Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stanford vs. Arizona

So the first thing we notice when we walk in to Maples for the National Girls and Women in Sports Day is everyone is wearing red. Including the Stanford Cardinal. What? Why is the Stanford Women’s Basketball team wearing our “away” uniforms at home? Plus C hates those uniforms. She likes the black ones. So everyone is wearing red, except C and R. We are wearing our black shirts and are finally going to give our number one fan her shirt at half time, now that my son’s head has stopped bleeding (long story, see last post) 

Then they announce that everyone is wearing red to raise awareness for earthquake victims in Haiti and please send money to the Red Cross. Noble idea, but how did C and R miss this? We are on the Stanford website about five times a day! 
 
So, C and R look like some kinds bobsie twins in our matching black shirts, and we weren’t the only bobsie twins.  Jayne Appel is wearing a red ribbon in her hair, and so is Joslyn Tinkle, and they look enough alike to celebrate bobsie twin day every day. Then Arizona has a player that is built just like our Nneka Ogwumike. Arizona’s Nneka is named Ify Ibekwe and not only does she have a similar build to Nneka, she is just as athletic and plays just like Nneka. Ify jumps and rebounds just like Nneka and they each were guarding the other all day long. 

So the half ends (what, I have to get up early to go skiing and hope my son’s staples stay in his head, so I am condensing), and we are down 40-42. It’s weird. It’s not like we played poorly. Scoring 40 points in a half is not what C and R would call playing badly, it’s just Arizona matched us point for point, and they had some good shooters. They also had some of the Oregon philosophy in that they pushed the ball up court after every Stanford shoot, hit or miss. Although Arizona didn’t try to score within the first 7 seconds, they were out to score and as we said, could shoot well. They made 8 three pointers in the first half. Stanford, where’s the “D”? 

We also shoot well in the first half with our bigs hitting some threes, three by Kalya Pedersen and one by Joslyn Tinkle (Tinkle Bells all around, and we are sorry we didn’t get a chance to say hi to you, Mrs. Tinkle, as our little girls had a game at 5 PM and we had to leave right after they threw the victory balls-oops, now we told you Stanford won- the end, have to go to bed- skiing- and I am using dashes now so R won’t yell at me for a run on sentence- see, R, dashes!) 

Halftime was fun in that we got to meet our number one fan, as we mentioned, and sneak junk food from our little girl’s team that came to the game, calling it a “coach’s tax”. (And even though we are named “French Fries”, we did have to ban garlic fries as we had a game right after this one, although since we were going to try a new man-to-man scheme, maybe we should have had them eat a ton of garlic fries and breathe on the other team!) 

Anyhoo, Stanford kept trading the lead with Arizona and were down by two at the half. We haven’t been down at the half since, oh, Thursday, when we were down at the half for the first time all year against Arizona State. We came back and figured them out and clobbered them. Same thing here. We figured them out and clobbered them, and our Nneka beat their Nneka at the boards and points. Arizona didn’t score in the second half until 14:23 when their Nneka, Ify Ibekwe, made a lay up. By then, our Nneka had 6 points to lead us on a 10-0 run in that time frame. 

In fact the only suspense in the second half was seeing who would be high scorer, Nneka or Kayla Pedersen. It was a tie at 27 each. Jayne got 8 points and Joslyn ended with 10, with another 3 pointer in the second half. That is the first time we can remember freshmen Tinkle out scoring Senior Jayne. We did see a great article in our local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle saying that Jayne’s total points are down this season to feed emerging Nneka and to pass. Jayne is one of those rare players who wants to do whatever it takes to win and can and will look for an open player before shooting. She said if Nneka’s player just moves an inch off of her to double Jayne, Jayne will hit Nneka. We love unselfish Jayne! Also, her knee is still bothering her. Get better in time for March, Jayne! 

Okay, we do want to say one thing about our Nneka. When we write “she skies” for rebounds, what we mean is she is at a dead stop boxing out and leaps straight in the air and almost grabs balls at the rim. It’s one thing to take a running leap and go for the lay up or rim, but to do it without the benefit of any forward momentum is impressive to see in person. And she made some impressive “skies” in this game, too. 
So we came back and beat them 83-62. So, is it that the PAC-10 is good this year or do we play down or mirror the team we are playing in the first half until we figure them out and then play Stanford ball in the second half? R votes for the former and C votes for the latter. 

