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Legendary Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer announced her retirement Tuesday after 45 seasons, including the last 38 with the Cardinal. She is college basketball's all-time winningest coach with 1,216 victories to her name and led Stanford to three national championships. 

In the process of turning Stanford into a national powerhouse, VanDerveer also developed talent that would go on to succeed at the next level, including two No. 1 overall picks in the WNBA Draft, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. All told, 34 players who suited up for Stanford have gone on to appear in at least one WNBA game.

Here's a look at the five best, as well as a few promising young players who could one day crack the list. 

1. Nneka Ogwumike: 2012-current

There's no question Nneka Ogwumike is the best player to ever come out of Palo Alto. The No. 1 overall pick in 2012, Ogwumike won Rookie of the Year and never looked back. Now entering her 13th season, Ogwumike has an MVP and a championship to her name, plus she has made eight All-Star appearances, six All-WNBA teams and six All-Defensive teams. In 2021, she was honored as one of the league's 25 greatest players.

After spending the first 12 seasons of her career with the Los Angeles Sparks, Ogwumike signed with the Seattle Storm in free agency this winter, where she'll team up with Jewell Loyd and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Even at this stage of her career, you can be sure more accolades are coming Ogwumike's way. 

2. Nicole Powell: 2004-2014

Powell was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, which at the time put her in a tie with Jamila Wideman for the highest draft pick ever out of Stanford. After a frustrating rookie season with the Charlotte Sting, she was traded to the Sacramento Monarchs and began to flourish. Powell won Most Improved Player in 2005 and helped the Monarchs win their first and only title that season. She remained a key figure for the Monarchs for a number of seasons, making the All-Star Game in 2009. 

After leaving the Monarchs, Powell spent time with the New York Liberty, Tulsa Shock and Seattle Storm. Her 360 games played are currently the most of any Stanford product, though Nneka Ogwumike will surpass her this season. 

3. Chiney Ogwumike: 2014-current

Two years after her sister was the top pick, Chiney Ogwumike followed in her footsteps and went No. 1 overall to the Connecticut Sun. She, too, got her professional career off to a strong start by winning Rookie of the Year and making the All-Star game in her first season. Unfortunately, a knee and Achilles injuries kept Ogwumike out of the entire 2015 and 2017 seasons. While she bounced back to make another All-Star appearance in 2018, she has not been able to hit those levels again. 

Ogwumike signed with the Sparks in 2019 to team up with her sister, but has only played 75 games since then. She remains an unrestricted free agent and it is unclear if she will sign with a team for the upcoming WNBA season. 

4. Candace Wiggins: 2008-2015

Wiggins was selected with the third pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, which at that time was still the highest anyone from Stanford had been selected. Like many of her fellow Cardinal, Wiggins made an easy transition to the pros and won Sixth Player of the Year as a rookie with the Minnesota Lynx. Her promising start was cut short by a torn Achilles tendon in the middle of her third season, however, and she was never again the same player. Still, she helped the Lynx win a title in 2011 and get back to the Finals in 2012. 

The Finals defeat in 2012 turned out to be the end of Wiggins' tenure in Minneapolis, and she spent one season a piece with the Tulsa Shock, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty before retiring at age 29. 

5. Jennifer Azzi: 1999-2003

The Detroit Shock were in their second year of existence when they took Azzi with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1999 draft, and she led the team to the first playoff appearance in franchise history as a "rookie." While Azzi was new to the WNBA, she had been playing overseas and in the ABL for nearly a decade, which is partly why the Utah Starzz were willing to trade two first-round picks to acquire her ahead of the 2000 season. Just as she did in Detroit, Azzi took Utah to the playoffs for the first time in 2001, when she finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. 

Azzi was 31 by the time she arrived in the WNBA, which is why she only spent five seasons in the league before retiring to focus on her business ventures. 

On the horizon

Former Cardinal Alanna Smith finished third in Most Improved Player voting last season with the Chicago Sky, earning herself a nice contract from the Minnesota Lynx in free agency. Haley Jones, who went No. 6 overall in the 2023 draft, showed some promising flashes with the Atlanta Dream during her rookie campaign. And then there's Cameron Brink, who is projected to go No. 2 overall this year to the Los Angeles Sparks and has the highest upside of the bunch. 

Even though VanDerveer is now retired, her impact on Stanford and the WNBA will continue for years to come.