PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- Coach C. Vivian Stringer wanted to make a difference when she arrived at Rutgers five years ago. She also made history in the process.
Stringer became the first coach to take three different teams to the Final Four as second-seeded Rutgers advanced for the first time in school history with a 59-51 victory over top seed Georgia in the West Region Final.
The Scarlet Knights will face Tennessee on Friday in the national semifinals. It will be their first NCAA Tournament meeting since the Lady Vols pounded Rutgers, 92-60, in the 1998 Mideast Region final. Tennessee defeated Rutgers last season, 68-54, at Madison Square Garden.
Stringer's feat had not been accomplished in either men's or women's basketball. She guided Cheyney State to the first Final Four in 1982 and returned with Iowa in 1993.
When Stringer came over from Iowa in 1995, she took over a program that had not played in the "Sweet 16" since 1988. The Scarlet Knights (26-7) have successfully climbed the ladder since then, advancing to the regional semifinals in 1998 and the "Elite Eight" last season.
Rutgers shot 48 percent (11-of-23) in the second half and outscored Georgia, 36-31, for just its second victory in six meetings with the Lady Bulldogs. Georgia hit 43 percent (12-of-28) over the final 20 minutes, but was 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
Shawnetta Stewart scored 14 of her 22 points in the second half and Tammy Sutton-Brown added 10 of her 14 in that span before fouling out. Linda Miles grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Scarlet Knights earn a 38-25 advantage.
Rutgers enjoyed another solid defensive effort as it has allowed only an average of 45 points in its last three victories.
With Connecticut winning the East Region title, it marks the first time the Big East Conference will send two teams to the Final Four.
Coco Miller and twin sister Kelly scored 15 points apiece for the Lady Bulldogs, who had played in the Final Four three of the last five seasons. Georgia (32-4) shot just 38 percent (20-of-53) from the floor and 6-of-20 from beyond the arc in just its second loss in 20 contests.
The loss came one game after coach Andy Landers became the fifth coach to reach 600th career victories. Stringer also is on that list as she notched her 621st win.