Basketball’s best coach might reside in the Bay Area.
No, not talking about Steve Kerr. Talking about Tara VanDerveer.
The living legend led the Stanford women’s basketball team to the NCAA title on Sunday, as the Cardinal held on for a thrilling 54-53 win over Arizona to take home the trophy. It marked VanDerveer’s third title with the Cardinal and first since 1992.
NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Jennifer Azzi was on VanDerveer’s first Stanford title-winning team in 1990 and joined Warriors Postgame Live on Sunday to share her thoughts on the Cardinal’s win.
Azzi also discussed how much of an impact VanDerveer has had on her life and countless others who have come through Stanford’s program.
“I think one of the coolest things for me and our generation is seeing that there’s a legacy,” Azzi said. “There’s a real sorority, a sisterhood of all of us that have come through the program. We’ve all taken a piece of Tara through our lives. Besides Tara being a great coach, she’s a great human being.”
The Cardinal emerged from the All-Pac-12 championship game by using a stifling defense that limited Arizona to just 28.3 percent shooting. Stout defenses and an emphasis on the fundamentals have always been a staple of VanDerveer’s coaching style.
VanDerveer is the winningest coach in NCAA women’s hoops history with 1,125 and she was named the Naismith Coach of the Year earlier this week. She trails only Mike Krzyzewski (1,170) in terms of NCAA coaching wins all time.
She might not be as hard on her players as she used to be, but you can bet that VanDerveer was just as sharp in film rooms this season, her 35th on The Farm.