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Rutgers Women's Basketball History - 1995-Present

C. Vivian Stringer
C. Vivian Stringer announced as head coach
July 14, 1995...A New Era Begins... C. Vivian Stringer is hired as the fourth Scarlet Knight women’s basketball coach.

November 25, 1995...Upset!... In C. Vivian Stringer’s first game as Rutgers coach, the Scarlet Knights upset No. 7 Penn State, 69-67, at the RAC.

January 2, 1996...A New Tradition... Rutgers wins its first BIG EAST game, a 71-64 win over Providence.

February 18, 1996...Sellout!... A crowd of 7,793 packs the RAC to watch the University of Connecticut take on the Scarlet Knights, the first advance sellout ever for a Rutgers women’s basketball game.

February 10, 1998...Upset City... New Brunswick was upset city on Tuesday, February 10 as Rutgers knocked off No. 2 ranked Connecticut 74-70 in front of 4,108 fans at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Rutgers became the first program to be unranked and defeat a No. 1 and a No. 2 team (defeated No. 1 ranked Tennessee on January 17, 1994).

March 1, 1998...Play it at the RAC... For the first time, the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament was played at Rutgers’ Louis Brown Athletic Center in front of record crowds. Rutgers drew 5,323 fans for the championship game between Rutgers and Connecticut. It was the ninth-largest crowd to witness a BIG EAST Tournament game and the fifth largest crowd for a women’s basketball game at Rutgers. The semifinal game and quarterfinal rounds also ranked in the top 25 all-time in BIG EAST Tournament history.

March 23, 1998...Sweet Sixteen... The Scarlet Knights advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after entering as the No. 5 seed in the Mideast and defeating Oregon (79-76) and Iowa State (62-61). In the Mideast Regional semifinal, Rutgers fell to eventual national champion and No. 1 Tennessee 92-60 in Nashville, Tenn.

December 22, 1998...500 wins... 500th win in basektball history, a 81-61 defeat of Maryland in College Park.

January 2, 1999...History at the Garden...The Scarlet Knights were part of the first women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden in 18 years as they took on No. 1 Tennessee in front of 15,735 fans.

January 27, 1999...Record Attendance...The Scarlet Knights played the nation’s No. 2 team, UConn, to within one point in front of a sellout crowd of 8,526 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

March 22, 1999... Rutgers advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after receiving the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. The Knights won three games in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in history, including a record-setting, upset victory over the No. 2 seed Texas Tech. Rutgers third-in-the nation defense allowed the Red Raiders just 11 points in the first half to set an all-time NCAA Regional low mark. For the second year in a row, the Knights bowed out of the tournament to the eventual national champion, this time Purdue. Shawnetta Stewart and Tasha Pointer were named to the all-Regional Team.

C. Vivian Stringer

December 18, 1999... 600 wins ... Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer became the third women’s basketball coach to earn 600 wins when the Scarlet Knights defeated Texas 68-64 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Significantly, the win occurred against Texas head coach Jody Conradt who along with Tennessee’s Pat Summit are the only other women’s coaches to pass the 600-win mark.

February 12, 2000... Attendance Record Broken... The Scarlet Knights set an all-time attendance record with a sellout crowd of 8,579 fans on February 12, 2000. Rutgers hosted the nation’s No. 1 team, the Connecticut Huskies.

March 7, 2000...So Close... After topping Villanova (61-32) and Notre Dame (81-72 in OT), Rutgers advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Championship game at Gample Pavilion in Storrs, CT. The Knights faced Connecticut for the third time in 2000, losing a 79-59 decision to the eventual national champions.

Final Four

March 31, 2000...And then there were four... C. Vivian Stringer became the only coach, male or female, to take three different programs to the Final Four. Rutgers advanced to its first-ever NCAA Final Four with a stunning 59-51 win over the No. 1 seeded Georgia Bulldogs in the West Region Championship Game. Shawnetta Stewart was named the West Region MVP while Tasha Pointer and Tammy Sutton-Brown earned all-tournament honors. Rutgers faced No. 2 Tennessee 65 miles from campus in Philadelphia where the dream season ended with a 64-54 loss.

