Entering her 21st season at Rutgers, Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer has never been one to shy away from setting high expectations for her team. Could losing double-double machine Betnijah Laney, who ranks 14th in points and 6th in rebounds on Rutgers all-time list, change that? Not from this ball coach. Stringer entered Big Ten Media Day this morning with a familiar excitement and dedication to achieving another successful season.
Nice convo with Rutgers women's coach Vivian Stringer. She's got high expectations as usual. #B1GMediaDay— Jason Langendorf (@JasonLangendorf) October 15, 2015
In her opening remarks, Stringer expressed that it felt "full circle" for her to be competing in the Big Ten again, the conference where she previously coached at Iowa. However, an important distinction in the Big Ten now compared to when she was at Iowa was the parity amongst the teams. While the conference was "top-heavy" in the 1990s, with Iowa, Ohio State, and Purdue leading the charge, now nearly every team is competitive in their own right.
Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer on playing in B1G: "It promises every flavor of the game. Teams can run; it has great shooters and size."— Jim Massie (@MassDispatch) October 15, 2015
Although the competition may be at an all time high in the Big Ten, Stringer seems confident with the potential of this veteran team to make some noise. She raved about junior guard Tyler Scaife's ability to make plays with the ball in her hands, and her ability to play with "no fear." She also made note of the tremendous growth over the years seen in seniors Ariel Butts and Kahleah Cooper, two forwards who will be essential for the team's success. In fact, Cooper was named a Preseason All-Big Ten selection yesterday, as voted by the players and coaches. Another player Stringer is excited to see play this season is Briyona Canty; a player who came into the program with high expectations, Canty has had a number of unfortunate injuries, including knee problems and an open heart surgery during her second year. Finally healthy, Canty will be able to add extra depth to a strong frontcourt.
While acknowledging that her staff, players, and she herself all have work to do before the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, Stringer summed up all of our sentiments when exclaiming, "I'm excited. I'm excited. Excited. Excited for the challenge."