Monday, November 12, 2018

Stanford Women’s Basketball beats Coach’s old team

This was a game of numbers. First, the Stanford Women’s Basketball team took on Idaho, for the third time in program history, but first time for Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. Why is that important? Idaho gave Tara her first head coaching job forty years ago and according to my trading card I got at the game, she was 42-14 in those two years.

Stanford won handily, 115-71, and no, the 115 is not an infamous misprint, Stanford really did break 100, the first time in two years, and fifth highest total since 1994, when they scored 122. And this was a three-ball affair.

Tara Vanderveer spoke after the game and said Idaho is known for hitting threes. Yes indeedy. They hit 15 of ‘em (way to go, Ida-ho!). That’s okay, Stanford hit 16 of ‘em, tying a program record. Idaho has two players that have over 300 made threes in their career. And Stanford actually stopped those two! It was the other two they didn’t know about.

Stanford Women's Basketball
Photo courtesy of Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com

More numbers:
• Stanford outrebounding Idaho 46-20, including a 17-2 edge on the offensive boards
• Stanford had 34 points in the paint
• Idaho made 63% of their threes
• Stanford’s Alanna Smith had 19 points and 9 rebounds
• Kiana Williams, also of Stanford, also had 19 points and 9 assists
• Stanford freshie Lexie Hull, starting in her second game has 17 points and 5 rebounds, although it seemed like more
• Stanford’s Nadia Fingall had 16 points
• Stanford’s Maya Dodson and Anna Wilson each had 10 points.
• Lexie Hull and Kiana Williams combined to go 9 of 15 from three-point land

Stanford plays San Francisco at home, against Coach Molly Goodenbour, a former player under Tara VanDerveer. Old teams, old players, doesn’t matter, Tara just mows then down. San Fran will be fun, then Stanford welcomes Ohio State on Sunday, Nov 18. See ya at Maples Thursday and Sunday.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Stanford Opens Season with a win over UC Davis

Hidey ho Stanford Women’s Basketball sports fans! Long time no blog. Does anyone even blog anymore? Well, I have been doing this for upteen years, so why stop now.

First games are always fun because you get to ask all of your friends and seat mates, how do you think they will do this year? And everyone says it’s hard to tell. Same for this game against UC Davis. Oh, Stanford won, handily by a score of 71-43. However the offense looked stagnant at times. Why does the post have to catch the ball at the free throw line with her back to the basket? Speaking of free throws, Stanford was worst in the Pac-12 last year. This game they started out weak, but finished the game at 72%. Let’s hope they keep improving.

Stanford Women's Basketball
Photo courtesy of Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com

So Stanford the last few years has always been a sisterhood. Then the Ogwumike sisters came (Nneka and Chiney) and it really WAS a sisterhood. Two of the three Samuelson sisters (Bonnie and Karlie) kept up the tradition (although Stanford fans lament the one that got away…. Katie Lou…. To UConn!). However Stanford always has to take things up a notch, so this year we have freshmen identical twins Lexie and Lacie Hull. And boy, these freshmen are already making an impact. Lexie started the game, and Lacie played significant minutes, with Lexie finishing with 11 points and 11 boards. So the freshie got herself a double-double her first game out. C and R expect big things out of you, young lady!

Although there was a strange session where three Stanford players jumped as a UC Davis player was in the air shooting, and it did look like Lexie flew in hard. They at first gave the foul to Shannon Coffee (shout out to Dayton Ohio) and then they reviewed the play. For a long time. And then the refs (Missy!) said the foul was on Lexie Hull and gave UC Davis two technical shots for unsportsmanlike conduct. And now I am not allowed to use the word “and” anymore. I guess Lexie hit her in the head. I don’t know, wish they would televise these games. *Editor’s note, ESPN reported that the technical foul was for “making contact with the opponent under the basket.”

Good to see that four Stanford players were in double figures, the afore mentioned Lexie, Alanna Smith, off of her silver medal in the FIBA World Cup for team Australia, Kiana Williams, and Maya Dodson. Maya was especially good to see as she (and Coach Tara VanDerveer) stuck to her strength, which is around the basket. She has great post moves from the low blocks and every time she scored, you could see her confidence grow. She also led the team with three blocks, and you can tell those are just as fun as a basket.

