Breaking down Rutgers' highs, lows of season
After a season of highs and lows, the Rutgers women’s basketball team’s 2018-2019 season has come to an end. Whether it was a change in roster, a switch in coaching or even what seemed to be an impossible win by the Scarlet Knights (22-10, 13-5), they were able to pull through despite adversities.
Rutgers started off the season with a successful first four games, while one stood out in particular. Head coach C. Vivian Stringer was able to win her 1,000th game against Central Connecticut State. Stringer became the sixth women's head coach in NCAA history to join the elite 1,000-career-victory club, and is the first Black woman to join the list of legendary coaches.
While Stringer had to direct her head coaching job onto assistant and acting head coach Tim Eatman for the final portion of the season, she was able to leave the team in a prime position with the takeover by Eatman.
Then, only a month after her momentous accomplishment, Stringer coached the Knights to defeat then-No. 4 Maryland, when Rutgers was unranked.
This became the Knights’ first win over a top-10 ranked team in nearly 10 years, when Rutgers defeated No. 8 Auburn in 2009.
Over the span of two months, the Knights went on to defeat 10 teams in a row. Some highlights include the Maryland game, as well as No. 17 Michigan State. Rutgers was able to defeat two higher-ranked teams to become No. 14 in the country, its highest rank of the season.
This was one of the highest peaks in the Knights’ basketball season up until their next game against previously ranked No. 17 Iowa, where the streak ended.
The Hawkeyes went on to win the Big Ten Tournament, despite not being first in regular season standings. Iowa defeated the higher-ranked Terrapins, and are now the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, with two wins in NCAAs.
After that loss, Rutgers defeated Penn State on Jan. 27, and won a tough game against Indiana on Jan. 31. With a 14-point deficit, the Knights were able to come back to win the game by 5 points.
After, former senior forward Caitlin Jenkins was suspended from the team indefinitely for a violation of team policy prior to its game against Minnesota, and the Knights fell off a winning streak once again.
Later in the season, it became public knowledge that the charges against Jenkins were cleared and she walked free, but had to forfeit her time on the team, according to NJ Advance Media. Jenkins is looking to continue her basketball career in the WNBA.
Rutgers went on to play a couple of rocky games, with no clear winning or losing streak. The Knights went back and forth against ranked and unranked teams, to go on to lose their own national ranking. With a rematch against Maryland, Rutgers fell once again and wasn’t able to hold on to its advantage from a prior win.
Eatman became the acting head coach, while Stringer took a leave of absence for health reasons. While Eatman lost his first game at the helm, he went on to lead the Knights to a successful final quarter of the season. His record as acting head coach ended with four wins through seven total games.
Stringer made the tough decision of letting former junior guard Ciani Cryor, go from the team due to another violation of team policy. Although Eatman recognized Cryor's talent, he wished her luck on her search for another college team.
Eatman was able to rematch Ohio State and Minnesota, two teams that Rutgers had previously lost to, and came out with wins from both. Eatman went on to coach in the Big Ten Tournament and came out third as a team.
While the Knights were able to make it to the NCAA Tournament seeded at No. 7, they fell to No. 10-seeded Buffalo in the first round.
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