After a season where Final Four hopes were traded for an upset exit in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford Women's Basketball has addressed arguably their most glaring need. The Cardinal's size and athleticism was at times undermined by poor perimeter shooting last winter, so the verbal commitment Thursday landed by Tara VanDerveer from Class of 2008 shooting guard Lindy La Rocque is cause for celebration. The 5'8" scorer from Las Vegas (Nev.) Durango High School averaged 24.5 points per game as a junior and shot 42 percent from three-point range.
Mirroring her game on the court, La Rocque showed little hesitation Thursday by quickly pulling the trigger once she had the ball in her hands. The same day that she learned of her admissions acceptance from Stanford, she made her verbal commitment to the Cardinal.
"Coach Tara called me and said that I got accepted. It was right after one of my workouts, so I went home and told my parents," La Rocque recalls. "I couldn't believe it. I was so excited that I didn't even have any words. We talked and thought about it, and I decided that I was going to verbally commit. I called Coach Tara back and told her the good news. Everyone is just all excited about it."
La Rocque is a four-star prospect who holds scholarship offers from the likes of Vanderbilt, Arizona, UCLA, New Mexico, Iowa State and Wake Forest. Her commitment is the first for Stanford in the Class of 2008, and she is also the first recruit this year to garner a green light from the Office of Admissions, a step that almost always necessarily precedes a college decision for Cardinal recruits. La Rocque handed in her completed application materials recently in the spring, leaving her much anxiety while she waited for word from The Farm. Following her SAT retake at the beginning of this month and recent receipt of that score, La Rocque knew the final verdict was imminent.
"I was pretty nervous the last week or so because they had some problems with my test scores, as far as getting them and getting the right and most up-to-date ones," she admits. "I was pretty nervous. To find out was an awesome relief and kind of a surprise. I wanted to get in and tried my hardest, so I'm really happy."
The memory of how La Rocque heard the news Thursday from VanDerveer will forever be emblazoned on her mind.
"I was so shocked," the new Cardinal commit describes. "She had left me a voicemail saying that she had good news, so I kind of knew that it was coming. But even then I was shocked. I just kind of sat there and listened on the phone. I was thinking, 'Oh my God, my dream is coming true!' Coach Tara was really good and said a lot of nice things about me on the phone, so that helped it be even better. I was just happy."
"She first said that I was accepted, and that they have a scholarship waiting for me," La Rocque continues. "She said that the whole staff is excited, and all the players are so happy that I got in. They all wanted to call or text me because they were so excited. She wants to coach me just as badly as I want to play for her. That was really all positive stuff and great to hear."
The timing of La Rocque's admissions acceptance and her verbal commitment was welcome news at home, where recruiting was starting to get a little unwieldy.
"Right around this time, coaches are starting to call. They can call right before July, and I was getting non-stop calls," the recruit explains. "I was actually out of town this last week and didn't have any time to talk. I was at a Student Council thing in Kansas City. I had a ton of calls lately, and that got me thinking."
Those close to the Las Vegas shooting guard are unsurprised at her Stanford decision. La Rocque has held the Cardinal as her top favorite since her first unofficial visit in February. A second trip in late April only reinforced her feelings.
"Ever since I was there and visited, even while I was working on the application, I have felt an immediate connection between me and the school. And the players and the staff. Coach Tara and everything," she shares. "When I was there, it was perfect. And this was the perfect circumstance for me academics-wise. Stanford has everything I wanted, but the only set-back was the application. I worked as hard as I could and tried to make it the best representation of me, and I hoped that would be good enough. It ended up being good enough, so that was really good news."
La Rocque has been a little under the radar in recent months, due in large part to a broken hand she suffered early in April that truncated her playing opportunities during the spring evaluation period. The Las Vegas guard would have had a mountain of attention in July, when college coaches can next watch her play with her AAU team, West Coast Elite. She today can breathe a great sigh of relief, knowing that she can play free and easy with her college commitment already behind her.
"It really is a great relief, and I think I really made the right decision, even though I made it pretty early," La Rocque offers. "This is a pretty big relief. It's a stress reliever and a mind relaxer. I'm really excited."
Lindy La Rocque has been one of Nevada's most prolific scorers since her freshman year, when she averaged 19 points per game. Her junior season saw a more complete skill set and playmaking demonstrated, averaging nearly a triple-double: 24.5 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. She also shot 91 percent free throws. La Rocque was named region MVP and First-Team All-State. She is a gym rat and the daughter of a coach - Al La Rocque is the boys head coach at Durango and an assistant for the girls team.
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