best possible team you can at that moment. The rest will take care of itself."  [Home News Tribune 12/05/04]

One of the all-time greatest coaches has been treading on the Scarlet Knights sidelines for the last decade.  She raises young ladies to become basketball players and more importantly, successful women.  I'm not sure we all know, as Rutgers fans, how fortunate we are to have her patrolling on our side.

 

In the meantime, what are your Top 10 Rutgers athletics memories of 2004?  Feel free to visit our message boards and voice your opinion.


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