In yet another bizarre move this year by Rutgers’ Vivian Stringer, it was announced today that Rutgers would, if invited turn down a bid to the WNIT.
Stringer, in 2010 called the WNIT secondary in 2010 in announcing that her team would not accept a bid.
Secondary? Really? Last year it served as as the springboard for Colorado, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Villanova, and Washington to have much improved seasons this year.
This is not the WNIT of old, held in Amarillo, Texas; it is a 64 team event which is prestigious and last year drew almost 100,000 fans.
Stringer cited injuries in her statement. However, the Knights weren’t lacking for depth this season: they have
been considered among the deepest teams in the Big East with a nine player rotation and 12 players scoring in games. She normally plays a seven player rotation. Freshman center Rachel Hollivay was really coming on towards the end of the year. A tournament such as the WNIT could have further helped her development.
Next year is a pivotal one for Stringer. It is the last year of a seven year contract. She is the highest paid head coach at Rutgers. Three post-season games would give her team an opportunity to perhaps get two home games and play lesser competition. On the other hand, it could have been an event in which her team suffered an embarrassing loss to a possible first round opponent like Harvard of the Ivy League.
Stringer’s team lost to at least three teams who had awful seasons this year in Seton Hall, Boston College and Cincinnati this year.
At a minimum, her decision, assuming that it was hers alone, was a curious one.