Tara VanDerveer Q & A, Part IV

This may be the off-season but fans can stay tuned in to Stanford basketball through TheBootleg.com's ongoing Q & A series with Head Coach Tara VanDerveer. In Part IV, VanDerveer gives us the lowdown on off-season workouts, the incoming freshmen, and the team's trip to Italy in September.

Those fans fortunate enough to attend Stanford Fast Break Club post-game events know that Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is always happy to field questions from curious fans. Coincidentally TheBootleg.com maintains message boards full of curious fans. Mix the agreeable coach with the curious fans and you get this series of Q & A sessions with VanDerveer. After dealing with the complexities of the Stanford recruiting process in Parts I, II, and III, we have decided to take a (relative) breather with some fairly straightforward questions about the off-season. As always questions from Bootleg subscribers will be noted.

How much work can the team do in the spring and how are the workouts structured?

In the spring the NCAA rules allow a total of eight hours a week that we can work out with our team. Six of these hours can be conditioning/weight training. The other two hours can be basketball skill work with up to four players at one time (referred to as individual work). We usually divide our workout groups by position. Our four healthy guards (Ros Gold-Onwude, Lindy La Rocque, Jeanette Pohlen and Grace Mashore) have been doing really well working on mostly offensive skills such as ball handling, passing, and shooting. The workouts go for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are quite demanding, mostly combinations of conditioning and shooting. Fun!!! The healthy posts (Nneka Ogwumike, Jayne Appel, Sarah Boothe and Kayla Pedersen) have been doing a great job (also for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays) doing combination drills that involve footwork, passing, catching, ball handling, post moves and outside shooting.

What are you allowed to do over the summer? Can you work with any players who are on campus or monitor the progress of those who are not?

The summer rules only allow conditioning/weight training with our strength coach. We are allowed to give our team workouts to do but are not allowed to monitor them. So the people that improve are the ones that are very disciplined and put the time into their conditioning and skill development. Let's hope everyone sees what is possible with (the improvement of) Jeanette (Pohlen) and is motivated to do that and more for next year!

How important is it for a player to make a USA Basketball team over the summer?

USA Basketball is a great way to improve and hopefully we will have some players make the teams this summer. (Five Stanford players are finalists for USA Basketball teams. Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen, and Jeanette Pohlen are finalists for the World University Games Team, which plays in Serbia July 1-12. Sarah Boothe and Nneka Ogwumike are finalists for the U19 National Team, which plays the U19 World Championships in Thailand July 23-Aug 2. For both of those teams, 14 finalists are vying for 12 spots.)

Campusdog asks for thoughts on the summer Bay Area Pro-Am league. How useful is it for players?

(The Bay Area Pro-Am Summer Basketball League consists of seven teams of area collegians and some high school players. Games, which are free to the public, are played at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco on Saturday or occasionally Sunday afternoons starting in late June.)

The Pro-Am is an opportunity to play and that is important. Our very successful teams have always had players who are committed to being in GREAT condition and improving their skills in the off-season, and who love to play and look for games, i.e. playing against guys!

From Taz88: I was disappointed in Hannah Donaghe's injury late last season because I thought she could help defend on the perimeter. How is she doing, and will she be available for next year's killer early season schedule? Will JJ Hones will be fully recovered by the time practice starts next year?

Hannah and JJ are doing well with rehab and we expect them back in the fall.

Taz88 also asks whether there are any nagging injuries that need attention over the summer.

Unfortunately several players are out with "nagging injuries" (Melanie Murphy, Michelle Harrison, and Ashley Cimino) so that really limits their opportunity to improve.

Ruralfan would like to know anything VanDerveer is willing to say about the ACL problem in women's basketball. What prevention program is best? What program is she using at Stanford?

The ACL is an ongoing issue for EVERY team. Our strength coach works with our trainer and doctor to implement programs to help minimize the injury.

Would you tell us a little bit about the two incoming freshmen, Mikaela Ruef, a 6'3" forward from Beaver Creek, Ohio, and Joslyn Tinkle, a 6'3" post from Missoula, Montana?

Mikaela is a very versatile player who can face up, shoot, PASS and handle the ball. She will play a "3/4" for us. We hope she contributes as a freshman. She ran cross-country last fall and did a little track this spring, which should help her adjustment to college basketball with the quicker pace and more physical game.

Jos is another very versatile and smart player. She can post up and face up. We hope she comes in and is a major contributor right away too!

Today we have a lot of different people that can be major contributors. I am hoping everyone gets healthy and commits themselves to improving! It could be very competitive.

Seiko asks about the team's "summer trip" to Italy. Will the two incoming freshmen be allowed to go?

Our trip to Italy (in early September) gives our team some added incentive to come back in shape and ready to play. We will practice about six times before we leave. We will play 3-4 games and do LOTS of sightseeing. We are planning to go to Rome, Florence, Venice and Lake Como. It will be exciting and fun! Our freshmen are not allowed to go on the trip per NCAA rules.


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