Sports

VanDerveer and Summitt are a winning combination

 

There are 1,911 reasons to pay attention to Tuesday night's Tennessee-Stanford women's basketball in Maples Pavilion at 7 p.m.

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer and Lady Vols' coach Pat Summitt, both of whom have been enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, have combined to win 1,911 games against 399 losses. That's a success rate of over 82 percent.

Success for both measures as much in their contributions to the game as for games won.

Summitt has led Tennessee to the NCAA tournament the past 30 years. She has walked away with eight national titles. She has won 31 SEC titles, sent 12 players to the United States Olympic team and has coached 20 All-Americans.

VanDerveer's career record is 833-198, including a 681-148 at Stanford. She has coached the Cardinal into the NCAA tournament the past 23 years, minus 1996 when she led the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal. Stanford has won 19 conference titles.

Summitt played in the 1976 Olympics and coached the team in 1984.

"The thing about the wins -- she doesn't schedule chumps," VanDerveer said. "They play probably the toughest schedule ever."

The teams will meet for the 29th time on Tuesday night, with fourth-ranked Stanford (7-1) carrying a 67-game home winning streak into the fray. The sixth-ranked Lady Vols have won 22 of the previous 28 meetings with Stanford, including last year in Knoxville.

"This is the game of the year on our campus," VanDerveer said. "Last year, it was Connecticut and that was a fantastic game. Last year we lost in overtime at Tennessee. Payback is the order of the day."

Tennessee (7-2) brings a five-game winning streak into Maples. Its last loss was to top-ranked Baylor. The Lady Vols beat UCLA, 85-64, on Saturday while Stanford was toppling Princeton, 85-66.

Two-time All-American forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike will be facing the Lady Vols for the final time during the regular season. Over her three previous games, Ogwumike averaged 13.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game while shooting 46.9 percent (15-for-32) from the field.

The Ogwumike sisters, Nnemkadi and Chiney, average a combined 39.3 points and 21.5 rebounds per game while shooting a combined 59.6 percent from the field.

Nnemkadi, a two-time All-American, leads the Pac-12 with 23.7 points and 11.1 rebounds a game and is fifth in the conference with a 62.3-percent shooting figure from the field, while Chiney also averages a double-double of 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Stanford will honor Summitt on Tuesday night by giving fans rally towels that say, "We back Pat." A highlight video will be shown at halftime of previous Stanford-Tennessee games. VanDerveer has also met with doctors at Stanford who head up the Neurology Department and has offered Summitt help and support as she continues her fight against early onset of Alzheimer's, which was diagnosed last August.

"This game is bigger than the game itself because she's really dealing with something," VanDerveer said. "You just don't know if this will ever happen again. She's a really special person and I've been fortunate to be a little part of her life."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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