Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fresno State

With R away, C will play, and she completely forgot Stanford was playing last night and did not watch GameTracker. She hopes the basketball gods forgive her! (Be easy on C, her son just passed his driving test and is out on the roads alone, with his sister’s credit card, no less, and C’s skinny cat, not the fat one, had surgery, probably from being bit by the fat one, and has three holes in her bottom and C is supposed to scrub it with a warm, wet wash cloth and if you ever tried to scrub a shaved cat’s behind with a warm, wet wash cloth, let alone the good one from the linen closest, well, geez, no wonder she forgot about Stanford.)

Okay, C is getting dizzy from referring to herself in the third person, so here is what I read from that there Internet the morning after:

-Stanford won 68-46, yet was 13 points below its season average.
-They played in Fresno in front of the largest crowd since February 2005 (3,859).
-Fresno played them closer than any team but No. 1 UConn for just over a half, according to the official Fresno Bulldogs site.
-Fresno held Stanford to 32 percent shooting in the first half and trailed only 24-19 at halftime. Other than a two point halftime lead against No. 1 UConn, this was the only other time Stanford led by single digits in the first half. The 24 points also tied for a season-low scored in the first half.
-Fresno State lead 13-10 in the first half.
-Stanford took the lead for good at 15-13 with 9:03 in the first.
-Four minutes into the second half Fresno State trailed 31-27. Stanford then went on a 25-0 run to lead 56-27.
-Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer switched to a zone defense, something they had not practiced.
-Tara said they would stay in this zone until Fresno scored. They didn’t score for eight minutes.
-Stanford started four players 6-feet or taller, Fresno one 6-footer.
-Stanford out rebounded Fresno 53-29.
-Stanford had 18 offensive rebounds, including six by Jayne Appel.
-Once Jayne got used to playing someone smaller than her, she scored 20 points and had 18 rebounds.
-Jayne and Kayla Pederson, both 6-4, blocked 6 shots, and the team blocked 2 more for a total of eight.-Stanford plays Cal on Saturday. (R is driving in from Utah that day, so she better drive fast!)

Have a Happy and Safe New Years!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Club

With R on vacation, C has plenty of time on her hands, so one of the things she is doing is reading one of the Pat Summit books she got R for Christmas. (Shameless in her gift giving-like Homer Simpson giving Marge a birthday present of a bowling bowl engraved with “Homer” on it. “Gee Honey, you don’t bowl? I’ll just take this off your hands.”) The only reason we can read these books, by the way, is because Stanford beat Tennessee this December. If we had lost, C would have bought the Vivian Stringer book instead.

R is reading the life and times story (“Reach for the Summit”) and C is reading the description of the 1997-1998 season (“Raise the Roof”). In that season, the Lady Vols went undefeated and won the National Championship (with four freshmen). Both are interesting. Both were written within a year of each other and feature some of the same characters.

In R’s book, it is part autobiography and part 12 steps to guide you in success with a team whether it is sports or not. Summit says listening is important, yet she uses harsh language when dealing with her players. She says you need to find out what will motivate a player, yet she seems to stick to one style. She says her “over the top behavior”, which is definitely on display in C’s book, is tempered with what she thinks they can handle, and that tearing down a player and building them up can be withstood by a player with a strong ego. She did admit sometimes she made a mistake with a player and she counted heavily on her assistant coaches to help out by being the opposite and more supportive. Sometimes she said she wasn’t aware how critical she was being or how she was emotionally too much.

In C’s book, the first thing that struck her is Pat Summit admitted she knew she was being hard, tearing down, withholding love and praise to motivate them and get them to play harder than they would if they were happy. C had a hard time with that coaching style; to consciously withhold praise and support, to yell, be critical on purpose, to know what you are doing, to consciously manipulate emotions and 19 year old young women so shamelessly, well, it was hard for C to take. C knows Pat has won and been successful with this style, but is there another way? Summit did admit this was the first year she broke down and actually hugged her players and thought it was okay to have a relationship with them other than a screaming head coach.

C did read about some neat things. One, in the beginning of that year, 1997, Summit did not like to press. Say What? She was a control freak (naturally) and liked a controlled half court defense. When she saw she had not one or two athletic women, but all five who could run, and press full court, 90 feet she called it, for 40 minutes, she decided to “give up control” and let them run. She had already been coaching for 24 years and this was the first time she had the personal to play the kind of basketball she had always dreamed about. And that women where playing at the rim (not over it yet), with alley oop passes, uptempo games and showtime athleticism. There are allusions that this changed the face of women’s college basketball.

When Tennessee played UConn of that year 24,597 fans showed up, the single largest crowd ever to see a women’s collegiate basketball game at that time (And after an exhaustive internet search, I think that record still stands). Pat stood at the center and looked up and thought both teams had already won, what with years of anonymity and coaching a sport no one else seemed to care about. She graciously told Geno Auriemma before the game the crowd was a tribute to both programs. The team got unprecedented coverage that year, and to go from a few fans to thousands with a national press coverage was something to behold. Summit appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated that year and it was the first time a female head coach was on the cover. People, this is only 12 years ago.

But C hated the way Summit purposefully treated her players. Several times, on the way to an unprecedented undefeated season, blowing teams out by 30, she would scream at them for something done wrong. And several times the players asked, is she ever happy or satisfied?

After watching Summit denigrate her players at the news conference in San Francisco this year, C really didn’t like her coaching style. When searching for videos of Stanford, C came across one after the Tennessee game, and granted, we had won, but head coach Tara Vanderveer said, “First of all, I want to praise the following players…” I think she listed the whole starting five. C liked the fact she praised them in public. It seems she asks for perfection, then trains you to do it, and if you do what she wants in a game, she will praise and reward.

R observed that Pat’s style is very hierarchal, and can be degrading and mean, and wouldn’t fly here in the Bay Area. It seems Summit doesn’t adjust to her players and instead makes them bow to her. Smart women don’t want to be treated that way. Tara’s style seems more suited for a Stanford-type player. Over the years, Summit has been lauded for changing and adjusting her offense and defensive schemes and learning and growing in different techniques. Can she adjust and change her coaching style to match today’s woman?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fun With Video

Okay, C and R don't know who makes these Stanford Women's Basketball Videos, but we love them, especially the "Superhoopsters with Ineffective Powers" Series. Right now we are on episode six. The cutest thing is that these players (Who have probably been told they are great most of their basketball careers) are not afraid to make fun of themselves. So if we have programmed them right, enjoy! (Scroll down a little!)

Episode One

The two freshmen, playing off Joslyn's booted foot. (We've shown this one before).
Episode Two

Michelle Harrison, in laser vision.
Episode Three

A Shimmering Nneka, 'nuff said.
Episode Four

Assistant Coaches Bobby and Amy - "Every time, B, every single time!" Cracked us up. ("I’m just saying, every time!")
Episode Five

Jeanette Pohlen, Flying? In Sandals?
Episode Six

Jayne, such a ham, even running, she is still social and waving to everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

Happy Holidays, and for those of you that celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a nice one. Speaking of Christmas, R asked for a book on women’s basketball and when C went online to buy one, she discovered she could get three for the price of one. So for about 5 bucks each she got one Lisa Leslie and two Pat Summits. C wasn’t sure if she should think herself lucky for getting three books so inexpensively, or feel ashamed that books by women and about women’s athletics is considered cheap and so reduced in price. Anyway, R gave me one of the books to read over the break (an added benefit to giving a book) and I was reading about Pat Summit’s 1997-1998 undefeated season and three-peat. The inside flap cover said not only did control freak Pat Summit have to give up control (there’s hope for a control freak like me yet) but that they had to deal with injuries, team chemistry, tears, adversity and a STALKER. I laughed so hard, about the stalker part. Will one of the Stanford players one day write a book about C and R, well, especially C being a “stalker”?!

On a lighter note, C and R loooove whoever (whomever?) does the Stanford Women's Basketball videos. This one we saw at one of the games called “Extreme Cardinal Challenge: Jayne versus Kayla” it is so funny; it had us laughing so hard. It totally plays on Kayla Pederson and Jayne Appel’s personalities. Kayla, reserved, quiet, dribbles like a guard, Jayne, social outgoing, and dribbles the basketball so friggin’ high!! We actually had to comment on it when she dribbled that high in a game. In case you can’t view this video, (or we embedded it incorrectly), it’s Kayla vs. Jayne in shoe tying, being a fan and dribbling, with Nneka Ogwumike being the judge (referee). Contrast Jayne being a total spaz when she is a fan to Kayla’s deadpan look as she dribbles. It cracked us up! Enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

UConn Long Gone

Well, start throwing the red victory balls. We ONLY lost by 12 to top ranked UConn. Stanford actually had the lead going into half time. A victory for us, considering how they came out after halftime and used their incredible athleticism to out rebound and out shoot us, especially the three, and run the lay up drill.

In the first half it was Nneka Ogwumike in the first 10 minutes or so, and Kayla Pederson in the second ten minutes or so. I love that Stanford Women's Basketball Head Coach Tara VanDerveer broke out of her rigid offensive scheme, probably knowing UConn had scouted and ran film on that “hand-off” offense, and gave Stanford the green-light to create. Since when does Nneka grab a rebound, dribble up the floor, and go coast to coast for the lay-up? I don’t even remember a non-guard doing that for Stanford with the game on the line. Nneka was at her best when she would dribble penetrate. Until she stopped driving in and hit some long range jumpers. We, and UConn, had never seen her do that, either! And that made it so much harder to watch her disappear in the second half.

To beat UConn, instead of shutting them down, you have to match their scoring and practically outlast them. At least that’s what we did the last time we, or anybody, beat them in the Final Four game almost 2 years ago. Kayla was able to keep us in it in the first half of this game and also disappeared in the second. Jayne Appel couldn’t get going in either half and that was hard for Stanford to recover from. She looked uncomfortable and flat, possibly still bothered by injuries and not being in top shape. And Tina Charles did come alive in the second half. Although to be fair to Jayne, we thought she was fouled repeatedly on her shots in the second half and did not get the calls, coupled with some calls on us we thought were non-existent. But we might be a little biased!

What killed us the most in the second half is we watched UConn shoot and then get the rebound and score. How many points did they get off a second chance? And if they got the second chance, it was going in. We seemed to lose our intensity and focus on boxing out and going aggressively for the ball. We also lost track of Tina Charles and let her get a lot of those rebounds and put backs.