Next up is Idaho at home. See you at Maples!

PS
UC Davis has twins, too, senior sisters Karley and Kourtney Eaton. Hey NCAA, has that even happened where two teams played each other with two sets of identical twins?

PPS
Did you know Tara coached at Idaho two season (well, it was 40 years ago, so you are excused if you forgot)? And also coached at Ohio State, which Stanford plays Nov 18?

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Stanford Opens Season with loss to Ohio State

Well, C and R are sure Tara Vanderveer will use this loss as a learning tool for her young team. And the Stanford Women’s Basketball team can learn from the first half, where they didn’t back down, ran the fast break and matched them bucket for bucket until the closing minutes of the second quarter.

Then in the Second half….
Then the second half stated and Ohio State, playing on their home floor, where Tara VanDerveer coached for 5 years in the 80’s, pulled away. They used timely 3-point shooting and rebounding to prevail 84-65. Oh, they started getting back on defense, too, killing Stanford’s best scoring weapon, as the three just was not there. It is obvious they still miss Karlie Samuelson and no one has filled her shoes. Yet. Stanford was 5-16 from 3-point line. And Nadia Fingall, who C and R think f as a post player was 2-3. Tara wasn’t kidding when she said they were going to play position-less basketball.
Shout out to the Stanford senior, Brittany McPhee, who single-handedly keep Stanford in the game, especially in the first half, running the transition and getting a basket when needed. And never mind that crazy three more than half a court away that banked in at the buzzer to end the first, making Stanford only down 40-46. She would finish the game with 24 points. Sadly, no other Stanford player would get to double digits.

Ohio State, on the other hand, had a balanced scoring attack, with four players in double figures, and lights out shooting from their star player Kelsey Mitchell. She poured in 30 points.
Enjoy these highlights from the Cardinal Channel.


Rebounding wins championships
And boy did Ohio State rebound. Forward Stephanie Mavunga grabbed a team-record 26 boards. In fact Ohio State out-rebounded Stanford 64-41, the most telling stat being 28 offense boards for OSU and 9 for Stanford. Wanna know who lead the team in rebounds for Stanford? Come on, guess. Time’s up! Marta Sneeze-ix, as the announcers called her. Our little 5’8’ point guard Marta Sniezek led the team in rebounding with eight. Okay, Tara has a lot of learning to do with her team.

Fun fact:
Stephanie Mavunga is the sister-in-law to Stanford great Jeanette Pohlen. JP, when asked on Twitter who she was rooting for between Stanford and Ohio State, she said she "couldn’t lose."


Second Fun Fact:
Never eat a buckeye

Freshmen
Stanford Freshmen Maya Dodson got some quality minutes and scored seven. She will have to watch the fouls, though. Alyssa Jerome, who is a 3-point specialist was 2-2 from behind the arc in her debut, and scored eight total points and made all three of her attempted shots, so she is 100% from the field.

Guess who’s next?
UConn. No, you don’t win a prize. Stanford has busted some streaks, however UConn is starting from scratch and are slightly relieved they don’t have that streak thing hanging over their heads and have nothing to lose. I don’t think I like those odds.

Forget your fave football team. Tune in to ESPN Sunday.

More Stanford Goodies at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Stanford Season about to Start

Are you as excited as C and R about the start of college women’s basketball? If the weather has to get chilly and the hours of sunshine has to shrink, we would rather spend our time in doors watching women’s basketball.

What’s new with Stanford?

Well, for the first time in 32 YEARS, Any Tucker will not be on the bench. Longtime Stanford associate head coach Amy Tucker is retiring from coaching but will remain with the program in an administrative role, according to the Stanford site. 32 YEARS! To replace her, Stanford hired someone very familiar with the program, who can connect to the players. Say hello to new assistant coach Lindy La Rocque, who played for Stanford from 2009-12. Stanford appeared in the Final Four each season during her undergraduate career and advanced to the national title game in 2010.
She will be forever remembered for the “Lindy Slide” where she chased down a ball in her own back court, knocked over Cal’s Alexis Gray Lawson, slide on her belly while corralling said ball, and shovel passed it to a streaking Jillian Harmon under the basket for two points. But no one remembers that very clearly…LOL.

