The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are having a whirlwind 2018-2019 season. We have seen them hit the highs and the lows. Due to a variety of things happening around the program, it can be difficult to say how the atmosphere of the team is this point.
For example, the Scarlet Knights had been playing some good basketball to begin the season. This stellar run was important as C. Vivian Stringer was able to notch her 1,000th victory as a head coach. Eventually, Rutgers would have an undefeated month of December. The Scarlet Knights went 4-0 in December. In addition, they were able to win their first two games in Big Ten play that month. One of those wins was against Maryland. At the time, the Terps were the No. 4 ranked team in the country.
As of today, Rutgers is 19-8 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten. With the 11-5 record, the Scarlet Knights are in third place in the Big Ten.
Unfortunately, Rutgers has seen its fair share of turmoil and setbacks this season. Ciani Cryor has been dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules. To clarify, this is Cryor’s second time receiving a punishment for team rules violations. Early in the season, the redshirt junior was suspended for eight games for a violation of team policy.
Cryor was averaging 8.1 points and 5.6 assists in 18 games this season. In addition, she was leading the Scarlet Knights in assists per game.
Prior to Cryor’s dismissal, senior forward Caitlin Jenkins was also dismissed from the team. This would come after Jenkins was suspended indefinitely by Rutgers for a Feb. 2 arrest. In 20 games, the senior was averaging 6.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Because of her 6.8 rebounds per game, Jenkins was leading the team in that category.
Since the two dismissals, Rutgers is 1-1 with a loss to Michigan and a win over Wisconsin.
Along with the dismissals, Stringer is taking a leave absence from the team at the advice of doctors.
“As you can imagine this was not an easy decision, however, in consultation with my doctors, it is in my best interest to spend time to get healthy before returning to the day-to-day grind of coaching,” Stringer said in a statement. “I would not be able to do this without the faith in my assistants Tim Eatman, Kelley Gibson and Nadine Domond to handle the program in my absence. I know our young ladies can finish the season strong playing Scarlet Knight basketball and I will rejoin the team as soon as I can. I would like to thank the many friends, fans, and members of the Rutgers Athletics community that have sent me well wishes and I look forward to seeing you all soon.”
Nonetheless, assistant coach Tim Eatman will assume head coaching duties in Stringer’s absence.
“I just want to make coach Stringer proud,” Eatman stated after the win over Wisconsin on Monday.
Through the distractions and hindrances, Rutgers is still looking strong as they look to finish the regular season on a high note. Rutgers has two games remaining on their schedule against Minnesota and Ohio State. A win would clinch a top-four finish in the Big Ten for Rutgers.
Even with all the happenings, despite all the bad, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights still have a strong shot to make the NCAA Tournament.
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