Coach Vivian Stringer is five games away from her 1000th game win.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Patches of yellow and blue struck out amidst a red crowd, as the Rutgers women’s basketball team took on the University of Michigan Wolverines at home, coming off a four game losing streak, 63-56.
Following a sold out men’s basketball game, the women’s basketball team managed to have one of the most packed games of the season despite being Super Bowl Sunday. As they took on No.13 in the country, the girls were determined to finally get a win, if not for them, for Coach Stringer. This win is more than just a win for Coach Stringer, as she gets closer to making basketball history.
This season has been quite a rollercoaster for the team as they went from an 11 game winning streak, to a four game losing streak. The women’s basketball team Manager (Film), Jasmine Dennis says, “This win was definitely a sigh of relief because we started off so strong and to lose games back to back was a feeling that I don’t want to experience again. This was truly a big win considering that Michigan is in the Top 25. We have proven time and time again that we can play the best but like almost every team there’s a time when a team goes through a rough patch.”
The team managed to stay in the lead the entire game, although Michigan trailed very close behind them, they kept their heads in the game and never let them get ahead. Michigan fans kept their spirits up the entire game, they cheered and danced every moment they could, and their presence in the audience could not be ignored.
Najiv Granston, a basketball fan and Rutgers students dedicated his afternoon to see the team win. “I was not as interested in the Super Bowl this year as previous years. With Coach Stringer nearing her 1000th win and a ranked opponent like Michigan, I felt like I had to be here,” Granston says.
Coach Stringer is so close to being apart of an elite group of coaches as one of the first African American coaches and the only sixth division coach to ever reach this milestone. Her talent is clear as she has reached this goal through a combination of coaching at three different schools, exemplifying high success at all of them.
“Once Coach Stringer reaches a 1,000 wins it will just encompass only half of what she’s accomplished. She’ll be amongst the greatest coaches to ever coach the game and I personally believe that her win will be monumental for many young aspiring black female coaches,” Dennis says. “Coach has overcame each hurdle that has been in her way making a 1,000 would just add to her list of accolades leading up to that point.”
Once the second half of the game commenced, it was apparent how this game would end. Michigan just couldn’t come back after Tyler Scaife’s buzzer-beater shot, making the half-time score, 28-21.
Ciani Cryor was the star of the game putting up an impeccable 16 points for the team. The college junior had one of her season highs this game and isn’t even a starting player.Not too far behind her, Stasha Carey with a whopping 12 points, keeping up the pace the entire game, never letting Michigan get ahead.
“I hope they can string together a couple more wins so Coach Stringer can get to 1000 games this season. If they play the way they played tonight, Stringer will definitely get her 1000 wins,” Granston says.
WNBA players, Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney were some familiar alumni in attendance celebrating the 100th anniversary of Douglass College and watching Coach Stringer make basketball history.
It was quite a pull through for the Rutgers women’s basketball team, as they desperately needed a win. The team got their spirits up and are ready to finish the season the way they started and hope to make history in the end.
“I feel honored to work for Coach Stringer,” Dennis says. “Not many people can say that they’ve worked for a Hall of Fame Coach! Each day as she teaches the girls a lesson she’s teaching me something as well. Coach Stringer is a true inspiration and I’m grateful to help her along the way as much as I can,” Dennis says.
It is up to the girls to end this season with a bang, not only for them, but for the sake of Coach Stringer and her legacy. This week, Rutgers will face No.13 Ohio State University and No.10 Maryland, which will not be a walk in the park for the team.
With only six games left in the season, the girls basketball team has little room for mistake in order to make Coach Stringers record breaking moment a reality.