What’s in store for Stanford?

First, we have a quartet of freshmen, one who head coach Tara Vanderveer said can dunk.
Stanford Freshemn
Photo Courtesy of Stanford Women's Basketball

Two, Tara has ANOTHER new system, this time patterned more like the Golden State Warriors. Could be exciting. Also, the post players are going to come out to the three point line and shoot threes. Could also be ugly.

It’s odd that there is only one preseason game, against UC San Diego, although maybe they learned from the NFL with those meaningless preseason games where everyone got hurt. However, Tara VanDerveer took her once-every-four-years overseas trip to Italy. That team gets to bond over crumbling ruins and competitive card games, but more importantly, the team is allowed by the NCAA to practice earlier than other, non-trip year teams, and also play exhibition games. Oops, forgot to mention, the head coach of UC San Diego is little sis Heidi VanDerveer. I don’t think Heidi has ever beaten Tara. There is a meet and greet after this game that might or might not be for season ticket holders that might or might not cost money. The marketing emails contradict what Coach Tucker told us (Hee hee, she talked to us on Twitter, she talked to us Twitter!).

After the one exhibition game, Stanford travels to the land of the holy, otherwise known as Ohio, and plays Ohio State in their own tournament, something about Buckeyes. And Stanford’s second game of the season at the same tourney, is against….reigning champs UConn!

Fans in the stands surmised that Tara didn’t want to play UConn when the two Samuelson sisters were on opposite teams, but now that Karlie has graduated, all bets are off. We could write a whole ‘nother blog about playing UConn, not one but two streaks broken, the 2010 championship game (where Lindy played against them) and Stanford held them to 12 points at the half, and then Jayne Apple went 0-0 for the first time in her career and Stanford lost by seven…grrr, if only…..Well give Tara the whole summer to prepare and anything is possible, although no streak is on the line, with UConn losing on a buzzer beater to Mississippi State in the semis.

What did Stanford do in the offseason?

Alanna Smith got called up by the Australian National Team, the Opals (her home country), and played in the FIBA Asia tournament. She averaged 10.8 points per game.

Brittany McPhee was called up to Team USA to play in the U23 Women Team. They won the U24 Four Nations Tournament Title in Japan (and no, don’t ask C and R how the numbers thing works).

Tara VanDerveer signed a three-year contract extension. C and R bet she wants to beat Pat Summit’s career wins record of 1078 and then call it a career. I think she is about 70 game shy. She was also honored by the Women’s Sports Foundation for her storied career and milestone achievement of her 1,000th career coaching win, reached in the spring of 2017. Who is that introducing here? Only the Fab Chiney Ogwumike.



Looking forward to the season!!

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Stanford WBB wins Pac-12 Tournament

C and R will admit, it did not look good for the Stanford Women’s Basketball team in the championship game. They made it to the finals of the Pac-12 Tournament, after losing to Oregon State in the regular season to lose a share of the regular season title, and wanted some redemption. With some good luck bouncing their way in the tournament, Washington losing in the earlier round, they breezed through Washington State and held off a pesky Oregon team to be here in the big lights. And their opponent? None other than the Oregon State Beavers, the team that had their number, beating them twice in the regular season (although it took double over time in the first match-up).

So when the tip off happened, and Stanford faced the Beavers, Stanford found themselves quickly down, 16-3. This did not look good. Stanford did the same to the Cougars two nights ago, and they could never recover. Stanford was down 12-22 at the end of the first quarter. This match up was billed as two defensive-minded teams facing each other, but 12 points?

Then, Alanna Smith to the rescue. The sophomore Aussie came off the bench to help Stanford slowly claw their way back in to this game offensively. She had 12 points for the half, and some good boards and blocks. Stanford found themselves *only* down 29-23 at the half. That score was somewhat misleading as OSU’s prolific score, Sydney Wiese, hit a crazy, banked-in three at the buzzer, even with Bri Roberson’s hand in her face.

