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Around the NCAAW: Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer is the winningest coach in college basketball history

1,203 for Tara! On Sunday afternoon, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer became the winningest head coach in college basketball history. VanDerveer’s milestone headlines another upset-filled week in women’s college hoops.

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Oregon State v Stanford
With 1,203 wins, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer is the winningest coach in college basketball history.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It was another upset- and accomplishment-filled week in women’s college basketball. Here’s some of the best from Monday, Jan. 15 to Sunday, Jan. 21, beginning with Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer further cementing her legendary status.

Tara at the top

On Friday night, No. 8 Stanford’s 25-point home victory over Oregon, 88-63, gave head coach Tara VanDerveer 1,202 victories, tying her with longtime Duke head coach Mike Kryzewski for the most in college basketball history.

On Sunday, the all-time win’s record became only VanDerveer’s, with the Cardinal securing their coach her well-earned honor with a 65-56 win over Oregon State at Maples Pavillon.

VanDerveer is in her 45th season as a head coach; her 38th at Stanford. During her time in Palo Alto, she has led the Cardinal to 27 Pac-12 regular-season championships, 14 Pac-12 Tournament titles, 13 Final Fours and national championships in 1990, 1992 and 2021.

The 31-season span between VanDerveer’s first national title at Stanford and her most-recent triumph in 2021 is illustrative of the timelessness of her coaching acumen, as well as her adaptability. Even as the sands of college sports continually shift, VanDerveer has remained elite. And now, she’s peerless, appropriately perched above the sport’s greatest leaders.

Our friends across women’s basketball media have published some excellent accounts of VanDerveer’s career, achievement and impact. Be sure to check out:

Buckeyes clip Hawkeyes

After a fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime, No. 18 Ohio State (15-3, 6-1) handed No. 2 Iowa (18-2, 7-1) their second loss of the season, 100-92. The Buckeyes outscored the Hawkeyes 25-18 in the fourth and 17-9 in OT.

While Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark totaled a game-high 45 points, Ohio State sophomore forward Cotie McMahon was the afternoon’s brightest star, scoring a career-high 33 points to go with 12 rebounds. McMahon was unstoppable as she showcased her elite combination of skill and athleticism, leading a Buckeye team that, thus far, has been a bit of a disappointment to a signature win. Grad guard Jacy Sheldon contributed her share of momentum-swinging plays, finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds. The Buckeyes’ peak defensive prowess also was on display, especially in holding down the Hawkeye attack in the final period and overtime.

More ACC, Pac-12 shake ups

Entering the week, No. 15 Florida State (14-6, 5-3) was coming off a pair of impressive wins, ascending to the head of the class in the ACC. Their favored status was short lived.

On Thursday, the Seminoles were one of three ACC teams ranked in the top 15 to suffer an upset. Behind a season-high 31 points—including a program-record nine 3s—from grad guard Dyaisha Fair, Syracuse (16-2, 6-1) ignited midway through the third quarter to come back and take down FSU, 79-73. Down in South Florida, Miami (12-5, 2-4) used a hot start to hold off No. 4 NC State (16-2, 4-2), 73-59. Junior guards Jasmyne Roberts, Shayeann Day-Wilson and Lashae Dwyer all scored 18 points for the Hurricanes. In Durham, No. 14 Virginia Tech (14-4, 5-2) dropped a second-straight game, with Duke (12-6, 4-3) turning in a dominant, defensive second half to sprint to the 63-46 win. Junior guard Reigan Richardson led the Blue Devils with 22 points. No. 23 North Carolina (14-5, 6-1) nearly fell victim as well, fending off Georgia Tech (13-6, 4-3) for a five-point victory, 73-68.

Amongst all this chaos, No. 13 Louisville (16-3, 5-1) was quietly cruising along, with a 17-point win, 81-64, at Clemson (8-11, 1-6) on Thursday. But, the upset came for the Cardinals on Sunday, with the Tar Heels taking them down in Chapel Hill, 79-68. The Seminoles then fell for a second-straight time on Sunday, losing at home to a Virginia team (9-9, 1-6) that was winless in ACC play, 91-87. Freshman guard Kymora Johnson was fantastic for the Cavaliers in the upset win, bursting out for a career-high 35 points as she also grabbed seven boards and tossed six assists. Both NC State and Virginia Tech rebounded from Thursday’s losses, with the Wolfpack defeating Duke, 72-57, and the Hokies taking care of Clemson, 74-62. No. 16 Notre Dame (14-3, 5-2) finished the week with a pair of perfunctory victories, besting Virginia and Wake Forest (4-15, 0-7) without issue.

