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WOMEN : VanDerveer Isn't Timid After Loss


PALO ALTO — This much is sure about Stanford women's basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer: she shoots straight from the hip.

After Purdue defeated Stanford, 82-65, Saturday night in Maples Pavilion in the NCAA West Region final to advance to the NCAA final four, VanDerveer sized up the four teams.

"I think Purdue can play with anyone, and I think North Carolina is in trouble," VanDerveer said. "I predict it will be Louisiana Tech and Purdue for the championship. Flip a coin for that one."

First, Purdue (29-4) must get past East Regional champion North Carolina (31-2) and Mideast Region champion Louisiana Tech (30-3) will have to get past Midwest Region champion Alabama (26-6) in the national semifinals on April 2 at Richmond, Va.

Many coaches would have hesitated to make such predictions for fear of alienating fellow coaches. Not VanDerveer.

VanDerveer has led Stanford to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including national titles in 1990 and 1992.

Key for this season's Stanford team were its post players, 6-foot-5 Anita Kaplan and 6-3 Rachel Hemmer.

"Why shoot the water pistol when you've got a cannon?" VanDerveer said earlier this week.

But against Purdue, Hemmer and Kaplan got in foul trouble, Hemmer fouling out with 1:58 to play. Stanford (25-6) could not recover.

Hemmer led the Cardinal with 17 points and Kaplan had 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Forward Leslie Johnson scored 14 points for the Boilermakers, about five points below her average, against the Cardinal's man-to-man defense. Purdue guard Jennifer Jacoby picked up the slack, scoring a game-high 20 points.

The Cardinal trailed by three points, 56-53, with 4:43 remaining when the Boilermakers pulled away. Johnson scored four points to lead Purdue on a 6-0 run over the next 1:09 to make the score 62-53.

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