And the UConn players were incredibly accurate shooters. The final stats said they hit 14 threes! Maya Moore got into early foul trouble (We sure did hoot when she got her first foul in the opening seconds of the game!) but was able to adjust and stay in the game. And once we let them pressure us in thesecond half and get a steal and a strong-to-the-basket lay-up, it seemed like it opened the flood gate for 2 or 8 more. And you just can't do that against UConn.

Tara also agreed that she could learn a lot from the loss so it is really a winning situation and that is fair. What galled us the most was right after the game ended, ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, former UConn player, asked UConn coach Geno Auriemma about the differences in the two halves and Geno said his team was “holding back” in the first half, making sure to save energy for the second, and in the second he let them go. We don’t know, but it sounds a little revisionist in theory. Unfortunately, the ESPN analyst crew repeated that right after the game as if it was fact. Grrr. They “let” Stanford have all those points and be leading at half time…

It was nice to see both teams put in their subs and let them get experience in front of a sell-out 16,000 plus crowd. Mikaela Ruef (Roof, the Roof, the Roof is on fire…) made a nice reverse lay-up and drew the foul. We think Michelle Harrison scored a basket, too. Hope Tara was kind to them going into the Christmas Break, and by the way, Happy Holidays to you, too.

Wonder what Pat Summit thought about the game?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tennessee vs USF Game

Okay, okay, okay, when they opened the doors to the press room at USF for the post-game press conference, R made a beeline to the front row, with C, permanent hide-in-the-back-row-dweller reluctantly following, and that’s how we ended up being five feet away from the winning-est coach in women’s or men’s basketball! (R hates C’s run-on sentences and made up words - “winning-est?). But C and R were like kids in a candy store when they made the trip to the University of San Francisco to see Tennessee take on the USF Dons. And we even got to ask questions of Tennessee’s coach, Pat Summit, and she looked directly at us and answered! Even when R asked one about Jayne Appel and I thought she was going to stand up and throw us out. But wait, C is telling you the end of the story first. Let C tell you our tale from the beginning.

Faithful readers (Hi Mom, Hi Patty) know we finagled our way to press passes for this game because we wanted to meet the afore-mentioned Pat Summit. This has been on our calendar since the beginning of the season. That, coupled with Stanford’s victory over Tennessee, we were in seventh heaven braving the traffic to drive up to USF from the South Bay.

First of all, C and R would like to say what a wonderful experience we had and that was largely in part to the courteous and professional staff at USF. Rachael Engrissei, assistant media relations director and Lorraine Gan, director of basketball ops were very knowledge and helpful. Rachel told us the War Memorial Gym, where the women and men play, holds about 4500, but they weren’t pulling all the seats out, and in this configuration, the building holds about 3,500. The women’s teams averages about 200 people a game, and they had already pre-sold 2,500 tickets. She expected about 3,300, yet sadly, this would be the smallest crowd Tennessee would play in front of all year long. (Official count would be 3,255). Makes us appreciate the support Stanford receives.

Lorranie worked for eight years at UConn!! We asked for some inside scoop on UConn coach Geno Auriemma. First, she eyeballed our press passes and laptop and then very diplomatically said he was a stand up guy and she got to know him outside of the court. No, really, we believe she meant that, it was just disconcerting for us to be thought of, or taken seriously, as "Press". That what you said to us mattered, or that someone thought twice before talking to us because we are Press, because we love talking to everyone. (Okay, Janie McCauley, the Associated Press writer that kindly introduced herself and sat next to us and asked for our link, is probably shaking her head and calling us the hicks that we are, but we write from a fan’s perspective, and I think that’s what keeps our faithful readers (mom, Patty) coming back to us. If you want to know who scored how many points or moved into third place on Tennessee's all-time 3-pointers list with 165 –Angie Bjorkland-it was Angie Bjorkland-you can find that out anywhere, but if you want to read that with her team winning, yes winning by 60 points, Pat Summit called a timeout and yelled to her team loud enough for everyone in the gym to hear, “Get over here!” and we felt her anger so much that we wanted to run on the court and say, “Yes M’am, please don’t hurt us!”, then come to us.) OMG, R is elbowing me in the ribs to stop that horribly-gone-wrong-run-on sentence and get back to the story and I will. Oh, here is what Janie from the Associated Press wrote about the game, and it is neat to see how she pulled together quotes from that afore-mentioned press conference, typing away while C and were still trying to get their tape recorder turned on.(check out her story about Pat popping popcorn to watch Stanford play Connecticut today).

Things we noticed about the game:
Tennessee showed up to the gym at 6:00 for a 7:00 game. We noticed for the Stanford game they were on the floor an hour ands a half before the game with an assistant coach with a whistle doing elaborate stretching with stretch bands and drills with cones. Although they did an abbreviated version of that, we wondered if they were taking this game lightly?

Even the refs were star-struck at seeing Pat Summit, and when Pat emerged five minutes before game time, the three gathered around Pat and basked in her wisdom.

In the first five minutes, Tennessee was too relaxed (Kelley Cain missed three put backs in a row) and the Dons were doing well and went up 4-2. Summit called a timeout to yell at her team and give them the “glare”. Then USF tried to take it inside and ran up against a wall and they panicked and did not want to try that again. Summit, smelling fear, put on a three-quarter press and forced a turnover and soon it was 8-20 and that was all she wrote.

Pat put in her subs around 6:22, but these subs were eager to show Pat what they could do and smelling points ran it up to 48-17 at half time. They used power, finesse and athleticism to mug USF and forced them to shoot threes way out of their comfort range.

The second half was more of the same, with USF reluctant to go inside and their three-point percentage ended up being 20%. R didi notice that USF had great fundamentals, blocked and blocked out well. Just Tennessee was taller. Also, USF didn’t give up. They ran the whole 40 minutes. The final score was 34-89.

Then we hustled down to the media room and we finally get back to the beginning of this story, which is really the end of this story. So we are sitting five feet from Pat and the thing I noticed the most was she was not afraid to pull punches about her players. Or, as I thought, give sharp barbs to the media with the players sitting right beside her. She made several mentions about Kelley Cain and Alyssia Brewer not getting up and down the court fast enough and needed to get in better shape. Now, C and R agree with her, but we feel you shouldn’t air that to the media. She also said Kamiko Williams needs to “not give into fatigue” and Kamiko was sitting right next to Pat! Another time someone asked about Angie breaking the record and is that what she, Pat, expected, and Pat said, yes that’s why we recruited her, “we didn’t recruit her for her defense.” Angie sitting a player away said, “Hey!” Pat backtracked and said she has been working on her defense. Ouch.

Then C got up the courage to ask about the four assists last game (Stanford) and the team effort this game and Pat admitted the team effort was lacking at Stanford but graciously credited Stanford for in getting in the passing lanes. She thought the team got better ball movement and moment without the ball at this game.

Then R got to ask about Pat playing more zone (Pat used a zone for the first time we think ever against Baylor in the opening game) this year and she answered she just thought it matched her teams's talent. She said when she saw it on the floor they looked "tall and rangy" and they play big and the zone has bothered other teams. Then R asked how she thought center Kelley Cain matched up with Stanford Jayne Appel and R got a little bit of the stare and C wearing her Stanford blogging shirt thought please don’t hurt us Stanford bloggers and Pat answered that Cain didn’t match the intensity of Jayne and that she got a valuable lesson on how active Jayne is and how much energy and how aggressive she is and the skill set she has to attack the basket…C and R kinda got the idea Pat would LOVE to have Jayne Appel on her team. She turned it into a positive saying Kelley learned a lot from playing her.

Pat had to go do a radio show and C and R were wowed by how tough she is on her players. The one question we didn’t ask, because we were a-scared to was one Pat brought up herself at the Stanford press conference. She said her team looked too much like “me, me, me” during that game with only four assists. We thought we saw evidence of that at this game, too, and that should be a concern for Summit. But we didn’t want to draw attention to it in case she made the team run up and down the San Francisco hills before boarding the bus, so we let it go.

Then the Tennessee players talked to us. We asked what they liked best about their free time and California and they said everything! Shopping at Union Square and the Stanford Mall (Does Tennessee have a “Vols” mall?), the seafood, being outside, walking around Fishermen’s Wharf, trying to see Alcatraz for the umpteenth time, as the media director lady said earlier…. C and R kinda got the idea the Tennessee players would LOVE to play in California!

We also got to talk with USF Head Coach Tanya Haave, former Tennessee player, and she also was very impressive. Assistant coach Abby Conklin also played for Tennessee. Haave did admit she hoped Tennessee would beat Stanford because, "you don’t want to play Pat after a loss". She was very gracious to Pat’s team and the caliber in both teams. We did like her saying that you only get better by playing better teams, a sentiment some coaches might not share when they want to pad their stats. We applaud USF for scheduling them.

All in all, it was the best night of women’s basketball that did not feature Stanford!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tennessee vs USF

Normally, C and R would be nervous about the upcoming game between number 2 Stanford and number 1 undefeated-beat-everyone-by-an average-of-45-points Uconn on Wednesday, but we have something to distract us tonight. (BTW, we just read 16,000 fans are coming to the Stanford-Uconn game. We are thinking if we lose by less than 30, we win!)

Tonight we are going to watch Tennessee play the University of San Francisco and hopefully get to be in the same room as legendary coach Pat Summit. If you are wondering why Tennessee is playing USF, the head coach of USF, Tanya Haave, played for Tennessee under Pat Summit.

And speaking of Pat Summit wasn’t she gracious in her team’s defeat against Stanford? “Make no mistake, Stanford was by far the best team on the floor today in all aspects," said Summit

Then compare that to Uconn’s coach Geno Auriemma, who is being a spoilsport even before the game. "[The media will say Stanford] has played two really good teams, or three really good teams before us," Auriemma said. "So they'll be worn out if we [beat] them. If they beat us, it's because we were poorly prepared by our schedule." Said Auriemma. Poor guy, he just can't win for losing.

In other Stanford news, Kayla Pederson was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season, third in her career. For the season, that gives Stanford 4 out of 6 so far.

Brave the rain and wind and come out and cheer for the USF Dons (and against Tennessee) tonight.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Here’s all you need to know about the Stanford-Tennessee game from C and R and our friends P and M.

