No, last night's 63-62 loss to Texas A&M in the national semifinals wasn't a bad dream, nor was Notre Dame's upset of UConn in the nightcap. Another shot at Stanford's first national title since 1992 was there for the taking, but the Cardinal let it slip from its grasp. Here are a few choice quotes from Tara VanDerveer following the loss. (Press conference video via the Stanford Athletics YouTube channel.)
On Texas A&M's game-winning layup:
"It happened pretty fast. We scored, and sometimes you have people on the court that you need offensively to get the ball inside, or make plays, or know the play, or set a screen. We didn't have any timeouts at that point, not that I necessarily would've taken one. But, we didn't have Chiney in the game, who is faster and quicker than Mikaela Ruef. Maybe I should've put Toni in the game, but Lindy is the one who set the screen to get Nneka open. I just think we needed a little more extra effort to stop the ball and not allow them to get that point-blank shot."
On the inbounds play with 3.3 seconds left after Texas A&M took a one-point lead:
"We were looking for a pass to Nneka at the free throw line. Obviously they had two people back on her, and at that point, Mikaela Ruef threw it anyway. That was a play that we work on and it didn't run exactly according to plan."
On how she felt personally after the loss:
"There are 332 coaches that wish they were here, even if they were to lose in the semifinal game. I'm really proud of our team. To think what we've kind of gone through, and all the growth that this team has had. For me personally, it's not about me. It's about them. I can have another chance, but I feel bad for Kayla and Jeanette. They wanted this, they worked hard, they dedicated themselves and committed themselves to this team and this program. I can't say enough positive things about them and what they brought to Stanford and how proud I am of them."
What others are saying:
Stanford had Texas A&M down, but couldn't deliver the knockout blow. | Mercury News
The Cardinal missed another opportunity. | SF Chronicle
Mediocre foul shooting also hurt Stanford. | The Daily Axe
A&M had no answer for Nneka Ogwumike, but Danielle Adams kept the Aggies in the game. | New York Times
Sunday's loss left Stanford's players--and Cardinal fans--with an all-too-familiar feeling. | ESPN