LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. —Head coach Scott Goodale’s yelling reminder emanated through the otherwise mellow Alumni Gymnasium in the closing moments of junior Scott Wintson’s 165-pound bout. The No. 16 Rutgers wrestling team faced a two-point deficit midway through its match with Rider. It looked to regain the lead as Winston clung to a seven-point lead in his bout with 7.7 seconds on the clock. Goodale’s shouts of “We need a major” from the Rutgers bench soon followed, and a last second takedown by Winston gave him the points he needed for a major decision.
Relentlessness on both ends of the court gave the No. 11 Rutgers women’s basketball team a 16-point lead against a ranked opponent its last time out. A lack of focus eventually turned that lead into an 11-point double-overtime loss. So when the Scarlet Knights built a double-digit lead last night against Fordham, they made sure to keep the foot on the gas and ultimately cruised to a 68-48 win at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. “The look on the freshmen — each and every one of them looked like they had seen a horror movie,” head coach C. Vivian Stringer said of the team’s reaction after losing Monday in Miami.
Senior forward April Sykes witnessed firsthand the No. 11 Rutgers women’s basketball team’s collapse on the road against No. 9 Miami. The Starkville, Miss., native knocked down a jumper with a little more than 17 minutes remaining in regulation, extending the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 16. She then experienced the next 17 minutes of play, as the Hurricanes closed regulation on a 39-23 run to force double-overtime.
The No. 11 Rutgers women’s basketball team may not be in championship form yet, but the Scarlet Knights (8-0) once again hinted their defense is of championship caliber. Head coach C. Vivian Stringer led the Knights into their first big road test of the season Friday against Florida. In return she saw 22 Gator turnovers to go along with a 31.9 shooting percentage. The end result was a 63-49 victory and the program’s best start since 2005.
As the Rutgers women’s basketball team enters every season, head coach C. Vivian Stringer has one rule she makes sure to abide by. “We play California, Stanford — teams that are in the top five — the first two to three games, or we’ll have them here,” Stringer said. “My purpose for doing that is to establish very quickly what is the level of expectation, just in case we don’t have everybody’s attention.”
At times last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, the play of the No. 11 Rutgers women’s basketball team had head coach C. Vivian Stringer seated calmly on the Scarlet Knights’ bench, clapping in approval. At others, the Hall of Fame head coach angrily jolted up in response to the Knights’ (7-0) poor play. But for as many times as Stringer’s mood appeared to change on the Rutgers bench, one thing remained constant throughout the team’s battle with visiting Temple: the Knights’ ongoing offensive firepower.
There is a dynamic freshman class, a pair of deadly jump shooters and then there is fifth-year senior Khadijah Rushdan. Through the No. 11 Rutgers women’s team’s first six games, Rushdan proved most indispensable, said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “Khadijah is playing all positions,” Stringer said. “If she needs to run the point, then she’s going to do that. If she needs to be on the front end of a break and finish, she does that. This girl to me is the best utility player.”
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — In the two games following Chas Dodd’s comeback victory against South Florida, the sophomore quarterback’s production for the Rutgers football team was hardly eye-popping. But a 189-yard passing average and a 1:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio are forgivable when the Scarlet Knights win. After a 52 percent completion rate with 172 yards and an interception in a blowout loss to Connecticut, head coach Greg Schiano was not as forgiving.
It was tough to gauge which April Sykes the No. 13 Rutgers women’s basketball team would get heading into the San Juan Shootout — the Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer last season or the inconsistent shooter of the previous two. After the senior forward earned the San Juan Shootout Most Valuable Player award, it was clear what version head coach C. Vivian Stringer had on the floor.
PHILADELPHIA — The No. 15 Rutgers women’s basketball team entered the Tom Gola Arena last night to face La Salle with the same approach as any other game. Whether the Scarlet Knights were awake prior to tipoff, however, remained a question to head coach C. Vivian Stringer following the team’s hard fought 61-48 victory. By all indications, the Knights would be wise to invest in new alarm clocks.
There are a number of reasons the No. 15 Rutgers women’s basketball is off to its fastest start since the 2008-09 season. But the Scarlet Knights’ speed again proved their biggest asset last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, where they beat Boston College, 74-58. “This group is a quick group — there’s no question about that,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer.
Pat Kivlehan’s love for baseball never wavered. The Rutgers football team’s senior safety always wanted to play baseball at the next level, but a scholarship offer to play football with the Scarlet Knights altered his path.Now four years removed from his last competitive baseball game, Kivlehan is not giving up on playing the sport he loves. The 6-foot-2 safety recently notified Rutgers head baseball coach Fred Hill he wishes to try out for his team.
Only one game into the No. 16 Rutgers women’s basketball team’s season, the vibe around the program is already different. Not only do the Scarlet Knights have depth, and an elite group of freshmen, but they also have their first 1-0 start since the 2008-09 season. Head coach C. Vivian Stringer also gets to play on the East Coast to start the year, a stark contrast from the Knights’ previous two seasons.
With all the changes Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano made in the defense’s front-seven, it is easy to forget about the moves he made in the secondary. But the 11th-year head coach’s memory gets jogged every week when he watches senior David Rowe at safety. “I think David Rowe may be one of the most improved players on our football team, believe it or not,” Schiano said.
For one half of play it was obvious the No. 16 Rutgers women’s basketball team felt the pain of playing without 6-foot-2 senior forward Chelsey Lee. Then the Scarlet Knights remembered what they had on the perimeter. Rutgers (1-0) stormed out in the second half with a 19-2 run, junior guard Erica Wheeler went off from beyond the arc and the Knights held off a resilient California squad to earn a 73-70 victory at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
There are plenty of decisions head coaches ponder throughout a game. They weigh even more throughout the course of a season. But for Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano, the decision to bump junior Khaseem Greene down to weakside linebacker is not one he ever second-guessed. Doubts never entered Greene’s mind, either.
Junior guard Erica Wheeler always plays with a chip on her shoulder.But when the Rutgers women’s basketball team welcomed the No. 3-ranked recruiting class to Piscataway this summer, there was nothing extra the Parkway, Fla., native needed to prove.And when the Scarlet Knights open the season Sunday against California with a healthy Nikki Speed, who Wheeler replaced last season, Wheeler will not play to impress.
Ask seniors April Sykes, Nikki Speed or Chelsey Lee about their first three seasons with the Rutgers women’s basketball team, and they will all likely sum it up with one word: disappointment.
A sea of red quickly flooded the green turf of High Point Solutions Stadium following the Rutgers football team’s 20-17 comeback victory against South Florida. For sophomore twins Jamil and Jamal Merrell, their teammates’ frenzy did little to change their postgame ritual. “We always find each other at the end of the game,” said Jamal Merrell, who switched to linebacker from wide receiver in the spring.