Rutgers Women's Basketball Celebrates 50th Season

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The Scarlet Knights women's basketball team has proven they are a nationally elite program with a tradition of success. Started in 1974, the program has gone on to appear in 26 NCAA Tournaments in addition to four Sweet Sixteens, five Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and one National Championship game.

Celebrating 50 Years of Highlights

December 17, 1974 First Rutgers women’s basketball contest scores a win against Princeton.

August, 1976 Rutgers coach, Theresa Shank Grentz becomes the first full-time women’s basketball coach in the nation.

March 15, 1980 Rutgers earns its 100th victory.

March 1981 Kris Kirchner is named a Kodak All-American

March 28, 1982 Rutgers Lady Knights named national champs with a victory over Texas.

November 26, 1983 Rutgers wins its first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference game.

March 15, 1986 Following a 27-3 regular season, RU gets its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and defeats Villanova 85-58 at the RAC.

March 7, 1987 After their 30-win season, the Lady Knights are Atlantic 10 Tournament Champions and garner a No. 5 national ranking.

March, 1988 Rutgers repeats in the A-10 Tournament and adds an NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearance.

April 1988 Three-time All-American, Sue Wicks, is named the Naismith Player of the Year as the nation’s best female basketball player.

March 1989 Rutgers is named the ECAC Team of the Year for the fourth straight season.

March 13, 1993 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament title comes back to “the Banks” with a victory against Saint Joseph’s in Washington, D.C.

March 13, 1994 Rutgers repeats as the Atlantic 10 Tournament Champion with a win against George Washington in Philadelphia.

March 16, 1994 Rutgers advances to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight year after its ninth consecutive 20-win season.

July 14, 1995 C. Vivian Stringer is hired as the fourth women’s basketball head coach in Scarlet Knight history.

January 2, 1996 Rutgers gets its first BIG EAST victory, with a win over Providence.

April 28, 1997 Sue Wicks is selected in the first round of the first-ever WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty, becoming the first Rutgers player to participate in the league.

March 1, 1998 For the first time, the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament is played at Rutgers’ Louis Brown Athletic Center in front of a record crowd of 5,323, the ninth-largest crowd to witness a BIG EAST Tournament game and the fifth-largest crowd for a women’s basketball game at Rutgers at that time. 

March 21, 1998 The Scarlet Knights advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament after entering as the No. 5 seed.

April 26, 1998 Sue Wicks becomes the second player in RU women’s basketball history to have her jersey retired.

December 22, 1998 Rutgers gets its 500th win.

March 22, 1999 Rutgers advances to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after receiving the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. 

December 18, 1999 Head coach C. Vivian Stringer becomes the third women’s basketball coach to earn 600 career wins.

March 27, 2000 C. Vivian Stringer becomes the first coach, men’s or women’s, to take three different programs to the Final Four as Rutgers advances to its first-ever NCAA Tournament national semifinals.

April 25, 2000 Shawnetta Stewart (Orlando Miracle) and Usha Gilmore (Indiana Fever) are third-round selections in the WNBA Draft.

April 20, 2001 Tammy Sutton-Brown (Charlotte Sting) and Tasha Pointer (Portland Fire) are selected in the WNBA Draft.

June 9, 2001 Current head coach C. Vivian Stringer and former Rutgers mentor Theresa Grentz are inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

April 19, 2002 Davalyn Cunningham is selected in the WNBA Draft (Orlando Miracle).

December 8, 2004 C. Vivian Stringer becomes the fourth women’s Division coach to earn 700 career victories.

March 1, 2005 Rutgers secures its first BIG EAST Conference regular-season title with a 51-39 win at Villanova.

March 27, 2005 The Scarlet Knights advance to the Elite Eight with a victory over No. 8/7 Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen. 

April 16, 2005 Chelsea Newton (Sacramento Monarchs) and Rebecca Richman (New York Liberty) are selected in the 2005 WNBA Draft.

