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Congratulations to Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, who got her career 900th win, beating Florida Gulf Coast, and she did it her way. Away from the sports crazed Bay Area, and surrounded by a small group of friends, hardcore fans and her staff and players.
What’s so special about 900? Well, it must be hard because she is just the fifth women’s basketball coach to do it. She joins Pat Summitt (1,098), Sylvia Hatchell (908), C. Vivian Stringer (905) and Jody Conradt (900). And 748 of those victories are with Stanford.
For seniors Sara James, Chiney Ogwumike and Mikaela Ruef it was a special moment as well, as the trio was also with the team for VanDerveer’s 800th-career win back on Dec. 22, 2010. (Remember that, when she beat her former star player, Jennifer Azzi at San Francisco?).
The game itself wasn’t much of contest, Stanford winning 83-59. Stanford had two players with double-doubles, as Chiney Ogwumike scored 27 points with 13 rebounds, and Mikaela Ruef scored a career-high 14 points and 12 rebounds. For Ogwumike it was her fifth double-double of the year and for Ruef her second. Chiney had a bit of a milestone herself, totaling a career 1,947 points, passing Kayla Pedersen (1,941) for eighth place on the Stanford list
Stanford set season highs with 10 three-pointers made and 26 three-point attempts, as well as 25 assists (on 31 field goals). Freshman guard Lili Thompson set season highs with 12 points, three three-pointers made, five assists and five rebounds. Alex Green set career highs with eight points, two three-pointers and three assists.
FGCU lived (and died) by the three ball, shooting 44 and making 14. They did heat up and came within 12 with a minute left in the first half. But Stanford likes to match the other team, and six different Cardinal players hit from behind the arc. Stanford also used its size to out-rebound FGCU 47-33.
After the game, Tara was her usual deferential self. Here she is from the Stanford Official site write up:
"I don’t like to be the center of attention," said VanDerveer. "I’m just fine being the person behind the scenes. It is not about me. I have such terrific help around me. And we have great players. I know it’s a big number and I’m kind of like, how did this happen? I’m not that old."
Age, like 900, is just a number. Her legacy will be her ability to get more out of a player then thought possible, as well as her ability to teach and prepare her players. It’s no wonder many of them go on to become successful coaches in their own right.
If you still need to celebrate with Tara, I read Stanford will commemorate her at the Gonzaga game Dec 14.
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