Sunday, November 8, 2009

UC San Diego

Okay Stanford, you really have to do something about your parking situation. C and R got to the Stanford campus and could not find a place to park. It didn’t help matters that the game was scheduled at the same time as the Stanford women’s soccer game, and they are getting mucho attention-o because of their undefeated season. Today was senior day, against rival Cal, and a win would give them the PAC-10 title outright their first perfect season in conference history. No wonder there was no place to park. And we are glad women's sports of any kind are being supported. Well, not to keep you in suspense, they beat Cal 4-1, won the title and their first perfect season and Kelley O’hara scored a hat trick to shatter the single season record. Dang, if we didn’t have a Stanford women’s basketball game to go to, we would have loved to have been a part of that.

We finally found a short cut to the dust bowl parking lot and pulled in, making us behind schedule and we had to run, our Joslyn Tinkle bells tinkling all the way. Our regular readers are in the know about our plan to tinkle a bell every time freshmen Joslyn Tinkle touches the ball. We even brought extras for our section mates. So you can imagine our disappointment when we saw Joslyn all decked out in the “black sweats of injury”. Those who are hurt wear the black sweats, and Hannah Donaghe (torn ACL), Sarah Boothe (broken foot), Michelle Harrison (no idea) and Joslyn were wearing them. Upon closer inspection, Joslyn was also wearing glasses, and we later found out she is out with an eye infection. An eye infection? Oh, also someone stepped on her foot in practice. Well, at least that is a little better. Then we saw Jayne Appel wearing a leg wrap and power knee brace although she was starting. Seems she got kicked in the calf during practice. How is that possible, and just exactly what goes on during said practices?

Nneka gets the jump ball duties now and she won it against UC San Diego, making it two in a row in the exhibition season. The team looks markedly different from just a week ago. We have the “big” line up of Jayne, Kayla Pederson and Nneka Ogwumike, and our guards, Ros Gold-Onwude and Jeanette Pohlen are passing to them inside for easy scores. When our guards miss their shots, our tall lineup is picking up the “garbage” and putting easy shots back up. At one point, tall 6-4 Jayne misses a shot and 6-2 Nneka gets the rebound and puts it back in. It’s hard to defend two trees, and add 6-4 tree Kayla Pedrson on the floor at the same time and they are pretty unstoppable. In fact, Nneka had several rebounds and passes where she would catch it around her chest yet still be in the air and be able to get the ball to her head and shot. Did we mention this was all while she was still in the air! She did not land between grabbing the ball and shooting. Very impressive.

Poor short, smaller, slower UC San Diego. They do get the pep squad award as the bench kept up the cheering for most of the game. They even would start chanting when the shot clock was winding down, a fact not lost on the Stanford Band. More on them later.

This starting lineup also ran more fast breaks than last week; most often lead by Jeannette in the point guard spot. She has great court vision and looks down towards the basket and makes loooong passes, with authority, as they say. None of that “rainbow pass” stuff that gets picked off, such as she did to the other team trying to connect on a long pass down court.

In fact, after starting the big line up, Tara VanDerveer mixed things up with a small guard line up. First, JJ Hones is in there; then she throws in Lindy LaRocque and Jeanette, Mel Murphy, too, with one big to get the rebounds. Now the guards are shooting perimeter shots and knocking them down. Wow, it is almost like Stanford has two different teams. Anyone watching film on Stanford in preparation to play them will have two game plans to defend as the team has two extremely different but successful looks.

C and R also notice they have a new inbounds play and get the ball in a lot faster. Good. But then they go back to that old “hand-off” offense, the one where the high post catches the ball with her back to the basket at the three-point line, and waits for the guard to come around from Italy and the post “hands-off” the ball to her. Sigh. Predictable and takes the whole shot clock to go through all the reads. But then we were heartened when the B-Team would totally abandon the play and one person would just drive in and create something on offense. Mel Murphy was extremely good at this. In fact, she was jumping high for rebounds and sky-ing like Nneka.

The second half was more of the B-Team and more Mel Murphy, and more of the guards driving in. Mel would end up with 17 points. We also got to see more of Mikaela Ruef (The Roof is on fire), and she and the Stanford band shared a laugh. Yes, the Stanford Band and even the Tree were in attendance at this game and were very vocal. The Band that is, not the Tree, The Tree never speaks, just dances strangely. As we mentioned, the UC San Diego bench would start counting down when ever their shot clock hovered around 7 or 8 seconds to help their team get a shot off. So the Stanford band would wait until their clock read about 11 or 12 seconds and start chanting 5-4-3…to get the team rattled and hurry a shot. C and R wonder if that is borderline unsportsmanship. At one point they started counting up, meaning when the clock was at 20, they started counting 10, 11 to get back to 30. Don’t know if it confused San Diego, but it sure confused us.

So anyhoo, Roof (Mikaela Ruef) grabbed a rebound and decided to take off down the court with it. She started dribbling. All 6-3 of her. There is a reason most “bigs” don’t dribble. Most are so tall they have a long way to dribble the ball from their waist to the floor. So Roof takes off and looks like she is dribbling in slow motion. She probably is pretty fast, but compared to a Pohlen or Murphy, she just looks so darn slow. She spots a San Diego player on front of her and dribbles behind her back! Which is hard to do in slow motion let alone fast motion. The Stanford Band Ohhs and Ahhs loudly. She keeps control of the ball and still lumbers on. She gets to the foul line and sees more San Diego players and dribbles behind her back AGAIN! The Stanford Band goes ballistic. She keeps control, splits two defenders near the basket does an underhand scoop and it goes in! It is also the 100th point for Stanford. The crowd goes crazy. The bench erupts and a time out is called and everyone pats her on the back.

Jayne, while resting to let the B-Team get minutes has been talking non-stop on the bench. She is now reliving the scene for everyone on the bench. She pantomimes dribbling behind her back, she pantomimes dribbling behind her back again and the underhand scoop. Everyone around her is cutting up. It is great to see such raucous fun and enjoyment of the game. (BTW, C and R wonder when Tara is going to have a little talk with Roof about the underhand scoop shot she keeps doing. We have seen it several times now in the course of two games and it doesn’t look like sound fundamental basketball. Boy, aren’t we party poopers!)

The game ends 107-55. Wow, another 107 points. Now the regular season comes. And it is a hard test right away. At Old Dominion Nov. 13th and Rutgers Nov 15th. Good thing the Stanford girls are good at taking tests.

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