This was a year of growth for Rutgers women’s basketball with the Scarlet Knights showing development and maturation under first-year head coach Coquese Washington. A seasoned and experienced Big Ten coach, Washington saw her team begin to take shape as the season wore on.
Rutgers finished the season 12-20 (5-13 Big Ten). Washington took over for Vivian C. Stringer, who didn’t coach the previous season for personal reasons.
Even with a tough out-of-conference schedule, Rutgers still showed plenty of signs of life from the get-go under Washington. An accomplished Big Ten coach who spent 12 seasons at Penn State, Washington knows how to get a team to the postseason.
Her Nittany Lions teams made the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT on three occasions. For Big Ten Network analyst Meghan McKeown, there is a clear upward trend for Rutgers women’s basketball this offseason.
“Coach Washington has done a fantastic job coming in to replace coach Stringer. She’s not trying to be coach Stringer, but respects and understands what coach Stringer did at Rutgers throughout her legendary career,” McKeown told Rutgers Wire this week.
“I love how coach Washington understands her identity as a coach. This Rutgers team will give a lot of the Big Ten issues next year.”
Some quality wins down the stretch of the regular season and a win in the Big Ten Tournament capped off a rebuilding season for the once-proud program. A program that now seems to be trending upwards.
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Rutgers has added some real quality this offseason with a couple of high-level transfers. These additions, headlined by Destiny Adams, come into a team that already has some good depth pieces.
“Coach Washington knows two very important concepts: how to recruit in the Big Ten and how to win the Big Ten. She had a ‘rebuild’ last season that produced one of the best freshmen in the league in Kaylene Smikle, and one of the best rebounders in the league in Chyna Cornwell,” McKeown said.
“They picked up some key wins along the way, such as a huge win over Nebraska. This is a team that plays hard and has the ability to make in-game adjustments. I’m excited to see how they do in 2023-24.”
For more basketball insight and in-depth Big Ten coverage, make sure to follow Meghan on Twitter @MeghanMcKeown_.