STANFORD — When Tara VanDerveer’s mother showed up for a surprise visit, the Hall of Fame coach knew something might be happening at Stanford in her honor.
Just more than two weeks later, VanDerveer finally got her special moment in front of the appreciative fans at Maples Pavilion.
Chiney Ogwumike had 19 points and seven rebounds and No. 6 Stanford celebrated VanDerveer’s 900th victory back at home, beating 23rd-ranked Gonzaga 73-45 on Saturday.
Ogwumike shot 8 for 16 and in the first game at Maples Pavilion since VanDerveer won her 900th game against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 27 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. VanDerveer became the fifth Division I coach to join the 900 club, and was honored after the game for her accomplishment in an on-court ceremony.
“It’s cool to be a part of something so special,” Ogwumike said. “She makes us better players. She’s wise beyond her years.”
A cheering crowd on its feet after the final buzzer, VanDerveer’s players pulled on Cardinal red 900 T-shirts, while Stanford President John Hennessy and athletic director Bernard Muir presented the coach with a framed No. 900 white Stanford jersey.
“It’s a little hard for me to wrap my head around 900,” VanDerveer said over the public address system. “This is the only way I could get a Stanford jersey, as a coach. ... Let’s get some more!”
Even after a lopsided loss, Gonzaga’s coaches and players stayed on the court long enough to offer their applause.
Coach Kelly Graves considered it an important moment for his young women.
“It’s great that she was honored in front of all the fans here, the faithful,” Graves said. “I wanted our team to sit out there and watch it and appreciate who she is and what she’s done for our game. You think about 900 wins, that’s 30 a year for 30 years, for crying out loud. We’ve won 30 one time. It’s incredible what she’s done.”