Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stanford Beats Cal For a Third Time

Hello from LA, CA! C and R here reporting from the Galen Center on USC’s campus, flying in just in time to see the Stanford Women’s Basketball team play Cal (again) in the semi-finals of the PAC-10 tournament. The neat thing about being here (and not watching it on TV) is all the friends we are making!

We want to give a special shout out to D and C, our delightful friends from CAL! Yes, that’s right, they were Cal fans but sat next to us and were a lot of fun. C, the new one, is from Ohio, just like original C, so Original C said we would say hi to them in the blog. Hope they know how to use a computer! (boom-roasted!)

Okay, next order of business, we want to assuage your worries, C and or R were not the fan that was almost kicked out of the game. Repeat, C and R were not kicked out, and no one bothered us about our tinkle bells for Joslyn Tinkle.

So let’s back up a bit. Stanford was beating Cal handily, thanks to Jayne Appel’s appearance and no thanks to the bad refereeing. Two of the refs we recognized from previous Stanford games, and we were not fans of them then. They didn’t make any friends in this game, either. They certainly “Let Them Play” and there was a lot of rough pushing and fouls not called.

Jayne came in around the 14 minute mark of the first half and Stanford just feels better having her there. With her still bum ankle, she looked like she was limping and it affected her ability to jump. When the pushing and non-calls were getting out of hand, we watched Jayne get shoved to the ground out of bounds on a rebound under Cal’s basket, and no call. Coach Tara VanDerveer had seen enough and took her out in the final two minutes of the half to protect her. The score was 29-17 at the time, and we never looked back. We used our tenacious D and a Nneka Ogwumike catch and release shot in the final seconds to take a 35-19 lead into the half.

At the start of the second half, Cal tried a full court press and although it gave us fits at times, we figured it out pretty quickly. And hats off to Tara VanDerveer for not being complacent, as she whipped out a Stanford half court trap we have only seen once this year. It only lasted for a few minutes, though, as Kayla Pedersen got called for a reach in foul going in for a steal and a charging foul after our trap stole it and she was trying to get a fast break off the steal. Enough of that said Tara.

There was a very scary moment right before the 5 minute mark in the second half. Stanford was up 56-32. Michelle Harrison blocked Cal’s Alexis Gray Lawson and she hit the deck. Stanford grabbed the rebound and hustled down the court while Alexis lay motionless on the floor. Play keep continuing and the refs did not stop play for an injured player.

Now, it is unclear to C and R of the refs have discretion to stop play whenever a player goes down or if they have to wait for a dead ball to check on the injured player. Or if they just didn’t know she was laying back there in the back court. So the game continued on for 12 seconds until there was a break in the action and the refs finally called an official time out to check on Alexis.

Sooo, from the fans point of view, the refs were either heartless or clueless.

Soooo, as the medical crew was checking on Alexis and both teams were huddled by their benches and it was very, very quiet in the building, a female fan (not us) yelled, “You refs are stupid!” That’s it, one sentence, no curse words, no badgering. Unfortunately, the lady ref we don’t like heard her and said, “I heard you call me stupid.”

Sooooooo, the ref, let’s cal her Melissa, called over security and wanted the fan thrown out. Two big guys went to the section and were unsure what to do, who was it, was it that bad, was it this little old lady, so they just told the section to be quiet. The ref kept wanted someone thrown out and the staff didn’t want to throw anybody out. The fan seemed pretty pacified by this point. (BTW, if you know who that fan is, please email us so we can buy her an adult beverage!)

Sooooooooooo, then, as that drama was going on, the camera crew (remember, the game was actually televised) got a cameraman to bring his camera on the court and got about three feet from where Alexis lay motionless. Fans started yelling to get the camera man out of there. Then many jokes ensued about getting kicked out of the game for yelling and then one person in the crowd said, “Boo to the camera man“, so then the rest of the crowd started to just boo. So the Cal huddle looks at the stands and probably thinks we are booing Alexis on the floor. Finally they get Alexis stabilized on a back board and take her away in a stretcher to the waiting ambulance. The crowd stood, as well as the Stanford bench, as she left.

We found out later she fell on her neck and shoulder and they are going to keep her in the hospital over night for observation but she should be okay. We wish her well.

Stanford would go on to win by 20, 64-44, same margin as last time.

Well, been a long but fun day. C and R signing off. See ya tomorrow from LA.

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