December 1, 2017

Stanford overcomes sluggish start to defeat Dons

When the Stanford women’s basketball team last visited the University of San Francisco on Dec. 22, 2010, head coach Tara VanDerveer notched her 800th career victory.

Now, nearly seven years later, the Cardinal again visited USF and gave Tara her 1,017th career win.

That earlier game was filled with hoopla as a busload of Stanford fans was at the ready with signs celebrating the expected milestone, which came with a 100-45 score. Assistant coach Lindy La Rocque was on that team.

Upon Stanford’s return Nov. 29, the score wasn’t quite so lopsided at 86-66, nor was the game quite so easy, especially in the early going.

Stanford trails in first quarter

The Dons gave the Cardinal fits during the first quarter, which ended 19-12 in the home team’s favor. Stanford outscored the Dons 12-9 in the second quarter but still lagged 28-24.

The tide really turned in the third quarter, when the Cardinal came out of the locker room with what seemed to be new determination. That quarter ended 56-49 for the Cardinal, which then outscored the Dons 30-17 in the final quarter, leading to the winning score of 86-66.

Much of the second-half resurgence was fueled by three-pointers. According to Stanford Athletics, “Stanford made 11 of its 21 attempts (.524) from behind the arc after intermission, a school record for 3-pointers in a half. The Cardinal made 15 in the game, tied for the third-most in program history and its highest total since 15 against Missouri State on Nov. 27, 2015.”

Kiana 
Kiana leads parade of treys

For the game, freshman guard Kiana Williams led the team with five 3’s, followed by junior forward Alanna Smith, junior guard Alexa Romano and sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington with three each. Sophomore guard Anna Wilson chipped in the other one.

Senior guard Brittany McPhee was in street clothes again because of what Stanford Athletics terms a right foot injury. This time, however, she wasn’t wearing a boot.

The starters were Alanna, DiJonai, Alexa, senior forward Kaylee Johnson and junior guard Marta Sniezek. By the time the final horn sounded, all 13 available players had seen action.

Alanna and DiJonai were the high scorers with 19 points each. Alanna also had 11 rebounds for a double-double. Thanks mostly to her 3’s, Kiana scored 17, while Alexa had 13.

Kaylee “pulled down 14 rebounds …, her highest total since Feb. 2, 2016 against Cal (16). She is now three shy of entering the school's all-time top 10 in that category,” Stanford Athletics reports. Kaylee also had 6 points, three assists and two of the team’s five blocks.

USF band no match for Stanford’s

Official attendance was only 775, with a good contingent of students. The USF band was in the balcony, but it was fewer in number and much lower in enthusiasm than the Stanford band.

Several dozen Cardinal fans were there. One of them was Brooke Smith Easter, ’07, who chatted with basketball administrator Amy Tucker at halftime.

Stanford greats, past and present: Amy, Jennifer, Molly, Tara, Kate 
Two other noteworthy alums were former Dons coach Jennifer Azzi, ’90, and the current coach, Molly Goodenbour, ’93.

The team takes its 5-3 record on the road again to play Baylor at 11 a.m. Dec. 3.












November 20, 2017

Young team improves record to 2-2

Shannon, DiJonai, Nadia, Estella, Alyssa and Kaylee show off their turquoise uniforms. (Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com)
The Stanford women’s basketball team showed improvement over its previous outings by defeating Cal State Bakersfield 57-34 in Maples on Nov. 19.

Although senior guard Brittany McPhee was still out and wearing a boot, sophomore forward Nadia Fingall returned to action after missing the UC Riverside game on Nov. 17. 

Head coach Tara VanDerveer said after the game that Brit is doing well. “We’ll see her when she’s healthy.”

With Tara substituting rather freely, nine players logged 13 minutes or more, and all 13 available players contributed in some way.

Alexa leads the way with 13

Junior guard Alexa Romano led the team with a career-high 13 points, most of them coming from three 3-pointers.

Alexa prepares to launch a 3-pointer. (Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com)

Although she was the only player in double figures, four others scored at least 7 points, leading to a fairly balanced attack.

Joining Alexa as a starter were senior forward Kaylee Johnson, junior forward Alanna Smith, junior guard Marta Sniezek and sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington. Kaylee and Brit, the team’s only two seniors, are its co-captains.

