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.

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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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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stanford WBB knocks of Washington, half way through Pac-12 Play

Well, the days, and Stanford Women’s Basketball games, fly by, with C and R barely having time to watch them, let alone blog about them, but a little more than half way through the Pac-12 regular season, and we MUST talk about this game that just transpired. (Yay, longwinded run on sentences are back, too, apparently).

Over 10,000 women’s basketball fans, including Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in support of his lil sis Anna, who plays for Stanford, and Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek, scouting Pac-12 talent, came to see Stanford play Washington. And Boucek got her an eyeful of some Kelsey Plum.
Side story: Jenny Boucek was at Maples a few weeks back scouting Erica McCall and Oregon State’s Sidney Weiss, and C and R spotted her all alone in the front row under OSU’s basket. So, C and R, especially C, never hesitant to make a fool of herself, sauntered over there and starting chatting her up. She was very gracious and obviously is a huge student and fan of women’s basketball.

So the joint was rocking, Washington ranked higher than Stanford, and were coming off an insane night of 18 made threes. They quickly took it to Stanford. Kelsey Plum was 5-5 from the three-point line in the first half and had 24 points.  And this was with Stanford guarding her heavily. Although Washington executed the pick and roll pretty well.

Meanwhile, Stanford, was 1-11 from the three-point line, the lone basket by center Nadia Fingall! Not a good time to have the three go south on you. Stanford found themselves down by 18 halfway through the second quarter. Then Stanford’s Erica McCall discovered she could move against the larger Wash center, Chantel Osahor and Erica scored a few in the post. Stanford was lucky to go in to the locker room at half time “only” down by 12.

But you know Stanford’s hall of Fame coach is a master of the half time adjustment. Number one priority was to limit Kelsey Plum. And Bri Roberson, quiet, unassuming Bri Roberson, who already lost her headband early in the first quarter, as C and R track that sort of thing in a private-joke drinking-game sort of way, akin to an Ogwumike losing a contact, went to work.

She scored all 14 of her points in the second, including three three-pointers that were always timely. Roberson also scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to pull Stanford even at 55-55 with nine minutes left. Brittany McPhee added 17, and her ability to score off the dribble and penetrate is so desperately needed. Both these players chipped away at the lead until they went ahead by one, to trade the lead four more times with Washington in the closing minutes. Erica would end up with 16 and Karlie Samuelson joined them in double figures with 10, however, surprisingly did not hit a three.
Tara VanDeveer
Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer gets the most out of her players in win #999.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.

Did they stop Kelsey Plum? Well, she “only” scored 20 in the second half, and “only” hit two more three-pointers, so you can say yes. Both Plum and Erica were saddled with four fouls that limited their effectiveness in the third quarter. However Stanford had other players that stepped up and Washington did not in their stars’ absences. Stanford outscored the Huskies 39-23 in the second half.

How insane was Kelsey’s stats? She was a Curry-like 7-7 from the three-point line until a desperation heave missed with six seconds left in the fourth and the game tied. It was her only miss from behind the arc that night. She finished the game with 44 points before fouling out in the closing seconds. She scored 18 of Washington’s 24 points in the second quarter. The senior (thank goodness) moved up three spots on the all-time scoring list (she now trails Brittney Griner by 145, and Jackie Stiles by 155. C and R suspect she will do that soon). However, she did not have a good supporting cast. The rest of Washington was a combined 6-37. For the game. The seven other players only contributed 24 points.

Stanford shot some FTs near the end to win 72-68 to make it look like a respectable win, however Stanford was lucky to win this thing. Missed free throws, missed threes, and just missed shots really hurt Stanford.

Well, a win is a win, and with that win, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer has a bunch of them, 999 to be exact. One more win and Tara will join legendary coach Pat Summit as the only two women’s basketball coaches with 1,000. Be there Friday night versus USC to see history made!

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stanford Women’s Basketball First Half Check In

Hidey ho, sports and Stanford fans. Apologies all around, C and R have been SO remiss in our blog writing. With the season practically half way over, and Pac-12 play just around the corner, we thought we would make an attempt.

First, let’s back it up. C and R treated themselves to a great Thanksgiving Holiday and took themselves down to warm sunny Cancun, Mexico to see Stanford play in the Cancun Challenge. We thought, sunny warm weather, on the ocean, all inclusive, all you can eat, and watching women’s basketball games, how can we not go, plus we would be surrounded by ALL of our Stanford friends. Well, most of it came true. It was sunny warm, C went in the ocean every day, R did yoga on the beach, but not many Stanford fans came down.

So C was most excited about talking to Stanford player Shannon Coffee. Shannon went to high school in Dayton Ohio. C went to high school in Dayton Ohio. The only difference is C went to high school 30 years before Shannon.

So when C and R went to the first game against Northeastern (in Boston, we had to ask, too), we looked for all the fans. We saw two distinct groups. So shout out to the Kaylee Johnson family and who else was there? The Coffee family! Oh joy! However, come to find out, the Coffees are from the affluent side of Dayton Ohio and Shannon went to the fancy high school and C lived in the unincorporated side of town and went to the “gritty” high school. C’s high school didn’t even have AP classes, so Stanford was never a possibility! But I digress.

