February 8, 2010

Super team saluted on Super Bowl Sunday

Members of the 1989-90 team that won the first of Stanford’s two NCAA championships returned to Maples Pavilion on Feb. 7 to be honored and to watch the present team defeat USC 77-39. The ceremony took place right after the 1 p.m. game to allow fans to watch the Super Bowl.

“This was our Super Sunday,” head coach Tara VanDerveer told the crowd during the ceremony. “I’m proud of this year’s team,” she said, but the 1990 team showed the way with its “commitment to excellence. …It set the standards for the school.”

“This is a tremendous reunion for me. …We had a wonderful dinner last night” with both the past and present teams, she said. In the post-game press conference center Jayne Apple and forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen all said that they were inspired by and learned from that 32-1 team during the dinner.

Shooting guard Jennifer Azzi, named NCAA player of the year and winner of numerous other honors, spoke for the 1990 team. “You guys are awesome,” she said to today’s players, who were seated on the bench. It’s great “to see the legacy continue,” she said. She also paid tribute to Tara, calling her “one of the greatest coaches who has ever coached the game of basketball.” Several other players praised Tara and associate head coach Amy Tucker, who was one of their coaches.

Joining Jennifer at the reunion were Andy Geiger, the athletic director who hired Tara; trainer Patty Wilson; graduate assistant Leslie Crandell; assistant coach Renee Brown; Molly Goodenbour; Dr. Chris MacMurdo; Stacy Parson; Katy Steding; Trisha Stevens; and Angela Taylor. Val Whiting was planning to attend but couldn’t get out of Washington, D.C., because of the megasnowstorm that struck the East Coast. Also unable to attend were Sonja Henning, Martha Richards, Julie Zeilstra and assistant coach Julie Plank.

Angela, who is vice president and general manager of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, spoke of Stanford as a “truly magical place. We learned how to dream and dream big,” she said to Tara. And to today’s team she said, “Great things are ahead.”

Others also spoke fondly of their Stanford experience and advised today’s team to “enjoy every minute that you have.”

Besides honoring that championship team, the game featured a major milestone when Jayne surpassed the rebounding record of 1,143 set by Nicole Powell, ’04. Jayne’s 1,144th rebound came with 7:34 to go in the first half. She finished the game with 13 rebounds for a career total of 1,153 – and counting. Jayne also chipped in 15 points, two assists and one block.

Fans were pleased to see guard Hannah Donaghe get her first playing time since tearing her ACL in practice more than a year ago. They also applauded USC’s Jacki Gemelos, an academic senior and red shirt junior who was playing in only the second game of her collegiate career (the first was three days earlier at Cal) after a series of four torn ACLs and five surgeries that started when she was in high school. She and Jayne were AAU teammates before going to college. She led USC’s scoring with 13.

Stanford’s scoring was led by Kayla with 18, Nneka with 16, Jayne with 15 and guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude with 11. Kayla also led the rebounding with 14, while Jayne and Nneka had 13 each.

The defense limited USC to 10 points – its lowest ever -- in the first half, when Stanford had 29. With 3:15 to go in the first half, USC had the same number of fouls as points – 10. USC finished the game with 18 fouls to Stanford’s 12.

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