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Tara VanDerveer's retirement means she will have more time to play bridge with her mom and go water skiing. However, the legendary coach's departure does leave some questions regarding the future of Stanford women's basketball. 

VanDeveer's retirement after 38 years at the helm of the program is happening at the same time conference realignment is taking Stanford to the ACC. Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and top WNBA Draft prospect Cameron Brink said one of the reasons she decided to not return to college one more season was because she didn't want to have to travel across the country with an ACC schedule. Even with VanDerveer staying, it is likely some players were already thinking about their options. With her leaving, there is a lot more to think about. 

However, Kate Paye -- formerly the team's associate head coach -- will be taking over, so the Cardinal won't exactly be rebuilding from the ground up. Here is a closer look at the top three questions Stanford faces following VanDerveer's retirement.

1. Will Kiki Iriafen stay?

With Brink leaving for the WNBA, the Cardinal will be relying on Kiki Iriafen even more than before. The junior forward led Stanford with 19.4 points and 11 rebounds a season ago, and she is projected to be the veteran leader for a team that will also lose guard Hannah Jump in 2024-25. 

Questions have arose about whether Iriafen will choose to stay at Stanford without VanDerveer or if she would rather move onto a program dealing with less moving parts. Iriafen's hometown is Los Angeles, so USC or UCLA would be convenient destinations for her if she decided to leave. 

Iriafen has not announced anything in regard to her future. In fact, she seems to want to keep her decision quiet for now, but during her press conference Wednesday, VanDerveer seemed to assume that Iriafen will stick around.

"What Kiki did, I will say that tonight in our banquet: 'Copy Kiki.'" VanDerveer said of Iriafen's growth. "The numbers are incredible. The confidence that she has shown and the leadership that she has shown. I think that other players want to come and play with her and they've expressed that to me. I will always be Kiki's coach. Kate might get her for one year but I've had her for three, and I've loved it."

2. How will Kate Paye do?

Kate Paye has never been a head coach, but she has plenty of valuable experience. She has been part of the Stanford coaching staff for 17 years with eight of those as an associate head coach. Since 2007-08, her work with Stanford guards has led to six first-round WNBA Draft selections, including Lexie Hull at No. 6 overall by the Indiana Fever in 2022.

According to Stanford, nine of the program's 10 best defensive scoring averages on the season have been under the guidance of Paye, who oversees the defense. This includes holding opponents to just 51.9 points per game and a 31.6 field goal percentage in 2012-13. As for recruiting, Paye has helped land top players such as Nneka Ogwumike (2008), Chiney Ogwumike (2010) and Haley Jones (2019).

Since the WBCA Assistant Coach of the Year for Division I was instituted in 2016, Paye has been the only one to win it two times, first in 2022 and again this year.

"Kate is going to be awesome. I've loved working with Kate," VanDerveer said. "She is brilliant, hard working, is a great communicator. ... No one will outwork Kate. She has paid her dues. She's had opportunities to be a head coach in other places and she has been incredibly loyal. I cannot say enough good things about her."

3. Will Stanford remain a West Coast powerhouse?

It is not impossible, but it will be a tough task with the departures of Brink and Jump, conference realignment and teams such as USC and UCLA gaining momentum. 

VanDerveer uplifted the Pac-12 as a whole with Stanford, but the conference has mostly dissolved because of realignment. This fall the Cardinal are joining the ACC, a conference whose original teams are located in the Midwest and the East Coast. Stanford has shown it can hang around, as it has an all-time record of 27-11 against current members of the ACC. 

While she was very vocal about her disappointment in the Pac-12's demise, VanDerveer made sure to address that joining the ACC was not the reason she decided to retire. In fact, it almost made her stay a little longer.

"It has nothing to do with going to the ACC," VanDerveer said. "That was a motivator to want to stay, to play that competition, because I think it's going to be a great, great league."