Okay, let’s talk defense for a moment. OSU had 29 points at the half. But they scored 22 in the first quarter. Stanford’s defense held them to just seven points in the second quarter, and Syd Wiese to just five points for the two quarters. Take away that crazy three and OSU is really hurting.

Coming out of the locker room, after a quick peptalk/anger management session with their Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer, the defense rose up again. Alanna got the start and Stanford tied it at 34 all with 3:24 to go on the third. The third quarter ended with OSU hanging on to a 36-34 lead.

Let’s do some more math shall we? Oregon State only scored SEVEN points in the third quarter. That is not de ja vu. Or maybe it is. Let me rephrase, that is not a typo!! Stanford’s defense again came up big, holding OSU down, and Sydney Wiese to just eight points through three quarters.

Fourth quarter, and it was all Stanford. But C and R you say in a high, falsetto voice, isn’t this where OSU’s scorer, Sydney Wiese makes her presence known and takes over the game? Isn’t this where she knocks down threes?

Sure, C and R answer, she hit a three. ONE three. One three for the quarter. It was Oregon State’s ONLY field goal of the fourth quarter. They only scored SEVEN points in the fourth quarter. Of a CHAMPIONSHIP game!! The Beavers went 4-for-24 from the field over the final 20 MINUTES! And now I broke my cap lock button.

Stanford beats Oregon State
Coach Tara VanDerveer hoists the Pac-12 Tournament trophy
Photo by Eric Evans

Defense wins championships. Of which Stanford now has 12 of them. Pac-12 tournament titles. Of which is the most in conference history. And gets the Pac-12's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. And C and R continue their streak of incomplete sentences.

Other notables, Alanna, the hero, had 18 points, including one 3-pointer for Stanford. Karlie Samuelson had 14 points, and made two 3-pointers. Erica McCall struggled under the basket, and OSU paid a lot of attention to her, and she ended the game with eight points and eight rebounds. Brittany McPhee also looked off and had six points and six rebounds, as Stanford must like square numbers. Syd Wiese for OSU finished the game with 13 points, below her average. C and R admired how she handled the handshake line, giving Stanford lots of respect, so we gotta respect her back. They will be in the NCAA tourney, for sure.

After the game.
Alanna was named to the all-tournament team, and Erica “Bird” McCall won Most Outstanding Player. Stanford gets the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, although Stanford fans (such as C and R) don’t get to see them play locally as Maples Pavilion is hosting the Pac-12 gymnastics championships. Huge Bummer. Home field advantage is huge, and Stanford tends to play better at home. Looking forward to the March Madness!

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Stanford closes out regular season in a tie for Second in the Pac-12

Going in to the last weekend of regular season basketball, The Stanford Women’s Basketball team controlled their own destiny. They had two games left on the road in Oregon (or as my sister-in-law likes to say, Or-E-gone). A win against the Oregon State Beavers in the second-to-last game would guarantee them first place in the Pac-12 league, a shiny trophy and the number one seed in the Pac-12 tournament, where winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. You couldn’t write a more perfect script.

Except Stanford forgot to study the script. They came out against the Beavs flat, and did not look like a team fired up to win a championship. Give OSU some credit for having lock down defense, and a scorer named Sidney Wiese, and Stanford could not get anything going offensively. OSU shut down Stanford’s three-point specialist Karlie Samuelson, as well as the rest of the team from behind the arc, and with no made threes, (0-8) and only 47 total points on offense, they did not look like a championship team. They did hold OSU to 50 points, but losing 50-47 hurts. Probably the biggest differentiator was rebounding, in that Stanford forgot how. They box score says it was OSU 47 to Stanford’s 37, but it seemed a lot more lopsided than that, nothing more frustrating as a series for OSU with FIVE O boards!

Still, Stanford could have won the regular season if Cal beat Oregon State and Stanford closed out the season with a win against the Oregon Ducks. Stanford did bounce back to get the win at Oregon, 65-59, but they still did not look like a championship caliber team. Cal, the one time we rooted for them, lost. Still, you can’t place your destiny in someone else’s hands, as more often than not you will come up short, as Stanford did.

Special shout outs to seniors Karlie with 18 against the Ducks, Erica McCall with a double double (16 points, 14 boards) and Stanford’s favorite beach player as of late, Alanna Smith with 14.