The Cardinal held the Roadrunners scoreless for almost the first four minutes of the game while logging 9 points. (The visitors are coached by Greg McCall, father of Erica “Bird” McCall, ’17.)

Besides Alexa, those making 3’s were sophomore guard Anna Wilson with three of her own, along with one by freshman forward Estella Moschkau for her first collegiate points.

After giving the ball away 19 times against Riverside, the team cut its turnovers to 14. It also had 44 rebounds to the Roadrunners’ 30, and 16 assists to the opponent’s three. Still, scoring was a bit dicey at 39.2 percent. At the free throw line, the team made 10 of 15, or 66.7 percent.

Team honors Native American Heritage Month

The team wore turquoise uniforms in honor of Native American Heritage Month. Ten Native Americans in colorful costumes performed traditional dances during halftime.

Following the game, fans heard from associate head coach Kate Paye and Tara at a Behind the Bench.

Kate introduces Alyssa at the Behind the Bench. (Photo by Dave Cortesi)
Kate was joined by freshman forward Alyssa Jerome, whom Kate called “one of our super freshmen. Alyssa is doing an awesome job, as are all the freshmen.”

Alyssa played for Canada during summer

Because Alyssa, who hails from Ontario, played with two Canadian national teams during the summer, she didn’t arrive on campus until Labor Day and practiced only twice before the team left for Italy. Nevertheless, she learned two positions, the 3 and the 4, in two days, a “very challenging” task, Kate said. “She takes it all in stride.”

Alyssa scored 4 points and snagged three rebounds during 17 minutes against the Roadrunners.

Answering fans’ questions, Alyssa said she started playing basketball in sixth grade after becoming too tall for soccer. Her advice to sixth graders regarding basketball is this: “Play because you love it.”

The hardest part of making the transition from international play to Stanford was the different terminology. Because she and her teammates work so hard, they “have to enjoy the process,” she said. “It’s been really special here,” and she enjoys the team.

Alyssa wants to be a doctor

Like so many SWBB players before her, the poised, well-spoken freshman said academics were important in her decision to come to Stanford. Her career goal is to become a doctor.

She was excited and intimidated to start against powerhouses Ohio State and UConn the previous weekend, she said, adding that she looks up to all of the upperclassmen.

Kate called her “pretty mature and polished.” Tara added, “Alyssa’s our freshman senior.”

Tara pleased with team’s progress

Assessing the game, Tara said she was pleased with everyone. “We’re making some progress. … You have to enjoy the grind of getting better. … In practice I see some amazing things.”

What she likes best about the team so far is that “they’re just outstanding young women. They care about each other. … They’re fun to be with.”

“I think this can be a great team” with work and unselfishness, she concluded.





November 18, 2017

Short-handed Cardinal compile first victory

Players and coaches gather around Tara during a time out.
Despite missing four key players for all or part of the game, the Stanford women’s basketball team notched the season’s first win, defeating UC Riverside 53-43 on Nov. 17 in Maples.

Senior guard Brittany McPhee, a regular starter, was in a boot. Sophomore forward Nadia Fingall, who regularly comes off the bench, was in street clothes, too.

Compounding the team’s difficulties, senior forward Kaylee Johnson and junior forward Alanna Smith were limited because of foul trouble.

Nevertheless, Kaylee started well, scoring the team’s first two baskets. She finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. Similarly, Alanna had 11 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes. Her scoring may have been limited because nearly every time she got the ball near the basket, she was swarmed by defenders.

DiJonai drives to the basket against UCR defenders.
DiJonai leads team in minutes, points, rebounds

The undisputed star of the game was sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington. In the first start of her career, she played a team-high 31 minutes, scored 13 points and snared an impressive 22 rebounds.

Joining Kaylee, Alanna and DiJonai as starters were junior guards Marta Sniezek and Alexa Romano. They combined for 11 points and seven rebounds.

Victory notwithstanding, the stat sheet reveals some downsides: 19 turnovers, many on errant passes; and only three of 28 3’s for 10.7 percent. Overall shooting was only 29.7 percent.