Tennessee did everything correctly except have their shots go in the basket. They were stronger, very quick at the press, could out jump us at every position, and they rebounded well. In fact we could not get an offensive rebound in the first half. In the second half, if we got the offensive rebound, we could not put it back in, thanks in part to Tennessee center Kelley Cain. But the difference between this team and teams of the previous years where they won championships was the shooting percentage. I believe they were about 22% from the field in the first half, only made 7 out of 32 shots, with 1 of 6 three pointers. Stanford took a 30-18 lead into the locker room. If you add even half of these missed baskets as points, you have a ball game.

Summit was missing from this game. When we first got to Maples, we immediately looked at Tennessee’s bench during warm ups and did not see Tennesse coach Summit. Assistant coaches ran the Tennessee warm ups and scouted Stanford when they warmed up. Then about 8 assistant coaches/support staff came out of the locker room. Finally Pat came out right before player introductions. She seemed to be absent and delegated to her large coaching staff. Also, during the longer television time outs, the team would go to the bench and get water and talk to each other and she would gather her coaching staff separately and they would huddle and decide what they should say to the team. Finally, she would address the team briefly. Not very inspirational. In the second half, she was just mad. She would single one player out and be in their face. Bjorkland tried to walk away from her and she yanked her back and yelled at her the whole timeout. I would dread having her talk to me if that is all she did. More importantly, the players did not respond to her browbeating. Getting back to her being absent during warm-ups, etc, and the large coaching staff, I wonder if she is not thinking of retiring in the near future?

Pat tried to insert a spark plug with little 5 foot2 guard Briana Bass. She was speedy, would receive the outlet pass and push the ball up the court. However, the rest of her team could not keep up with her. She would pass off once, not a fast break situation and that was all she could do. Center Kelley Cain would still be at half court. Tennessee looked slower and out of shape for a number three team.

Stanford center Jayne Appel was back on her heels against the taller Tennessee center (Cain). She usually takes it to the basket, especially left handed, and she had trouble getting that shot off because of the height in front of her. Most of Jayne’s misses looked short or hit the front of the rim. She would finish with 10 points, only making 3 of 12 baskets, but 4 for 4 from the line.

Okay, anyone who had interest in the biggest game in women’s basketball this season so far either was there (near sell out of 6,809) or read about it already so we don’t need to tell you Stanford won, and won convincingly, 67-52.

Here’s what you won’t read in the papers (or on the internet):

C’s grand tinkle bell experiment worked. She prepared 60 or so tinkle bells the night before (little sleigh bells tied with a twist-tie so a fan can ring it), grabbed her jingle bell wreath she puts up every December on her front door (so she can hear if her teenagers are sneaking out after she goes to bed) and headed to Maples. She passed out all the tinkle bells, and when Stanford's Joslyn Tinkle entered the game, Maples was serenaded by the ringing of tinkle bells. When Joslyn scored her one and only basket, C bent her wreath!

There were scores of people wearing orange at the game! Say what? R had to physically restrain C from letting the air out of the tires of some Tennessee fans in the remote parking lot. R talked to some and most of them were here to see and support legendary coach Pat Summit, rather than being die-hard Tennessee fans. One group drove all the way from Oregon to see her.

R walked right past Lisa Leslie! Well, to be fair, R was headed to the bathroom and Lisa was sitting in the row right before the press table and got up just as R turned away from her. By the time C got over her shock and tried to flag down R, Lisa had made her way to the three stools at courtside. Lisa was doing color commentary for the game, having just recently retired from a basketball career with the WNBA and a stretch of four Olympic Gold Medals. C parked herself in the second row, about 6 feet away from her, directly behind the camera, so when Lisa had to look at the camera, she saw C’s goofy grin. Finally, after staring at her, Lisa looked directly at C and C smiled her women’s-basketball-stalker-fan-smile and gave her a thumbs up and Lisa cracked up and smiled back.

We lost the jump ball for the first time this year but did not lose the game. Silly superstition or other forces at play? You decide.

During the warm-ups, C and R discussed how Stanford looked tight and nervous and Tennessee looked loose. We also loved Tennessee’s coordinated workout/stretching routine they did with an assistant coach, complete with stretch bands. Only Stanford center Jayne Appel actually cracked a smile on the other side. We thought for sure Tennessee had the advantage over us, but looks can be deceiving. Stanford was prepared mentally on what to do, and even Pat Summit said they played well as a team, unlike her team that only managed 4 assists.

At about the 10-minute mark in the second half, it was Jayne vs. Cain to see who would foul out first. Both had three. At the 8:18 mark, Cain got her fourth, then a turnover and missed jumper and lost the battle. At 6:22 she subbed out.

Ros Gold-Onwude was the unlikely hero for Stanford in the first half, with a pair of threes and a nifty lay up to lift us to 30-18 near the end of the half. Kayla Pederson was the superstar in the second, scoring 16. Nneka Ogwumike sure got blocked a bunch in the first half and did not score. She scored 14 all in the second, mostly by taking the ball to Kelley Cain and drawing the foul instead of just getting blocked. Great adjustment.

C and R and the other 6,907 fans streamed out into the warm California winter sunlight ecstatic. We beat Tennessee!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Off we Go to Maples

Here we go, off to Maples for number 2 Stanford vs. number 3 Tennessee. The game of the season, until next week when Stanford meets Uconn. C and R just found out that Tennessee center Kelley Cain is 6’6. Has Jayne Appel ever played against a woman taller than her?

Be there with your tinkle bells on.

Friday, December 18, 2009

C and R Shirt!

Did you ever wonder if C and R really exist? (Or if C and R is really written by one person who is just hallucinating and made up a person called R?) Well, now you will be able to see the real us. Yes, the two of us. Look for the two bobsey twins wearing our exclusive black C and R Stanford Women's Basketball Shirt at the games and around town.

Jealous? Don't be, we are cutting you in on the deal to buy the exact same flattering ladies cut polo with the handsome and exclusively embroidered C and R logo. All for $40 (see right-hand side bar picture). Email us to secure yours now. Just in time for the holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Come Tease Tennessee Twice!

Okay, did we tell you are crazy plan to interview Pat Summit? Well, to be in the same room with her, at least, during interviews. When we discovered Tennessee was coming West to play Stanford, we also saw they were playing the University of San Francisco on December 22nd at 7 PM in the War Memorial Gym. So we asked if our blog could have a press pass to the game and USF said yes! At first we thought maybe the Stanford women’s team would travel north to San Francisco to see the game and we could rub elbows, but then we realized they play Connecticut the next day in Connecticut, so that’s probably not going to happen.

Check out the USF Dons athletics home page and their blog (you know we are fools for blogs). Currently, Pat Summit and USF coach Tanya Haave are right on the home page, not just the women’s page. Cool! Also they ask you to “Pack the House”, and give the box office number (415) 422-2USF. Come on out and get another chance to heckle Tennessee.

Rachel Engrissei, Assistant Media Relations Director for USF told me they usually average 300 people per game and so far have sold over 1,800 for this game. Way to go USF! Be a statistic, come on out!

The USF Dons play in the West Coast Conference (WCC). Although USF is currently sitting at 4-8, they have a rich women’s basketball tradition, with 4 WCC championships, three NCAA appearances, and a 1996 Sweet 16 Partridge in a Pear Tree best ever finish to a season. C and R applaud them for scheduling a top tier team like Tennessee. You only get better by playing better opponents.

Earlier this season, the WCC received a grant from the NCAA to help promote women’s basketball, modeled on Gonzaga’s web success, called “Draft Day”. Check it out. Be a fan!

So come on out, support another local team, root against Tennessee one more time, see legendary coach Pat Summit, and look for C and R sitting on press row! December 22nd.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cal Lost to SJS?

Hey, did anyone else see that Cal lost to San Jose State and fell out of the top 25? Or was that a mirage? Are C and R dreaming of a... Stanford PAC-10 Championship again?

Dukin' it out With Duke

So after our little girl’s basketball game, in which a more athletic team beat us, we jumped in the car and tuned to 90.1, the Stanford station. We hoped Stanford was doing better. When we turn the radio on, it is just halftime in the Stanford/Duke game, and the announcers say it has been all Stanford. They are leading 39-23 and Duke is shooting about 25% to Stanford’s 50%. That won’t cut it. Both C and R let out a whoop; we are winning by a lot.

We are almost at C’s house when the second half starts. A mad scramble to get inside, dig up a real radio and not an ipod, and start the laptop to get the Game Tracker going. We get the Stanford station, if not a bit fuzzy. C discovers if she holds the antenna and leans over, we get the station to come in clear. The Game Tracker from the website, however, is another story and is stuck on 17 and a half minutes in the second half.

After trying to heat things up in the microwave and alternating holding the antenna, we discover we are only leading by 9! Duke has been making a comeback somewhere in between all that static! Then we hear some more static and Kayla all alone for a lay up.

In fact, we keep hearing Kayla’s name all the time. That and Jiminy Christmas. C thinks she is hearing things until R explains that someone from Duke has the last name of Christmas. Someone grabbed Nneka Ogwumike hard and elbows were swung. We think it was Merry Christmas and Nneka gets the international foul called and makes both shots. Then we hear someone from Duke fouled out. Nneka got an elbow in the face and I am sure she is thinking, “I don’t want to have to wear that plastic mask again like last year.”

We also hear Stanford is not rebounding well, and that doesn’t bode well for Tennessee. Then the announcers say the only other time Stanford opened the season 8-0, as they currently are, it was stopped by a loss from Tennessee. Double uh oh.

We get the lead back up to 15 and then it stays that way. The game ends 71-55, and Kayla Pederson saves the day, Kayla Pederson passed well, Kayla had 8 rebounds and two blocks, and Kayla Pederson was the high scorer with 22.

We call out field reporters to get their report, but they must be busy trying to catch the red victory balls.

Oh, wait, R’s cell phone rings. Here is what they said.

