March 22, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford's Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball, Tara VanDerveer, was named a finalist for the Russell Athletic/WBCA Division I Coach of the Year Award, the WBCA announced Thursday.
VanDerveer is one of eight finalists, along with Tom Collen (Arkansas), Brenda Frese (Maryland), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Curt Miller (Bowling Green), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Reagan Pebley (Utah State) and Coquese Washington (Penn State).
VanDerveer has won this honor twice previously, first in 1989 and most recently in 2011.
This season, VanDerveer has guided the Cardinal to a 33-1 record and No. 2 national ranking, in addition to the program's 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament and 26th overall. On March 6, she was also named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the 12th time in her career after leading Stanford to its 12th straight conference regular season crown and 21st overall.
Last weekend top-seeded Stanford rolled through the opening weekend of NCAA Tournament action, defeating Hampton and West Virginia in Norfolk, Va. The wins advanced the Cardinal to the Fresno Regional Semifinal, where it will take on fifth-seeded South Carolina at 8:30 p.m. PT at Save Mart Center.
On Feb. 25, VanDerveer became just the seventh Division I head coach to win 700 games at one school when Stanford defeated Utah, 69-42. She owns a career record of 859-199 overall and 707-148 at Stanford.
Stanford's starting five includes three underclassmen (two sophomores and one freshman), and out of the 134 career starts made by that quintet prior to the 2011-12 opener, 120 were under the belts of sisters Nnemkadi (85) and Chiney Ogwumike (35). Junior Joslyn Tinkle had made just 12 starts over her first two seasons while sophomore guard Toni Kokenis made two last year.
Despite this relative inexperience, as well as the fact that the current five have only been starting together since mid-January, VanDerveer has guided the Cardinal to a pair of winning streaks that are currently the top runs in the nation. Stanford's 18-0 Pac-12 regular season and perfect 3-0 showing in winning the Pac-12 Tournament crown increased the Cardinal's winning streak against conference foes to an astonishing 78 games.
Additionally, the Cardinal's perfect 16-0 mark at Maples Pavilion this year, which included wins over NCAA Tournament teams Gonzaga, Princeton, Tennessee and California, brought the nation's top home winning streak to 79 games.
Under VanDerveer's watch, many Cardinal players have surged to career years and marked improvement. Senior Nnemkadi Ogwumike has put together a national player of the year and All-America-worthy season, already capturing her second Pac-12 Player of the Year award while averaging 21.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and shooting 54.5 percent from the field.
Younger sister Chiney Ogwumike has emerged as one of the nation's top interior players, averaging 15.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, and shooting 58.7 percent from the field, a figure that ranks fourth in the nation. Chiney has excelled on the other end of the floor as well, racking up 37 blocks and 23 steals from inside and claiming the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
The sisters were joined on the All-Pac-12 Team by Kokenis, who leads the Pac-12 with a 2.25 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging 9.5 points and 3.50 assists per game. Tinkle is enjoying a breakout season, averaging 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds a game and shooting 45.7 from the field. So far in the NCAA Tournament she has gone 6-for-8 from behind the arc, including a career-best four in Stanford's first-round win over Hampton.
Freshmen Orrange and Taylor Greenfield were named Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention, while fellow rookie Bonnie Samuelson leads the Pac-12 with a 37.7 3-point field-goal percentage.
The WBCA will announce its national coach of the year during the second annual WBCA Awards Show Monday, April 2 in Denver, site of the 2012 Final Four.