Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer probably enjoys a good practice as much as a game and holds her teams to the same high standard when there is no one in the seats cheering on the Cardinal. After a recent practice the Hall of Fame coach couldn’t find fault in her team’s overall progress.
“No is doing doing poorly,” she said. “No one is even doing fair. Everyone is doing really well, exceptional, off the charts. Our freshmen are phenomenal. It’s really fun to see how well they’re doing and how their classmates are helping them.”
VanDerveer said there has been progress in the Warrior-ization of the Cardinal, who hope to match the spirit of Golden State's system with better ball movement, offensive flow and superior outside shooting. In a recent scrimmage the team hit 22 threes, according to VanDerveer, and DiJonai Carrington accounted for seven of them.
A big part of being able to stretch an opposing defense is the versatility of such players as sophomore Nadia Fingall.
“Everyone has taken big steps, but she has taken leaps,” VanDerveer said of the forward. “She is really focused. Our sophomore class, I have been really impressed. They get it at a different level and they’re being challenged by really tough freshmen. And I think they’re being led by great upperclassmen.”
The freshmen class continues to impress and Canadian Alyssa Jerome’s basketball IQ seems to bring smiles to the faces of the coaches on a daily basis.
“Alyssa is catching on so quickly to two positions it’s mind boggling, honestly,” VanDerveer said. “Kate (Paye) was so funny because she (Jerome) is asking questions that we’re like, ‘Wow.’ We’re so impressed with the question we don’t have the answer.”
Three of the four freshmen shared some of their thoughts about the offseason and their own improvement.
"It has been going well. Just getting used to pace and learning from Marta (Sniezek) and Anna (Wilson). I’m just trying to watch what they do, imitate it and do it even better."
What VanDerveer asks of point guards: “She always emphasizes that the point guard starts the offense and defense, so I have to ... have intensity. She has been really hard on me. She’s a legend and I’m blessed to be coached by her.”
Focus of personal improvement before season: Moving her feet better on defense because she is playing on the ball most of the game.
Favorite class of the quarter: “Thinking Matters” -- "We’re writing stories and I love writing."
Players took a written test after a practice: “It is a first for me. It went well. It was just some of the plays. I think they want to make sure we really know exactly where we need to be. I think it’s a good way to learn and see it by drawing it out. For me drawing it out really helps.”
Learning the “three” and “four”: “I’m used to playing the ‘two,’ the ‘three’ and the ‘four.’ Here it has certainly been an adjustment because the whole offense is new. But I think I have been able to work through it. It hasn’t been too bad and the coaches and all the players have helped me through it.”
Focus of personal improvement before season: “Working on defense, moving my feet and making sure I’m locking down players.”
Favorite class of the quarter: “Psych 1” -- “Professor Gross is an incredible professor. The lectures are always so much fun. It has been really cool.”
One of the strengths of Moschkau’s game is her outside shooting and she is already considered one of the best on the team. So, she said her focus is on “my consistency with the offense and hitting open threes.”
Favorite class: “Media and Society” -- “Our professor does a good job explaining how a lot of the media affects our lives. I find it interesting.”