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The calendar was flipped about the same time Dick Clark was shouting "Happy New Year!" to millions of viewers across the country. It's now 2003 and there's no looking back for C. Vivian Stringer and her Rutgers women's basketball team.
"It's a new year," Stringer said following the Scarlet Knights' most recent victory, an 87-72 win over George Washington on Sunday. "No question (2002) was a horrible year for me. Nobody wants to relive that pain."
No looking back for Stringer

When the Rutgers women's basketball team visits No. 8 Texas Tech today, the game will hold special significance for Cappie Pondexter.
Pondexter will be reunited with Lady Raiders' coach Marsha Sharp, who guided the United States to a gold medal at the World Championship for Young Women Qualifying Tournament last summer in Brazil. The 5-foot-9 Pondexter was the point guard on that team, which qualified the U.S. for the 2003 FIBA World Championship for Young Women.
Familiar faces await

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Around the Big East

The most notable upset of the college football season didn't occur on any field, in front of 80,000 screaming fans.
Rather, it took place on the banquet circuit.
Unbeaten and top-ranked Miami, which has produced more National Football League first-round draft picks than any other school since 1984, produced one individual award winner this season.
Miami, shut of out of the awards circuit, has much to prove

There will be a bittersweet quality to tomorrow night's Fiesta Bowl for Miami's refrigerator-sized sophomore defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork (6-2, 350 pounds) will get a chance to play for a second straight national championship against Ohio State tomorrow night. But neither of his parents will be there to watch what could be his finest hour.
Wilfork's 48-year-old father, David, died June 5 after a prolonged fight with diabetes that included seven operations.
In Fiesta, with a heavy heart

Todd Sievers has been there. He's walked in Mike Nugent's cleats. Just last year, in fact.
Sievers remembers it all. The look of the ball on the turf. The confidence walking onto the field. How everything seemed to fall neatly into place. It was a dream season, last year was, a season that ended in national honors for Sievers and a national championship for his Miami team.
Fiesta Bowl kickers yearn for a chance to make a difference

Around the Nation

All quiet on the Maurice Clarett front Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz. Sigh.
He has already worked up a sufficient level of animosity, hostility and enmity this Fiesta Bowl week. And that's toward his own university.
I suppose there has been some time to think about Miami, too.
This hullabaloo has been entertaining, but overcooked.
Flap with Ohio State's Clarett overdone

Interesting Article

There are 326 teams playing Division I basketball. All of them officially are chasing the same elusive goal, a national championship. But in reality, there are different levels of success for different programs in different parts of the country.
It's what makes the sport special.
When you are a school in metropolitan New York, one of those goals is to capture the ECAC Holiday Festival, played during the days after Christmas at Madison Square Garden for each of the past 50 years. The fabled arena plays host to a number of college tournaments, the Preseason NIT being the most prestigious nationally.
For Manhattan, Holiday Festival repeat as good as it gets

Donald "Big Dog" Forbes: dforbes@theinsiders.com
Mike and the Big Dog LLC

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