Above is video of the postgame presser with Tara VanDerveer, Chiney Ogwumike and Kailee Johnson. Tara’s mom, Rita VanDerveer was in attendance too, surprising her daughter in honor of the 900 win mark. Women’s basketball fans will want to watch the whole shebang, but men’s basketball fans will definitely want to check out the 12:30 mark. VanDerveer was talking about the impact a rash of injuries has had on her squad, and lamented that they have prevented her from establishing a set rotation. She expands, and indirectly disses the approach to substitution that many would argue the men’s program has practiced in years past.
“A lot of it is, I have to go on and figure out what our rotation is. We’re not going to play 15 people. We’re never going to be what I call deli basketball, where it’s four going in and four going out. We will have an eight- or nine-, probably, player rotation and it will be stabilized by February. Not to say that other people can’t get in, but our practices will be more competitive because of the competition.”
Deli basketball, ouch. The idea, I guess, being that you can’t just mix and match players in your lineup like ingredients in yours sandwich, where you’re ordering turkey on a whole wheat roll, but with extra pickles and hold the mayo.
I am pulling hard for the men’s team to make the tournament and for Johnny Dawkins to turn the ship around, but my fantasy is that, if the men’s basketball team ever does need a new coach, they look no further than their current women’s basketball coach. Again, it’s a fantasy. I have no idea if VanDerveer would want to coach men, and obviously she would need a staff with recruiting ties to men’s programs, which she lacks. But it would be a historic, groundbreaking and daring move, and where better than at Stanford to shatter a gender barrier? Most importantly, of course, she can flat out coach. And hey, at the least, she’d have a set rotation down, which I know has been many fans’ gripe with Johnny Dawkins. (Also, if you don’t play defense on her squad, you sit.)
Stanford came roaring back to take a 9-6 lead in the deciding fifth set. Winner takes on the Washington/USC winner in Seattle on Thursday in the national semifinals. It won’t be Stanford, though.
What heartbreak. The Penn State women closed out on a 9-2 run and they win the fifth set 15-11. Stanford had all the momentum on the heels of a 25-18 set four victory, but Penn State had seven kills and two Stanford attack errors in that final run, and that was all she wrote. All the power to the Nittany Lions for coming back after Stanford had wrested away control of the match, and for the Cardinal, what a heartbreaking way to lose. And a hex on the NCAA committee for putting the Cardinal in this position to begin with.
Dwight Powell and Johnny Dawkins talk after the rout of UC-Davis. Dawkins talked about the improved effort and player buy-in on defense, while both men discussed the importance of the upcoming stretch of UConn and Michigan, and the impact of finals. Enjoy!
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