NCAA

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer earns historic 1000th career win

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer earns historic 1000th career win

STANFORD -- Watching warmups just like usual from one corner of the court near Stanford's bench, Tara VanDerveer shared a little something.

"I told our team, 'I'd be lying if it was just any other game, but we will play bigger games than this.'"

She repeated that again as her players made confetti angels spread on the floor Friday night celebrating yet another remarkable moment in their coach's Hall of Fame career - win No. 1,000.

Standing side by side with Jennifer Azzi, VanDerveer held a bouquet of red roses in one hand and a commemorative trophy from the Pac-12 in the other as tributes played on the big screen. As far as special moments go, this will rank right up there among her great achievements.

VanDerveer became just the second NCAA women's coach to reach 1,000 career victories when No. 8 Stanford beat USC 58-42 to give the Hall of Famer a major milestone to share with the home crowd at Maples Pavilion.

She joined the late Pat Summitt, a dear friend who died last summer from early-onset Alzheimer's disease with 1,098 wins to her name, as the only other women's coach in the elite club. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is the only Division I men's coach with 1,000. VanDerveer is 1000-228 in her career.

After the game ended, her players dumped confetti on their coach before moving to midcourt to hold up cutout numbers to form 1,000. The team presented her with a framed jersey with the number 1,000 on it.

"Our team won't believe this but I am really speechless," an emotional VanDerveer said, greeted by chants of "Tara! Tara!"

In her 38th season as a head coach and 31st on The Farm after previous stops at Idaho and Ohio State, VanDerveer had former stars like Azzi, one of her first marquee recruits, among the 4,490 fans in attendance and perhaps the biggest of all in 89-year-old mother, Rita.

VanDerveer almost didn't accept the Stanford job all those years ago, unsure she could turn the Cardinal program into a perennial powerhouse. Instead, she has groomed so many future WNBA stars while doing so with class and humility. She has adapted by changing offenses multiple times to best fit her roster.

"Words cannot accurately describe how many lives she has actually touched," USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. "... 1,000 wins is unimaginable."

More than anything, she loves her players - and you bet she still loves winning and all the work and preparation it takes to do so.

Karlie Samuelson made three second-half 3-pointers on the way to 21 points while Erica McCall added 18 points in Stanford's seventh straight victory, an unbeaten run that included last Sunday's win at Washington. Brittany McPhee contributed 10 points for the Cardinal (20-3, 10-1 Pac-12).

"I have more than 1,000 memories of coaching," VanDerveer said. "It's a special evening, and I'm moving on to 1,001 Monday night."

Kristen Simon led cold-shooting USC (12-10, 3-8) with 11 points.

With a pair of NCAA titles in 1990 and '92, an Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and 11 Final Four berths - including five straight from 2008-2012 - VanDerveer has meant so much to women's basketball on the court and far beyond it as a positive influence and mentor to so many.

The 63-year-old VanDerveer did this one in front of the home fans at Maples Pavilion, after winning No. 800 against Azzi at the University of San Francisco in December 2010 and her 900th in November 2013 at a Thanksgiving tournament in Mexico. Former Stanford star Ros Gold-Onwude, the Golden State Warriors' sideline reporter, called Friday's game for TV.

"On behalf of the Pac-12, I would like to congratulate Coach VanDerveer on the amazing and rare accomplishment of 1,000 wins," Commissioner Larry Scott said. "In a career full of astounding successes, this feat is a true testament to her steadfast commitment to excellence at Stanford and her lasting legacy on the entire sport of basketball."

And, she certainly plans for many more wins - in fact, some of her former players believe she could take a crack at 2,000.

"She very well could," athletic director Bernard Muir said Friday, "it wouldn't shock me."

CONGRATS POUR IN

Former Stanford star Nicole Powell now coaches on the Oregon staff, so she still sees VanDerveer occasionally from the other bench.

"It's incredible what Tara has accomplished - the consistency of winning year in and year out over the course of her career is truly special," Powell wrote in an email. "She's stayed true to herself, leading in her own unique way and all while evolving in her approach to the game, yet never getting away from her core values. It's hard to capture what she means to women's basketball. I've encountered so many people that seem to have a favorite 'Tara' or 'Stanford Women's basketball' moment that runs the gamut from the '90s up until now. I think that speaks volumes."

BIG PICTURE

USC: After sweeping the Arizona schools last weekend, the Trojans missed out on a fourth victory against a ranked opponent this season. Sadie Edwards, averaging 11 points coming into the matchup, went 0 for 8.

Stanford: The Cardinal won their 15th in a row against USC at Maples.

UP NEXT

USC: At California on Sunday.

Stanford: Hosts No. 13 UCLA on Monday night.

From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

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From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

Stanford has a penchant for recruiting the overachieving student-athlete. Even among those standards, Harrison Phillips is a rare find. The senior defensive tackle helps feed the homeless every Friday morning at a local shelter. He often visits the kids in the oncology ward at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He was named to the Pac-12 All Academic First Team and will graduate in December with a double major and a minor. He is a team captain and heir apparent to Solomon Thomas, the 49ers third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

“One thing you love about Harrison is, every day he’s going to get something done,” head coach David Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area. “On the field, off the field, in the community, he’s always got a million things going on. But nothing ever suffers.

"He does everything at a high level.”