P and M:
Hello, can you hear us? It was a hard fought game, very physical. Duke was very aggressive and scrappy and all over Jayne. She did not have good night, nothing dropped for her, but lots of left-handed lay-ups (her fave). Tinkle came in for her but looked out of place and it appeared the starters may not have confidence in her yet (Our field reporters calls ‘em like theys sees ‘em!). The people behind us had Tinkle Bells and rang them when she was in (Oh Yay! C and R’s grand experiment worked. The people behind us saw us with the bells last game and brought their own. Now we will bring some to Tennessee! Back to the report)

P and M:
Duke gave a lot of flagrant fouls, some were whistled and some were not. We saw arms locked around necks. Duke looked young, quick, aggressive but not disciplined, and were over our backs a lot. They gave some serious flagrant fouls, as we said, one to JJ Hones in the first, but it was not called. In the Nneka foul, the Duke player grabbed her and swung her around, and had Nneka around the neck, literally. But the tough, physical game will be good to get them ready for Tennessee. When the Duke player fouled out, the band marched her off! (Oh, we miss seeing the game live!). And Pederson was a superstar (we already knew that!). At half time they brought out the Stanford football team that is heading to the Sun Bowl, and they threw T-Shirts, even Toby Gerhart! (Ugh, now C and R are REALLY bummed they did not see the game live! It was cool the football team cheered the women’s basketball team on).

Wow, great reporting, P amd M. They are meeting us at the Tennessee game and we will get more of their insights.

See you there with you Tinkle Bells, and if you don’t have any, you can borrow some from C

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Duke Out

Let’s catch up with C and R on the eve of Stanford’s most important game so far, number 7 Duke, with Tennessee the very next game.

R: What time should we leave for the Duke game at Maples?

C: Well, we have a little bit of a problem here.

R: What?

C: The little girl’s basketball team that we coach has a game that day.

R: What time? The Stanford game starts at 7 PM. If the little girls are at 6 PM, we could leave right afterward and only miss part of the game.

C: It’s at 7 PM

(This portion of the audiotape deleted to keep us in the family blog rolls)

R: Really?!

C: Really.

R: Such a bummer. You know our little girls need us. We’ll have to go to their game.

C: You are right, looks like it’s that inferior Game Tracker thingie on the Internet for us.

R: Yeah. Hey, I wonder if our golfing buddies, whom we will call P and M, would want the tickets?

C: Good idea, I bet they would and then they can be field reporters and report on the game for us.

R: I just got off the phone with P. She said she and M would love to go.

C: And you have such good seats!

R: At least the tickets won’t go to waste.

C: Let’s hope both our teams win!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Depaul is Delovely

C and R hurry to Maples for two reasons: one, to dodge the rain drops and two, they are eager to see Stanford again after that two week break for finals. Geez, Stanford, what are you doing placing academics before athletics? Next thing you know you are going to say they are true student athletes. Speaking of which, lo and behold, what do C and R see but the Stanford football team, all suited up, breaking up from practice. Boy, they are in shape, C and R note. Is Toby Gerhart there? He came in second for football’s Heisman Trophy in the closest race ever and much was made of him being a true “student athlete.” Makes you wonder about the other colleges and what they think of their athletes, doesn’t it?

Before C and R jumped out of their car to make a run for it to Maples, C gets a feeling, more of a hunch really, that Joslyn Tinkle might have her boot off and be back in the line up. And she forgot her bag of Tinkle Bells. Wait, R has hers in the passenger door of her car. C snags it just in case.

After dodging raindrops and football players, we walk in and see Tinkle IS in the line up, suited up, not booted up, warming up. C is so ecstatic. But wait, Michelle Harrison is wearing the “black sweats of injury”. C and R wonder what happened to her? We also see Jayne Appel yakking non-stop to JJ hones while the team is shooting free throws. Hope they don’t get in trouble with head coach Tara VanDerveer. R hopes Jayne will have a good game today. We wonder if she is back full strength yet?

Nneka Ogwumike wins the jump ball, although it takes a smart Kayla Pederson to go after it and take it way from a smaller DePaul player. When we win the jump ball, we win the game… (Of course, we are undefeated).

They are playing Jayne one on one, and when one on one, Jayne can take anybody. Instead, we work it inside to Nneka. Not a bad choice, but let’s get Jayne involved, ladies.

We were worried having al that time off would cause Stanford to be rusty and lethargic. Instead, we notice right off the bat Jeanette Pohlen pushing the ball up court quickly, establishing a quick tempo. We like that!

DePaul’s strategy seems to be “shoot the three”, conceding the inside game to Stanford’s triple threat of trees lead by Jayne, Nneka and Kayla. They make the first three then miss the next five. The strategy only works if the ball goes in. Stanford goes up 11-3 on their lone basket.

The announcer announces Jayne got her 1,000 career rebounds, and is only one of three Stanford players to do it. C hears a woman in the next row telling her companion that one of the others must be Val Whiting. C wants to yell out that she thinks Nicole Powell is the other but restrains herself. Later fact checking reveals both the woman and C are right. Welcome to an exclusive club, Jayne!

Next we note that Pohlen takes the rebound and goes coast to coast, driving in on a slow-to-get-back DePaul. She does it twice. She misses twice. But there must be something that Tara saw about DePaul and not getting back quickly that she wants to exploit. We see JJ Hones do it later with success, and it is uncharacteristic of us, maybe to throw Tennessee off and give them something to think about?

Depaul has trouble in bounding the ball, with Jayne doing acrobatics to keep the in bounder from seeing who is open. They get a five second count and turn over to Stanford. We wish the little girls we coach were here to see this, both as a cautionary tale when we inbound the ball and to see that you can pressure the other team.

During a time out, they have the contest where two fans have thirty seconds to shoot as many free throws as they can, with the winner getting a prize. The shooter on our end makes 7 in thirty seconds. Impressive, and we think an unofficial record as the most we have ever seen. We hope Stanford was watching from their huddle, as Nneka has already missed on one of two free throws (she would go on to be 6 for 9 from the line). This ain’t high school, or even a game at a time out!

Then our offense stalls and instead of working it inside to anyone, we do that “hand off offense” with our center out on the three point line. C and R hate it, it is predictable, and oh, we have Duke in two days and Tennessee coming up. That won’t cut it. Depaul makes it 20 to our 29 points. As soon as C points this out to R, Stanford works it inside to Jayne, one on one, and she converts.

Which leads us to our next question, is Jayne healthy? She looks slow getting up and down the court, either out of shape or bothered by knee/leg injuries. She doesn’t go for the rebounds with her usual gusto. At one point Jayne screens for Lindy La Rocque’s three and gets pushed out of the way, but not before Lindy makes her sky high three pointer.

After we, and Tara, sees that, Joslyn Tinkle comes in to spell Jayne. C shakes her Tinkle bell, much to the confusion of their seatmates. After shaking it whenever Tinkle touches the ball, they get the idea. Then Tinkle fouls and Tara pulls her out. C and her tinkle bell go silent.

Tinkle comes in once again with 2 minutes left and gets a rebound, a block and an assist. Not bad for 2 minutes work. We are up 45-25, but it seems much closer to us.

Half time is about dogs. Hot dogs for us, the agility dogs on the floor of Maples for the crowd. The half time show features the show dogs that run through tunnels, leaps over jumps and weaves in between sticks. The cutest is this tiny, tiny poodle, who doesn’t need to weave, just prance, as she is so small! And the Stanford tree finally shows up at half time, a little late, thank you very much.

When the game resumes, Stanford goes back to the hand-off offense and Depaul is ready for them. They practically intercept the hand off; they are so sure what is going to happen. Finally they just give it to Nneka in the low post to create, and create she does, scoring easily. The next time Jayne lines up in the low post, and they feed it to her, and in one on one situations, well, you know the rest. Depaul calls a time out and we can imagine the coach saying, “What is happening? What did we talk about at half time?” and the players are saying, “But coach, they stopped running that predictable hand off offense and now are just giving it to their talented tall players and we have no answer for that!” Or so we like to imagine.

We do want to point out Kayla’s play. She made some smart decisions, as always, but really scarified her body. The stats say she didn’t score until a free throw at 2:24 in the first half. She ended up with 11, below her average. But we counted in the space of about a minute she hit the floor three times. She did a “Lindy Slide” to go after a ball bouncing out of bounds, got knocked down for a rebound, and dove for a loose ball, surrounded by blue DePaul players (And why didn’t anyone call timeout to rescue Kayla?)

Tinkle comes in with Jayne and Jayne feeds her the ball and she made a reverse lay up. C shakes her tinkle bell. The other seatmates are now jealous. C will have to remember to bring enough for everyone next time. And by the way, Stanford, we counted no less then 8 attempts at reverse lay ups, some successful, some not. Was that the move de jour in practice the other day?

The subs go in around the 7:30 mark, and C and R wonder if our subs could beat Depaul? For some Stanford players, there is still a wide disparity between the starters and the subs. They are going to have to step it up to crack the starting line up. The other freshmen Mikaela Ruef (Roof) goes in. DePaul decides to press the subs. Roof inbounds the ball to a guard and they get trapped and throw it back to….Roof, who is not a point guard. She starts dribbling, but it is clear this is not a good idea. She is slow to get it into a guard’s hands. Tara inserts Kayla in, figuring if a “big” is going to dribble, it should be Kayla.

With about a minute left, Lindy streaks for a lay up and the DePaul player purposefully fouls her hard, sending her sliding, this time not so happily. Lindy looks rattled. They give the DePaul player a technical for a flagrant foul and the ball back to Stanford. Lindy gets two foul shots and misses the first but makes the second. We forgive her the miss. Then Kayla does a reverse lay-up. Say what?

Stanford wins 96-60. Nneka was high scorer with 24. Ros Gold-Onwude had a really good game. Good defense, five boards, four coming defensively and 12 points.

No red victory balls thrown our way, but afterwards we visit the auction Stanford is having to raise money. As we are leaving, we see Joslyn Tinkle. C can’t resist. She takes her tinkle bell out of her pocket and shows Joslyn and tells her she shakes it every time she touches the ball. She gets it right away and laughs good-naturedly. C says she will bring a bunch for the Tennessee game and Joslyn says that’s great! Now C has to remember to bring them!

R spies Michelle Harrison and asks her how she got hurt. Michelle told R she is fine and will be back Tuesday for the Duke game. R asks what happened ands she said it is just a concussion. C, always butting in, asks who did it? The answer: Jayne. Further research reveals Jayne gave her an elbow in practice. Ouch. Next time duck!