After all those upsets, UNC and Syracuse are tied for first place in the ACC, with both teams at 6-1. Louisville is in second at 5-1.

In the Pac-12, the upendings began on Friday night. No. 5 UCLA (15-1, 4-1) rebounded from their first loss of the season to hand No. 3 Colorado (16-2, 6-1), feeling good after a victory over No. 8 Stanford (17-2, 6-1) last Sunday, their first conference loss in front of a sellout crowd in Boulder, with the Bruins triumphing 76-68. Colorado native Lauren Betts finished her homecoming game with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Charisma Osborne steered UCLA with 22 points. In Salt Lake City, No. 6 USC (13-3, 3-3) was unable to sustain momentum from their upset of UCLA, falling prey to an Alissa Pili 37-point masterpiece as No. 20 Utah (13-5, 3-3) prevailed 78-58.

On Sunday, Colorado and USC engaged in a back-and-forth battle in Boulder, with the Buffs coming out on top, 63-59. Foul trouble limited the Trojans’ JuJu Watkins, with the star freshman scoring 20 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. For the Buffaloes, four of junior center Aaronette Vonleh’s eight total points proved crucial in securing the W; her layup with under a minute remaining—off a nifty pass from grad guard Jaylyn Sherrod—gave Colorado the lead before Vonleh then iced the game with a pair of free throws. Grad forward Quay Miller led Colorado with a double-double of 19 points and 12 boards, while Sherrod added 17 points.

Utah hosts UCLA in another consequential conference contest on Monday night. With both at 6-1, Colorado and Stanford currently are tied for first place in the Pac-12; UCLA would retain sole control of second with a Monday night win.

Major scoring milestones

On Tuesday, Iowa senior guard Caitlin Clark ascended to fourth all-time on the NCAA Division I women’s basketball scoring list, passing former Baylor great Brittney Griner. Clark, who currently sits at 3,351 points after scoring 45 points in the Hawkeyes’ loss to Ohio State on Sunday, only trails Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles (3,393), Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (3,402) and Washington’s Kelsey Plum (3,527). Averaging 31.0 points per game, Clark is on pace to claim the all-time mark in mid-February.

However, Clark was not the only player who etched her name in the scoring record books. Last Sunday, Syracuse grad guard Dyaisha Fair scored her 3,000th point, becoming the 16th player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball to do so. As noted above, Fair also was fantastic in Syracuse’s upset of Florida State. In scoring 31 points, she surpassed an illustrious trio on the all-time scoring list: USC’s Cheryl Miller, Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw and UConn’s Maya Moore. What company! On Sunday, Fair scored another 22 points in Syracuse’s win over Pitt, a performance that pushed her past Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and tied her with Iowa State’s Ashley Joens on the all-time list at 3,060 points.

Stat-stuffing, highlight-worthy performances

In addition to some of the electrifying efforts discussed above, these performances from the past week deserve some shine:

