Rutgers defeats Central Connecticut State as Stringer joins 1,000 wins club

The Rutgers women’s basketball team hosted Central Connecticut State yesterday at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) where head coach C.Vivian Stringer earned her 1,000th career win, joining five other women's basketball coaches who have accomplished the feat. 

The Scarlet Knights (3-0) led for the majority of the game and defeated the Blue Devils (0-3), 73-44.

Junior guard Ciani Cryor made her season debut after she did not play in the first two games due to a violation of team policy. She was originally scheduled to make her debut against Louisiana State on Dec. 15. Cryor stepped in early and helped push Rutgers to a win.

The Knights started the first quarter with a 17-8 lead. They had eight turnovers in the opening quarter, which was not a great start to a historic night. Senior forward Caitlin Jenkins led in the first quarter with four rebounds followed by senior center Victoria Harris who grabbed three boards. 

Starting strong, Rutgers led in field goals, 3-pointers and free throw percentage.

Holding Central Connecticut State to 8 and 9 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, the Knights allowed themselves more room to breathe, but that didn't stop them from plowing through their opponent.

It led 37-17 at the end of the second quarter, but Central Connecticut State made a slight push in the second half. 

The tempo in the third quarter slowed down compared to the two previous quarters. With Rutgers only scoring 15 points and Central Connecticut State putting up 16, the quarter was much closer in scoring. The Devils led for the majority of the third quarter, different than their previous games. 

In their two previous games, Central Connecticut State was strong in the first and last quarters in scoring, but in a tension-filled game, it made up for lost opportunities in the first two quarters. In total, the Knights had 13 fast breaks, while their opponent had zero.

Fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey had a solid four blocks in the game. She was able to record a 57 percent free throw percentage on 4-7 attempts, the most attempts on the team.

The fourth quarter ended with Jenkins leading the game in rebounds with a staggering 12 and total points with 14. She also boasted a .778 shooting percentage, leading the team in more ways than one. 

Cryor had a perfect 100 percent shooting average in her first game of the season at the RAC. Her future playing on the team looks bright this season. She commanded the court and let her presence be known.

Following the game, a ceremony was held in honor of Stringer’s 1,000th win. Some notable, emotional congratulations came from members of the 1,000 win club, which features such names as the late Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt, Stanford’s head coach Tara VanDerveer, UConn’s head coach Geno Auriemma and North Carolina’s head coach Sylvia Hatchell. She also got comments from former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, late tennis star Billie Jean King and former CEO of Nike Phil Knight.

“At the end of the day these players are people,” Stringer said with teary eyes. “They work so hard to make things happen. We as coaches couldn’t accomplish anything without the players.”

As a team, Rutgers was able to nab a 59 percent free throw percentage, which was the same as the Devils. Although, the Knights did dominate Central Connecticut State in field goal percentage, finishing at 49 percent, as opposed to a measly 27 percent from their opponent. 

Rutgers will be back on the court for its next game at Charlotte, N.C. on Friday, Nov. 16 against the Charlotte 49ers at 5 p.m. This can be a close game, since both teams are undefeated.

“Sometimes people ask how I accomplished these things,” Stringer said. “This was only done with my family first of all. They lifted me up sometimes when I didn’t think I could make it. When I get the opportunity to coach these young women I am very thankful. I know that as I walk out the door, that I actually want to thank the many people that believed enough in us.”

For updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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