When she arrived in Nashville, White inherited a young Vanderbilt team that featured only two seniors and relied heavily on five freshmen. White guided the Commodores to a 14-16 overall record in her first season with the team, including a 4-12 mark in the SEC during the 2016-17 campaign.
White’s inaugural season on West End featured plenty of highlights, and was capped by a late-season surge that saw the Commodores win three of their final five games of the regular season. Other highlights included:
* The Commodores were ranked among the nation’s Top-five in 3-point percentage throughout the season, and finished the season ranked No. 6 after shooting 38.6 for the year. Vanderbilt also led the SEC in 3-pointers per game (7.1).
* White guided Vanderbilt to 10 wins in its first 11 games during the first six weeks of the season. The hot start included a nine-game winning streak that spanned from Nov. 16 to Dec. 18. The winning streak was highlighted by an impressive victory over Duke on Nov. 20, along with quality wins over Robert Morris, Drexel and Tulane.
* At season’s end, a pair of Vanderbilt freshmen -- Kayla Overbeck and Erin Whalen -- were named to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team, as voted upon by the conference’s coaches.
* Vanderbilt showed dramatic improvement in several key areas during White’s first season. Here’a a look at some of the categories in which the Commodores trended upward:
Scoring: 68.8 points per game (62.5 previous season)
3-point percentage: 38.6 percent (36.9 previous season)
3-pointers per game: 7.1 (5.4 previous season)
Rebounds per game: 39.1 (32.6 previous season)
Free throws made per game: 15. 6 (11.4 previous season)
Next season, despite the departure of senior standouts Marqu’es Webb and Minta Spears, the Vanderbilt team will return a key cast of players who accounted for 77.5 percent of the team’s scoring during the 2016-17 season.
Having enjoyed success at virtually every level of basketball as a player and coach, White arrived at Vanderbilt after spending two seasons as the head coach of WNBA’s Indiana Fever. She took the Fever to the playoffs in each of her two seasons, includng a trip to the WNBA finals in 2015.
“The opportunity to lead Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball program is an opportunity that I simply could not pass up,” White said. ” The combination of Vanderbilt’s culture, where achievement -- both on and off the court - is so highly valued, together with the institution’s fan support, and a legacy of winning basketball to build upon, is incredibly exciting to me. I appreciate the support and understanding that I have received from the Indiana Fever, from management to the players, regarding my passion to coach college basketball at an elite institution.”
White -- who played five seasons in the WNBA after a decorated playing career at Purdue -- was named head coach for the Fever in September 2014. In 2015, she guided the Fever to the WNBA finals, becoming the first rookie coach in league history to lead a team to the finals.
As a collegiate player, White enjoyed a highly successful career at Purdue, where she earned national Player of the Year honors after helping lead the Boilermakers to the 1999 NCAA championship as a senior. That season, she also received the Wade Trophy (given to the nation’s top female player) and was named Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.
“Stephanie White has been a winner in every phase of her career,” Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said. “She was the nation’s high school player of the year, she was the NCAA’s Player of the Year on a national championship team and she led her WNBA team into the finals in her first year. She was an outstanding scholar. She wants to coach at Vanderbilt and we believe she is just the person to lead our program back into national prominence.”
White averaged double-figure scoring in all four seasons of her college career, including 20.2 points per game as a senior, and amassed 2,182 points for her career. White was inducted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame on April 21, 2006.
She was also a star in the classroom at Purdue. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was an Academic All-American.
White was an assistant coach with the Chicago Sky from 2007-2010, then joined the Fever staff as an assistant in 2011. She was promoted to associate head coach in 2014 before being named head coach after Lin Dunn’s retirement. While coaching in the WNBA, White served as a college basketball analyst for ESPN and the Big Ten Network. She also covered the NBA’s Indiana Pacers for FOX Sports Indiana.
Prior to coaching in the WNBA, White coached in the college ranks, serving as an assistant at Toledo (2005-07), Kansas State (2004-05) and Ball State (2003-04).
Before beginning her coaching career, White enjoyed a productive five-year WNBA career, spending one season with the Charlotte Sting and four with the Indiana Fever, before retiring in 2004.
At the completion of her four seasons with the Fever, she ranked third in games played (112) and 3-pointers (92), and fourth in scoring (684). She was named to the Fever’s All-Decade Team that was announced in 2009. White and her wife, Michelle, have three young boys: Landon, and twins, Aiden & Avery.
News, notes on Vanderbilt athletics from April 3-7
Vanderbilt assistant Carolyn Peck forms special bond with S.C.'s Dawn Staley
Vanderbilt's departing seniors on Dores' future, their post-VU plans
WBB falls in opening round of SEC Tournament
Vanderbilt looking ahead after first season under White
Women's basketball defeated Arkansas 66-64 on senior night Thursday night at Memorial Gym.
February 13, 2017
Vanderbilt takes on Florida Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt defeated Alabama by a score of 87-80 on Jan. 26, 2017.
Vanderbilt takes on Missouri Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.