Look out Duke!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monarchs Really No More

Say Good Bye To Nicole Powell and Courtney Paris. The Sacramento Monarchs have folded and the players are going in to a “Dispersal Draft”. I guess there is no interest in women’s basketball in the Bay Area.

No, strike that. There IS interest in women’s basketball in the Bay Area, at least on the fans’ part. Just look at any Stanford or Cal game. Just no interest in the people with money, whether they be a NBA owner, an arena owner or a Silicon Valley Millionaire. If I only woulda won the lottery… Strike that, if I only hadda played the lottery….

Maybe we will get a different team in 2011, says the WNBA. I still say they could have played at Santa Clara University, in a small, intimate venue. Honestly, who do we have to talk to?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Down Time

C and R just want to give a shout out to our wonderful golf foursome, which took first place in our golf tournament today, called the Weather-Outside-Is-Frightful-And-Our Hands-Are-Freezing-Bowl. (What, Stanford is on hiatus because of finals and there is no basketball, what else can we write about?) Oh, we did see Tennessee beat Texas 78-58. It was on cable TV, so we gotta support that. Although Tennessee won handily, C is going to say something she has never said in four years. I think Stanford can take ‘em. I think the triple threat of Jayne Appel, Kayla Pederson and Nneka Ogwumike can score against them. Wow, C has never been this optimistic of our chances against Tennessee, even in Candice Wiggins’ last year where they beat Tennessee on our home court.

Wait, we could write about Stanford women’ soccer and their heart breaking loss in the NCAA championship game to hated North Carolina 1-0. Stanford went undefeated all season, something they have never done, and a win in the championship would make them only the 6th team to go undefeated and win the championship. The other five teams were all from North Carolina. To make matters worse, North Carolina scored in the third minute and Stanford had a goal waved off for off sides even though the off sides player never touched the ball, making it a legal goal. Then Stanford lost their best player and top scorer, Kelly O’hara, for getting her second yellow card for tackling from behind (geez, in basketball you get five chances before you foul out). And when “you foul out” in soccer, you are not allowed to be replaced. So Stanford had to play a woman short. And then their second best player still scored…. to tie it... but, wait, Stanford was ruled off sides again! So they lost 1-0 and the National Championship and a shot at history to finish the year undefeated. What an incredible run.

Oh, and thanks to faithful reader Tom Guardino, who was able to scroll through all 176 pages of the online Stanford Women’s Basketball Media Guide, and find out the most points scored by Stanford in a game was been 122. Twice. It happened once against Cal State Fullerton in 1994 and once against Long Beach State in 1993.

See ya at Maples Dec.13th for DePaul. Let’s hope they can score 123.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Okay, so when C opens her internet browser, she has her home page set to Yahoo. Not Google. Her kids, questioning her technology knowledge (and sanity), always ask why she is using the "inferior" Yahoo instead of God-Almighty-Google. C likes to tell them that she has been using Yahoo since before Google was invented. Well, before she became aware of Google. (I think they started going main stream-ish around 2000-2001 to us non-techies). C first got on the internet around 1994, she thinks, even before the internet itself! Well, she wasn't using the "graphics" part of the internet. Remember list servers and bulletin boards all done in text, no pretty HTML? Remember AOL and those discs given out everywhere? My kids have no idea what I am talking about.

Everyone likes Google for their "clean design" and uncluttered home page. That is exactly the opposite of what C wants. She likes the fact that she gets headlines and news on her home page. Yahoo is always adding gadgets and widgets and what-not to try and keep me hip and up to date (you can try Yahoo, oh, you can try). So it was curious to her when she saw in the Yahoo box that lists the top ten searched for items and saw Marion Jones. Clicking on the link brought her to an article that Marion Jones is trying the WNBA! (ah, there it is, the tie from Yahoo and Google to women's basketball! It sure took me long enough, didn’t it?)

Yes, the former track and Olympic star that got busted for using steroids and lying about it (and passing bad checks and going to prison) wants to go to a WNBA team. She is 34 and the mother of 3, yet the reports say she is in good shape (I wish I could be after just 2 kids!) and she credits prison for keeping her in shape! Well now, I guess there was something good about prison for her.

She says she wants to join a team partly to get her message out that we should think about our choices before we act. She does have basketball experience. Fourteen years ago. In 1994-5 she was a freshmen and the starting point guard at the University of North Carolina, where they went 33-2 and won the national championship. She was then injured and decided to concentrate on track and field. She will have an uphill battle, as today's women's basketball players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster collectively.

How you feel about Jones playing in the WNBA depends on how you feel about second chances anmd does spending time in prison wipe the slate clean. Here is her quote from the NY Times:

“It’s important for people to know that it’s possible to make a mistake in your life, but it’s what you do after the mistake that people are going to remember you by,” she said. “Are you going to make whatever negatives that happened in your life a positive? Are you going to disappear? That has certainly never been in my horizon. How can I use my experience, my story, to help people and in the process hop on this journey of trying to make a team?”

Hey, maybe the Sacramento Monarchs should grab her…oh wait… they don’t have a place to play, either!

Thoughts, feeling, anyone? Email us.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kalya PAC-10 POW

Kayla Pederson was named the PAC-10 Player of The Week. She scored a career best 30 points (we thought that was a career best!) against Gonzaga and got a double double over Utah (18 pints and 12 rebounds). This is the second time in her career to be named the PAC-10 player of the week, her first this year, and the second time in three weeks for a Stanford player. Way to go Kayla, the steady work horse and smartest player on the floor who doesn't get nearly enough recognition. Maybe this will help.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Stanford has offered a one hour mini camp for girls in 3rd-8th grades, which happens to be the ages of the girls C and R coach for rec league basketball. Six of the twelve girls are able to go to the camp before the game, and then attend the Gonzaga-Stanford game with us.

We register the girls and we see that the camp is being taught by Krista Rappahan, an old Stanford Cardinal who was a great three point specialist, and the male practice player from last year. We didn’t catch his name (Matt, maybe?) but we remember seeing him at every home game last year.

While the girls practiced, C was able to chat with The Stanford Fast Break Club’s Judy Richter. It was a wonderful chat all about Stanford women’s basketball, and who wouldn’t love that! C learned so many things. For example, Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike’s sister, the number one recruit in the country who is coming to Stanford next fall, pronounces her name chin-NAY. C and R won’t bore you on how we butchered it. We are as bad as that announcer guy from UC Davis! We also discussed the unfortunate fate of the Sacramento Monarchs and where Jayne Appel might end up next year. Will she go to Minnesota to be reunited with Candice Wiggins, or to the Monarchs, who are playing in no-women’s-land but we hope the bay area?

After tiring the girls out, we eat our lunches outside by the ticket booth before heading into the game. C explains the concept of coach’s tax on the more delicious items in their lunch boxes. This is what C always does with her kids. (Coach, or Mom gets a bite as a “tax”…hey, it’s never too late to introduce the girls to real life situations and headaches). The girls decide they don’t want to pay up. C is crestfallen.

We are surprised at how crowded it is. Way to go Bay Area. I think we could support a WNBA team, don’t you?

Nneka wins the jump ball. So far we are undefeated in jump balls and in games. The girls ask what a “Gonzaga” is.

The girls cheer on Stanford and Jayne Appel. We explain she is still recovering from the flu, and then watch as she promptly makes the first basket. That’s okay if she is not 100% because dependable Kayla Pederson and Nneka are here. Nneka is sky-ing to the basket, using her jumping ability to score down low. She also makes all her free throws! Way to go Nneka.

Around the 13 minute mark Jayne fouls. We explain to the girls that when Jayne fouls she is punished by being pulled out of the game. Sure enough Head Coach Tara VanDerveer takes her out. Kids this age are very literal. Is she really being punished? Well, we say, and one girl pipes up that you only get 5 fouls before you are out of the game. These girls are always on the ball. You could look at it both ways. The coach is saving her for later in the game, trying to limit her fouls, or saying if you foul you will be taken out, or punished, as a deterrent not to foul. The girls mutually agree if they were in that situation, they would promise not to foul and would like to stay in rather than be taken out. Again, another life lesson you don’t always get what you want. Jayne goes back in, contributes with a lay-up, a steal and a rebound. Always versatile. Then a foul. Out she goes. The girls pout. Jayne stays out for the rest of the half. (That might be because she is still battling the flu)

Then Kalya Pederson fouls. We explain Kayla does not get pulled. The coaches know she is smart and won’t do that mistake again. Unfair treatment? Life lesson number three….

These girls are also math wizards and relize the instant Stanford has exactly double Gonzaga’s score 32-16.

The half ends 59-38. We run around for popcorn and garlic fries. The half starts up again. Jayne is back in. Kayla and Nneka are scorin’ the points. The girls realize Kayla and Nneka have combined for 50 points and Gonzaga has 54 as a team.

One girl asks if we can boo. We answer quickly, never at Stanford. And then, realizing we are role models and the adults, supposedly, and we are supposed to be teaching them life lessons, we tell them never boo the other team because that would be bad sportsmanship. We do actually believe this; we respect the athletes on the other side, too. But then we say it’s okay to boo the refs. Okay, so we blew it a little bit. We say boo the ref when they make what you think is a bad call. Sure enough, a few minutes later they call JJ Hones for a blocking foul that should have been a charge and we tell the girls to boo. They do gleefully. What have we started?

Around the 7 minute mark, Kayla gets another foul. The team observes she does not get pulled. Then 2 minutes later Kayla uncharacteristically fouls again for her third personal foul and this time she does get pulled. C tells the girls this time the Coach IS mad, and she gets punished. Life lesson number four, don’t make your coach mad…

Now the girls start cheering for Stanford to break 100 points. Ros Gold-Onwude hits a three to make it 97. Nneka gets a lay up for 99. Jeanette Pohlen makes a three to get us to 102. The girls stand and cheer. There is about 4 minutes left in the game. Another smart cookie asks us what is Stanford’s highest score? She realizes at the pace they have been scoring that they must be ready to break a record. C and R are stumped! We don’t know! R gets out her fancy phone to try and research the answer. C guesses it is around 120 in a double over time. We can’t find it on the Stanford site. The closest we get is a game against Washington last year where we scored 118. Is that the most? We go on to win 105-74.

Does anyone know the answer or know where the answer is on the web? Email us.