  • On Monday, sophomore forward Ashlyn Watkins did a little bit of everything in No. 1 South Carolina’s 98-36 thrashing of Kentucky. Off the bench, she had 10 points, eight boards, three assists, two blocks, two steals—and a breakaway slam!
  • Junior forward Aaliyah Moore celebrated her birthday by going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field for No. 11 Texas on Tuesday, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in the 91-56 win over Kansas. Madison Booker also got in on the party, unleashing a sweet behind-the-back move before converting a transition layup. The freshman forward totaled 15 points, six assists, five boards and a steal.
  • Stanford junior forward Kiki Iriafen made sure her head coach got win number 1,203 on Sunday, scoring a career-high 36 points while also grabbing 12 boards on the milestone-making afternoon.
  • Junior guard Rachel Rose accumulated the first triple-double in Wofford women’s basketball history, finishing with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in a 69-51 win over rival Furman on Saturday.
  • East Carolina fifth-year guard Danae McNeal turned in another superb scoring performance, dropping a career-high 35 points—including a perfect 15-for-15 from the free throw line—as the Pirates bested SMU, 68-61, on Saturday.
  • On Saturday, Lamar junior big Akasha Davis powered her way to a 29-point and 15-rebound double-double, helping her team take down Houston Christian, 65-54.
  • Sophomore forward Katie Krupa and junior guard Harmoni Turner formed a dynamic duo for Harvard in a Saturday win over Penn, 69-56. Krupa notched a new career high with 25 points, while Turner tied her career best with 31 points. Turner also grabbed 10 boards, distributed six assists and snagged a pair of steals.
  • Fifth-year senior big Khari Clark led Stony Brook over College of Charleston, 81-71, on Friday, finishing with a career-high 28 points, six boards, three blocks, an assist and a steal.
  • Senior guard Jordan Webster was essential as UC Riverside edged Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, 64-62. She had a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds, along with four steals, a pair of assists and a block. Webster also reached 1,000 career points in the contest.
  • Tennessee Tech sophomore guard Reghan Grimes earned a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds in her team’s 86-81 win over Tennessee State on Thursday. Grimes also added four assists and two steals.
  • Toledo fifth-year senior guard Sophia Wiard ignited against Kent State on Wednesday, leading the Rockets to the 87-76 win with an efficient 40-ball. She was on fire from all over the floor, including going 3-for-4 from 3 and 13-for-14 from the line. Toledo is currently tied atop the MAC at 5-0.

Can K-State survive without Ayoka Lee?

After missing all of last season due to knee surgery, Ayoka Lee repeatedly has reminded of her greatness as she returned for now-No. 7 Kansas State this season, averaging 19.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

Unfortunately, Lee is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to ankle surgery, which she underwent Friday after testing revealed a fractured in her ankle.

K-State won their first game without Lee, bettering in-state rival Kansas, 69-58, on Saturday to win their 12th-straight game. However, the Wildcats’ Lee-less stretch quickly becomes more difficult. On Monday night, Kansas State meets No. 12 Baylor in Waco. A rematch with No. 11 Texas looms on Feb. 4. It will be impressive if the Wildcats can remain at the top of the Big 12 without their star.

TCU’s misfortunes continue

When the calendar turned to 2024, TCU was an undefeated 14-0 and ranked No. 23. Since then, the Horned Frogs have dropped four-straight games before being forced to forfeit two more due to the team not having enough players available.

Grad center Sedona Prince, who was averaging a double-double of 21.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, suffered a broken finger in TCU’s loss to Baylor on Jan. 3 and is out indefinitely. When TCU fell to Houston on Jan. 13, grad guard Jada Owens, who led the Horned Frogs with 6.8 assists per game, tore her ACL and meniscus in her right knee, ending her season. Redshirt sophomore forward DaiJa Turner also is done for the year, sidelined by surgery on her left ankle.

It’s a terrible turn of events for a team that, while maybe not as strong as its undefeated record would have suggested, seemed more than capable of making noise in the Big 12 before earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. On Sunday, TCU volleyball player Sarah Sylvester, who played high school basketball, joined the team as a preferred walk-on.

A look ahead

We could learn a lot about the top teams in women’s college basketball this week, as a number of intriguing matchups are on the schedule.

Monday, Jan. 22

No. 5 UCLA vs. No. 20 Utah (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

No. 7 Kansas State vs. No. 12 Baylor (8:30 p.m. ET)

Tuesday, Jan. 23

No. 9 UConn vs. No. 22 Marquette (7 p.m. ET, SNY)

Thursday, Jan. 25

No. 15 Florida State vs. Duke (6 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Syracuse vs. No. 19 Notre Dame (7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra)

No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 10 LSU (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Miami vs. No. 23 North Carolina (8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Saturday, Jan. 27

No. 19 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 UConn (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Sunday, Jan. 28

No. 14 Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse (12 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

Vanderbilt vs. No. 1 South Carolina (3 p.m. ET, SEC Network)