On the other hand, the team garnered 59 rebounds to the Highlanders’ 44 and recorded an 11-8 advantage in assists. Marta had four of them.

11 players see action

By game’s end, head coach Tara VanDerveer had called on 11 of the 12 available players.

The evening started well with Steve Goodman, professor of medicine, singing the national anthem as written (something we don’t always hear) in his rich baritone.

And then there was the band to liven things up after being suspended for the latter part of last season. Although the university has placed it under an oversight committee, the students seemed as spirited as usual with many sporting zany attire.

Adding their support were the Tree, Dollies and cheerleaders.

After the Nov. 19 home game against Cal State Bakersfield, the Cardinal journey to Las Vegas for a tournament pitting them against Kent State on Thanksgiving followed by two more opponents TBD the next two days.

(Photos by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com)




November 6, 2017

Exhibition win gives first look at team


The team gathers in a circle to celebrate. (SWBB photo)
Stanford women’s basketball launched its 2017-18 season with a 60-46 exhibition win over visiting UC San Diego Nov. 4, but it wasn’t always pretty.

The young team shot only 39 percent overall and just 16 percent from beyond the arc while logging 16 turnovers as it tried to adapt to the new offensive style that head coach Tara  VanDerveer calls Warriorized with more passing and less dribbling.

All 14 players were available, all saw action, and most contributed.
Tara went with a starting lineup of three guards – senior Brittany McPhee and juniors Marta Sniezek and Alexa Romano – and two forwards, senior Kaylee Johnson and junior Alanna Smith.

Sophomore guards DiJonai Carrington and Anna Wilson were first off the bench, followed by freshman forward Alyssa Jerome, freshman guard Kiana Williams and sophomore forward Nadia Fingall in the first quarter.

Alanna led the scoring with 13. Also in double figures were Alexa with 11 and Brit with 10. Brit undoubtedly would have scored more, but she tweaked her ankle late in the second quarter and limped to the locker room. She returned to the bench but didn’t play.

Three of the team’s four 3’s came from Alexa. Anna had one.

Some other stats of note: Marta and DiJonai each had four of the team’s 13 steals. Maya had three blocks to go with a team-leading seven rebounds.

After the game, season ticket holders were invited to partake of light refreshments in the practice gym followed by a Behind the Bench, where Tara introduced each player and the staff.

She called the game the “beginning of what we know will be a special year” and said the team can be better than last year’s, which went to the Final Four.

Here are her comments about each player:

Anna –Although she missed much of her freshman year because of injuries, “she’s picking up where she left off in high school,” when her team won a championship.
DiJonai – “She’s out there making big plays.” Tara is confident in her.
Kiana – She “has done nothing but impress.”
Nadia – “We’re counting on her to step up for us.”
Maya – She’ll “be an awesome player for us.” Maya, whose father was at the game, reminds Tara of Nneka Ogwumike, ’12.
Sophomore guard Mikaela Brewer – “She did some great things for us in Italy,” Tara said, referring to the team’s summer trip.
Alanna – “She had some good looks tonight.” She’s a leader who has improved.
Kaylee – She’s a leader who’s working hard.
Marta – She’s a spark on defense who “gives us good offense and defense.”
Junior center Shannon Coffee – She was the second-leading scorer in Italy.
Alyssa – She missed summer school because she was playing for her native Canada, but “what a pleasure it is to coach” her.
Freshman forward Estella Moschkau – She’s “incredibly disciplined” and an “excellent shooter.”
Alexa – She guarded Karlie Samuelson, ’17, in Italy, but if anything, “she’s too nice.” Still this was “a great game for her to start off with.”
Brit – “She is just competitive all the time. (We’re) expecting an outstanding senior year.”

Tara with her mother, Rita, and sister Heidi. (SWBB Photo
Since UCSD is coached by Tara’s sister Heidi, their mother, Rita, was at the game, visiting from Colorado.

Tara introduced the coaching staff and pointed out former associate head coach Amy Tucker, now WBB administrator, on the sidelines.

She stressed the players’ hard work all around, but added, “We’ve got a lot of work to do” with “arguably what could be the toughest start ever” to the regular season. The team travels to Columbus, Ohio, to play two powerhouses, Ohio State at 3 p.m. PST Nov. 10 and UConn at 10:30 a.m. PST Nov. 12.