So our small party of Stanford supporters sat in the stands and Stanford was winning handily against Northeastern. So C and R hit the all-inclusive, all you can eat, all free food bar. Suddenly Stanford was only up by 10. So C and R began chowing down on chicken wings and Stanford started to pull away. The nice thing about it is head coach Tara VanDerveer played al a lot more of her bench and C and R got to see a lot more of players we don’t usually see, including the freshies. Final score 74-45. Box Score here.

The second game was against Wichita State, which we can’t report on because we were out seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. A bus came and picked us up promptly at 8:40 AM. And five hours later, we still hadn’t seen any Mayan Ruins. Most of the trip was designed to see how many American dollars they could get out of us. Finally in the sixth hour, after navigating a gantlet of t-shirt vendors and knick-knack providers (of which we did partake on the way out), we saw it, the famous El Castillo, Spanish for "the castle", also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucat√°n, sez Wikipedia. Two times a year, the sun would light up triangles on the stairs until they touched a large snake head. Incredible. How did they know how to do that?

But was most impressive was the “ball court,” where special games were played four times a year on the solstice and equinox days. Two rings were embedded high in the stone walls, one on each side. Underneath each rings were raised platform, and then the rings were separated by a huge grass court, similar to a soccer field. Supposedly two teams would propel a ball in the grass court (debate if it was hiops and shoulders only, not feet or hands) up to their captain on the raised platform and the captain would try to get the ball through the hoop. It was so hard to score a goal, so the game would end when the first goal was scored. Then, and this is also much debated, the winning captain had the honor of being scarified to the gods and so was beheaded. Or the losing captain, which even you believe. Well, someone was beheaded, that is for sure. Carved in the stone was someone getting beheaded by another guy with a machete, so someone was getting beheaded because of this game. Have we progressed much in our sports culture?

So long story short, Stanford beat up Wichita State, C and R were amazed by the ancient sites, and everyone got to play. Final score 87-39, box score.

The third game was the game C and R really wanted to see, Purdue v Stanford. Purdue played a zone offense, probably having watched a lot of game film on Stanford. Stanford’s offense is not very well designed for zone. Stanford offense is about setting screens and quick ball movement to get players an open look, especially threes. Throwing the ball to the middle is definitely a second priority. So Stanford had a hard time scoring. All we remember, in between our trip to the all you can eat buffet, was thank goodness for Brittany McPhee. She was only of the few who could drive in create her own shot. We also saw flashes of that from freshie DJ Carrington. Purdue lead most of the game, until Stanford finally caught on that driving in resulted in points or fouls. Once they got some foul calls in the closing minutes, it was all over. Final score 78-69, with the game being MUCH closer than the score indicates. Box score.

One thing that was really cool was meeting and talking to all the players not on Stanford teams. We met a local Palo Alto girl who went all the way to Boston to school. We met an Idaho State player’s aunt and grandmother, and although the player had suffered TWO ACL injuries, she was getting a bachelor’s and two masters degrees for free. We tried to trash talk UCLA, who was in the other division, but they were all so nice it was hard. Really enjoyed talking to an UCLA assistant coach and hearing how her role is different than a head coach’s role (She can be more buddy-buddy where the head coach has to lay down the law).

However after the Stanford game, Purdue was SO dejected. We told them to keep their head up, however, they were in control of that game (and had over 200 fans cheering for them), so to lose it in the final minutes hit especially hard. They truly believed they would win. We don’t normally get to see the other team after a Stanford loss.

After five days of being waited on hand and foot and stuffing ourselves to the gills, plus time in the ocean every day to see real gills, it was hard coming back to the chilly Bay Area. But jobs and mortgages await.

Stanford also rolled on, having games to play. They traveled to Bakersfield to play against Stanford player Erica McCall’s dad Greg. He coaches Cal State Bakersfield. Erica was extra-special hyped up and scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Stanford won handily, 77-59. Highlights here.



The next game was UC Davis at home and Stanford won 68-42. Box score
.
Then came Tennessee, and although Stanford jumped out to a 15-4 lead, which we did not see because the SEC channel was still showing a men’s game, thank you very much, Stanford stopped scoring (read what we said about Purdue, Tenn went to different zone looks), and they lost 51-59. Box score.

They continued their trip to the East Coast with a win over George Washington, however Stanford again built a big lead and watched it slip away when GW clamped down in a zone and the threes weren’t following. However they came back late in the 4 th on a 13-2 run. Don’t like seeing them squander big leads. Oh, Erica McCall joined the 1,000-point club. Final score 71-52. Box score.
Still, despite the loss to Tenn, some good things in the first half of the season. The emergence of Bri Roberson at guard. Although she is not a prolific scorer, her quick hands on D help her stay in the lineup. The ability of Brittany McPhee to create her own shot, as we mentioned. Didn’t see much of it last year. The more confident Erica McCall on scoring down low and rebounding. There is a glint in her eye we have not seen before. And of course, love the pure post play of freshie Nadia Fingall. She makes her presence known and will be good in the post in the years to come.

Next game is against Yale, battle of the brains, then starts Pac-12 play, and believe you me, C and R, this is not going to be a cake walk like past years. Just ask undefeated Cal, Washington’s Kelsey Plum, who just broke Chiney Ogwumike’s Pac-12 scoring record and Oregon State's Sydney Wiese, who just broke Candice Wiggins’ Pac-12 three-point shooting record (dang, what’s up with Stanford records falling?). The Pac-12 is a good league this year! And is anyone’s for the grabbing. Stanford will have their work cut out for them.

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