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.