August 11, 2017

Lindy makes welcome return to Stanford

Lindy La Rocque will share tips on shooting and other skills in her new job with SWBB. (Stanford photo)
To say that Lindy La Rocque is happy to be back with Stanford women’s basketball would be a huge understatement.

“I’m thrilled,” the new assistant coach said during an interview in her office.

A guard for the women’s basketball team from 2008-09 through 2011-12, she took a circuitous route back to the Farm.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society and earth systems, she worked for a finance software startup in Redwood City. During that time she assisted Morgan Clyburn, ’09, who was coaching the Menlo-Atherton girls team.

Next came two years as a graduate assistant for the University of Oklahoma team coached by Sherri Coale. She left there with a master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration. This led to two years as an assistant coach at Belmont University, a 7,300-student Christian school in Nashville.

Return was ‘a no-brainer’

In March she got a call from head coach Tara VanDerveer asking if she’d like to return to her alma mater as an assistant coach.  “It was a no-brainer,” Lindy said. Her first official day was April 17.

Associate head coach Amy Tucker had decided to step aside after last season. (She’s still with the SWBB program in an administrative capacity.) Assistant coach Kate Paye was promoted to associate head coach, so Lindy will fill her spot.

Her duties include working with the guards along with Kate and occasionally going to the opposite end of the practice floor to help assistant coach Tempie Brown with the bigs. 

Like the other coaches, she recruits, and “I’m excited to help Kate and Tempie with scouting,” she said.

When asked about her favorite Stanford memories, her first response was “fantastic teammates and friends.” As for winning, “it never gets old.”

That winning took her and her teammates to four Final Fours: St. Louis, San Antonio, Indianapolis and Denver.

Lindy and The Dive

One of her signature moments is now simply called The Dive. It came on Feb. 14, 2009, during a home game against Cal. Lindy dove onto the floor to scoop up a loose ball and give it to Jillian Harmon, ’09, who scored. 

Although The Dive may be best remembered by fans, “I remember the full game,” Lindy said. Stanford won 58-41. A video of The Dive is archived at www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-JO0vZJOeg.

Another fond memory came at Maples during her junior year when Stanford ended UConn’s 90-game winning streak by defeating the Huskies 71-59 on Dec. 30, 2010.

One of Lindy’s signature skills was her 3-point shot, which was on display as soon as she began playing for Stanford. Her skill inspired a video called “we like 3’s,” that showed, among other things, her eating a triple-dip ice cream cone and swishing trey after trey through the net. It’s archived at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBNBD5C3fuE.

Team looks ‘really great’

Now that she’s back, her focus is on the team. “They look really great. They’re incredible players and women.” Everyone, including the freshmen, is working hard. The entire team wants to continue the great chemistry that the 2016-17 team had. It’s “such a difference maker,” Lindy said.

That chemistry and bonding should be nurtured by the team’s trip to Italy from Sept. 5 to 15. Lindy went on the quadrennial trip at the start of her sophomore year.

The freshmen are getting help with their adjustment to Stanford basketball and campus life from assigned big sisters. Sophomore forward Nadia Fingall is paired with forward Maya Dodson, senior guard Brittany McPhee with forward Estella Moschkau and senior forward Kaylee Johnson with guard Kiana Williams.

Junior center/forward Shannon Coffee will be a big sister to forward Alyssa Jerome of Canada when she joins her new teammates for her second trip to Italy after helping her national team win the bronze in FIBA U19 World Cup competition.

Also important is that “everyone is getting healthy,” Lindy said.

Missing the Bay Area

During her four years away from the Bay Area, she missed “a lot of things. I’m just such a West Coast kid,” said Lindy, who originally hails from Las Vegas. “The West is always home.”

Life was slower in Oklahoma and Tennessee, but “I missed the buzz that’s in the Bay Area,” she said. The weather is better, too.

Lindy's parents, Alan and Beverly, are both retired, so they plan to attend as many SWBB games as possible, as they did when she was a player. When the games are at home, they will stay with Lindy in her Redwood City apartment.

Lindy will have a chance to show the team her hometown when the Cardinal play in a tournament at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving. “It should be really fun,” she said.