February 27, 2006 Rutgers post a perfect 16-0 BIG EAST record and win their second straight outright league regular-season crown.

April 5, 2006 Cappie Pondexter is selected second overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Draft where she ranks among the league’s scoring leaders and earns a spot on the 2006 WNBA All-Star Team.

March 6, 2007 The No. 2 seeded Scarlet Knights won their first-ever BIG EAST Championship with a victory over top-seeded Connecticut. Junior Matee Ajavon was named Most Valuable Player of the Championship.

March 24, 2007 Rutgers pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win over Duke, the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, in the Sweet Sixteen round.

April 1, 2007 The Scarlet Knights registered a 59-35 victory in the NCAA National Semifinal Game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The win advanced them to their first national championship game.

February 27, 2008 Stringer becomes the third women’s basketball coach and eighth coach in Division to earn 800 career wins.

April 9, 2008 Ajavon and Carson were the No. 5 and No. 7 WNBA selections, respectively, in the 2008 WNBA Draft. The duo had helped the Scarlet Knights compete in their second straight regional final eight days earlier.

April 9, 2009 Kia Vaughn was drafted by the New York Liberty in the WNBA Draft. Vaughn finished her Scarlet Knights career as the program’s all-time leader in games played (135) and second all-time in rebounds (1079) and blocked shots (279).

September 11, 2009 Coach Stringer is enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The coaching legend enters the Hall with NBA greats Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan.

April 16, 2012 Khadijah Rushdan and April Sykes were drafted to the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA Draft.

April 5, 2014 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, Tyler Scaife scored the game-winning lay-up with two seconds remaining to help Rutgers women’s win the 2014 WNIT Championship.

July 1, 2014 Rutgers University joins the Big Ten Conference in all sports.

February 5, 2015 Head coach C. Vivian Stringer becomes the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten women’s basketball. The victory was Stringers’ 177th Big Ten conference win, coming from her time at both Iowa and Rutgers.

April 16, 2015 Rutgers Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Betnijah Laney, becomes the 17th Scarlet Knight drafted into the WNBA (Chicago Sky).

February 4, 2016 Rachel Hollivay becomes RU’s all-time career blocks leader. Hollivay racked up 322 career rejections.

April 14, 2016 Kahleah Copper and Rachel Hollivay were  selected in the WNBA Draft.

June 22, 2016 Former Rutgers great Cappie Pondexter was named one of the 20 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history. Earlier in the season, she became the seventh player in WNBA history to score more than 6,000 career points.

December 1, 2016 Cappie Pondexter becomes the third Rutgers women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired as No. 25 is raised to the RAC rafters.

March 1, 2018 Senior Tyler Scaife returns for her final season after open-heart surgery and climbs to No. 2 on the all-time scoring leaders list with only All-American and Scarlet Knight great Sue Wicks ahead of her.

November 13, 2018 Head coach C. Vivian Stringer captured her 1,000th career. Stringer became the sixth women's head coach in NCAA history to join the elite 1,000 career victory club.

April 30, 2022 The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Head Coach, C. Vivian Stringer, leaves the game with 1,055.

May 23, 2022 Coquese Washington is named Rutgers Head Women’s Basketball Coach. She is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

December 4, 2022 Head coach C. Vivian Stringer enshrined on the court at Jersey Mike's Arena through a dedication ceremony.

Jan. 12, 2023 Rutgers clinches the program's 1,000th win. The Scarlet Knights become the 22nd Division I program to 1,000 wins and the third current Big Ten program to reach the milestone. The victory also marked Coach Washington's 100th Big Ten win.

March 1, 2023 In the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Kaylene Smikle becomes the all-time leading freshman scorer in program history. The third rookie in program history to hit the 500-point milestone, she ended the 2023-24 campaign with 573 points.

Congrats on an amazing 50 years and hoping for more standout accomplishments in the next 50!