How Stanford ladies’s basketball constructed a nationwide championship group


The No. 1 seed Stanford Cardinal gained their third nationwide championship in program historical past and their first nationwide title in 29 years by knocking off an elite Arizona Wildcats squad that shocked many within the match with their tenacious protection and can to win.

What makes this win even sweeter for Stanford is that head coach Tara VanDerveer led the Cardinal to every of their three nationwide titles in 1990, 1992, and 2021. VanDerveer and her employees constructed every group from the bottom up, and this 12 months’s group was no totally different. Placing the items collectively of gifted gamers spanning a number of positions and lessons, VanDerveer continues so as to add to her illustrious teaching profession, her Corridor of Fame resume, and additional cement her identify in Stanford’s historical past books.

For the Cardinal, almost each participant had an impressive resume heading into this match and even earlier than signing to grow to be a part of the Stanford group. With that mentioned, it’s no shock they have been in rivalry for a nationwide title, however the truth that they have been in a position to win all of it regardless of this season’s ups and downs was spectacular. Here’s a have a look at how Tara VanDerveer constructed this 12 months’s Stanford group and led them to a nationwide championship.

Kiana Williams, Guard, Senior

Kiana Williams was certainly one of Stanford’s three seniors and the guts and soul of this Cardinal group. A San Antonio native, Williams returned residence for her final hurrah within the NCAA match and got here out as a nationwide champion.

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All through her profession, Williams had made her mark with the Cardinal, averaging 12.9 factors within the common season and 15.9 factors per recreation within the postseason. From these stats, it’s evident that Williams was a real gamer, elevating her stage of play when the video games mattered most.

Like many on the Stanford Cardinal, Williams arrived at The Farm with various accolades. She was a 2017 McDonald’s and Jordan Model Basic All-American, ranked eighth total within the 2017 recruiting class by HoopGurlz, and was Stanford’s first top-10 recruit since Chiney Ogwumike signed Nov. 2009.

Haley Jones, Ahead, Sophomore

Haley Jones was named because the match’s Most Excellent Participant for her work in main Stanford to the nationwide title. Jones went off for twenty-four factors on 11-of-14 capturing in Stanford’s one-point win over South Carolina within the Last 4, after which had 17 factors on 8-of-14 capturing within the title recreation win over Arizona. Like Lexie Hull, she was named to the NCAA All-Match group.

Jones’s resume previous to Stanford was additionally filled with particular person honors. In 2019 she was a McDonald’s and Jordan Model Basic All-American, gained the Naismith Trophy Women’ Excessive Faculty Participant of the Yr, was the Morgan Wootten Nationwide Participant of the Yr, and was named the USA TODAY Excessive Faculty Sports activities First Group All-American.

Arizona v Stanford

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So as to add, she was the No. 1 participant within the nation for her 2019 recruiting class, in response to ESPN’s HoopGurlz. She additionally gained gold with USA Basketball within the FIBA U17 World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, in the course of the summer season of 2018 and competed on the 2019 USA 3×3 U18 Nationwide Championship and her group gained second place.

Lexie Hull, Guard, Junior

All through the season, Lexie Hull logged double figures averaging 11 factors within the common season and 12.9 factors per recreation in the course of the postseason. Her 6-foot body made her a mismatch for a lot of groups on the boards as she was in a position to seize roughly 5 per recreation all through each the common and postseasons. Her efficiency all through the match landed her on the 2021 NCAA All-Match group.

Arizona v Stanford

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Hull, like Williams, was suffering from accomplishments earlier than becoming a member of the Cardinal. She was a five-star recruit ranked the 14th finest participant within the nation in response to ESPN’s HoopGurlz rankings. Hull was additionally a two-time Washington Gatorade Participant of the Yr in 2017 and 2018, made MaxPreps Excessive Faculty Women’ All-America first group, and was Seattle Instances Co-State sister Lacie, and was named USA TODAY Excessive Faculty Sports activities Washington State Participant of the Yr.

Cameron Brink, Ahead, Freshman

Brink was solely a freshman, and it was usually laborious to consider as a result of she didn’t play prefer it. In her first season within the Pac-12, she leads the convention in blocks with 88. The following closest individual was Angel Jackson of USC with 38. Brink averaged 10.3 factors, 6.1 rebounds, and three.3 blocks this postseason and helped propel the Cardinal to the nationwide title together with her sturdy finishes and shot-blocking presence within the paint.

In highschool, Brink was additionally an All-American. She was ranked No. 3 within the 2020 recruiting class by ESPN’s HoopGurlz and was a 2020 McDonald’s and Jordan Model Basic All-American. Brink was Oregon’s 2018 and 2019 Gatorade Participant of the Yr, three-time Naismith Excessive Faculty All-American (2018-2020), a three-time MaxPreps Excessive Faculty All American (2018-2020), and 2019 USA Right this moment Oregon Participant of the Yr.

Arizona v Stanford

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To suppose these are solely 4 of the Cardinal’s 14-player roster is mind-blowing. How way more harmful would they’ve been this 12 months if Jenna Brown, their junior guard and former McDonald’s and Jordan Model Basic All-American, might play this 12 months as effectively. She sat out with a medical redshirt. To not point out, Anna Wilson was additionally extremely ranked and a 2016 McDonald’s All-American.

To place it plainly, Tara VanDerveer is aware of methods to construct profitable groups. She’s been doing it at Stanford for the previous 36 years. And although she shouldn’t be new to this, her 2021 Cardinals is perhaps probably the most individually embellished group we’ve seen shortly. Luckily, they have been in a position to pull their abilities collectively and win a collective nationwide championship.


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