Although Lindy is settling into her new job, “it’s still surreal,” she said, adding that it probably won’t seem real until she’s on the bench for the first game.



July 20, 2017

Kate has high hopes

Associate head coach Kate Paye celebrates with Karlie Samuelson and Bri Roberson after the team's 76-75 regional upset of Notre Dame to advance to the Final Four last season. (Mark Mahan, SWBB Facebook) 
Associate head coach Kate Paye is enthusiastically optimistic about the upcoming Stanford women’s basketball season.

“We’re having a great summer” and laying the foundation for the season ahead, she said during a recent interview in her office.

Kate and the other three coaches have been working with the players as they practice during the NCAA-allowed two hours a week for eight weeks. Because the team is going to Italy later this summer, the NCAA allows 10 more practices over the summer.

In addition, the players can work up to six hours a week with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil. They also can play in informal pickup games that don’t involve the coaches.

As always, recruiting is on the four coaches’ agenda, too, a process now coordinated by assistant coach Tempie Brown.

Amy remains with SWBB program

Amy Tucker had had that responsibility for many years, but she retired from coaching at the end of last season. She remains with the program in an administrative capacity and is coordinating the team’s trip to Italy in September.

Tempie will continue working with the bigs while Kate and new assistant coach Lindy La Rocque, ’12, will work with the guards.

Stanford WBB welcomes Lindy (third from left) back to the Farm. (Jacob Rayburn, Cardinal Sports Report) 

Lindy, who is “passionate about Stanford,” Kate said, returns to her alma mater after earning her master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration at the University of Oklahoma, where she had a basketball internship. She then served as an assistant coach at Belmont University in Nashville for two years.

Except for incoming freshman forward Alyssa Jerome, the entire team has been on campus. Alyssa is on Canada’s U19 Women’s National Team, which will compete for the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2017 in Italy July 22-30 after an exhibition tournament in France July 15-17.

Alyssa will join her Stanford teammates in time to go to Italy with them.

The team’s other Canadian, sophomore guard Mikaela Brewer, had been invited to try out for the U19 team, but she chose to stay at Stanford for the summer to continue getting healthy after injuries last year. She has been cleared to play and has been practicing. “We’re excited to see what she can do,” Kate said.

Likewise, sophomore guard Anna Wilson, who missed much of last season, has been cleared to play

Alanna to play on Australian team

Junior forward Alanna Smith had been on campus until mid-July, when she joined her country’s Australian Opals team for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in India July 23-29. She’ll then have a month at home before joining the Stanford women on their Italy trip.

Senior guard Brittany McPhee will leave campus later this month for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team training camp July 31-Aug. 4 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

She is one of 40 players who will vie for 12 spots on the first U23 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo in mid-August. The final roster is expected to be announced Aug. 4.

Her senior classmate, forward Kaylee Johnson, is rehabbing from knee problems and hasn’t been cleared to play yet. In the meantime, she has an internship with a law firm, Kate said.

Five games on tap in Italy

Summer school ends Aug. 17, giving the players some time off before they return to campus Sept. 4. The trip to Italy is slated Sept. 5-15 with a total of five games in Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice. In one of those games, the players will face recently graduated guard Karlie Samuelson, who’s playing professionally on an Italian team.

Another recent graduate, guard Briana Roberson, has been working out at Stanford before her professional gig in Hungary. The third graduate, forward Erica “Bird” McCall, is playing with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, then will play in Hungary, too, Kate said.

As head coach Tara VanDerveer did numerous times last season, Kate praised the leadership provided by Karlie, Bri and Bird and said she hopes this year’s seniors can follow their good example. “We had an unselfish team,” she said.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer welcomes Estella Moschkau (left), Maya Dodson and Kiana Williams on their first day.
The freshmen who are on campus – guard Kiana Williams and forwards Maya Dodson and Estella Moschkau – “are off to a good start. We’re counting on them,” Kate said. Each one has been assigned a big sister teammate to ease the transition to college.

The fall term starts Sept. 25. Looking ahead to that time, Kate said her goals for the new season are to “look at the talented returners and incoming freshmen.” She and her colleagues want to see who works hard and emerges as a leader, and they want the team to improve every day.

