Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The 2019-2020 Women's Basketball Season comes to an Anti-climatic End

Well, that was unexpected. World events intruded on the 2019-2020 Women's basketball season, cutting short many league basketball championships and would not let the NCAA tournament championship even be played. The world events was the pandemic coronavirus, and the correct, but painful, decision was the right one, but it still stings on some many levels; financially for venues and workers and emotionally for coaches and players, especially seniors.

So, the AP put out their last poll for the season and South Carolina is number one. South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley says there should be no argument who is the final #1 team.


According to the Sports Illustrated:
The AP has always released its final poll of the season before the start of the tournament that settles the national championship. Staley said she wasn’t sure if the Gamecocks might recognize this achievement next year with a banner or something else since there was no tournament.
The Stanford Women's Basketball team came in on #7 for the season. Pac-12 buddy Oregon, with stand out star Sabrina Ionescue came in at #2, and they will forever be debating if Oregon could have won the program's first national championship.

There was talk of trying to get another year of eligibility for seniors, as Coaches want the NCAA to allow senior basketball players to return next season, but that seems unlikely. This headline says it all: The NCAA Not Likely To Grant Extra Year of Eligibility for Men's And Women's Basketball.

Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer was not in support of it, according to the San Jose Mercury News:
“For spring sports it’s legitimate,” she said. “But basketball is different. We played our whole season. What it means is 64 teams didn’t get one more game.”
Still, it's sad to say good bye to the Stanford seniors, Nadia Fingall, Mikaela Brewer, DiJonai Carrington and Anna Wilson. Although will we? It seems both Anna Wilson and DiJonai Carrington want to come bask as a medical redshirt for one more year. According to the same San Jose Mercury News article:
Two of the four seniors, DiJonai Carrington and Anna Wilson, want to return next season as a medical redshirt. There is only scholarship space available for one of them. Wilson applied for the redshirt year before Carrington was lost for the season in November when aggravating a previous knee injury.
What will Tara do?  One thing she said, she doesn't like this shelter in place ordeal for the Bay Area. It reminds her too much of retirement.

Well, congrats to Stanford on a ggreat season, and to all the teams. Hopefully the silver lining is we will appreciate next year's season and March Madness even more.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stanford Women’s Basketball wins First Game of the Season!

We know it is only the first game of the season, and we know it was only Eastern Washington, and we know preseason rankings mean nothing and we know it is way too early to tell and we know this is a run on sentence and that R would totally make me rewrite it if she hadn’t already gone to bed, but…. (drawing a big breath)… the Stanford Women’s Basketball team looks Goooooood!!

Fran Belibi Jumping for Stanford Women's Basketball
photo courtesy of C
Stanford was still feeling the high from their great showing against Team USA in exhibition, holding them close in the first three quarters before the big girls pulled away 95-80. I love that Stanford Head Coach Tara VanderVeer let the freshmen Fran Belibi jump against “Big Sly” Fowles (And won!). See the photo that I took, so I didn’t have to “borrow” anyone else’s!

So back to the first official game. The final score of the Stanford- Eastern Washington game was 92-27. Freshmen Ashten Prechtel (pronounced Pretzel by the announcer, well not really, but that is what my ears hear so she will forever be called that for the next four years) led all scorers with 15 points and went 3-4 from the 3-point line. Freshmen Fran Belibi had 12 points and 15 rebounds and freshman Hannah Jump hit four consecutive 3-pointers and scored 12 points! Veterans Kiana Williams added 11 points and Lexie Hull had 10.

Okay, look at the top scorers. Notice anything about the top three? They are all freshmen! And Freshie Fran Belibi, of the dunking fame, had a double-double in her first official college game! High scorer Ashton Pretzel made three 3s! Oh wait, we said that already, but the big girl can shoot! It’s also worth noting that the Eagles did not have a player who broke double digits and at one point, Stanford’s defense held them at 19 points for 9 minutes!

What stood out most for me, though was the depth of the bench. In past years, when it was a blow out game, the subs would come in and let the foot off the gas a little and the other team would pad the score so it would “only” be a 20 point or so win. Not this time. Everyone wanted to score and everyone was very focused and driven on what they were supposed to do. Stanford as a team was 13 of 28 from 3-point range.

And the next game? Well, it’s with the University of San Francisco, and probably not much of a test either, even though coached by Stanford Alum Molly Goodenbour, but it is in the new Chase Center, in San Francisco, which is the Warriors new digs, and this will probably be the only time C and R will step inside due to the high ticket prices, but oh, how far have the Warriors fallen, and R is right, I DO write run on sentences. Whew! Looking forward to it and more. See you there, Stanford fans!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stanford Women’s Basketball Season Starting

Hidey ho Stanford Women’s Basketball fans! It’s the start of a new women’s basketball season and C and R are pumped! The good news is Stanford is ranked #3 in preseason polls. The bad news is Oregon, for the first time, is ranked #1. Oregon State comes in at #7, UCLA is #11, and Arizona State is #20, so nobody will be sleeping on the Pac-12 this year!

