Lady Knights Fall Short Again

By Richard Kent
Updated: March 30, 2009

C Vivian Stringer VersypCONNECTICUT — Talk about bringing three teams to the Final Four.

Talk about all of those All Americans. Talk about Cappie Pondexter. But ultimately, it is all talk and no action. Rutgers suffered another embarrassing loss Sunday night, this time to Purdue in the Sweet 16.

There was a huge talent differential between Rutgers and Purdue. There was also a huge coaching differential as well. Rutgers had the talent. Purdue had the coach.

The game has passed C. Vivian Stringer by. You can’t play a 1975 style with 2009 players. It doesn’t work. Stringer has the athletes but does not know what to do with them. She has the frosh, but inexplicably did not play them. One already has transferred.

A former Big East coach watched the Rutgers season in amazement. That coach named five different coaches who would have coached Rutgers to a Final Four, saying that only UConn was better than them.

Geno Auriemma would agree that Rutgers might have the second most talent in the country. Most importanly their strongest asset, their speed was only utilized in a blow out win over Auburn.

Stringer’s team played a good first half against Tennessee — squandering a 30-11 lead, a good game on the road against Notre Dame, decent games against UConn and well against Auburn.

They were embarassed against Stanford, California and Maryland. Unprepared and embarassed. Stringer’s answer a week before the Purdue game was to blast the Rutgers Administration for not providing the right facilities.

She should blame herself for her style of play that even keeps the Princetons of this world in games. That is why barely over 3,000 showed up for the Auburn game. It wasn’t the facilities. It was the boring style of play.

Next year Stringer has one of the greatest groups of guards ever assembled. Will she play a four guard offense like the Villanova men and run? Probably not. Way too obvious.

She will win a couple of NCAA games, but no Final Four. Those days are over with that style. Greatness is reserved for UConn and Tennessee in the women’s game and to a lesser extent Duke, Maryland, and Stanford.

What do they all have in common? Top notch coaches. Coaches like Auriemma who adapts his style to his players and not his players to his style.