Then come March, another Pac-12 championship and a return trip to the Final Four are on their to-do list.

“We’re really excited about our team,” Kate concluded.





April 17, 2017

Thanks for the memories: Part 2 of 2

Pac-12 tournament trophy goes to Stanford

Despite losing the regular season championship, the Stanford women’s basketball team went to Seattle for the Pac-12 tournament and came home with the championship trophy. The path to the championship was paved with wins over Washington State 66-36 on March 3, over Oregon 71-56 on March 4, and 48-43 payback win over Oregon State on March 5.

In the Washington State game, senior guard Karlie Samuelson’s six 3’s tied her career record, something she’d done three times before. Her 21 points also marked the seventh career game in which she had at least 20 points.

Against Oregon, junior forward Kaylee Johnson scored a season-high 11 points and hauled in 12 rebounds for her first double-double.

Nothing  but net for Tara and the Pac-12 champions (Eric Evans Photography)
In defeating OSU for the championship, Stanford became the first No. 2 seed to win the trophy. Moreover, senior forward Erica “Bird” McCall was named the most outstanding player, and sophomore forward Alanna Smith was named to the all-tournament team, along with Bird.

Time to dance

Out came the dancing shoes when Stanford was placed in the Lexington bracket as a No. 2 seed. Ordinarily that seeding would mean Stanford could host the first two rounds, but they conflicted with a women’s gymnastics tournament at Maples.

No matter. The team traveled to Manhattan, Kan., and left with a 72-64 win over New Mexico State on March 18 and a 69-48 win over Kansas State on March 20.

Both games featured the welcome return of the band, Tree and Dollies for the first time since their suspension earlier in the season.

Karlie had 17 points in the New Mexico State game, 15 of them from 3’s. Her fifth 3 raised her career total to 238, one more than her sister Bonnie, ’15, and ranking her third on Stanford’s all–time list behind Candice Wiggins, ’08, with 295 and Jeanette Pohlen, ’11, with 268. Alanna led the team with 19 points.

It was junior guard Brittany McPhee to the fore against Kansas State as she poured in 21 points, followed by Alanna with 19.

Big D via Little Apple and Bluegrass State

That round two win sent the Cardinal to its 10th consecutive Sweet 16 and gave the team its 14th 30-win season in program history.

Although the team had planned to return to Stanford after the Kansas State game, its charter plane didn’t arrive. Instead, the team spent another night in Manhattan before flying directly to Lexington, Ky., where players took their finals in the hotel.

Associate head coach Amy Tucker and assistant coach Tempie Brown, however, dashed back to Stanford to fetch the team’s black road uniforms in case it advanced to play the No. 1 seed, Notre Dame, in the Elite Eight and to take care of other details.

Those black uniforms were needed because the Cardinal defeated Texas 77-66 on March 24, while Notre Dame defeated Ohio State 99-76.  

Stanford led Texas 18-17 after the first quarter, but trailed 36-29 at the half. Then the team became the comeback kids. Karlie and Britt got things going in the third quarter with two consecutive 3’s. When the third quarter buzzer sounded, Stanford was up 54-49.

The last Cardinal basket came with just over four minutes left and the score 64-57. The next 12 points came from free throws.

All 11 available players saw action. Sophomore guard Alexa Romano came in with less than a minute left and hit two free throws, causing jubilation on the bench. This reaction symbolized how much the players care for one another no matter how much time they play or how many points they score.

Bird led the team with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Also in double figures were Karlie with 15, Britt with 12 and Alanna with 10.

And with the win it was on to SWBB’s 19th Elite Eight and Notre Dame.

Another big comeback edges the Irish

This March 26 contest was a nip-and-tuck, come-from-behind victory with the Cardinal ending on top. The score was tied 10 times and the lead changed 18 times. The Cardinal were down by 16 early in the third before clawing their way back.

Bird makes the last-second, win-saving block against Notre Dame.  (Timothy D. Easley, AP)
With 2.3 seconds left, Alanna hit what proved to be the winning basket, making the score 76-75. With 2.2 seconds left, Notre Dame had a chance, inbounding the ball under its basket, but Bird blocked the Irish shot and assured the win, setting off a huge celebration. It was the 198th block of her career.

