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Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer on her 14th Final Four: ‘It does not get old’

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Stanford has advanced to the Final Four, with the reigning national champion and No. 1 seed securing a 59-50 win over No. 2 seed Texas on Sunday night.

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer is making her the 14th Final Four appearance at the helm of the program.

“It does not get old,” VanDerveer said postgame. “You’re always happy to go to the Final Four, but sometimes you’re really happy. I’m really happy. It is a great group to be with, they care about each other, they’ll do whatever. I wasn’t worried about the effort at all today.

“We have great leadership, unselfishness and I think whoever we play — whether it’s Connecticut or NC State — we’ll be ready.”

The head coach at Stanford since 1985, VanDerveer has led the Cardinal to three national championships – 1990, 1992 and 2021 – and is looking for a fourth. Sunday night was a key step, as the Cardinal avenged a November loss to the Longhorns.

“We battled, I think it really showed how much people have improved,” VanDerveer said. “Lacie [Hull] and Anna Wilson, they really did a great job running our point. Haley [Jones] had a great game. She really carried us. Cam [Brink] had a great second half and Lexie [Hull] battled the whole game. I’m really proud of our team, really happy for our team.”

There’s more to be happy about on top of the win. For this year’s tournament, VanDerveer has pledged humanitarian aid to Ukraine for every 3-pointer made, with other coaches joining in on the cause. After Sunday’s slate of games, each coach now owes $7,290 from 729 made 3-pointers, according to HerHoopsStats’ “Tara VanDerveer Donation Challenge” tracker.

Stanford now awaits the winner of No. 1 NC State and No. 2 UConn from Monday’s slate of regional finals. Either opponent would be the first time the two have faced off this season.