C. Vivian Stringer started her 25th season at the helm of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road, her first game back since going on medical leave in February. By the end of the night, Stringer had reached her second big wins milestone in as many seasons, as Rutgers defeated South Alabama 77-56 for Stringer’s 500th win with the Scarlet Knights.
Despite the unfamiliarity of starting the season on the road, it wasn’t too unfamiliar for three Rutgers players: Alabama is the home state of sophomore Zipporah Broughton and freshmen Maori Davenport and Joiya Maddox, the latter two of whom got to play the first game of their college careers in front of a somewhat friendly crowd.
Both aforementioned freshmen came off the bench for Rutgers, with Davenport scoring seven points and Maddox adding three. Aside from Stringer, the star of the night was redshirt junior Arella Guirantes, who scored a career-high 27 points and had a game-high three blocks. Junior Tekia Mack had a double-double, the first of her career, with 21 points and 11 rebounds. And after sitting out injured last season, graduate student Khadaizha Sanders dished eight assists, one off her career-best.
On Saturday, the Scarlet Knights’ work finally begins at home as they host the Coppin State Eagles, before which Stringer will be honored in a pre-game ceremony. After that, it’s two more winnable home games against Niagara (Nov. 13) and Harvard (Nov. 17).
For Stringer, winning all three would tie her with former North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell at 1,023 wins, the fifth-most all-time among Division I women’s basketball coaches.
Can we just take a second and appreciate the faces that were made in the locker room last night when @_tmack31 picked up @cvivianstringer as we were celebrating CVS 500 wins at RU pic.twitter.com/cNTE7YDaYA— Brian Shank (@bshank12) November 6, 2019
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Maryland head coach Brenda Frese only got her 500th career win last season, but her No. 4 Terrapins have a clear shot at winning their fourth regular-season and conference tournament titles. First, though, they’ll have to get past the No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday in the country’s first ranked matchup of the season.
Maryland had a straightforward opener against Wagner on Tuesday, winning 119-56 — 119 points being the most scored in Frese’s tenure. Mostly, it ended up being a chance for all of the Terps’ stars to shine early.
Three players — senior Kaila Charles, sophomore Shakira Austin and freshman Ashley Owusu — each scored 18 points. Austin made her outing a double-double, adding 11 rebounds, and Owusu almost had a double-double of her own with nine assists. A pair of seniors also got into double figures, as Stephanie Jones added 17 points and Sara Vujacic had a career-high 15 points.
The Gamecocks also won their season opener in rout fashion, led by freshman Aliyah Boston’s triple-double. Two more South Carolina freshmen joined Boston in double-figures scoring, setting up quite the matchup between the No. 1 (Gamecocks) and No. 3 (Terps) recruiting classes in the nation.
Here’s how to follow this weekend’s Rutgers and Maryland games:
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Coppin State Eagles
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Rutgers Athletic Center, Piscataway, NJ
How to watch: BTN Plus
No. 4 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks
When: Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Xfinity Center, College Park, MD
How to watch: ESPN
Around the Big Ten
- Every team but one won its season opener, including No. 17 Michigan State (over Eastern Michigan and Detroit Mercy), No. 24 Indiana (over Mount St. Mary’s) and No. 25 Michigan (over Western Michigan).
- No. 23 Minnesota was the first Big Ten casualty of the season, losing its opener 77-69 to Missouri State on Tuesday.
- Twelve players from eight schools were named to preseason positional watch lists, while seven players from six schools made the preseason Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Wade Trophy watch lists. Maryland’s Kaila Charles was the only player to appear on all three of the previously-named watch lists in addition to a positional watch list.