Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer grinned as she left her post-championship news conference, saying, “I’ve got 600 text messages!”

The last time VanDerveer and the Cardinal won the NCAA women’s basketball title, it was eight months before the very first text message was ever sent. That 1992 championship was Stanford’s second in three years. No one could have imagined how long it would be before the Cardinal won a third.

And after a 29-year wait, Stanford still had to sweat through 6.1 pressure-packed seconds on Sunday to claim its trophy, holding off Arizona 54-53 when Wildcats star guard Aari McDonald missed a shot just before the buzzer. VanDerveer couldn’t exhale until that moment.

VanDerveer has been doing that at the Division I level since 1978, when she started her head-coaching career at Idaho. After a stint at Ohio State, she took over at Stanford in 1985-86 and won her first NCAA title in 1990. She has won or shared 24 Pac-12 regular-season titles and won 14 of that league’s 20 tournaments. But now, finally, the Cardinal are on top of the women’s basketball world again. The 29-year gap between NCAA titles is the longest for any Division I coach in any sport.

“This program is what it is because of Tara,” said Stanford sophomore Haley Jones, who had 17 points on Sunday and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “The legacy she’s created, just being able to be recruited by her, now be a part of the team, and then to take that a step further and win a national championship after the 29-year-long drought.