The second reason to be excited is that Stanford was busy in the off season, scoring the number two recruiting class, including NATIONAL player of the year Haley Jones. She is a local recruit, from nearby Santa Cruz who played at Mitty. This allows her parents to easily get to games at Maples and we met her De-lightful ,with a capital D, mom, Monique Jones. We want to be invited to Thanksgiving and just sit around shooting the breeze with her, she is amazing with great energy (We said we would put her in the blog! Hi Mama Jones). Haley was held out of the first exhibition game of the season as a precaution, but we should see her in action against the next exhibition game vs Team USA (with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and our very own Nneka Ogwumike) on Nov 2.
But back to basketball…oh, did we tell you one of the freshies can dunk?

Stanford Women's Basketball, Fran Belibi Dunking
Photo courtesy of Stanford Women's Basketball

Stanford opened with an exhibition over Beijing Normal University, and in warm ups, just as C and R were stowing their coats, Fran dunked, so we missed that one, but many more to come (We hope). Also in the freshmen class is 6-5 forward Ashten Prechtel and Hannah Jump. We are going to need Ashten’s height, as Stanford seems to be a whole lot of speedy guards and forwards and not a lot of tall folk, as Beijing’s large center seemed to score whenever she got the ball near the basket.. Plus, when the announcer says her last name, our ears hear Pretzel, so that is her new nick name from us and we are going to be visiting the soft pretzel stand a lot this season!

Okay, back to the one game they have played, which was an exhibition against Beijing Normal University. The game opened with the two team’s national anthems and an exchange of gifts. It was neat to finds out that one of Stanford’s male practice player stood in as translator between the two teams when they meet before the game.

For the game itself, we are happy to report that five players scored in double figures, with Stanford shooting better than 63 percent in the 100-58 victory.

It was funny, when the game started, junior and returning starter Allyson Jerome was all over attacking the basket and running the fast break. She was lead scorer at the half. Freshie Fran got in the game and had a slow start in the first half, only to come on strong in the second. We were surprised she was high scorer, with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Alyssa Jerome just missed with 16 points but didn't miss any of her seven attempts from the floor. Sophomore Lexie Hull added 14, Ashten had 12 and senior Anna Wilson added 11. It rained threes, with the team hitting 8-of-11 (.727) from 3-point range and the team also made 10 of its 13 free throw attempts (.769) on the night, which was a huge sore point last year.

Looking good, Stanford! Can’t wait for the season to start!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Three ball from Bigs Beats Baylor

Hidey ho Stanford Women’s Basketball fans. Just a quick blog to tell you that the Stanford Women’s Basketball team, ranked 11th just beat the number 3 ranked team, Baylor.

Yes, the score will show a final of 68-63, however it was more of a beat down than that. Stanford was up 41-25 at the half. Yes, you read the right.

Baylor has two bigs, 6-7 Kalani Brown and also very tall Lauren Cox. What if we told you they held Lauren to TWO total points, and Kalani Brown to five? Lauren and Kalani each had two in the first half!

I will say this, give Tara VanDerveer enough time, in this case about two weeks, to prepare for a team, and she will figure out how to beat them with lesser players (no offense, Stanford starting five!). She will key on your two best players, Brown and Cox, and make you beat them with your third or fourth option. This disruption to the super stars who are used to scoring is usually hard for teams to handle, as Baylor witnessed this game. Baylor did get a nice game out of NaLyssa Smith and Chloe Jackson, each with 15 points, but it was not enough.

Stanford Women's Basketball
Photo courtesy of Stanford Women's Basketball

Then came Coffee

We have to give major props to Senior Shannon Coffee, for my home town of Dayton, Ohio!! She has been a bench player and was called on this afternoon to guard Kalani Brown, due to her 6’5 size. And she did a good job on the the afore mentioned five points of Brown. However Shannon is not known for her offense. However again, she made three 3-pointers, chipping in nine points to the cause. They were especially timely in the fourth, when Baylor mounted a comeback from that disastrous first half, and got within seven.

Tara-ism at its best:

"Shannon has been someone that has been a role player for our team and a lot of times she's led the cheers on the bench," VanDerveer said. "Today people were cheering for her. She made some big shots. Her defense was really good. It was really exciting for her to have such a big game in a big game."

Some fun facts:
  • Our two tallest players, Allan Smith (lead Stanford scorer with 21) and Shannon Coffee were 8-of-13 from deep.
  • Seven of Shannon’s 12 career 3-pointers have come against Baylor, including three this Saturday!
  • Baylor had more turnovers (15) than assists (13)
  • Brown had a season-low five points on 2-of-7 shooting
Some not so fun facts:
  • Stanford was 9-21 at the free throw line. Maybe with all that scheming, Tara forgets to have the team practice free throws?
Next up is Tennessee on Tuesday at ol’ Rocky top. See ya there (or on the SEC channel if you get it!)

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

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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