April 25, 2000 ... Two More for the League ... Shawnetta Stewart (Orlando Miracle) and Usha Gilmore (Indiana Fever) are both third-round selections in the 2000 WNBA Draft.

February 17, 2001 ... Undefeated No More ... Rutgers stuns top-ranked Notre Dame by handing the Irish their first loss of the season, a 54-53 decision at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. The crowd of 8,587 establishes a new RU record and the game is the second advance sellout in Scarlet Knight women’s basketball history.

March 17, 2001 ... Four in a Row ... Rutgers makes its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and defeats 13th-seeded Stephen F. Austin 80-43. The fourth seed in the West Region, Rutgers hosts first- and second-round games for the third straight year. The Knights later fall to fifth-seeded and eventual Final Four participant Southwest Missouri State 60-53 in the second round.

April 20, 2001 ... Creating A Habit ... For the second consecutive year, two Rutgers players are selected in the WNBA Draft -- Tammy Sutton-Brown (second round, Charlotte Sting) and Tasha Pointer (fourth round, Portland Fire).

June 9, 2001 ... Hall of Famers ... Current head coach C. Vivian Stringer and former Rutgers mentor Theresa Grentz are both part of the 2001 induction class into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, TN.

January 23, 2002 ... Another Milestone ... Head coach C. Vivian Stringer becomes the third coach in women’s basketball history to win 650 career games when the Scarlet Knights defeat Seton Hall 47-43 in Piscataway.

February 23, 2002 ... Sold in Advance ... Rutgers has its third-ever advance sellout when 7,223 fans witness the Knights battle No. 1 and eventual national champion Connecticut.

April 19, 2002 ... That Makes Five ... Davalyn Cunningham becomes the fifth member of the 2000 Final Four team to be selected in the WNBA Draft when she is taken in the second round (23rd overall) by the Orlando Miracle.

March 24, 2003 ... About Face ... Rutgers pulls off the most dramatic turnaround in Division I, improving from a 9-20 record in 2001-2002 to a 21-8 mark and a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s second round in 2002-2003.

Nov. 14, 2003 ... 600 Wins ... Rutgers records its 600th victory, a 58-40 win against Saint Peter’s in the first round of the Women’s Preseason NIT in Piscataway.

Feb. 14, 2004 ... No More Tickets ... The Scarlet Knights record their fourth advance sellout as 7,734 fans pack the RAC to see Rutgers face No. 2/1 Connecticut.

December 8, 2004 ... 700 Victories ... C. Vivian Stringer becomes the fourth women’s Division I coach to earn 700 career victories with a 68-46 win against Princeton in Piscataway

January 5, 2005 ... Trifecta ... Rutgers defeats No. 1/1 LSU 51-49 in overtime at the RAC, completing an eight-day span that saw the Scarlet Knights defeat three top-10 teams (68-51 vs. No. 8/8 Tennessee Dec. 29, 51-47 at No. 4/3 Texas Jan. 2).

January 26, 2005 ... Moving On Up ... C. Vivian Stringer moves into third place on the Division I victories list (709) with a 71-60 win at No. 14/13 Boston College.

February 13, 2005 ... Sold Out ... RU records its fifth advance sellout as 8,014 fans see the No. 11/11 Scarlet Knights defeat No. 10/10 Connecticut 76-62.

March 1, 2005 ... Outright Champions ... Rutgers (14-2) secures its first outright BIG EAST Conference regular-season title with a 51-39 win at Villanova.

March 27, 2005 ... Eight is Great ... The Scarlet Knights advance to their first Elite Eight in five years with a 64-58 victory against No. 8/7 Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen. Cappie Pondexter, the Most Outstanding Player of the Philadelphia Region, leads the entire NCAA Tournament field with her 24.0 points per game.

April 16, 2005 ... Pair of Picks ... Chelsea Newton (second round, Sacramento Monarchs) and Rebecca Richman (third round, New York Liberty) are selected in the 2005 WNBA Draft.

February 27, 2006 ... BIG-Time Perfection ... Rutgers overcomes an 18-point deficit to defeat No. 7/6 Connecticut 48-42 at the RAC, putting the final exclamation point on a perfect 16-0 BIG EAST record and winning its second straight outright league regular-season crown. The game was the sixth advance sellout for RU.