Stanford beats Oregon
Stanford beats Oregon, ties for 2nd place in Pac-12.
Photo courtesy of Stanford WBB.

So Oregon won the Pac-12 regular season title with a 16-2 record, and Stanford tied with Washington for second with identical 15-3 records. Stanford gets the number two seed at the upcoming Pac-12 tournament, due to a tie breaker that C and R can’t figure out. Point difference in the two games vs Washington, maybe?

So, to recap, Stanford gets a first-round bye for the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle March 2-5 and will play the winner of No. 7 Washington State and No. 10 Colorado on Friday at 6 PM. Tune on to all the games, as you will witness history every time Washington’s Kelsey Plum scores. She just broke the career points scored for D1 women’s hoops, needing 54 points in the next few games. She decided to just get it out of the way and scored 57 in one game. So any more points she scores is gravy.

Once again, Stanford controls its own destiny with the start of this tournament. Run the table, win three games in a row this weekend, and they still get the shiny trophy and the Pac-12 tournament champions moniker, and most importantly, the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tara VanDerveer Celebrates Special Win #1,000

We get so used to seeing wins out of the Stanford Women’s Basketball team, with Tara VanDerveer at the helm. So used to catching victory balls on the home court at Maples Pavilion after those wins. So used to cheering in the face of opposition the times we venture off campus to support the team in a road game. These wins always send C and R home with a smile. However Stanford’s win over USC on Feb. 3 was truly special.

We got to celebrate career win #1,000 for Tara VanDerveer and look back on her legendary career. Tara, in her typical understated-ness said this was pretty much like any game, and would be on to victory #1,001 shortly after. However, it was great to see the joy her players had for being part of this historic run and this particular victory.

There was Erica “Bird” McCall, all fist-pumping and fired up for hitting a three at the half time buzzer to put the team up 31-22, and running C’s streak of free pizzas (She had guessed 30 points at the half). There was the pure unadulterated glee as Erica and Karlie Samuelson caught Tara unaware as they held a huge orange Gatorade Bucket over Tara’s head, her body language prepared to be doused, only to find out it contained confetti. And the pride the three seniors had, Erica, Karlie and Bri Roberson, presenting Tara with a commemorative plaque with a Stanford jersey with “Vanderveer” on the back and the number 1,000.

Tara VanDeveer
Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer celebrates win #1,000.
Photo courtesy of Stanford WBB.

Final score, not that anyone cares, was 58-42, a low scoring affair for Stanford. Wonder if emotions had anything to do with it? The game was close until the third when Karlie Samuelson hit three 3-pointers in quick succession and added a jumper at the buzzer to help Stanford pull away. She would finish with a game-high 21 points. Erica added 18, and Brittany McPhee chipped in ten.

But when the final seconds ticked down, and Maples began chanting and cheering, the final score did not matter. More confetti rained down from the ceiling, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott gave Tara a commutative trophy. Former player and now much-in-demand TV analyst Ros Gold-Onwude (we said hi, she knew who we were!) summed up the night for the crowd, and finally the microphone was given to the coach herself.

Believe it or not, she, the master of dead-panned humor said she was speechless! Then in traditional Tara fashion thanked many and deflected glory. For Tara, echoed the many articles written before the game, the game is not about the victories but about the relationships. A wonderful video tribute played with so many people stating what Tara means to her, including many Stanford fan favorites of ex-players.

The night was attended by some of those players, such as Jennifer Azzi, who said more than a coach, Tara has been her friend for life. The game just happened to coincided with National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and in the lobby before the game, C and R walked by Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky giving autographs and in Simone’s case, wearing flippers on dry land to race a young fan in a swim rely. At half time, Stanford introduced the National Champs in Women’s Volleyball, and just “a few” of Stanford’s Olympians, including Ledecky and Manuel. You know, every day people you might see in class if you went to Stanford.

So yes, it was great to make a big deal out of one victory for Tara VanDerveer, lest we forget every victory is special in its own way. Bay Area sports fan, we are lucky to have such a person who strives for success, yet puts more emphasis on watching and helping her players grow.

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