C and R saw a nice article in Sports Illustrated about the Stanford women’s Basketball team. You know we are always happy when women’s basketball makes the mainstream media such as Sports Illustrated. Even better, our old buddy, Ann Killion, wrote it. (Yes, C really met her, on a charity run/walk a few years ago, go on and ask her, I am SURE she remembers talking to me, one of thousands of people that day!!) Ann Killion used to write for the San Jose Mercury until they unceremoniously axed her in a cost cutting measure. (This is how C and R imagine the conversation went. SJ Merc: we are losing money all over the paper in every section due to this here internet, so the smart thing to do is and cut anything and everything that has to do with women’s sports, we are sure that is the problem.)
Anyhoo, the article had a neat comparison that the talent gap between the number one women’s team (Uconn) and the number two team (Stanford) is as wide as the geographical gap between the two teams. As much as C and R hate to admit it, we kinda agree, comparing the last time Uconn and Stanford met in the NCAA tournament and Uconn out muscled us.
However a few things Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer has done has encouraged us. One, constantly scheduling really really hard and tough opponents. On the road. Two, really working with the point guards to get them to be an outside shooting threat. Three, the “two looks” her team can have, three “bigs” over 6-2 on the floor and pounding it inside, or a trio or four of shooting guards hitting from outside with only one big. Four, and this one we are not so sure about, asking center Jayne Appel, so good under the basket, to play higher and let Nneka Ogwumike have more room to create offensively under the basket. Hey, didn’t C and R say she needed to do just that after the first exhibition game?
Yeah, sometimes we wonder if Tara or the team ever reads our blog. We have whole fantasies that Tara reads us and takes copious notes on our suggestions, hee hee. Okay, C and R said I shouldn’t be so rigid in my offense and Nneka is secret weapon who flourishes when she is allowed to create offensively instead of following that “everyone stands in their spots and then we ‘hand off’ to the guard” offense. OMG, we are crackin’ ourselves up.
Wherever you get your ideas, Tara, we love that you are not being complacent. And that you are going East to met the grown up, big girl teams. Your first test will be this weekend against Old Dominion and Rutgers.