Shawnetta Stewart scored 14 of her 23 points in the second half and sparked the game's key run as No. 16 Rutgers defeated No. 25 Texas, 68-64, yesterday in Piscataway, N.J., giving Coach C. Vivian Stringer her 600th career victory.

Stringer is the third women's coach to reach the milestone, joining the woman she beat yesterday, Jody Conradt, and Tennessee's Pat Summitt. Stringer is 600-185 in 27 years at Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers, including 80-50 in five seasons at Rutgers.

With Texas (7-3) leading 58-55, Stewart scored seven straight points for Rutgers (5-2) during a 13-6 run in the game's final 3 minutes 12 seconds. Stewart cut down the lane and took a pass from Tasha Pointer to make it 62-61. The basket provided the game's 17th and final lead change with 2:23 left.

A three-pointer by Asha Hill cut Texas's deficit to 65-64 with 43.8 seconds left. Pointer's driving layup made it 67-64 with 15.5 seconds remaining. Hill then missed a three-pointer with four seconds left, and Pointer made one of two free throws after being fouled on the rebound.

Stringer was hoisted on her players' shoulders and presented with flowers after the final buzzer. Rutgers officials then held a midcourt presentation ceremony.

* ILLINOIS 61, KANSAS 59: In Chicago, freshman Kristi Faulkner hit a short runner in the lane with 2.7 seconds left as the No. 19 Illini made Coach Theresa Grentz the school's career leader in women's coaching wins.

Grentz is 84-48 in her fifth year. Laura Golden had an 83-89 record at Illinois from 1984 to '90.

"I like any time we win," said Grentz, who coached at Rutgers for 19 years, where she was 434-150. "There is no such thing as a bad win."

But the Illinois record? "That's nice, too. I plan on being here a while," she said.

Illinois took a 59-55 lead on two free throws by Tauja Catchings with 1:37 left. Brooke Reves scored for No. 20 Kansas at 1:15, and after a charging call on Illinois' Shavonna Hunter, the Jayhawks' Jennifer Jackson tied the game with a jumper with 27.4 seconds left.

Faulkner then drove through the lane and hit the short shot. Kansas rushed the ball downcourt, but Lynn Pride misfired on a desperation shot at the buzzer.

* AUBURN 91, IOWA 55: In Iowa City, Conswella Sparrow scored 20 points and the No. 8 Tigers dominated the start of both halves in beating the Hawkeyes. It was the most points allowed by Iowa since it lost to Vanderbilt, 95-65, on Dec. 28, 1991.

Auburn (8-1) led 21-3 after more than seven minutes. But Iowa (3-5) cut the lead to two with less than two minutes to go in the first half on several three-pointers. Auburn then scored the final seven points of the half to lead 45-36 as Iowa committed two turnovers and Mary Berdo missed a driving shot.

* PURDUE 48, KENTUCKY 40: In Indianapolis, Katie Douglas scored 18 points to lead No. 12 Purdue in the Boilermaker Blockbuster. Camille Cooper added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (8-1). Erica Jackson scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace Kentucky (5-3).

Purdue led 27-18 at halftime and twice led by 13 points in the second half.