|STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer joined Pat Summitt as the only NCAA women’s basketball coaches with 1,000 wins Friday night after her Hoopfed Poll No. 7 team defeated Southern California 58-42-at Maples Pavilion in front of excited fans that included the winning coach’s mother, former players and ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“Words cannot accurately described how many lives she’s actually touched,” said USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke postgame about VanDerveer’s milestone. “She’s developed a culture, not just of winning but being great.”
Coaches in the Pac-12 and from around the country including VanDerveer’s sister Heidi, were effusive in their praise as well. (Click here for a slideshow of the quotes)
“I am really excited for Tara to reach this incredible milestone,” said the younger VanDerveer, the head coach of UC San Diego. “One thousand wins is a testament to her passion, work ethic, commitment to excellence, consistency, and vision. Those are the qualities she learned from our parents. I know our dad would have been really proud of her, and it is great that our mom can enjoy the celebration. Her legacy is not about the wins but the people she has touched along her journey and the class she has shown throughout her career. She has helped set the highest standard for women¹s basketball, and for me personally she has been the best role model and sister anyone could ever ask for!”
VanDerveer’s current team and former players were communicating among each other in the week’s leading up the game via a conversation on a chat thread. VanDerveer talked about her pride in having players cherish their time at Stanford and her coaching.
“Whether I coached players in the Olympics or Idaho or Ohio State, sometimes during the process of coaching, you know, it’s challenging for them. I am demanding. I don’t know any other way to be. You know, I can be very direct. But what I felt today from our team is they felt the love that I have for the game and also for them. It’s great when they see someone like Jayne [Appel-Marinelli] or Candice Wiggins, or Nneka [Ogwumike], or Chiney [Ogwumike] or Jennifer [Azzi], and all these players saying thank you to me. They know they’re part of something special.”
The postgame celebration was hosted by former Stanford player Ros Gold-Onwude who participated in the conversations and was on the call for the game as an analyst for Pac-12 Networks.
“I told our team before the game, I said, you know, I won’t lie to you, this is a special game,” said VanDerveer. “But I hope that you know the 1000th win it will happen this year, so have fun, relax and play hard, and I thought our team really did that.”
Stanford was in control wire-to-wire, led by Karlie Samuelson who finished with 21 points plus four points. Erica McCall contributed 18 points plus five rebounds. Brittany McPhee was also in double figures with 10 points plus five rebounds.
Kristen Simon led USC with 11 points and four rebounds. Minyon Moore added 10 points and four assists.
“I thought USC played very inspired,” said VanDerveer. “They came out and worked really hard. The first half we didn’t take care of the ball as well as we needed to, but I thought we did a better job in the second half. I just really wanted to try to get everybody in at the end of the game.”
When talking about the win, VanDerveer was humble and gave a lot of praise to her staff, student-athletes, fans and her family.
“You know, it is really a little surreal for me. It’s a little mind boggling. When I think back to starting out at Idaho and the times I was at Ohio State, and even beginning here at Stanford, it’s been a really, really exciting and fun journey. So many of you have been a part of this journey in some way, shape, or form. The fans coming out, the signs, the video, you know, I’m working really hard to keep it all together.”
“So some of it is what makes it hard is my mom being here,” she continued. “I’m really excited that she was here. It’s just I never started to think about winning 1,000 games. I never even thought about it ever, and then it started creeping up.”
On having her mom attending the game
So I started to make light of it, not just putting a lot of pressure on our team.
So, Mom, you can go home tomorrow.
On the emotional impact
What really made it, what really kind of hit me was how excited our team was. I really thought they were going to hit me with water and it was confetti. I was like please, no. I know there are some pictures coming.
But, you know, I’m so fortunate to coach at Stanford, to have the great staff that I have. If it was all about the numbers, I probably wouldn’t have coached the Olympic team because this would have happened before. For me, this is a team reward. This is something that I’m really excited to be able to share with this particular team.
You know, we have work to do, but I told our team, there will be bigger games than this this year, so let’s have fun and enjoy it.
On her best coaching moments
You know, we didn’t set the world on fire with our offense at the end of the game, but that’s a credit to USC and their defense and how hard they played. But my experience as a coach is preparation. My strength is trying to really get everyone to buy into this is how we’re going to play, and maybe making some halftime adjustments and saying this is what we’re doing. Trying to maximize people’s strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
Accolades and Honors
Around the Web
This post is part of the thread: 2016-17 College Season – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.
Tags: Tara VanDerveer