VanDerveer Offers Kind Works – And A Challenge To Her Team

by Categorized: Geno Auriemma, Stanford women's basketball, Tara VanDerveer Date:

After watching its 82-game home winning streak end, after sinking a single-game program-low 11 field goals, after making 55 percent of its free throws, shooting a single-game program low 19.3 percent and losing by more than 20 at Maples Pavilion for the first time since 1986, there wasn’t much Stanford’s Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer could say.

“It was a bad day for us,” she said. “But I plan on waking up [Sunday] just thinking about what we need to do to get better, to maximize the strength of our best player [Chiney Ogwumike] who is a hard worker. This will challenge our team.

“I hope this gets everyone’s attention on our team about how hard we need to compete … Our team has seen what is out there. No it will be our time to respond.”

This is important for UConn because it is conceivable that down the road it could see Stanford again at the Final Four in New Orleans. UConn has played Stanford in the Final Four three times in the last five seasons.

VanDerveer has a young team that she is certain will learn from its many mistakes on Saturday

“I live in the here and now,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do. Out coaches are going to work harder to give those who want to step up a chance to be successful.

“But I don’t think what happened [Saturday] is a good thing, to be so ineffective in so many areas is extremely disappointing and frustrating. In some ways, the success we had early may have hurt us. The coaches knew what we lost last year [All-American Nneka Ogwumike, the WNBA’s rookie of the Year]. But this is beyond a wake-up call.”

Ogwumike, a junior forward and preseason All-American, shooting 61.9 percent, led Stanford with 18 points and 13 rebounds. But she shot just 6 of 22 in the process after being hounded by a variety of UConn defenders.

“I don’t honestly think I have ever experienced anything like this,” Ogwumike said. “It’s tough to swallow. But this adds a lot of fuel to the fire. The Connecticut team we played for 40 minutes is the national standard. The great thing now is that we’ve experienced the standard. And one thing we are good at is responding. We will remember this. I know I will definitely be motivated by this.”

Stanford became No. 1 by defeating Baylor, the defending national champion, on Nov. 16 in Hawaii. The Cardinal won, 71-69, in a game that Baylor’s All-American guard Odyssey Sims played just the first four minutes because of a hamstring injury.

“UConn came into the game on a mission and it was mission accomplished,” VanDerveer said. “When we played Baylor, they did not have the same body language UConn did. They did not have the same intensity, although they [the Lady Bears] are a very talented team with the best player in the nation [Brittney Griner].

“But UConn played more of an all-around team game against us. We played better against Baylor. But UConn and Baylor are great teams and we have to decide if we are going to be a great team, too.”

VanDerveer said she left very impressed with how improved UConn was this season, particular players like senior Kelly Faris and junior Stefanie Dolson.

“This is UConn’s culture, its expectation,” VanDerveer said.




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34 thoughts on “VanDerveer Offers Kind Works – And A Challenge To Her Team

  1. village idiot

    Uconn is VERY good. But don’t crown them just yet. Uconn won today because their upper classmen were the head of the spear. When Dolson can’t do it or Kelly isn’t there to defend or KML (a soph) isn’t hitting. Who can you rely upon to lead the attack??
    Tuck?? Not yet. Jefferson? Not yet. Banks, can do it. Stewart? On some nights. Stokes–question mark. Doty–when healthy. Buck–maybe on defense. Hartley–certainly.

    They have a lot of work to do between now and March.
    But this is a significant win, a BIG win, no payback that was a different Uconn team. If I were Tara, my face would be flushed RED for the terrible exhibition they gave the Nation about Womens College Basketball.

    1. jj

      That’s true about any team, duh. But if you look at UCONN, they would need 8 players to have a bad day at the same time. Most teams like Baylor or ND would need only 2 or 3 players to fail. UCONN did not play well offensively against Stanford but still won decisively. UCONN’s margin of error is much greater than the other top teams.

    1. UconnFan

      Uconn won because they were superior in every aspect of the game. Stanford should be glad Uconn only shot 37% from the floor or it would have been worse! We also have six players who are capable of scoring 20 points on any given night and do not depend on one player like when Maya was a senior to carry the scoring load. This team is similar to some of the great teams in the past where the scoring from the number 3-6 players are the ones who result in teams being blown out of the gym!

