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Rutgers Women's Hoops: Defending WNIT Champs still have something to prove

They are national champions, but no one in the regional media covered the story in person. And now they start their first campaign in the Big Ten with "unfinished business".

It all starts home...versus St. Joe's.

They are coming off a thrilling run in the WNIT that ended with a championship victory over UTEP.  But it isn't enough.

C. Vivian Stringer enters her 20th year at Rutgers with a  409-206 record, with 14 of those seasons resulting in NCAA Tournament appearances.  But there is "unfinished business" for her and her Knights.  Last June, Stringer and AD Julie Hermann hammered out a four-year contract that, for all intent and purposes, allows Stringer to finish her career On the Banks.

In an earlier interview with, Stringer remarked, "This gives me an opportunity to finish my career at Rutgers and I’m pleased about that. It gives me another opportunity to achieve some of the championship-related things that have always been my desire and to build off what has been an excellent step in that direction with the success we had last year with so many young people. Now we can accomplish that in the Big Ten – which, in our opinion, is the best conference in the country."

Last Sunday, the team held an "open practice" for the Cagers Club, the WBB support organization.  A scrimmage against the men that the team usually practices against and comments from players highlighted the afternoon event.

Betnijah Laney addresses the Cagers

Preseason, the Knights hold the #24 spot in the AP Poll.  Not a bad start, but not enough for the 43-year veteran coach.  Her sights are set on higher and loftier goals.

"I’m looking forward to trying to win a national championship. That’s my purpose in the first place."

Ten different Big Ten teams received votes in the Associated Press (AP) or USA Today Coaches’ preseason top 25 polls, led by Maryland at No. 10/8 (AP/USA Today). Michigan State is ranked No. 14/15 and is followed by No. 16/16 Nebraska, No. 19/19 Iowa and Rutgers. Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue also received votes in at least one poll. As for Stringer's return to he Big Ten where she coached Iowa to a 269–84 record and nine NCAA appearances in 12 years, the dual hall of fame coach said, "I’m excited about the Big Ten. It’s obviously a deep league. Top to bottom and across the whole spectrum of things it’s the best academic and athletic conference in the country. It really is. And I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m happy with it. I’ve always felt that Rutgers’ footprint was here, that it was always here."

And now its time to start being noticed there and completing that business.

Upcoming Women's Basketball Schedule

11/14/14 vs. St. Joseph's Rutgers Athletic Center
7:00 p.m. ET
11/18/14 vs. Northeastern Rutgers Athletic Center 7:00 p.m. ET