The Rutgers women’s basketball team opened its 2019-2020 season with a 77-56 win on the road over South Alabama on Tuesday night. The game marked another career milestone in the return of Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who earned her 500th victory as the head coach at Rutgers. After missing the end of last season due to health issues, Stringer opened her 25th season on the banks with such a significant victory.
Redshirt junior guard Arella Guirantes scored a career high 27 points on 10 of 19 shooting and 4 of 7 from three-point range. She added 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists. Junior wing Tekia Mack produced her first career double double, dropping 21 points and grabbing a career high 11 rebounds.
Rutgers shot 45.2% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range and a stellar 15 of 17 (88.2%) from the free throw line. South Alabama, a 25 win team a year ago, shot just 27.4% from the field, 14.3% from behind the arc and 50% on 19 of 38 attempts from the charity stripe.
The Scarlet Knights defense produced 8 blocks and 6 steals. South Alabama held a +1 rebounding margin and +3 turnover margin.
Tuesday’s season opening victory also marked the return of point guard KK Sanders, who was back to her versatile ways, producing a line of 4 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Also, former five star recruit Maori Davenport made her collegiate debut in her home state, scoring 7 points on 3 of 5 shooting, as well as 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in 17 minutes of action. However, the return of Stringer and her 500th victory at Rutgers was the biggest storyline of the night.
After the win, Stringer said “It’s so hard to find the words on a night like this. I am just so happy to be healthy and back coaching this team, and thinking back to every young woman that has come through this program, every coach, staff member and administrator that made this number possible, it’s a very special feeling and one I am very grateful for. I get to wake up everyday and coach basketball and make a difference in young people’s lives. I never set out for 500 wins, honestly I lost track at one point, but there is no better place to do it than Rutgers University.”
If you missed our podcast with coach Stringer from Monday discussing her career and the season ahead, you can listen to it here.
Up next is the home opener this Saturday at 2 p.m. versus Coppin State. There will be a pregame ceremony honoring Stringer’s 500th victory.
Another insanely cool milestone achieved in the already remarkable career of @cvivianstringer... wins for @RutgersWBB!!! Love seeing the joy of our young women for the victory & her return to the sideline as R head coach!! @RUAthletics @RutgersU pic.twitter.com/mKJUxssmmG— Sarah Baumgartner (@baumsarah) November 6, 2019