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Vanessa Nygaard (born March 13, 1975 in Scottsdale, Arizona) is a former professional basketball player and a collegiate assistant coach. She is currently serving as an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).


Stanford UniversityEdit

After graduating from high school in Carlsbad, California, Nygaard attended Stanford University from 1993 to 1998, and was a star player for their women's basketball team, known as The Cardinal.

During her time there, the team accumulated a combined 113-14 won-loss record, including an impressive 69-2 within the Pacific-10 Conference, and reached three Final Fours.

Nygaard graduated in 1998, majoring in American Studies.

Women's National Basketball AssociationEdit

After graduating from Stanford, Nygaard began her six-year career in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Nygaard was selected by the New York Liberty in the fourth round (39th overall pick) of the 1998 WNBA Draft.

She missed the 1998 and most of the 1999 seasons due to injury, but joined the starting lineup with the Portland Fire team in 2000 and 2001 and with the Miami Sol team in 2002.

Her best season came with the Sol in 2002, when she averaged 7.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

She has also played for the Cleveland Rockers, the Charlotte Sting, and the Los Angeles Sparks.

During the WNBA off-season, she played in professional basketball leagues in Europe, including Germany (2001), Spain (1999) and Italy (1998).

Before the 2004 WNBA season began, Nygaard signed a free agent contract with the Houston Comets, but was waived by the team during training camp. She signed another contract with the Comets prior to the 2005 season, but decided to announce her retirement instead.

Coaching careerEdit

In 2003, Nygaard became an assistant coach for the women's basketball team at California State University, Long Beach. The following year, in June 2004, she was hired as an assistant coach with Pepperdine University.

In 2008, she was named as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Silver Stars and helped the team to appear in the WNBA finals, before losing to the Detroit Shock. In January 2009, she was named as an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics.

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