      1. Geno At It Again

        Banks should transfer. Geno’s love for Doty is disgusting. Banks would start on Stanford, Tennessee, Maryland, etc.

  2. RH

    I thought I saw Stamford loosing the psychological game very early. It might have been when Stewart came off the bench to add to the punishment that they really lost it in their own heads. Once your head is in the wrong place scoring gets harder; the slope can be steep and slippery.

    UConn never looked intimidated for a moment. Geno and his staff had them ready.

  3. nhntc47

    Sure, it’s not March yet, but it’s a great win. Village Idiot speaks like an idiot. When no one on the team plays well how do you expect to win? What kind of an argument is that? When Chiney, Tinker, Kokenis didn’t play well, Stanford lost, didn’t they? They can’t rely on Tara to do it when those guys don’t play well.

    1. village idiot

      nhtc47—Gee did I actually say “when no one on the team doesn’t play well, how do they expect to win?? I guess you missed the “Reading with Comprehension class!!!
      All those players *(except Chiney) let Uconn get into their heads the entire game. Dolson did a job on Chiney for the first half.
      Tara is a great coach, these are great players–they shall be a very different and prepared team come march.
      All I say was “don’t crown them champions just yet”. They have a lot of work to do and part of that is getting Banks, Tuck, Jefferson to become a signification part of the offense and defense–that’s only logical and I’m absolutely sure Geno is doing that as I write.

  4. Keith

    Rh- u were right on! Stamford had first bucket and huskies had some week possessions. Stamford never had a chance after that. Vil Idiot -how much balance do you want? 5-6 players score 10 plus points. Anyone would kill to have. All the options we have. Injuries can chg things obviously with anyone. Wow- just enjoy the total domination. Hartley is back. Doth looked great – we were poised finite!

    1. village idiot

      Keith–Dolson and Steward get 3 or more fouls on them in the first half against a very good team (baylor or Stanford or duke). Kml is then closely guarded. The 3 ball defense becomes better. Baylor etc gets into Uconn’s heads–

      OK Keith–this is possible and has happened. Uconn needs Tuck and Stokes to become factors if only on defense.

      It’s true Dolson got into Chiney’s head in the first half and that affected the rest of the team. They took way too many bad shots. The press hurt Stanford big time. dO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE THE CASE IF UCONN MEETS THEM IN THE NCAA??
      This WAS and IS a great win. Mostly because it happened in Maples–82 home wins–means it’s a hard place to play. Great win Geno, Great Win Uconn. I am thrilled with the victor.

  5. billnaples

    KEITH AND RH – You can earn more credibility for your commentary if you would pay more attention to the “little” things. UConn played Sta N ford Saturday, not Sta M ford.
    VILLAGE-As noted few if any teams will win consistently if 3 or 4 of the starting lineup fails to do their thing. As to minutes played at least remember that the “real” bench yesterday only had 4 players (Stokes not suited and Tuck perhaps still not quite ready) and as a result Banks, Buck, and Jefferson only ate up 14 minutes. I would suggest that a team with the talent of a Stanford gets no breathing room (playing the bench. Give them no chance to get back into the game. I did not get to watch this one but saw the write up that said Stanford made one run at some point. I wonder who was on the floor at the time?

    1. village idiot

      Bill —Stanford made no significant “run” Samuelson made two 3’s in a row. The announcer anointed that a “run”. Dolson went to the bench and Chiney got to score some (18 point) KML got 19 quiet points.

      I’ve got the game on DVD if you’d like a copy.
      It was fun to watch.

      1. billnaples

        TY for the description of what passed for a “run” by Stanford. I had not looked through the play by play, only noted the comment then later did see that the lead was only cut to I recall after the “run” to 15. As you may note from my “name” I am just a little bit out of the way down here in SW FLA. My TV limits (Condo, wrong exposure) are SNY on the computer and major network coverage (i.e. no ESPNU). One of few things I miss being in the land of shoveling sunshine. Does your name reflect belonging to The Villages south of Ocala?

  6. TexasBogger

    Congrats to Geno and his staff. The Huskies were primed and ready to deliver the defensive intensity that humbled the Cardinal. That Dolson was able to completely frustrate Ogwumike and stay out of serious foul trouble was the key to the game. Yay Stef! Only Baylor stands in the way of Uconn running the table.

