Stanford’s VanDerveer still has plenty left to accomplish originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Tara VanDerveer has done it all.
She has a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Three national championships. Thirteen Final Fours. Twenty-five Pac-12 titles.
Yet the legendary Stanford women’s basketball coach isn’t nearly ready to call it a career.
“I would like to keep coaching as long as it’s fun, and we have the support of the great community we have,” VanDerveer said Saturday on “Warriors Pregame Live.” “I’m enjoying it. But, I will say, I like to do other things, so at some point, I’m gonna probably say, ‘Hey, I’d like to go skiing during the winter, or traveling.’ “
VanDerveer isn’t even a week removed from ending a 29-year national championship drought, concluding Stanford’s 31-2 season by cutting down the nets at the Alamodome after a gutsy 54-52 win over Arizona. The Cardinal’s journey to the program’s third title was as arduous as any other, VanDerveer said, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to Santa Clara County’s restrictions on indoor sporting events late last year, Stanford relocated its practices and home games to Santa Cruz. Stanford played eight consecutive road and neutral-site games before playing its first in Santa Cruz, and the Cardinal ultimately played 17 games before returning to Maples Pavillion on Feb. 5.
By that point, Stanford was hitting its stride. The Cardinal returned home riding a four-game winning streak, and they wouldn’t lose again over their final 16 games.
“When [NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Jennifer Azzi] was on the team her senior year [in 1990], we got stranded in a snowstorm. We had to sleep in a high school with blankets from the jail,” VanDerveer recalled. “And I told my team that, and they’re like, ‘That’s nothing compared to what we’re going through.’
“So, this year was really, really challenging, and I’m really proud of how well people demonstrated such resilience, determination — all the things that we had to do off the court helped us on the court.”
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Most of VanDerveer’s squad will run it back next year. Backcourt starters Kiana Williams and Anna Wilson graduated, but 2021 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones is a rising junior. Stanford also has the nation’s sixth-best recruiting class, according to ESPN.
So winning title No. 4 now is on VanDerveer’s to-do list, and the Cardinal should have a great chance of repeating next season. Topping her list, though, is the chance to play in front of a crowd at Maples Pavillion again.
“We want to get back in front of our fans,” VanDerveer said on “Warriors Pregame Live.” “I know the Warriors have really missed their fans. We’ve missed our fans tremendously.”