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!

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