March 1, 2012
USBWA National Coach of the Year Watch List
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball, Tara VanDerveer, was one of 10 head coaches named to the United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) Women's National Coach of the Year Watch List Thursday.
The announcement of the winner will come at the annual USBWA breakfast at the NCAA Women's Final Four on Tuesday, April 3, in Denver.
Last year, VanDerveer earned National Coach of the Year honors from the WBCA, Atlanta Tip-Off Club (Naismith Coach of the Year) and was one of three coaches to share the Associated Press National Coach of the Year award.
In 2011-12, VanDerveer has guided the second-ranked Cardinal to the inaugural Pac-12 title, the program's 12th straight conference crown and 21st overall, with a 27-1 record through Feb. 29. Stanford is also 17-0 in Pac-12 play ahead of Sunday's regular-season finale at second-place California at 6 p.m. PT.
VanDerveer `s squad has been led on the court by the play of consensus All-America and national player of the year candidates Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike. Nneka leads the Pac-12 with 21.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, and ranks in the national Top 20 in both categories as well as with a 54.1 shooting percentage.
Younger sister Chiney is second in the conference with a 59.7 shooting percentage and 10.1 rebounds a game, while ranking fifth with 16.1 points per game. Her shooting percentage also ranks fourth in the nation.
Yet VanDerveer's guidance of this year's Cardinal team has been seen in the development and contribution of its youth and prior role players. With long-term injuries striking down a pair of freshmen guards in Alex Green and Jasmine Camp, as well as junior forward Mikaela Ruef and redshirt junior center Sarah Boothe, VanDerveer has had to call upon new contributors.
Among those stepping up is junior forward Joslyn Tinkle
, averaging 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent from the field over a career-best 16 starts. Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis
is enjoying a breakout season, averaging 9.3 points and 3.64 assists per game while leading the Pac-12 with a 2.32 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Freshman point guard Amber Orrange has started 14 games this season, shooting 47.8 percent from the field and averaging 2.86 assists a game with a 2.05 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Those players had to step up on many occasions in 2011-12, most notably in the season opener at No. 24/20 Texas. With Nnemkadi Ogwumike sitting out due to injury, a Cardinal lineup with just one senior, Lindy La Rocque, in the main rotation scored a 72-59 win over the Longhorns. On Dec. 20, Kokenis scored a career-best 26 points to complement Nneka's 42-point, 17-rebound effort in a 97-80 victory over No. 6/6 Tennessee.
Through the youthful transition and the adjustments due to injuries to key role players, VanDerveer's team has continued its roll, completing a fifth straight undefeated home slate and extending the nation's longest winning streak to 79 games after Wednesday night's 76-52 win over Seattle University. The Cardinal has also won a record 74 straight games against Pac-12 teams heading into Sunday's game at California and next weekend's Pac-12 Tournament.
VanDerveer was joined on the watch list by Courtney Banghart (Princeton), Kim Barnes Arico (St. John's), Jim Crowley (St. Bonaventure), Tina Martin (Delaware), Joanne P. McCallie (Duke), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Matthew Mitchell (Kentucky), Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Coquese Washington (Penn State).