As the minutes ticked down to tip-off, Tara VanDerveer sat on the Stanford bench, hands folded in her lap, quietly chatting with associate head coach (and former point guard) Kate Paye.Maples Pavilion was filling with fans, dignitaries, fellow coaches, former players and even a few Olympians to watch some history. The place was buzzing with anticipation.VanDerveer, the Cardinal’s understated, but relentlessly driven head coach, became the second coach in women’s college basketball history to win 1,000 games Friday night with Stanford’s 58-42 win over USC at Maples Pavilion, sparking a celebration that has been a long time coming.
Brooke Smith and Krista Rappahahn Birnie sat courtside Friday night, directly across the floor from the woman who recruited them and then shaped them as basketball players and young women, getting a little emotional.
“We were getting teary together, hearing the band playing and the people cheering,” said Rappahahn Birnie, one of the best 3-point shooters in Stanford women’s basketball history. “It’s special to be a part of a night like this, because Tara so deserves it.”
But a Hall of Fame coach who has 32 postseason appearances in 38 years seems uncomfortable with the fanfare over her latest achievement.
“I’m an in the moment person,” said VanDerveer, who began the journey in 1978 at the University of Idaho.
The coach recently sat down with Mercury News sports columnist Mark Purdy and reporter Elliott Almond to reflect on her career.
It’s really hard to picture Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer — now of 1,000 career victories — hanging out in her parents’ basement, on the verge of the country’s Bicentennial year, not sure what she was going to do next with her life.
But that’s pretty much where she was in the winter of 1975-76. She’d graduated from Indiana, was running out of money and was sleeping in late, by her recollection. She needed something to motivate her.
Her dad suggested she go help out younger sister Marie’s high school basketball team, which didn’t have a real coach.
“They had just lost the night before 99-11,” VanDerveer said. “I said, ‘No.'”
Tara with LaChina on Around the Rim.
In anticipation: Sounding off on Tara VanDerveer approaching win No. 1000
As I have said often, I cannot recommend Tara’s “Shooting from the Outside” enough. You know the phrase, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” This book is like that. AND it provides amazing insight into the 1996 Olympic team and USA Basketball. Read. It.
Pac-12 continues to be interesting: No. 11 Oregon State holds off No. 23 Arizona State women’s basketball
Beaver Flashback: Loss to Arizona State in 2014 helped fuel Oregon State’s rise
…a gut-wrenching evening in Tempe, Arizona, nearly three years ago to the day was perhaps equally important to the program’s evolution. That was when the young Beavers surrendered a seven-point lead to No. 15 Arizona State in the final 90 seconds after then-freshman point guard Sydney Wiese fouled out. In the aftermath of the loss, leading scorer Jamie Weisner punched a wall and broke her hand. Then, the Beavers responded with 11 consecutive victories to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.
MAC is tight: Central Michigan (7-2) toppled Ohio (7-3), 64-59.
Anyone notice UCSB is up to 6-2 in the Big West?
No surprise: Plum’s pursuit of record highlights Starting Five
Asked to describe her hometown in one word, Kaylee Jensen took a moment to think.
The junior Oklahoma State center is typically quick on her feet as the Big 12’s leading scorer (19.1) and rebounder (10.4) entering the home tilt for Bedlam at noon Saturday, but then again, the task of painting a mental image of Genoa, Neb., requires perspective.
“Um,” Jensen said. “More cows than people. That’s probably where I would start.”
Navy women’s basketball captain Sarita Condie has a pretty good grasp on her future with the Navy. She will be serving her surface warfare assignment on the brand new destroyer, the U.S.S. Rafael Peralta, placing her among the first crew members on the ship, which is stationed in sunny San Diego, not far from her home state of Nevada.
“It is one of the newest ships in the Navy and it hasn’t even been commissioned yet. I am really looking forward to it,” said Condie, an English major who has made quite a name for herself around the academy for her basketball skills as well.
With her post-graduation assignment determined, Condie can now concentrate on her team’s mission as it attempts to earn its first NCAA trip since 2012-2013.
Bad for women’s basketball? UConn Women Make Impressive TV Ratings Inroads In New York
“The WNBA is the best league out,” Kiesel said in a phone interview from Hungary. “There’s a lot of great players and I’m blessed to play in it. It was unfortunate I got waived, but it’s a business. I didn’t worry about it too much.”
News of the Dream’s leading scorer Angel McCoughtry sitting out the 2017 season for rest sent Atlanta shopping for guards. Kiesel was signed one day after re-signing Layshia Clarendon to the backcourt.
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