C. Vivian StringerApril 5, 2006 ... Cappie’s Dream a Reality ... Cappie Pondexter realizes her dream when she is selected second overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2006 WNBA Draft. Her impact on the league is immediate, ranking among the WNBA’s scoring leaders and earning a spot on the 2006 WNBA All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team.

March 6, 2007... BIG EAST Champs ... The No. 2-seeded Scarlet Knights won their first-ever BIG EAST Championship with a 55-47 victory over top-seeded Connecticut in Hartford. Facing the fifth-highest scoring team in the nation, Rutgers used its stifling defense to control the tempo of the game and limit UConn to its lowest point total all season. The No. 19/21-ranked Scarlet Knights gave head coach C. Vivian Stringer her first and the school's first BIG EAST Women's Basketball Championship crown, while handing the No. 2/3-ranked Huskies just their third loss of the season. Junior Matee Ajavon was tabbed Most Valuable Player of the Championship.

March 24, 2007... #1 Duke Goes Down ... Rutgers pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win over Duke, the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, in the Sweet Sixteen round. The Scarlet Knights, who lost to the Blue Devils by 40 points earlier in the season, overcame a 10-point deficit to pull off the 53-52 victory in the Greensboro Regional. Junior Essence Carson said after the win, “We kept saying, 'Believe.' No matter how much we were down by.” Matee Ajavon was named Most Valuable Player of the Regional and Kia Vaughn and Carson earned All-Regional accolades.

April 1, 2007 ... Final Four Again... Juniors Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson combined for 31 points, and the stifling Rutgers defense held LSU to its lowest point total this season, to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 59-35 victory in the NCAA National Semifinal Game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The win was the Scarlet Knights' eighth consecutive and advanced them to the their first national championship game.

207 Final Four

February 27, 2008... 800 Wins ... Head coach C. Vivian Stringer becomes the third women’s basketball coach to earn 800 career wins when the Scarlet Knights defeat DePaul 60-46 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

April 9, 2008 ... WNBA Bound... Ajavon and Carson were the No. 5 and No. 7 WNBA selections, respectively, in the 2008 WNBA draft. Ajavon was the fifth overall pick of the Houston Comets while Carson was tabbed seventh overall by the New York Liberty. They were the first two RU players selected simultaneously in the WNBA draft. The duo had helped the Scarlet Knights compete in their second straight regional final eight days earlier.

Hall of FameApril 9, 2009 ... Professional Career Begins ... Kia Vaughn was the fourth RU player drafted since 2006 when her name was called by the New York Liberty with the eighth overall selection in the 2009 WNBA Draft. Vaughn finishedher Scarlet Knights career as the program’s alll-time leader in games played (135) and second all-time in rebounds (1079) and blocked shots (279)

Sept. 11, 2009 ... Enshrined in the Hall ... Stringer - the first coach, male or female, to take three diffferent teams to the NCAA Final Four- is enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass. The coaching legend enters the Hall with NBA greats Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton and Jerry
Sloan. Stringer closed her moving speech with the following words- “To all my basketball daughters, I love you and thank God for you. I thank all of you for the privilege you have given me to stand here and be a basketball coach here tonight.”

July. 11, 2011 ... WNBA All-Star Game/Top-15 Players ... Cappie Pondexter made her fourth appearance in a WNBA All-Star Game. Pondexter saw her first start in the event after receiving 20,226 votes from fans. Essence Carson and Epiphanny Prince joined Pondexter on the Eastern Conference squad in their first All-Star appearance - giving the Scarlet Knights three WNBA All-Stars, second most of any other school at the midseason classic. During halftime Pondexter was named as one of the Top-15 players in WNBA history.

April. 16, 2012 ... The Dream Continues on to LA ... Khadijah Rushdan and April Sykes were both drafted to the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2012 WNBA Draft. The two each made their imprints on the Scarlet Knights record books before departing to the professional ranks. Rushdan stands as just the second player in program history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in her career, while Sykes solidified a spot in the top-10 in three-point attempts and makes.

 

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