Forgive C and R for not writing sooner, but we had SUCH a busy day yesterday. First, our little girl’s team had a game at 1 PM, then we rushed to Maples Pavilion for the Stanford vs. Washington Huskies game at 2 PM, then had to get to our friend’s house to watch Peyton Manning destroy the Ravens for a playoff party. And a special shout out to our All Star MVP Rock Band teammates. (Get it? we used your initials to spell out MVP!)
First, our little girls had their second game in 24 hours, a strange scheduling quirk, and they were tired. We had the lead with 2 minutes left and at this age, we do not have a shot clock, so we told our two girls to stall and they executed perfectly. Then we jumped in the car, as our game ended at 2 PM, and Nneka Ogwumike was just winning the jump ball at the same time and we were still half an hour away!
We were able to get KZSU on the car radio and we hear Lindy LaRoque got her first start this year and of her career. We are excited for her, but we also know without the announcer later confirming that Jeanette Pohlen is not able to play on her sprained ankle. We later find out that is the first game Pohlen has missed in her career, having played in 92 straight games, including 53 consecutive starts. JJ Hones is also not able to play in this game. Due to Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer’s propensity to use the same 6-8 players in most game, we have some configurations in the game that are not used to playing together, and it will show later.
We hear Kayla Pederson make 2 three-pointers in quick succession and we are glad her shot is “fixed” Her last two games have been marred by low shooting percentages. We hear the announcer call Joslyn Tinkle’s name, doing a spin move no less, and we shake our tinkle bells, which we are lucky to have remembered to bring, what with all on our plates today, including remembering to bring bubble gum to bribe/reward our little girls when they make their free throws or a great play.
Still driving up Interstate 280, we hear on the radio that our Jayne, Stanford center Jayne Appel, gets blocked. C and R look at each other and C reminds R to keep her eyes on the road. It is not every day 6 foot 4 inch Jayne Appel gets blocked. Then the announcer says someone from Washington team gives Jayne a vicious elbow and the crowd is booing lustily, and oh, what C and R wouldn’t give to be there booing right along with them.
By the time we get to our seats (Stanford, you really need to do something about your parking situation), there is only a few minutes left in the first half. Just in time to see Tinkle hit a three! And the T-shirt woman is actually on our side of the court today and we get to watch her throw T-shirts to everyone in our section but us.
We also see Washington’s Regina Rogers, the one who has drawn the defensive job of guarding Jayne Appel and the one who threw an elbow at Jayne as well. She is 6-3, and a big girl. Normally C and R don’t like to mention weight of any player, but in this case, Rogers is clearly out of shape, carrying a lot of extra weight, looking winded, and not able to give Washington many minutes. She also has a hard time moving quickly and bangs around inside, whether by design or not being able to move quickly, and is very physical against the Cardinal. The crowd voices their displeasure often. C noticed when she shot; she shot the ball with two hands on either side of the ball, much like our little girls do because they are not strong enough to shot one handed. But to see a women’s division one college basketball player not be able to shoot a fundamentally sound shot was disconcerting to say the least.
The half ends 35-21, but at the beginning of the second half, Washington scores 7 points to our zero, and it is 35-28 near the 17-minute mark. Not again, Stanford, why are we not able to put teams away in the second half? For this game, though, Stanford has a built in excuse. As we mentioned earlier, players were not used to playing with each other and it showed. We made several unforced turnovers, with players simply throwing the ball where they thought the other player was going to be. They weren’t there.
Jayne Appel got her third foul around the 18 minute mark in the second half and went to the bench, and her fourth with 4 minutes left. Jayne being in foul trouble also hurt us - when Jayne is on the bench she can’t score or rebound. Yet when Tara allowed her to stay in with the fourth foul, it still hurt us. Around the time she got her fourth foul, Washington started a full court press on defense. Stanford had a hard time getting the ball in, or if they did, they had a hard time getting it up court. Then Stanford curiously went to a man-to-man defense and Washington spread their offense, drove down the middle right at Jayne Appel, who was all alone. She could not risk another foul so she just had to watch them pull up for an easy jumper or even a lay up. That was distressing to watch, and I am sure all the teams Stanford has left to play will be breaking down this film.
We hang on to win 66-51, and Tara will say later that her team was “lackluster” and did not push the ball up in transitions. Well, that’s because your best player who runs your transition was sitting glumly at the end of your bench. Not having Pohlen available has left Stanford feeling a bit rudderless. Not good with high scoring Oregon coming up.
On a happier note, the whole Stanford basketball team is coming out for autographs after the game. We get a place in the long line with our little girl’s team. As we are waiting (and waiting) Coach N’s daughter who met Mr. Tinkle on Thursday, asks if she can go back and say hi to him. All the other girls decide they want to say hi to Joslyn Tinkle’s dad, too. We find him surrounded by well wishers and he sees our girls. He breaks off with the adults to say hi to the girls. Really, he couldn’t have been more gracious to the girls and was very good with them, giving them lots of attention. They tell him all about their win today and how they stalled in the last 2 minutes. He told them to stay in school and that school is the most important thing, a great message. C, who also wanted to say hi to Joslyn Tinkle’s dad, too, tells him these are Silicon Valley girls and these girls excel at school. In fact, we almost had to cancel practice one time this year because half the team chose to skip practice to study for an important test the next day. Wayne Tinkle says we’ll have to come back and meet his wife and Joslyn’s mom when she comes to Stanford, and I am sure that is the mighty Montana hospitality talking!
We get back in line and finally get to the table for autographs. Oh, we could bore you with all the details of what the players said, but I am sure you don’t want to hear all that! Hee hee. No, it was really great. The players also couldn’t have been more gracious to all. Our girls were prepped by R to ask questions so they had a great interaction with the players and for a few minutes, anyway, our girls thought about coming to Stanford to play basketball so that other little girls like them could look up to them with stars in their eyes. It was a sweet moment, and we feel lucky that Stanford has made their team so accessible and gracious to their fans. Oh, and, Coach N had Joslyn sign her strip of tinkle bells!