Nneka gets to 29 points before she gets a rest. C and R wonder if this is a career high? Turns out it is. Later we read Kayla scored her 1,000 career point 6 minutes into the first half. We were unaware. She finished with 30 points. A recovering Jayne got 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, one block and one steal. Even when she is sick, she contributes in a lot of ways. The big three had a great output.

We fan out for a red victory ball but come up empty handed. The team is not sending anyone out for autographs after the game, a shame. C and R hope they bring that tradition back. We do get free pizza and see Mikaela Ruef after the game.

Now we have two more practices before our first game. We have a lot of work to do.

Friday, November 27, 2009


As C and R are driving the day after Thanksgiving to Stanford’s game against Utah, we wonder if this game will be a bust, attendance wise. Everyone traveling to Grandma’s house and such. However, we see a good size crowd coming into Maples Pavilion, maybe it is something for the Bay Area to do the day after Thanksgiving instead of shopping. After all, it is good, clean, wholesome entertainment you can take the whole family to, even Grandma.

In fact, C and R are wondering if all the players will be here. Well, we know they will be, but does having this game the day after Thanksgiving mean the players don’t get to go home to their families? Stanford’s own website reports that the Stanford women's basketball team will be on campus for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2005. Jayne Appel is from here, Pleasant Hill, so she probably had Thanksgiving with her family. We wonder if she brought any players who live out of state home for turkey? Or did any of their families come out West to join them?

When we get inside, we are surprised to see that the band is here. I guess none of them went home for Thanksgiving, either. Or maybe these are all locals? Is Stanford a commuter college?

We love getting there early to watch the team warm up, and oh no, Melanie Murphy is on crutches! She is wearing the “Black Sweat Suit of Injury” with Hannah Donaghe, Sarah Boothe and Joslyn Tinkle and the boot. Now what happened? We hope it is not a knee.

The video screen shows highlights of last season in categories. On shooting, on passing, on hitting the floor. As soon as we see that last one we know they are going to show “The Slide”. Yep, sure enough there is the slide of Lindy La Rocque sliding across Stanford’s key, knocking down Alexis Gray Lawson of Cal, grabbing the ball and with her belly still on the floor, heaving it to Jill Harmon under the basket for two. The crowd cheers that great effort.

The announcer announces that every time Stanford makes a three pointer, T-shirts will fly. We haven’t seen a single T-shirt fly all year long. We think we will write to the media person and let them know we miss the free T-shirts.

Utah (the Utes) is also decked out in red and white so C hopes she does not get confused. They don’t look very tall. Nneka Ogwumike jumps and wins. She is undefeated at jump balls this year. We are undefeated in games. Hmmm.

Utah leaves Jayne alone at the high post so Jayne dribbles. We notice she dribbles much lower to the floor this time! Utah boxes us out on offense on the first play. Our defense forces a shot clock violation soon after. This could be a defensive affair.

It’s funny how a play develops. That’s why we love watching the game live and not on that stupid game tracker. On offense, Kayla Pederson passes to Jayne. Kayla cuts to the basket and Jayne passes it back to her, but the ball is a little behind her, which is unusual for Jayne. It tips off Kayla’s fingers right into a Utah player’s hands. She grabs it and streaks down the floor. Jeannette Pohlen, who is back for defense, knows exactly where she is going and cuts her angle to the basket. She heaves it anyway and it banks off the glass. Most of the other two teams are trailing. Pohlen grabs the rebound and pushes the ball up court. Most of the two teams try to stop themselves and turn around, but Nneka is the first to recover and go the opposite way. Pohlen makes an incredible pass to a streaking Nneka, hits her on the fly and she is fouled as she goes high to the rim. She makes both foul shots. Those points started when Jayne missed a pass to Kayla.

Jayne makes a foul early on and Tara takes her out. This is head coach Tara VanDerveer’s way to teach her “bigs” not to foul. C and R wonder at the downside of this. At least JJ Hones comes in her place. We are not able to get the ball inside much so we need her threes. The game is stalled at 7-6, Stanford.

A timeout for rest and we notice only four of the Stanford Dollies, the dancers. Maybe one of them went home for Thanksgiving.

With Jayne out, and she is gone for almost four minutes, Kayla is working hard to get open in the middle but we are not passing to her. Utah has done their homework and has a hand in our faces at the three-point line. We are just not scoring. When Pohlen finally makes a three, no one comes and throws the T-Shirts as advertised. We must get to the bottom of this!

Finally we get Nneka involved in the offense and she takes it inside and is fouled. She makes one and misses one. C and R burn. You can’t miss free throws! This ain’t high school! Then Nneka commits an offensive foul and C and R wonder if Tara is…yes, Tara pulls her. Well, at least she puts in Jayne, but we hate to see Nneka sacrificed for Jayne. We believe they should be in together. Nneka stays out for 3 and a half minutes.

Jayne takes their center one on one and makes the basket. We believe Jayne can beat anybody one on one.

Oh, we think the Stanford Band should get an assist! Or get a technical for cheating. Either one. Here’s what they did. As the opposing team’s shot clock is winding down, they start chanting the time a few seconds off to panic Utah into shooting early. The second time they start chanting 10, 9, 8 when there is 25 seconds left on Utah’s shoot clock. As a basketball player, you would think the players would have an internal clock inside their heads and know there is still plenty of time left. When the band chants 3, 2, 1 there is actually 15 seconds left. The Utah player shoots the ball at the count of 1 and produces an air ball. Stanford grabs the ball and says thank you very much.

Jayne goes down on the floor to grab the ball and knocks it out to Pohlen. Both Kayla and Nneka wear red kneepads but not Jayne. It is rare to see her dive on the floor, so we appreciate her effort. The next time down the floor we notice she looks tired. She doesn’t go for a rebound on offense.

Now the band starts counting backwards or should we say upwards for Utah….

At one point, Jayne gets the ball at the top of the three point line and faces the basket. The whole Utah team knows she is not about to shoot a three and guard everyone else. All nine players are smashed in the middle of the key. There is a good 7 feet between Jayne and another player. The crowd screams for Jayne to shoot. But she waits until someone wings out and passes the ball. I guess there goes Tara’s grand experiment to get Jayne to take more three pointers. She is just not comfortable with them.

As if watching a live action chess match, Tara immediately puts in three-point specialist Lindy La Rocque. She figures if Utah is going to leave the three point line so unguarded, let’s make them pay. Lindy gets the ball on the three-point line and C and R scream for Lindy to shoot it. She does and just coming off the bench, she makes an airball. Sorry Lindy!

Jayne fouls again and gets taken out. While we do not like that she gets taken out when she fouls, she does look very tired. We hear from a reliable source that Jayne is sick and they gave her two pints of fluid intravenously before the game. Probably the flu. Wow, and she is out there running up and down the floor.

Consequently, with having Jayne sick, Nneka on the bench and our three not working for us, it is a low scoring game, only 19-8 with 5 minutes left. While we should be happy we have held the opponent to only 8 points, the lack of scoring on Stanford’s part is troubling.

Then we notice something really interesting. Kayla has been playing heads up ball; doing the fundamentals well and making little plays away from the ball that are really smart. Then Kayla commits a foul. We hold our breath. Will Tara take her out? She doesn’t? It could be that Jayne is sick. It could be that Nneka is not scoring. It could be Stanford needs her smarts. Whatever it is, C and R like to think that Tara has so much confidence in Kayla that when she fouls, they trust she is smart enough not to do it again. We wish she would extend that trust to Jayne and Nneka.

There are 7 seconds left in the half. C says she would give it to Kayla to shoot the three. She has been the anchor all night. Kayla is inbounding the ball. Pohlen stands at the opposing free throw line. Kayla sees the other team is not contesting the throw in and the clock will start when Pohlen touches it. She motions for Pohlen to move closer to the half court line and gives her a leading pass so she touches it at the half court line when the clock starts. Again, a really small thing that will not show up in the stats column, but so court-smart and aware. They pass it to Kayla and she shoots the three, just like C imagined. Unfortunately, she misses in real life. It is 24-11 at the half.

C and R walk to get popcorn and see Nneka walking towards us. Wait, she is in street clothes…oh my, it is not Nneka but Nneka’s little sister, Chiney. You know the one, the one that is the number one women’s basketball recruit in the country and gave her commitment to Stanford for nest year. She is walking and talking to her friend and C is standing there grinning like an idiot so she finally looks at her. C says we are glad you are coming to Stanford next year. She gives a big smile and says thank you. It was a really neat moment, for C and R, anyway! Later we hear she is sitting in the stands with their mother. I guess that answers the question what Nneka did for Thanksgiving. Everyone flew from Texas to see her!

We are surprised to see Jayne back in. She looks like she is hurting. Kayla makes a steal and goes coast to coast for the lay up Good thing the ref didn’t see she double dribbled near our foul line. Maybe some home cookin’? Utah is making the moves on our bigs, especially Jayne. Jayne is missing her usual quickness and would have blocked a few of those points. Utah gets it within 7 points, the score 31-24.

Okay we need to score some points. Tara has Lindy, JJ Hones and Pohlen plus the two bigs of Kayla and Nneka. This is a good line up. Nneka starts taking it to the basket and drawing the foul. So does Pohlen, something we don’t see that much of. Than Kayla takes it in. We love this aggressiveness to the basket, creating instead of waiting on the play to develop. We are also getting them in foul trouble.

This is probably how the bigs are used to operating in high school. Their team gives them the ball and they just go at it and because they are usually taller, or in Nneka’s case, can jump higher, and they can score at will. They look comfortable in this role and it is working.

Then Tara does something strange. She takes Nneka out. Nneka is currently the high scorer with 15 or so points. Jayne is sick. Why take Nneka out? Thank goodness for Kayla. Now Kayla hits a three over a smaller defender.

With Stanford finally scoring inside, it is 56-35. Utah puts in their scrubs with three minutes left. Blessedly, Jayne goes out, too and Ashley Cimono (Cinnamon!) comes in. We finally put in our remaining subs with about 2 minutes left. Freshman Mikaela Ruef (Roof) makes it in the game. Roof shoots a three. Roof misses the three. Freshman! Well, we do like that she is not afraid to shoot the three and feels comfortable out there on the perimeter. We need to mold her like Kayla, a big that can rebound and hit the three. Roof makes a nice back door lob to Cinnamon for a lay up.