  7. Olde dude

    UCONN was prepared. Dolson play to Chiney’s right hand only offense and the backup was superb. Defense was prime with even a 4 man offense by the huskies with a defensive safety in the backcourt used at times on the press. The Husky offense took what was given with little being forced.

    Not to belittle the schedule, but IMO, only N,D. Duke and Baylor may offer any serious competition to running the table. If Doty gets her shooting eye back the first six are a 70 pt a game team with Banks adding a valuable 7th and possibly 10 more pts/game. What team can do better than that barring injuries?

    It will be interesting to see the coach’s rankings this week. Will undefeated N.D. and Duke be ranked above Baylor and Stanford? How far will Stanford fall?

  8. RichieRH

    ‘Tis a little upsetting that all of the accounts that I have read this morning of this great win (San Jose Mercury, Washington Post, NY Times, Hartford Courant)only mentions Stanford’s 82-game streak being stopped with no mention of whose outstanding home court record that they were chasing! Now the rest of the basketball world may begin to realize just how remarkable the 99-games @ home were as well as the 90 game streak over all. Baylor couldn’t get past the 40’s which UConn has done a number of times.

  9. UConn Husky Fan (UHF)

    John Altavilla, at your convenience, would you please consider posting career points and rebounds for Tina and Dolson at this stage in their careers?

    I am wondering if Dolson is on pace to surpass Tina. I know there is 1.5 seasons left. But the way slimmed down Dolson is playing, I have to wonder how good she can be if she keeps working.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

  10. tex2299

    It never ceases to amaze me that people will nitpick after a win like this. “Thin bench…” might do well to remember that Stokes was out with an injury, Tuck was just recovering from one, and Moriah Jefferson was still having stomach problems. Brianna Banks is way too savvy to transfer, “Geno at it again”. She knows she belongs at UConn, and so does Geno. Her skills and drive will be needed against Notre Dame.

    UConn had a unit on the floor that was incredibly effective. Why would you want to mess with that?

    Happily, Geno and the team have their heads screwed on right. It’s a great win in December. Nothing more, nothing less.

    1. Roseanne Patrick

      The one and only sensible comment in the bunch. How the others can claim to know their team and not remember what Tex had to remind you all about . . . the various conditions of some of the players!!

      Why bother yourselves with typos? My good friend John Altavilla forever has typos in his blog but I just correct them before mailing the story out to all my friends. It’s the story he wrote that counts; not the errors!! If I was as prolific a writer as he, I’m sure I’d have typos too!!

      I wonder . . . if the person selected to Coach my WNBA CT Sun team will have the good sense to select Kelly Farris for our team?

      Happy New Year all w/Hugs

  11. Robert Martino


    Do you bother to proofread or spell-check your blog? Are you a professional journalist or a fourteen-year old girl posting to Facebook? The number of typos is alarming and you should be embarrassed. Get it together man. Even the headline has a typo. “Kind Works”?!? And then this gem, a quote no less: “No it will be our time to respond.” How. Lazy. Can. You. Be?

    And the rest of you that can’t even spell the opponent players names. Stamford? Steward? Tinker? So embarrassed for you all.

    1. Bobby Head


  12. Sal and Irene

    Fellow Bloggers: It is only 5 days after Christmas. What happened to “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Man”? The negativity of some bloggers is amazing. We should strive for good comments and remarks on good performance by our UCONN women. Some of our players are freshmen and certainly not PROs. There are many good replies that make this column good reading. I would cringe if some wrote the my daughter “stinks”. Be proud of UCONN women and how hard they work. Geno and his staff work hard to make each player the best they can be. Look at the WNBA for proof. Let us try to start the new year on a positive note.



  14. RichieRH

    Good response Bob(ble) Head!! It must have taken you twice as long to compose that nonsense to cover up your inability to actually write something sane. The irony of all of this is that we are supposed to be writing about a coach and a sports program that takes as its ultimate and on-going goal to do everything right and to the highest level of perfection possible while folks write in an unintelligible fashion this absolute trash. You would not accept it for a micro-second if Geno and his players performed in the slipshod fashion of some of JA’s correspondents.

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