When Karen Sypher caught Rick Pitino's eye across the bar, the famous basketball coach motioned to the empty seat next to him.

"He had a glass of red wine ready for me," she told The Post.

"I recognized him. I was divorced and single" and decided to join the ex-Knick coach.

The chance encounter in a Louisville restaurant on Aug. 1, 2003, would end in the two having sex on a table -- and would change their lives forever.

She accused Pitino of rape -- an allegation he denies. Although cops declined to prosecute, the scandal caused him painful public humiliation and nearly cost him his job as a University of Louisville coach.

He had to make a public apology this week to his fans and family.

As for Sypher, she was accused of trying to extort him for as much as $10 million to keep quiet.

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