We win 60-41, a low output for us. Kayla leads all scorers with 18 points and had 12 boards, another double double. Nneka was close behind with 17 points and 8 boards. Jayne was limited to 2 total points and 6 boards. We know that is the sickness talking. Get better, Jayne, for Sunday and Gonzaga.

This just in… Mel Murphy hurt her knee in Wednesday’s practice and is out until she gets it examined to see if she needs arthroscopic surgery. Joslyn Tinkle is still out for the next few games with a stress reaction in her foot. (Boy, we knew the pressure at Stanford was rough, but to stress out your foot?)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Slam Dunk

Baylor Freshman Brittney Griner dunked. Seventh woman in college. Last one was Candace Parker. Happy T-day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Going to UC Davis

So we find our way around the UC Davis Campus. Very clean, very nice, my daughter looked at this school last year when she was deciding on colleges. It is an agricultural school out in the middle of nowhere, near Sacramento.

Walking to the basketball Pavilion, we see lots of signs encouraging the student population to come out to this game. They say this is the highest ranked opponent to come play at UC Davis (Stanford is ranked #2 in the country) and while it doesn’t say it, we bet that is for men or women. Besides, there ain’t a whole lot to do out here on a Sunday afternoon! (ah, we tease UC Davis, because we love!)

Even with a lot of people coming to the game, UC Davis and Stanford included, we get really good seats near the court. Unfortunately we are right behind Davis’ bench.

We walk in at floor level and see the team warming up. We are a few feet from them, star struck. Boy, they are so tall! Ha Ha. The team is doing lay ups and the players in the center line have do a “move” at the foul line then drive to the basket. We see center Jayne Appel, all 6’4 of her, dribble behind her back and go to the basket. It was slow, but actually not bad. We are sorry for making fun of Jayne’s dribbling ability from the previous game! Mikaela Ruef (Roof), of similar height, also does the behind the back move and that has become her signature move, since the freshmen center did it twice in one game, no correction, make that twice on one play!

The student section for UC Davis has filled and their band is playing. No sign of the Stanford Band, though. The Davis band is more polished, and the students have coordinated chants and cheers. Corny, but they are totally into this, it is so cute!

Pregame, the poor announcer tries to say the Stanford girls’ names. He botches Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. He mistakenly calls Kayla Pederson “Peterson”, but to his defense, there is a Lisa Peterson who plays for the Aggies. Then he comes to Nnemkadi Ogwumike. It was not pretty. He informs us Stanford’s head coach is Tear-a VanDerveer, instead of Tar-a.

Memo to Stanford, have the public relations person go up to the announcer at each away game and pronounce the names for him/her or write them out phonetically.

Stanford is wearing the black uniforms I love, and Nneka gets the jumping duties. She wins easily. Poor announcer guy tries again to say her name. Somebody, please go over and say her name for him!

Davis comes out in a half court trap, something like a 2-1-2. They pressure the guards at the top. They trap Ros and steal it. We have got to solve this press business before we meet Tennessee!

Nneka swats at a Davis player trying to score a lay up. Nneka hits her with her body and gets called for the foul and Tara takes her right out. Just like she did for Jayne her first two years. The poor announcer guy says foul on….#30. She stays out for along, long, time. I think someone finally whispers to the announcer how to say her name as he gets it right in the second half.

Nneka scored 25 points her first two games and the next two game she scored significantly less. We were reading an article that asked, “what has happened to Ogwumike?” The answer is Tear-a VanDerveer. Tara takes her out when she makes dumb fouls and keeps her out for a long portion of the first half. It is hard to score points from the bench, no matter how high you can jump.

Davis’ center dribbles hard to the middle and Jayne is awaiting her with heavy concentration. Jayne is going to block her as soon as she goes forward to the basket. But the center pulls up and shoots a fade away jumper, not giving Jayne time to go towards her to block it. She makes her basket over Jayne. You don’t see that every day!

Davis’ pressing is not letting us get the ball inside so we are “skip” passing to the opposite side, meaning instead of throwing it from the wing to the top guard to the wing on the other side, we are skipping the guard at the top and throwing it directly across court from wing to wing. Jeannette Pohlen uncharacteristically throws it across court and out of bounds. Tear-a instantly yanks her. Pohlen is mad, mad at herself, mad at getting yanked and mad that she is mad about getting yanked. Hmmmm, C and R wonder if that is a good strategy to pull someone for making a mistake instead of letting them take responsibility and show they will not do it again.

Oh, I forgot to tell you I brought my tiny new baby computer to write this blog. My tiny little baby computer instantly finds free wi-fi and I am able to watch the Game Tracker on the Cal and Baylor game. Cal is losing. Thanks UC Davis!

Okay, we cannot penetrate this half court defense. Jayne gets the ball on the high post but nowhere to go with it. They seem to leave Jayne alone down low, but put two people on the guards so they cannot make a quick lob to Jayne. An interesting strategy. It is like saying we know we cannot stop Jayne, but if we can stop the pass into Jayne, she cannot score. And so far it is working. UC Davis consistently keeps the score within ten points. They also run this back door/pick play that consistently gets them open. We will have to stop that.

So we go to Tear-a’s plan B, which is bomb the threes. So far that is working! JJ Honesoff the bench gets hot. Kayla gets a three and makes them pay for leaving her alone at the top of the arc. We start puling away.

Before we know it, it is half time and even though we are up 42-25, the game feels a lot closer. The band goes to the floor to play and the announcer says the big bad Stanford tree has come to scare the Aggie band. We look over and they have a bogus tree, repeat, a FAKE Stanford tree on the court. It actually is pretty cute, made out of green construction paper and all. Then the announcer calls for some cow to help them. The whole student body and the band then break into this elaborate cow cheer/dance. We don’t know what they are saying but they all sure do…like we said, aint’ nothing else to do out here but memorize cow cheers. Then a girl in a cow costume comes out and chasing the fake Stanford Tree. The band plays this really long song, and the cow has to keep chasing the tree until it is over. Both cow and tree look winded. The song finally ends and the tree collapses, rather thankfully. The cow sits on the tree but is so tired slides off and falls to the floor on her back. The band leaves and it takes the cow and tree awhile to catch their breath and get up. Good thing the Stanford Band wasn’t here, because I am sure they would have rushed the floor to defend the tree’s honor, fake or not.

Basketball play resumes and Stanford steals the ball on the back door play that previously went so well for Davis. We play stepped-up defense. We force two shot clock violations.

A quick peak at Cal and they are losing by 20. Hee hee.

Then, with about 7 minutes left, Davis’ Haylee Donaghe, sister to injured Stanford player Hannah Donaghe, gets super hot. They mug JJ Hones in the back court and Haylee misses the lap up but gets her own rebound and puts it back. Haylee gets a three. Haylee makes another steal and Davis gets a three.

I am impressed with UC Davis’ hustle. They are still pressuring in the half court, and now Stanford’s threes are not falling. Live by the three….die by the three. Worse, when we miss, the rebound is long and we area not beating UC Davis to the ball. This is most troubling. Nneka fouls offensively and gets taken out again. We cannot quite put this game away; Davis keeps having spurts and keeping it close. Well, close in that we were up by 27 and they battled back to us being up by 17. It feels like we are losing.

It occurs to us that we have not gotten a single fast break. Davis hustles down the court the whole game. Again, impressive. Finally, with 2 minutes left and a 20 point lead, she subs out Jayne and the rest of the starters. A minute later she lets Roof into the game. (announcer guy calls her "Rough"). She makes a nice back door pass to Michelle Harrison for the score. We win 76-51. Jayne got 18 points and 9 boards and Kalya got 17 points with 11 boards. Nneka ended up with 11, playing only 23 of the 40 minutes.

More practice on the press and half court pressure, please. On the brighter side, we were 12 of 13 on our free throws. Hurray!

On an even more brighter side, Cal did lose to Baylor 69-49. Brittney Griner missed again on her dunk try but she did have 5 blocked shots to go along with her 15 points and was a factor in affecting Cal’s shots.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we will see you the day after at the game,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fun With Freshmen

Oh, I forgot to mention when I was at the Pepperdine game WITHOUT R, who was getting her roots done…see that long sentence from the Pepperdine blog….. Maples showed this really funny video of the two freshmen, Joslyn Tinkle and Mikaela Ruef, two players whose names my spell checker hates.

Anyhoo, another word my spell checker hates, the video was entitled “Superheroes with Ineffective Powers”. And it was really, really, funny (Form of SOMETHING else round!). Not only did this video feature the two freshmen, it featured Tinkle and her boot. Her foot is still in a boot like cast. At one point she tries to run and kick a ball and she limps about two inches a step.

Here is the setup. Two Evil Guys steal superfan Woodina. Yes, that is NOT a typo. Last year, if you remember your You Tube Lore, a really cute video of Jayne and the team asking “Woody”, a six-inch wooden artists model doll, how to get to the game or something like that. I guess this year they decided the name Woody was not appropriate for women’s basketball so he/she is named Woodina. So the eveil guys steal Woodina and the two freshmen try to get her back. Check it out.

So just what is up with Tinkle’s booted foot? Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Examiner reported this about Joslyn Tinkle:

Joslyn Tinkle will be sidelined for several games after an MRI detected a problem with a bone in her foot. ”I don’t know whether it’s a stress reaction or a stress fracture or a bone bruise, but it’s not right,” VanDerveer said.

We also found this cute interview with the two freshmen and here how they roomed together during summer school/orientation. Oh, Mikaela Ruef, (Roof from now on in this blog) is from Beavercreek Ohio. We didn’t point this out to make fun of the city’s name, you can do that easily enough at home, but because C is from a little town outside of Dayton called West Carrollton Ohio. West Carrollton is very close to Beavercreek, so we are practically from the same hometown! I think we played them in high school basketball. Of course that was before Roof’s time, probably before she was born!

We do learn Roof is a leftie. My friend, N, noticed that in the Pepperdine game. I took it for granted because although Jayne is a rightie, she goes to her left so well. She must practice that a lot because that is hard to do. I am sure it an advantage for Jayne because defenses are used to playing right handed players and trying to force them left out of their comfort zone. Jayne takes what they give her and scores at will. Let’s hope Roof can utilize her left-handedness, too.

We do have one question for Tinkle. In the video, she wears a hat with “(406)” on it. She says it is the area code for Montana. C and R want to know, is it the areas code for the whole state of Montana? Anyway, watch and enjoy for yourself. See ya at the game.

