VanDerveer Breaks Down Victory

You saw her masterful halftime adjustments Sunday night in Kansas City. Now hear what <b>Tara VanDerveer</b> had to say immediately after Stanford's 76-59 Sweet 16 victory over the UConn Huskies in her post-game press conference.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer offers wit and witticisms following Stanford's historic victory over the Huskies.

"Mystique, what number is she?"
"We were playing against a ghost team."
"Good thing I didn't have my reading glasses at halftime."

On fifth-year senior guard Susan King Borchardt's play:
"I think a lot of what Susan did wasn't in the bottom part of the stat sheet [offense] but the top part [defense].  Ann Strother's a great player and Susan was really determined.  I remember the threes.  They were big shots for us.  I think you can kind of just tell she's one of the leaders on this team.  She wanted to play with these four seniors and obviously it's a great decision."

On the transformation after halftime:
"I probably can't repeat all of what I said.  I thought our team did the things we asked them to do.  I really think [what reversed the momentum was] Brooke Smith - getting the ball to Brooke.  When she got [four quick points to start the second half], her teammates saw, well, if Brooke can battle, I can battle…  Susan was doing a great job on Ann Strother, and you can't let her down…  T'Nae Thiel is a calming influence on other people."

On Connecticut's mystique:
In fairness to Connecticut, this is not a national championship team with a Diana Taurasi.  They've struggled this year.  What they've done – three national championships - is incredible.  But I felt like, as Susan said, we were playing against a ghost team.  This is a different team and we had a sign on the door: 'Mystique, what number is she?'  Our team bought in 100% in the things we asked them to do."

On the Pac-10's physical play:
"Our team is ready and we get black and blue from our conference.  I do feel this was a positive statement for our conference, but we want to go further."

On T'Nae Thiel:
"I didn't know how T'Nae was going to do – we were really excited [with her 15 minutes]."

On the 49 second-half points:
"We started the second half going inside to Brooke.  People really worked hard at boxing out.  Candice Wiggins got going; people hit a couple of threes; people's confidence grew.  Once we got to the free throw line, we felt good."

On being fatigued for Michigan State:
"People didn't want to come out.  Even when we took them out, they didn't want to come out.  We do have some fresh bodies, but the ones that carry the load – Brooke and Kelley Suminski - they'll be ready."

On Connecticut's press:
"How many teams have that type of athleticism and size – the combination of athleticism and size?  We can do a better job of breaking the press, and I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.  I told Candice: good thing I didn't have my reading glasses at halftime, seeing as she had five first-half turnovers.  They won three national championships with those players and they battled."

Daniel Novinson is a freshman at Stanford University. He's broadcasting women's basketball on KZSU - listen along at or 90.1 FM.  Daniel welcomes any feedback at

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