The day dawns bittersweet, as this is the first, albeit it exhibition, game of the Stanford women’s basketball season, yet R cannot make it due to her broken wing. She graciously gives up her ticket to C and R’s good friend, P, a dyed in the wool Stanford Women’s basketball fan.
Granted, Stanford is only playing Vanguard, which confuses me because my retirement fund is with Vanguard, the investment company, and I bet the college loses today as much as I lost last year with the retirement company, or something like that, you know what I mean, I make a similar joke like that every year.
P, decked out in her finest Stanford gear, shows up around noon to attend the game with C. She brings a story. She was shopping this morning and the clerk, noticing her Stanford shirt, asks if she is going to the game today. She replies yes-indeedy, and the clerk says she hopes they beat Arizona. Arizona? Oh, she meant the MEN’S football team, not the women’s basketball team. C and R hate when that happens.
P and C make it to Stanford with plenty of time for the 2 PM game, but with the men’s football team set to play at 5 PM, traffic is fierce and parking is nil. We end up parking far away in some residential area and hoofing it to Maples. We make it in time for the National Anthem.
We see them warming up, Kayla Pedersen looks the same, and look, there’s Chiney Ogwumike, C wonders how she is going to contribute in her rookie season, and what the hecka is wrong with Nneka!! (Okay, kudos to P for giving me that joke.) Nneka is wearing the black sweat-suit-of injury and looking dejected along with Mel Murphy (knee surgery), and Hannah Donaghe (torn ACL). We later read she is nursing a left ankle sprain. We will need her for Rutgers in a week.
The first thing P notices as we sit down in R’s seats is that Vanguard looks so short. Why, we think P is taller than their center. The second thing P notices is that Jayne Appel is sitting courtside, in all her blond-haired-and-booted-foot glory. Soon Ros Gold-Onwude joins her, and we wonder what the former Stanford players think and feel not being a part of the Stanford line up for the first time in four years? Well, they were all smiles.
Starters take the floor, and it’s seniors Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen, of course, along with Sarah Boothe, Joslyn Tinkle, and, oh, Chiney Ogwumike. Good, head coach Tara VanDerveer likes what she’s seen in the 30 or so days of practice they have had.
We win the tip off, what with 6-5 Sarah Boothe against their 5-3 center (Well, she certainly looked 5-3). And from the first play we discover Chiney is a beast! She grabs the offensive rebound and puts it back up. She looks hungry for the ball and wants to score points. She misses her first free throw and C resists the urge to yell her age-old anthem, “this ain’t high school!”
Tara lets everyone in the game, giving freshmen Toni Kokenis a taste of point guard, and Sara James a shot at the off guard spot. At one point, it was a true freshmen-to-freshmen connection, with Toni running a fast break and passing to Sara for the score, and Sara passing to Chiney as she out-maneuvered her defender for the score. How much will we rely on our freshmen this year?
Even Lindy LaRoque gets in the game, which is surprising since we last heard she was hurt and might be out for the season.
With our height of trees, we out rebound them 67-27, especially offensively, and freshmen Sara James bombs a three to get us to 100 points. Where’s the free pizza, Stanford? Oh, BTW, what was up with poor Hannah doing the “three-point” duty? You know, when Stanford hits a three-pointer, someone from the end of the bench runs to the head of the bench and high-fives everyone. Poor gimpy Hannah, missing her ACL had to hobble down the line 14 times! Shouldn’t we get someone who has two good knees to do that job?
Wanna hear the box scores? You should, they are impressive. Kayla had 25 points and Chiney had 24. Jeanette Pohlen and Sara James each got 16, and Tinkle and Boothe each got 10. Granted it was against Charles Schwab, I mean Vanguard, but still. Oh, final score was 116-65.
One more exhibition game then on to Rutgers to start the season. Boy, Stanford doesn’t waste time testing themselves, do they?