Young Jeff Walz will have his hands full as the University of Louisville women’s basketball team squares off against Stanford and  Tara VanDerveer, one of the industry legends.

The 64-year-old VanDerveer, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2011, has compiled an amazing record of 1,045 wins and 241 losses in 39 years. She has won two national championships at Stanford, been selected national coach of the year four times, and named Pac 12 coach of the year times. She has won 884 of those games during her 32-year tenure at Stanford. Prior to that VanDerveer coached two season at Idaho and five seasons at Ohio State. 

Walz, 37 years old, has won 297 games and lost 95 in 11 seasons at UofL, having guided his teams to seven trips to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 and two NCAA runner-up finishes. His teams have averaged 26 wins per year, with more than 30 wins three times, including the 32-2 mark this season and during the 2008-09 and 2013-14 seasons.

Stanford is familiar with Rupp Arena, returning to the Lexington Regional for the third consecutive year. Last season VanDerveer’s team overcame a 20-point deficit to Notre Dame in the regional championship to advance to the Final Four.

This is the first meeting ever between the two schools. A win over VanDerveer would get the series off to a good start and would be a major milestone for the Louisville coach.  

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.