7:30 PM ET, February 27, 2008
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- C. Vivian Stringer stood at center court and received a rose from each one of her players after joining college basketball's most exclusive club.The Hall of Famer soaked in the moment shortly after win No. 800 put her in the company of Pat Summitt and Jody Conradt with No. 4 Rutgers' 60-46 victory over DePaul on Wednesday night."Nobody is more respected than Pat, Jody," said Stringer, who had one of the nets from the game at her side. "To say my name in the same breath is humbling. I am proud of it, but its not something that I thought a lot about. I remember the 700th win because we beat my good friend Jody and Texas here."While Summitt and Conradt won almost all their games with one team, Stringer has succeeded at three different schools."I'm the only one who has gone from Cheyney to Iowa to Rutgers. I wonder why I just couldn't find a home," said Stringer with a laugh.Knowing it was a special night, DePaul coach Doug Bruno had his entire team shake Stringer's hand during warm-ups. Bruno also coached DePaul when Summitt beat the Blue Demons for her 800th."Eight hundred isn't just about a number," Bruno said. "It's about the players from Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers and how special they were."Essence Carson scored 20 points and Epiphanny Prince added 15 to lead Rutgers (23-4, 13-1 Big East), which moved into a tie with UConn atop the conference. The Huskies visit DePaul on Saturday and the Scarlet Knights host Syracuse before a showdown Monday night with the Huskies in Hartford.Everyone in the crowd was given signs marking the 800th victory, but the Scarlet Knights couldn't start celebrating until the final minute. With 30 seconds left, fans gave the Hall of Fame coach a standing ovation and chanted her initials. When the clock reached zero, Carson threw her coach the game ball."It was her ball, she deserved it," Carson said. "It's great to be part of a milestone for a Hall of Fame coach."Carson, Matee Ajavon and Katie Adams were freshmen when Stringer won her 700th game."Honestly I don't remember it at all," Carson said. "But back then 100 wins seemed so far away."After the game, Rutgers president Richard McCormick and athletic director Robert Mulcahy gave Stringer a commemorative ball. She then addressed the crowd."I've been blessed with great players and coaches," Stringer said. "Not only from the players that are here, but the players over the years. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I've been the most fortunate person in the world, because every day I wake up and I'm so excited to coach basketball.Winning low-scoring defensive games has been a trademark of Stringer's teams. Fittingly, Rutgers and DePaul struggled on offense Wednesday night.DePaul, which averages nearly 80 points, had season lows in points and field-goal percentage (.305).The Blue Demons (18-9, 7-7) had no answer for the Scarlet Knights' matchup zone. With only eight healthy players, Rutgers was forced to use the defense against Providence on Saturday and it worked against DePaul too.Missy Mitidiero hit a career-high seven 3-pointers for 21 points to lead DePaul. Allie Quigley, the reigning Big East player of the week, was held to a season-low eight -- well short of her 19.3 average.After trailing 36-30 midway through the second half, DePaul tied it at 41 on Mitidiero's seventh 3-pointer of the game with 6:47 left.Rutgers responded with a 10-0 run over three minutes to put the game away. Prince had five points and Quigley ended the run with a jumper, but DePaul got no closer than nine.In a sloppy first half, Rutgers went without a field goal for nearly 9 minutes, but DePaul was unable to pull away. Rutgers went on a 13-0 run to take a 20-11 lead with 5:46 left in the half, then didn't score again.But DePaul went without a field goal for a 9-minute span before Taylor Pikes' 3-pointer with 4:52 left ended the drought and the Blue Demons only trailed 20-16 at halftime. Carson scored nine points and Prince had eight in the first half as the two teams combined for 27 turnovers.Just before the scoreless stretch, DePaul reserve China Threatt injured her knee. She returned to the bench on crutches for the second half.The victory was the 280th of Stringer's career at Rutgers. It's been her longest stop. She took over a foundering program and turned it into one of the best in the nation with two trips to the Final Four in her first 12 seasons.Stringer got her start in 1973 at Cheyney State near Philadelphia, sharing a cramped gym with legendary men's coach John Chaney. She took over a new program and in 12 years there guided the school to the Final Four in 1982 and won 251 games.After Cheyney State, Stringer moved on to Iowa, where she stayed for 12 seasons, winning 269 games. She took the Hawkeyes to the Final Four in 1993 before leaving for Rutgers.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-59 (.305)||17-42 (.405)|
|3P Made-Attempted||10-36 (.278)||5-15 (.333)|
|FT Made-Attempted||0-0 (.000)||21-26 (.808)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||8 (0/0)|