Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer ties Pat Summitt's Division I record with 1,098th win

VanDerveer on what it means to tie Summitt for winningest coach (0:51)

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer shares how much it means to her to tie Pat Summitt for the most wins in women's college basketball history. (0:51)

Stanford's Tara VanDerveer tied former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the most victories in Division I women's basketball, with 1,098, as the No. 1 Cardinal beat Cal 83-38 on Sunday in Berkeley, California.

VanDerveer, 67, has gotten 946 of those wins at Stanford, where she took over in 1985-86. She coached before that at Idaho (42 wins from 1978 to '80) and Ohio State (110 from 1980 to '85).

On Tuesday, VanDerveer will go for the record-breaker at Pacific (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET).

"I love being in the gym," VanDerveer said of coaching. "It's putting a puzzle together. I like it. It's a challenge."

This victory, Stanford's fourth this season, came against one of VanDerveer's former Cardinal players, Cal coach Charmin Smith.

Cal, which hasn't won this season, offered little resistance to Stanford, which was sparked by sophomore Fran Belibi's dunking -- making her the eighth woman in Division I history to do that -- en route to finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds.

"We're going to be talking about her dunk instead of this [record], which I'm fine with," VanDerveer said. "It was a great dunk."

As for why she seemed so low-key about the accomplishment, VanDerveer acknowledged that the challenges of dealing with the pandemic -- which for Stanford has meant a move to Las Vegas to practice because of restrictions in Santa Clara County -- have impacted the way she is experiencing this milestone and season.

"It would feel different if you were playing in front of a crowd or my mom was there," VanDerveer said. "But this allows me to fly under the radar, and that's OK."

VanDerveer, who has won two national championships, noted what an honor it is to be tied with Summitt, who died in 2016.

Summitt spent her entire coaching career, beginning in 1974, at Tennessee before retiring in 2012 at age 59 following a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Tennessee and Stanford first met in 1988; the impetus, VanDerveer said, was that then-Cardinal star Jennifer Azzi was from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, just outside of Knoxville.

"We promised Jennifer we would play there," VanDerveer said. "Like one year ... not 25 years."

It has been 31 years, as the teams faced each other as recently as last season and likely would have this season if not for the pandemic. Stanford won its first NCAA title in 1990 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, though the Cardinal didn't have to play Tennessee, which lost in the Elite Eight.

In 1991, Tennessee beat Stanford in the national semifinals in New Orleans en route to a title. The programs met for the national championship in Tampa, Florida, in 2008; Summitt won her eighth and final NCAA title that year.

VanDerveer did not coach Stanford in 1995-96, as she was with the U.S. national team then, preparing for the Summer Olympics. VanDerveer said coaching former Tennessee players in USA Basketball made her appreciate Summitt even more.

"We were great friends," VanDerveer said. "I learned a lot from coaching against Pat. I coached a lot of Pat's players internationally. ... I learned how much her players loved playing for her. As a coach, I think that's all of our goals: To be like Pat is to be a coach where your players really love playing for you."