SAN ANTONIO - Tara VanDerveer was named Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), while Kiana Williams was named second-team and Haley Jones earned honorable mention All-America accolades from the organization, announced Friday.
The Coach of the Year award is VanDerveer's second in her career from the USBWA. VanDerveer was named the Naismith Coach of the Year earlier in the day. Williams' honor is the second of her career from the USBWA, after earning honorable mention last season.
Facing unparalleled adversity, VanDerveer has led the Cardinal to unparalleled success this season. Also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the 16th time this year, VanDerveer manned the ship through unfathomable circumstances en route to Stanford's 24th all-time Pac-12 regular season championship, but first since 2014, along with a 14th Pac-12 Tournament title, a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and a trip to the Final Four.
The 2020-21 season will undoubtedly be one to remember for VanDerveer, not only for having to maneuver through the challenges of the season including nine weeks on the road and constant discipline and vigilance to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, but also for a monumental record-breaking accomplishment, becoming the all-time winningest coach in women's college basketball history. VanDerveer now boasts an all-time record of 1,123-255, including 971-204 at Stanford.
Also named a third-team All-American this season by the Associated Press, Williams leads the team with averages of 14.5 points and 3.1 assists per game and has again proven herself as the heartbeat of Stanford's success. Her 81 made 3-pointers this season lead the Cardinal and the Pac-12 Conference and rank seventh nationally. She recently broke Candice Wiggins' program record for 3-pointers at Stanford, now boasting 310 in her career. Williams has solidified her name as one of the program's all-time great players, also breaking into the top-10 in career scoring (1,821 points). She has scored in double figures in 26 of Stanford's 31 games and was named the Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, featuring performances of 20 and 26 points in the semifinals and championship game. Her 206 career points at the Pac-12 Tournament rank fourth all-time in conference history, behind Sabrina Ionescu, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike. Williams also recently broke into Stanford's top-10 list for career assists, dishing 458 with the Cardinal, good for ninth all-time. She is second in program history in career free throw percentage, converting from the line at an 83.3% clip. Williams has made the fourth-most 3-pointers of any player in the nation since the beginning of her freshman season.
Her season-best performance in points this season came at USC, as Williams dropped 27 points in Los Angeles, tying a career-best with seven made 3-pointers. She nearly surpassed that with 26 points against UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game, going 6-of-7 from deep. Stanford is 18-0 this season when Williams hits at least two 3-pointers. Consistently regarded as the key to the team by VanDerveer, Williams has made 126 consecutive starts for the Cardinal.
Returning from a season-ending injury as a freshman, Haley Jones has made a splash for the Cardinal as a sophomore, living up to her billing as the No. 1 recruit from the Class of 2019. For the majority of the year, Jones led the Cardinal in scoring, rebounding and assists, the only player in the Pac-12, and one of four in the Power 5, to do so. Jones still leads Stanford in rebounding, averaging 7.5 per game, and ranks second with 12.7 points per game and a total of 89 assists, just behind Williams in both categories. Her shooting percentage of 53.4 percent is the second-best in the conference and ranks 25th nationally. Earlier in the season, Jones shot 14-of-15 from the floor against Washington, the best shooting percentage in a single-game for a Stanford player since 1981. Jones leads Stanford with eight double-doubles this year, including two at the Pac-12 Tournament, and has scored in double figures 22 times, with 10 double figure rebounding performances. She ranks third on the team with 21 blocks and has the most defensive rebounds (175) of any player in the league.
The Cardinal plays on Friday in the national semifinals vs. South Carolina at 3 p.m. PST.