We just discovered we can make the drive to UC Davis to see Stanford win on the road. Hannah Donaghe’s older sister, Haylee, plays for UC Davis. For last year’s game, Haylee was out with a torn ACL. This year Haylee is healthy and Hannah is out with a torn ACL. That can only mean one of two things. One, torn ACL’s run in the family, or two, their mother really, really doesn’t want to see them play against each other and has somehow jinxed them so she will not be torn about which team to root for. And we just discovered Baylor is playing Cal across the bay. Let’s hope Brittney Griner is up for the challenge and gets her first college dunk at Haas Pavilion!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sacramento Monarchs No-more

How did you sleep last night? Well, while you were sleeping the Sacramento Monarchs dissolved into thin air. Yes, one of the eight original franchises has folded.

The owners said they wanted to focus all their energy on the Sacramento Kings, a team currently third out of five in their division, yet the 4th and 5th place teams are the hapless Clippers and the Warriors so they don’t count.

Reports are swirling that League President Donna Orender is trying to find a way to bring them to the Bay Area. You go Donna; finally someone who understands women’s basketball has a great following in this area and a women's professional team would thrive.

One thing, though, have the team come to the Stanford, mid peninsula area or the South Bay. That is where the support is. Not Oakland. Oakland would seem like a logical choice because you could piggyback it with the Warriors (see above). No, we don’t feel there is the type of support in the East Bay you see on this side of the bay (sorry Cal fans, we just calls ‘em like we sees ‘em). The Warriors have already issued a statement. They said they support the “idea” of a WNBA team playing in Oakland, but would not affiliate themselves with a franchise. Ringing endorsement there, guys, thanks.

Well guess what, we (meaning C and R) don’t want a WNBA team in Oakland. It’s funny, just last month C outlined her plan to R to have a WNBA team play in Santa Clara University’s Leavey Center. It is small and intimate, relatively new with okay parking, it is accessible to the entire mid peninsula on down Stanford and women’s basketball fans, the police staion is just across the street for those rowdy women's basketball fans (bring bail money) and it is two miles from my house. Win, win, win.

Okay, now whom do we talk to about our idea?

Friday, November 20, 2009


Hi, this is me, C, going solo. Well, going solo to Stanford’s first home game tonight. R can’t make it, the first time I can remember her not making a Stanford Women’s Basketball game since I have known her. I am not sure why, but it has something to do with hair. Wait, I am getting a phone call from R now, she says if I tell everyone she is not going because of her hair, then I need to be sure to explain it is really all about the roots and she has found this really inexpensive high end salon by her home, run by students in training that use her favorite Redken product, that touches up the gray and takes months to get an appointment, and that the last time she gave up her slot because of a conflict she went to another place that did a horrible job and left her forehead dyed and it looked like she had a brown tattoo around her hairline and the hair colorists talked her ear off about her three legged hamster and if she gives up this slot, she can’t get in until mid December and by then she will be looking pretty gray. Whew.

Okay, wow, there is a SF columnist that runs a yearly contest to see who can write the longest sentence that makes sense and I think I just won. Unless it doesn’t make sense.

Anyhoo, back to Stanford. I am going it alone, without R, yet I am meeting my friend N and her daughter, and my new little computer. We coach little girl’s basketball with N, and N is from that cold place in Montana, same as Joslyn Tinkle, so I will be sure to bring extra tinkle bells. But back to my new little computer. It is so cute! It is one of those netbooks, so it is about 8 by 6 inches folded. Wait, let me measure it. It is 9 x 6.5 inches. It runs on Windows XP and I got it form just over $200, although I probably shouldn’t go around advertising this because then you can beat me up and steal it because it is so tiny!! I got it to be a more efficient blogger. Usually I have to take R’s fancy phone and try to hit the little buttons like a teenage texter and I am neither. (Teenaged or a good texter). Now don’t you feel bad for pointing out all my typos? You try to hit those little buttons while standing up and fist pumping every time Jayne makes a basket. Plus I want to look professional when we meet Tennessee in December. R and I have this crazy plan that we are going to get to talk to Pat Summit….more on that next month

But I digress again. So my fancy (and cute!) little computer and I drive to Stanford without R (feels weird, no one to argue with about which way to go) to meet N and her daughter. Tinkle bells jingling all the way…oh what fun it is to ride….stop it! Back to Stanford.

I actually get parking by the field house and hurry to the front of Maples to await N, as I am giving her R’s ticket. Then assistant Kate Paye walks right in front of me. I turn to tell…no one, because R is not with me. So I turn back to her and say, “Good luck tonight,” as if we are old friends. She looks right at me and smiles and says, “Thank You.” Tara has trained her well to acknowledge the fans, even the over zealous ones, and remember that you are always representing Stanford Women’s Basketball. I quickly call R to gloat.

I meet up with N and her daughter and realize I left the Tinkle Bells in the car. I am so bummed. We go in the gate and N’s daughter has a pass for the Cardinal Club and it does not work. So they let us in and take N into a tiny office to get it straightened out. She does not emerge. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down. They have kidnapped N! We see a guy go by on a unicycle and I ask if he is performing at half time and he says yes, but the pedal is busted. He has 30 minutes to get it fixed. Finally, N returns to us and we head to our seats.

Nneka Ogwumike has now taken over the jump ball duties, which is good because Jayne did it last year and I think we lost every single one! Pepperdine actually has a couple of players around 6-4, so they might give us a game. Nneka skies and knocks it towards Ros Gold-Onwude but it happened so fast it hits off of her body and we lose it. So even when we win it, we lose it. Oh well. Maybe if we lose the tip, we win the game. That was certainly the case last year.

N, as I mentioned is from Missouala, and she asks me which one is Joslyn Tinkle, the freshmen also from Missoula. We scan the bench and see she is wearing the “Black Sweat Suit of Injury”. She has the boot back on her foot. We know she injured it in practice but she played in the away games. It must not be doing well for her to be back on the bench. Now I don’t feel so bad for forgetting my tinkle bells. Hope she heals soon.

Pepperdine looks impressive. They are not backing down from Stanford and they are boxing out well and getting rebounds, something hard to do when we have Jayne Appel, Nneka and Kayla Pederson in. Pepperdine actually takes the lead. Stanford has several fast breaks but can’t convert and we keep throwing the ball away. Pepperdine is also pressing us, full court, and we know we have not historically handled the press well.

Soon it is tied at 13 and Ros makes a great leading pass to Jeannette Pohlen running out on a fast break. She makes the full speed lay up. They press us in our backcourt when we are inbouding the ball and Pohlen just takes off for our basket and Kayla throws it over the half court line, Kayla is so smart. Pohlen catches up to it and gets another lay up plus the foul. Than Pohlen gets a steal and ANOTHER fast break lay up. Now we are up 20-13 so fegeddaboutit!

One thing about mooching R’s tickets is that her seats are up so close. At one point Jayne has the ball with her back to the basket and she looks at JJ Hones and mouths, “ Go behind me”. She even jerks her head in that direction. Now, if we can see it from the seats, the defender must know to start running with JJ, but she doesn’t. JJ cuts backdoor and Jayne gives it to her and she makes an incredible reverse shot off the backboard.

We are able to beat their press easily. This usually is by having Jayne, our tall center, run to the half court line and the guard throws it over the first wave of the press, then Jayne passes it quickly to someone near the basket. Pepperdine caught on and while they couldn’t intercept the pass to Jayne, they cover everyone else so Jayne has no one to throw it to, so Jayne has to dribble in the open court, probably for the first time in her life! The Maples crowd and the band cheer her on appreciatively. She dribbles so high, it is a relief when she finally hands it off to the guards. When it happens a second time, she looks at all four Stanford players, and seems to be saying, anybody want this, anybody, anybody at all except me. When no one is open, she takes off dribbling again. Oh my, twice in one game!

We are up 50-26 at the half and the only suspense will be to see if we can get to 100. (We don’t). In honor of the “Big Game” between Stanford and Cal’s football teams, Stanford is playing Cal in…. unicycle basketball! Five men for each team on unicycles try to dribble and shoot. The announcer says Cal is in the World Championships in New Zealand or some such place this year. We are surprised there are not more crashes, which, to be honest, is what you hope for in unicycle basketball, just like in Nascar. Cal wins 8-6 and no one needs first aid.

Back to the women playing basketball not on unicycles, we are surprised Tara keeps her starters in, and Jayne, who was not 100% healthy knee-wise at the start of the season in for so long. She even has to dribble again to beat the press. Finally with 8 minutes left in the game, we see all the starters out. The other freshman, who is not injured, Mikaela Ruef (The Roof is one fire!) gets some action.

Pepperdine is still pressing even though we solved it long time ago. However, with the subs, something unusual happens. After they make a basket, Roof inbounds the ball. The guard gets double-teamed and throws it back to Roof, who takes off dribbling. She is 6’3. She is not a point guard. That is not necessarily a bad thing; Kayla is actually a decent dribbler. Roof is no Kayla. She dribbles way to high. She tries to drive through two defenders; they strip her and make a basket going the other way. Stanford needs to solve the press with a better solution than to have your big girls dribbling the ball, and we need to solve it before Tennessee gets here.

The game ends with all of Maples hoping for a final shot but we run out the clock for a score of 99-50. Then the players get out the little red victory balls and the three of us spread out.

I see Kayla running down the court towards my section. I yell and call Kayla’s name. She looks right at me, she mouths, “Write something nice about me in the blog….”

Okay, she didn’t mouth anything. But she did make eye contact with me as she ran and she threw it right at me. RIGHT AT ME! I was about to catch it when the man in front of me reached up and tipped it away. The ball sailed past my hands to the row behind me where it bounced and a gentleman caught it with his knees. Oh, good trick sir, as I don’t dare grab it out of there! I scream in agony! Kayla threw it right to me.

Well, Kayla, I will write something nice about you. You got 22 points and 9 boards, and even though Jayne and now Nneka get a lot of media attention (deservedly so), we think you are one of the smartest players on the floor. You also fearlessly draw charges, and you got one last night. You can dribble and shoot a three as well as be an outstanding rebounder. You also lead all scorers with your 22 points. And you throw a great victory ball. Look for me again, as Stanford has lots more home games coming up.