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Phillips is a mountain of a man. His skill set is different than that of Thomas, but he can be just as disruptive. He plays over the center. He plays over the guards. His self-proclaimed job is to eat as many blocks as possible to keep the linebackers free.

“He’s such that hard point for us. He’s that guy up front that’s getting knock back, that force in the run game that you gotta have,” defensive coordinator Lance Anderson explained. “You have to have that strong solid point in the middle of your defense, and he provides that.”

Phillips had a game-high 11 tackles, five of them solo, in the Cardinal’s loss to USC. No other defensive lineman on the field had more than three.

“He’s outstanding against the run. He’s a very good pass rusher,” Shaw added. “He’s got a lot of tools that can work inside.”

Phillips main instruments of domination are strength, knowledge of leverage and abnormal flexibility for a man of his size.

“He can do the splits on command,” Thomas said laughing from in front of his locker after a recent 49ers practice. “He loves showing it off. We get on him for it. But he loves doing it.

And, according to Thomas, his former Stanford teammate loves to bench. So it comes as no surprise that Phillips’ upper body strength stands out.

“He’ll be really low in a position that you think he’d get knocked over in,” Thomas explained. “Because of how flexible he is, it’s not a problem for him to get in that position and stay there and move on from there. It definitely shows up on his film.”

No doubt, Phillips says, that ability comes from his wrestling experience. His high school curriculum vitae includes, “Nebraska State Wrestling Champion, Heavy Weight Division, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.”

Phillips first year on The Farm, he vividly remembers his Stanford coaches testing him. Just a mere 245 pounds at the time, they put him up against Joshua Garnett and Andrus Peat, two offensive linemen now in the NFL and each well over 300 pounds.

“They’d double team me, almost 700 pounds on you, and I would somehow find leverage and be able to sit on some of those double teams,” Phillips said. “I think the violence that wrestling brings, and balance and being comfortable in weird positions, wrestling has a ton of scrambling, as it's called, you just know your body and know what you can do. I have tremendous flexibility, and I use everything to my advantage.”

One thing Phillips is not allowed to do is use his explosiveness away from the football field. At one time, Phillips could do a back flip off the wall, but he no longer attempts it.

“I’m not a big fan of the back hand springs,” Shaw said. “I’d like for him to stay on his feet.”

Phillips doesn’t argue. He lost his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, and doesn’t want to risk another. He has NFL aspirations and put himself in position to graduate in three-and-a-half years should he choose to enter the 2018 draft. But just as he has done at Stanford, he is looking to be more than just a name on a jersey should he play on a professional level.

“I want to build something that is really lasting,” Phillips said of his life goal, “and put my name on something to touch people’s lives and change people’s lives, pay it forward as much as I can.”

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

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USASTI

No. 6 USC routs No. 14 Stanford for 11th straight win

LOS ANGELES  — Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett caught two touchdown passes apiece from Sam Darnold, and No. 6 Southern California extended its winning streak to 11 games with a bruising 42-24 victory over No. 14 Stanford on Saturday night.

Darnold went 21 of 26 with 316 yards passing for the Trojans (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12), who snapped their three-game losing streak in this California private-school rivalry. USC racked up 623 total yards and won the first Pac-12 game of the new season by beating the hard-nosed Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) at their own physical game.

Ronald Jones II rushed for 116 yards and scored a touchdown in his ninth consecutive game as USC excelled at Stanford's traditional strengths, running the ball for 307 yards and controlling both lines of scrimmage. Turnovers and penalties by the Trojans kept it fairly close, but freshman Stephen Carr added 119 yards rushing, and Jones cartwheeled into the end zone with a clinching 23-yard TD run with 4:15 to play.

Keller Chryst passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Bryce Love had a 75-yard TD run among his 160 yards rushing for the Cardinal, who hadn't played since their season-opening win over Rice in Australia last month.

After a scoreless third quarter, USC made a 90-yard scoring drive capped by Mitchell's second TD on a feathery 11-yard TD pass by Darnold with 9:42 to play. Stanford stayed close with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside's TD catch with 6:41 to play, but Jones' incredible second TD run capped a smooth 75-yard drive in USC's 11th consecutive win at the Coliseum.

Stanford had won eight of its last 11 meetings with USC in a dominant stretch that began with its historic 2007 upset victory at the Coliseum.

After USC scored 49 points in its season opener, Darnold's offense again was in fine form from the start. USC scored four touchdowns on five lengthy drives in the first half, with Darnold hitting Burnett for two of his three TD passes.

USC moved 74 yards on two plays late in the half to take a 28-17 lead on Burnett's leaping 25-yard TD grab.

THE TAKEAWAY

Stanford: That 62-point performance in the season opener Down Under was impossible to replicate against a top Pac-12 defense, and the Cardinal's offense will know it must add versatility to the attack. Stanford's defense also had big problems at the line of scrimmage, and that isn't a problem with which the Cardinal have much experience.

USC: This talent-laden offense has appeared to have the makings of a juggernaut so far. Darnold returned to 2016 form with a smooth, poised performance against a vaunted conference opponent, while the Trojans' receivers appear to be much more reliable than coach Clay Helton feared. USC's defense also stepped up after halftime and shut down one of the Pac-12's best.

UP NEXT

Stanford: The Cardinal's three-game stretch away from home to open the season concludes at San Diego State.

USC: The Trojans welcome Texas to the Coliseum for a meeting of two powerhouse programs.