The 800-win club, a previous membership consisting of only a pair, now has added a third member: Rutgers' own C. Vivian Stringer. Coach Stringer has joined Jody Conradt and Pat Summitt as the only women's head coaches to reach the elusive benchmark.
"Eight hundred isn't about numbers. It's about the players from Cheney, Iowa, Rutgers and how special they were," stated the Hall of Fame Coach, a truly iconic figure in the women's game and in basketball, in general.
800th victory signs were visible all over the RAC Wednesday afternoon, as anticipation of Coach Stringer's milestone was upon the Garden State. And Essence Carson and Epiphany Prince made sure the win would happen right on schedule as they combined for 35 of RU's 60 total points.
It was a tight game, still very much in doubt after the halfway point of stanza number two. Rutgers found itself trailing by one, 38-37, until a Kia Vaughn layup with just under 7:30 left in the game. Matee Ajavon then added a pair of free throws that were countered by Missy Mitidiero's trey that tied up the score at 41 a piece, with 6:51 left in the game.
The Scarlet Knights made sure to leave no doubt in what had turned out to be a hotly contested battle, by turning up the heat to the tune of a 19-5 run to conclude the game, and win 60-46. RU found itself up by 17 until another Mitidiero trey pulled the Blue Demons a bit closer. DePaul was averaging just a shade under 80 points per game coming into the contest against the Scarlet Knights but came nowhere close to meeting that level on Wednesday evening. The Blue Demons were held to season lows in points and field goal percentage (.305).
With the clock winding down the crowd appreciatively stood up gave RU's Hall of Fame Coach a standing ovation. With time elapsing the players gave their coach the game ball and each of the Scarlet Knights proceeded to give Stringer a single red rose as a testament of appreciation and gratitude.
Rutgers (23-4, 13-1) will next be in action when they host Syracuse this Saturday afternoon at the RAC. Tip-off is schedule for 1 p.m.
With the win, RU has once again moved back into a first place tie with UConn atop the Big East Conference. The Huskies must visit DePaul on Saturday before hosting the Scarlet Knights host Monday night showdown for conference supremacy.
|Big East Conference Standings|
|TEAM||CONF W-L||TOTAL W-L|
|#13 West Virginia||11-3||22-5|
|#14 Notre Dame||10-4||22-6|