Sports Briefs

VanDerveerA PARALLEL END  No Stanford basketball fan will soon forget the explosive parallel finishes of the women’s and men’s final 1997 games. With Stanford behind, seniors Charmin Smith and Brevin Knight each forced overtime play with last-second tying points. Winning is better, but they weren’t losers, either. Coach Tara VanDerveer’s team had won 25 straight games before losing in the Final Four’s semi-finals to Old Dominion 83-82. “That’s the hard thing ­ just really believing that you could do better,” said VanDerveer (pictured). The Cardinal got to be one of the best four of the 272 Division I teams in a year of record-setting streaks, and by defeating its post-season opponents by an average of 33 points. Since VanDerveer, who has signed a new five-year contract with Stanford, arrived in 1985, her teams have won two national championships, been in the Final Four six times (only two other teams in the country have done better), been in the Sweet 16 for 10 straight years and won eight of the last nine Pac-10 seasons. VanDerveer’s teams are famous for their stamina and conditioning, with a never-stopping high-speed transition game that often has the ball down the court before defenders can regroup. Her players are very physical, diving and scrambling for the ball. Senior Kate Starbird, who learned to play as a kid by competing against men at her father’s military base, was the Pac-10 Player of the Year for the second straight year and concludes her Stanford career with a new scoring record of 2215. Olympia Scott and Jamila Wideman also made the All Pac-10 team. Milena Flores, Wideman’s probable successor as point guard next year, made the all-freshman team. Apart from Starbird and Wideman, the team also loses Charmin Smith and Tara Harrington for the next season.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 55 YEARS “We got to a place we’d never been before,” said Coach Mike Montgomery. It had been more than half a century since a Stanford men’s basketball team had been so successful. Its only NCAA hoops championship was in 1942. For the first time in 55 years,

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