Tara VanDerveer made history this Friday as No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (20-3, 10-1 Pac-12) dominated USC (12-11, 3-9) 58-42 in Maples Pavilion.
VanDerveer joins Pat Summitt as the two only NCAA Women’s Division I coaches with at least 1,000 career wins. Friday comes as the capstone of VanDerveer’s 37-year career, during which VanDerveer earned two NCAA championships, 11 Final Four appearances, one Olympic gold medal and an induction in the coaches’ Hall of Fame in 2011, among other distinctions.
After the game, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott awarded VanDerveer a trophy for her outstanding life achievement. Senior guard Brianna Robertson, senior forward Erica McCall and senior guard Karlie Samuelson presented VanDerveer with their own gift afterwards — a commemorative jersey bearing the number 1,000.
“It is a little bit surreal for me. You know, starting at Idaho, then at Ohio State, and even the beginning at Stanford, it was a real journey. I am working really hard keeping it together,” VanDerveer confessed.
When asked about how she felt after the win, VanDerveer said that “what really made it special was how excited our team was.” After the game, Samuelson, McCall and Robertson dumped a bucket of confetti on their coach.
“We knew she wouldn’t take water so we put confetti instead,” Samuelson said jokingly.
The first half of the game was a defensive showdown, as both sides were getting stops while no team seemed to be able to pull away. Stanford and USC both missed open shots, as the Cardinal shot 38 percent from the field while the Trojans converted 30 percent of their attempts. Although Stanford out-rebounded USC 18-12, no team was able to get any fast break points. By the half, the Cardinal nevertheless held a 31-22 lead.
“We didn’t take care of the ball as we needed to in the first half,” VanDerveer admitted.
In the third period, senior guard Karlie Samuelson caught fire. Converting three shots from distance to compliment a mid-range jumper, Samuelson scored 11 of Stanford’s 13 points as the Cardinal outscored the Trojans 13-2 in the final two minutes of the period. Samuelson’s efforts gave Stanford a 20-point lead after three quarters.
Samuelson finished the game with 21 points, while McCall chipped in 18 of her own. Brittany McPhee added 10 to the team effort.
“Karlie [Samuelson] hurt us throughout the game,” said USC head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. “During the first half, we stopped her 3-point shooting, but she started driving to the basket. As soon as we started to worry about her driving to the basket, she hit 3-point shots.”
“There are going to be bigger games than this this year, so let’s enjoy it,” VanDerveer said. “I’ll be back on Monday for number 1,001.”
Stanford will play again on Monday at 6 p.m. when it hosts No. 13 UCLA (17-5, 8-3 Pac-12). The game will be streamed on ESPN2.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.