The ending might have been anticlimactic, but the reward wasn’t.
No. 6 Stanford romped over Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday 83-59 at the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, giving longtime Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer her 900th career victory.
VanDerveer, who is now 900-204 in her career, joins Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt as the only women’s coaches to reach the milestone. She received the game ball after the game was over as her players held up signs with “900” on them.
“It goes fast,” VanDerveer told the Associated Press. “I can remember my first game and different games in different places. Obviously some really big games; it goes really fast. I’m very thankful for the places I coached, the assistants I worked with, the athletic directors I worked for. The outstanding players I coached. The fabulous fans at Idaho, Ohio State amd Stanford. I live a blessed life.”
VanDerveer is 748-153 at Stanford after two years at Idaho, her first head coaching job, and five seasons at Ohio State.
The game itself was seldom in doubt. The Cardinal (6-1) scored 13 of the game’s first 19 points and led 34-12 midway through the first half en route to a 45-28 halftime edge.
The Eagles (3-3) got to within 12 points in the second half before Stanford pulled away for the big win. Florida Gulf Coast’s first 12 points came on 3-pointers; they missed their first 17 shots inside the arc.
Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 27 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Mikaela Ruef had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Lili Thompson had 12 points and five assists. Amber Orrange chipped in with three steals.
Kaneisha Atwater scored 15 points and had six rebounds for the Eagles. Stephanie Haas had 14 points, Sarah Hansen added 11 points and Jenna Cobb finished with six rebounds and five assists.
Stanford’s final game in Puerto Vallarta will be Thursday against South Dakota State (3-2), which was playing TCU in the late game on Wednesday’s schedule. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Pacific.