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.