Britt topped the team with 27 points, followed by Karlie and Alanna with 15 each.

The victory sent the team to Dallas for SWBB’s 13th Final Four and the first since the seniors were freshmen. Britt and Karlie were named to the All-Tournament Team.

In the meantime, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association named Karlie and Bird to its All-Region 5 Team, and the Associated Press accorded them All-American honorable mention.

Facing South Carolina in the semi-final of the Final Four in Dallas on March 31, the Cardinal ran out of comeback magic. The final score was 62-53.

The first half ended with Stanford up 29-20, but it had suffered a major blow earlier in the second quarter when Karlie sustained an ankle injury. She played in the second half but wasn’t moving as well as usual. The player whom head coach Tara VanDerveer has called the team’s glue was held scoreless during 25 minutes of playing time. Cold shooting in the second half also contributed to the loss.

Bird and Alanna had 14 points each and 14 and 12 rebounds, respectively.

Following this semi-final game, Mississippi State stunned UConn 66-64 in overtime, ending the Huskies’ 111-game winning streak. The last time UConn had lost was Nov. 17, 2014, when Stanford won 88-86, also in overtime.

Mississippi State and South Carolina met in the final game April 2, when the Gamecocks won their first-ever championship 67-55.

During the Final Four festivities, Bird and Karlie earned Honorable Mention honors on the 2017 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America Team.

Britt won the NCAA’s Elite 90 award for the having highest GPA, 3.73 in human biology, of all players in the Final Four. This award is bestowed in each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

The team poses for its final group shot. (Dave Cortesi photo)
Last gathering at spring banquet

Nearly 250 people had a chance to honor the team one last time at the spring banquet April 9 at the faculty club.

During the event, Tara listed some of the team’s accomplishments such as the program’s 13th Final Four and its seventh in the past 10 years, the Pac-12 tournament championship for the 12th time in 15 years, six different leading scorers, six comeback wins and eight Pac-12 All-Academic honorees.

Illustrating the team’s unity, this was the first team to go to the Final Four with no All-American, and it had no Pac-12 Players of the Week.

Athletic director Bernard Muir announced that when the Stanford Hall of Fame opens in the fall, one area will be devoted to Tara.

Tara then brought each class to the front to praise each player. She also issued numerous thank-you’s to the staff, including the coaches.

Seniors praised for leadership

When it came time for the three seniors, she said, “This class has set a new standard for leadership.” Each one then had a chance to speak to the group.

A video showed season highlights.

Next, Tara talked about the coming season with its trip to Italy in September, Countdown to Columbus showcase in November and a Thanksgiving tournament in Las Vegas.

Amy retires from coaching

After the official festivities, the entire team lined up for photos. Returning players then gathered around Tara to hear what’s in store for the off-season.

It was then that Tara reportedly told the players that Amy is retiring from her 32 years of coaching at Stanford, but she will remain with the program in an administrative role.

Stanford athletics issued the official announcement on April 13. It did not specify what her role would be or who would replace her.

However, in an interview with Jacob Rayburn of Stanford.rivals.com, she said that she would keep some of her present duties, but her job description wasn’t complete.

She did say that “she will handle the program’s Nike contract and will work with Stanford’s admission office as a liaison in recruiting. She also is helping to coordinate the team’s summer trip to Italy from Sept. 5-15.” Rayburn wrote.

Bird drafted; Lindy hired

Also on April 13, Bird was drafted by the Indiana Fever as the No. 17 pick of the WNBA draft. She will join another Stanford grad, Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga, ’11. The Fever reportedly were ecstatic to get her.

Lindy wore No. 15 during her four collegiate years. (Stanford photo)
Yet another Stanford grad, Lindy La Rocque, made news April 17 when Tara announced that she had been hired as an assistant coach, filling the vacancy left by Amy’s retirement from the bench. She, along with Kate, will work with perimeter players, according to Stanford Athletics.

Lindy, a guard known for her 3-point prowess, played in four Final Fours with the Cardinal from 2009-12. She returns to the Farm after two years as an assistant at Belmont University in Nashville. Before that, she was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma, where she earned a master’s in education.