STANFORD, Calif.— It only took 46 years, but Stanford women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer has reached a mountain top that now inhabits just her and one other person looking down at the valley of basketball greatness.

After No. 8 Stanford’s 88-63 win over Oregon Friday night, VanDerveer notched win No. 1,201 — tying former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski for most wins career wins in college basketball history.

Winning at this magnitude isn’t new to VanDerveer as she already is the winningest coach in women’s college basketball, passing former Tennessee head coach Pat Summit in 2020. She has three NCAA tournament championships, 13 final four appearances, 27 PAC-12 regular season championships, 13 PAC-12 conference championships and five National Coach of the Year awards.

Her resume is second to none.

But what she accomplished Friday is a testament to one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.

“Tara has been winning since our parents were kids,” said Stanford point guard Talana Lepolo. “That just completely puts it into perspective. Tara even with all this experience is still learning and that’s something we can learn from her. She’s a huge inspiration not only not only for the girls in the Bay Area, but all across the nation.”

Stanford started the game hot, opening with a 20-0 run after jump ball.

But the Cardinal suffered a big blow when Cameron Brink had to be helped off the floor after she landed on her left leg awkwardly. She went to the locker room and returned riding an exercise bike and eventually was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

While Brink was unavailable, Oregon took advantage. The Ducks went on a 13-0 run of their own to close within seven points in the first quarter. Oregon continued to flow in the second quarter as the Ducks got within five points at the 4:40 mark, but Stanford began to gain momentum again even with Brink off the floor.

After Oregon pulled within five, Stanford went on a 12-0 run of its own to go into halftime with a 43-26 lead.

The rest of the game didn’t matter as the Cardinal locked in for the second half to blow the Ducks out of the water, outscoring Oregon 45-37.

What did matter was the Stanford faithful’s standing ovation to VanDerveer as the final buzzer sounded.

As the crowd at Maples Pavilion cheered her on, VanDerveer was as calm as ever. That was until center Kiki Iriafen and Brink, with ice her on her knees, picked up the 70-year-old coach and lifted her for the crowd to see.

As VanDerveer made her way to the locker room, she made sure to high-five and hug every player for their effort on the floor. A true testament to her character and why players revere her so much.

While VanDerveer will inevitably get to be the winningest of coach of all time sometime this season, her moment should be celebrated by everyone in sports. She’ll won’t hold the position for long as No. 9 UCONN head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is just seven wins behind her.

Regardless, VanDerveer’s impact on the women’s game has been tremendous. What she has been able to do at this level is something that many sports fans won’t ever see in their lifetimes.

She paved the way for not only women to play the sports, but for people that look like her to coach in a male-dominated industry.

“When I was a young girl, there wasn’t basketball for girls,” VanDerveer said. “I was very frustrated. It was very painful to be asked to do not to be able to play and it’s a it’s like a dream come true now.”

“I just hope that the young girls that get the opportunities and people like Kiki and Talana, really appreciate all the things that they get. An education and opportunity to travel, you know, a career in something. I planned to go to law school because there were no coaches, that was not a job for women. But my timing was horrible for playing, but it was very good for coaching. I was a head coach when I was like, 24-years-old. And I’m, I’m just really thankful that I get to have a job that it’s not a j-o-b job. I mean, you know, just to experience this is more than I ever could have dreamed of.”

The win sets up nicely as VanDerveer will have the chance to become the all-time winningest coach on Sunday against Oregon State. It’s alumni weekend which means many notable players and coaches should be in the crowd.

“I think for us, we’re just soaking it in how honored we are to be a part of her historic moment even though she won’t allow herself to celebrate it too big,” Iriafen said. “We’ll celebrate for her, but I think this is just an amazing experience being here and being coached under her. Just the opportunity to make history on Sunday, we’re excited.”

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