Party like it’s 1992: Stanford ends near three decade national championship drought

The year is 1992. "Aladdin" was the highest-grossing film in the world, Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" was "Billboard" song of the year and the "Mortal Kombat" video game was released. Stanford women's basketball also won their second national championship in three years. 

Stanford would make 10 Final Fours and two national championship games from 1993-2017, but failed to win that elusive third title. Now 29 years later, the Cardinal are back on top of the women's college basketball world after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 54-53 Sunday night at the Alamodome. 

Fifteen schools have won the NCAA women's basketball tournament since it began in 1982, but Stanford's near-three decade title drought was the fifth longest in Division I. Only Southern California (1984), Old Dominion (1985), Texas (1986) and Louisiana Tech (1988) had gone longer without winning another title. Stanford was also the last Pac-12 school to win a national championship.

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Stanford players celebrate after winning the 2021 NCAA women's basketball championship. (Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Head coach Tara VanDerveer has been at the helm for all three championships, and the 29-year gap between titles is the longest in Division I men’s or women’s history. VanDerveer, women's basketball's all-time winningest coach, also became the fourth women's head coach to win three titles, joining Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Pat Summitt (Tennessee), and Kim Mulkey (Baylor).

The last time Stanford won the title was in 1992, coached by Tara VanDerveer.

The 29-year gap between titles for VanDerveer is the longest in Division I men’s or women’s history.

She is the fourth women’s head coach to win three National Championships. pic.twitter.com/j7bjEgfZ3t

"We won this for all of the great players that have played at Stanford," VanDerveer said. "Former players would be so proud to be part of this team, because of the resilience they've shown, because of the sisterhood that they represent."

Haley Jones, the tournament's most outstanding player,  said it was a blessing to end the title drought, and, "this program is what it is because of Tara.

"So many great players have passed this program and they've all come for the same reason that we have: to be coached by the greatest, to develop not only as a player, but just as a person, as a young woman," Jones said. 

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

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