CHICAGO — C. Vivian Stringer will have to wait for another shot at her 900th career victory. And when it happens, the Rutgers coach will be happy to have it over with.
Brittany Hrynko hit a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds to lift DePaul to the 60-57 win, denying Stringer of her milestone victory Tuesday night.
“The only reason I would have liked to have gotten 900 was because I would like to be done with it,” Stringer said. “It’s a special honor, but it’s a heck of a lot of burden and stress. I’ll be glad when it’s over.”
Stringer was trying to become the fourth women’s coach to reach the 900-win plateau, joining Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and Sylvia Hatchell. Stringer’s next shot will come Saturday at home against Connecticut.
Only three men’s coaches have reached the 900-win plateau: Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Bob Knight.
With the game tied, Hrynko hit a 3 from the top of the key to give the Blue Demons the lead. Rutgers had a last chance, but Syessence Davis fell short.
Katherine Harry scored 16 points, Hrynko had 15 and Jasmine Penny added 12 for the Blue Demons (18-7, 7-4 Big East), now 4-0 at McGrath-Phillips Arena against Rutgers.
Wearing a simple black pantsuit with white lapels and cuffs, Stringer walked onto the DePaul court and smiled as a small delegation of Rutgers fans greeted her with applause.
She also drew appreciation from DePaul coach Doug Bruno.
“I’m not only impressed with the 900, but she’s played good strong, tough (opponents)... those 900 are hard-earned,” he said.
“Before the game I thanked her for all she’s done for the game and told her I wanted her to win every game after she walks out of here, but we’re going to do everything we can to keep her from winning 900 tonight.”
The Scarlet Knights played a Blue Demon team depleted by injuries, including starter Anna Martin, a pre-season all-Big East pick who has missed six games with a knee injury. DePaul had just eight active players.
Yet the Blue Demons used an early 12-2 run to establish a lead and opened a 22-12 edge at 9:52 on Hrynko’s jumper. The Scarlet Knights had six early turnovers and shot just 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) in the first 12 minutes.
DePaul doubled the score by the 5:05 mark as Harry’s successful baseline shot made it 28-14. The Blue Demons went on to a 35-19 halftime lead behind Hrynko’s nine points.
Harry gave DePaul its biggest lead when her bank shot made it 37-19 early in the second half.
But Stringer had a feeling the big lead wouldn’t hold.
“I did anticipate that this would be a three or four point game and considering the youth of the people -- we had a lot of young people out there — I’m pleased,” she said. “The vast majority of work was done by freshmen and sophomores.”
Thus a revived Rutgers team started to chip away. The Scarlet Knights cut the deficit to 41-33 a pair of Hollivay free throws with 14:01 left. Less than four minutes later, the game was tied after a pair of 3-pointers of Wheeler and Hollivay’s layup with 9:53 left.
Rutgers went up 51-48 before going without a field goal for 4:41.
The game was tied at 57 on Davis’ basket and foul with under a minute to play. She missed the free throw and DePaul got the ball setting up Hrynko’s 3-pointer and leaving Stringer stuck at 899.
The Hall of Fame coach earned her 800th career victory against DePaul in 2008. Tennessee’s Summitt also got win No. 800 against the Blue Demons on Jan. 14, 2003.