Well, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer earned her 899th career victory as the Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat 16th-ranked Purdue 86-69 in the 2013 Hardwood Tournament of Hope at the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center. Wow, try saying that five times fast.
First, Just the Facts, Ma’am
Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike (who the program has relied on heavily to score and rebound the last two years) got in early foul trouble, playing only nine minutes in the first half. Stanford led just 40-35 at the break before the she got going in the second (like last game). Chiney had 22 points and eight rebounds, almost a double-double. But the bigger news was four other Stanford players got in double digits, and freshie Erica McCall almost joined the party with nine points and eight rebounds.
Veterans Sara James and Amber Orrrrange scored 12 each, Mikaela Ruef added 10, and freshie Lili Thompson scored 11 with the aforementioned freshie Erica McCall scoring a season-high nine points to go with her season-best eight rebounds. Stanford shot 62 percent for the game.
Maybe having Chiney on the bench forced others to step up, but five, nearly six players in double-digits is a great sign of things to come from the Cardinal. Also from reading Twitter, it sounded like Purdue fouled a lot and Stanford’s defense forced them outside where they shot an uncomfortable 4-23 from beyond the arc. Stanford’s defense is always underrated, but Chiney didn’t win the Pac-12 Player of the Year AND the Pac-12 Defensive player of the Year award for nothing (something no one had done previously).
So with the next win, the Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold medalist will become just the fifth women's basketball coach to reach 900, joining Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt.
Stanford celebrates win #899 for Coach Tar VanDerveer
And due to this tournament not being televised or even heavily covered, no one will really get to see it live. Sure, sure, it will be announced at Maples next home game, the crowd will clap warmly, and Tara will wave, but it’s not the same. Especially since it seems like yesterday the whole Bay Area took a pilgrimage to San Francisco to witness Tara get number 800 at the cost of her former player Jennifer Azzi. But shouldn’t the Hall of Famer get more respect than that? There is a picture from either Chiney or Lili’s social media account with the players crowded around a hand made sign saying 899. Perhaps it is more heartfelt than a gaudy banner.
However, lest we cry foul, this is probably how Tara VanDerveer would want it. In Michelle Smith’s article for ESPNW she writes and quotes:
It is fitting that this milestone will very likely take place in a gym in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this week in front of what is equally likely to be an intimate crowd of her players' families, a few Stanford die-hards and some friends. Low-profile is fine by her. "I don’t like to be the center of attention," VanDerveer said. "I'm fine just kind of being the person behind the scenes. "
So, in retrospect, C and R (and other Stanford fans) selfishly want to share in her victory. Tara wants to treat it like any other game, which means it will probably end in a win due to her preparation. See ya tomorrow.
Follow C and R for #900 on Facebook and Twitter, too!