VanDerveer addressed a number of topics, including last night’s Connecticut-Baylor game and a reunion with a familiar face in Salt Lake City.
VanDerveer said she was unable to watch the UConn-Baylor game in its entirety. Her own team was practicing at the time.
“It’s early, you know and there are a lot of new faces,” VanDerveer said of both teams. “We’re not playing Baylor, so I wasn’t paying attention to them as much.
“You are not going to replace somebody like Tina Charles or Kalana Green with a freshman, or even a sophomore. It was a great win for UConn. I really glad it was a good game and I’m glad they won.”
Glad Connecticut won? Would the coach like the Huskies to be undefeated when the two teams play on Dec. 30 at Maples Pavilion.
“It wouldn’t bother me,” the coach said.
VanDerveer said that in the interim, she has “enough to worry about with my own team.”
Former Stanford wing Michelle Harrison is on the roster at Utah, using her final year of eligibility. Harrison is in the Utes’ starting lineup as a fifth-year senior, her transfer made possible by the NCAA rules that allow a fifth-year senior who wants to pursue graduate studies to transfer without having to sit out a season.
Harrison, a native of Orem, Utah graduated with her undergraduate degree from Stanford.
She is going to graduate school at Utah, VanDerveer explained.
“She wanted to go to a two-year graduate program that Utah had. She could go and get scholarship for one year and pay in-state tuition for the other,” the coach said. “She looked at a similar program at Stanford. But I think it was better for her to pay one-year of in-state tuition at Utah than paying for one year of tuition at Stanford.
“I think it’s a great move for her.”
VanDerveer admitted to some disappointments following the team’s 63-50 win over Rutgers last Sunday. Chief among them her own choices about substitutions.
“The thing I’m most disapppointed in is that we weren’t able to get enough cushion so that we felt comfortable going with some of our younger players and we have to do that,” VanDerveer said.
She will likely expand her rotations on the road trip, where two games in three days and a travel day in between will test the players’ stamina in the early season.
“I don’t like playing Kayla and Jeanette 40 minutes. One game, they can do that, but it’s not a direction I want to be going with our team…Jeanette can’t have six turnovers. I talked to her, I told her that Toni (Kokenis) has got to be allowed to make some mistakes. We are going to play some of our younger players more and work on a better rotation.”
She said she plans give more minutes to Sara James and Sarah Boothe, who played just seven minutes against the Scarlet Knights.
“Sarah (Boothe) never got into a flow, and that’s something she has to be given an opportunity to do. We are going to need her,” VanDerveer said. “If I had to do it over again, I definitely would have played Sarah Booth more and Sara James more and gotten Mikaela Ruef in the game. I don’t think it was a particularly good game for us in terms of the substitution pattern.”