Stanford's Tara VanDerveer Is on Verge of Career Wins Record

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Is on Verge of Career Wins Record

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Is on Verge of Career Wins Record

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Is on Verge of Career Wins Record

College basketball, for both men and women, has for now lurched along like a teenager learning to drive with a clutch, with hundreds of games postponed, canceled or rescheduled on the fly.

Few programs have been impacted as much as Stanford’s teams, which left Santa Clara County after health officials there banned games and practices in late November. The Cardinal women recently spent 10 days in Las Vegas. The players, coaches and other staff members wore masks outside their hotel rooms, ate to-go meals (sometimes sitting outside in a hotel courtyard), boarded buses back to front, were tested daily and had their temperatures taken each time they arrived at a gym for a practice or a game.

After Tuesday’s game against Pacific in Stockton, Calif., Stanford’s team will leave on Wednesday for Los Angeles, where it will play Southern California on Saturday and U.C.L.A. on Monday. From there, it will travel to Arizona for a game on New Year’s Day. It is not scheduled to play a home game until Jan. 8.

“I’m not convinced we’re doing the right thing,” said VanDerveer, who coaches with a megaphone so that players can hear her through her mask. “We’re road warriors, but we can’t be road, road, road warriors. We’re not nomads.”

She wondered if it wouldn’t make sense to pause the season through the expected holiday surge of new cases. The extensive safety measures have created anxiety for her players, she said, but so has the prospect of not returning home for Christmas. But there is also a joy that comes from practicing and playing that should be accounted for — and, she said, why should her players be deprived of that when they have been so fastidious in adhering to health protocols?

“We are torn,” VanDerveer said. “Yes, we want to play. And yes, in our brain, we know it’s probably safer not to be traveling around. But we can’t be the outlier. There is a kind of cognitive dissonance. We know it’s not the best thing to be doing, but we’re doing it because everybody else is doing it.”


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