We rush out after the end of the game as NO red victory balls were thrown our way (Stanford, what’s up with that?) hike all the way to our car (some other event made parking even worse) drive to our little girl’s game, review man-to-man with them before the game, watch them forget everything about man-to-man during the game, nearly have a heart attack as we go into overtime, and have our center, who we have been working with all season to be Jayne Appel, score the only basket in overtime to take the victory! 

Two for two, big girls and little girls! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heads Up

Okay, so it was a rough night all around. Stanford was down at the half for the first time all year, Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne was whistled for a technical in the second half, C’s son had a head injury and had to go to the emergency room…

Okay, let’s back it up a little. Just as C and R were pulling into the stupid Stanford dirt lot around 6:20 PM to park and go see the Stanford women’s basketball team take on Arizona State, C’s cell phone rang. Now, no one calls C’s cell phone except for R, and R was sitting right beside her driving, so she almost didn’t answer it. But she pulled it out and the little light up area said it was her son. C’s son has had a cell phone for about two years and he never talks on it. But he does average something like 50 texts a day. Does any one of those texts ever go to his mother? No. He uses his cell phone to text with pretty blonde girls and everyone else in the known universe, except his mother, so when C saw it was from her son, and a phone call even, not a text, she just knew it was trouble. Sure enough, after answering it, C’s son said his head was bleeding.

Turns out, C’s son was at water polo practice and he swam into the metal water polo goal post and split his head and was bleeding. R, listening in to C’s part of the conversation and made a U-turn in the dirt lot and said, “I’ll do whatever you need to do.” R’s good like that. She even offered to jump out so C could have the car and R would find a way home, hitch-hike or something, but C and R decided R should drive them both back to C’s house, and that’s how C and R missed the game. We had our tickets in our hands, too.

We want to give a big shout out apology to our number one fan (NOF), who we were supposed to meet up with at halftime and present her with one of our patented C and R logo polo shirts (Still on sale for $40! See the ad on this page!). Sorry NOF, and we will catch you Saturday!

So, after C got home, grabbed her insurance card, jumped in her car to pick up her son at the practice pool, she finally remembered to turn on the radio and tune into KZSU. Too bad it was half time and she couldn’t tell the score. Ya ever seen that civil war or revolutionary war poster of the three men playing the fife and drum and carrying the flag and one of them has their head all wrapped up and bleeding? Well, that’s what C’s son looked like as he emerged from the locker room, so she chucked plans to go to the urgent care and head straight to the hospital. C called R at home, who decided it wasn’t worth it to drive all the way back to Stanford and was trying to get Gametracker on her computer, to help her find the nearest hospital that took C’s insurance, and they decided on the one C’s son was born at 16 years ago.

In between C’s son’s proud soliloquy about how he got the head wound (his friend pushed him into the post as they were doing a drill battling for the ball) and the detail about just how much blood leaked out (quite a lot, and if you are squeamish, don’t read how he relished telling me how it gushed down his face and all over his chest), C turned on the radio and found out the second half had started and Stanford had gone on a 7-1 tear in the first three minutes to go up 34-30. (And if you are worried R is going to be mad at C for that extremely long run on sentence, don’t worry, we lost her at “blood” and she’s passed out on the floor back here). Wait, if we scored seven points and are only ahead by four…C tried to mentally calculate in the car but it was hard as she had to block out her son’s description about how the blood caked in his eye and he couldn’t open it... then we were behind at half… C’s son said his coach thinks they will need to shave the area around the wound and is now asking C if he can shave ALL his hair off…  how did we get behind? (Yes, C found out later we were behind 29-25 Arizona State). And oh, he has a picture on his cell phone of the bloody wound. I am sure he has sent it to all his girl friends by now. 

Finally we are at the hospital and they unwind the headscarf he has going on, decide to use staples instead of stitches and he can keep his hair, which I think disappointed him. The wound is pretty deep, and more severe than C was lead to believe by the coach. After cleaning the blood, the doc comes to numb and add the staples. He pulls out a sanitized stapler. I am not kidding. It looks like the stapler C uses to hang her student’s art shows. The doc says they need to come out in 8 days, and says they use a staple remover pretty much like the one C has at home. 

However, on the ride back the Stanford game is over and KZSU is playing calming Indian music, just what we need because C and her son are now discussing “Doing-it-yourself” surgery and how to remove the staples themselves with their staple remover in a week to save a trip to the doc. Water polo players are tough! 

C calls R and she tells her Stanford won! She has trouble with Gametracker, but the final score was 71-48, Stanford. What? Stanford was barely ahead when C last tuned in Then R tells C we were trailing by as much as 14 points in the first half! Later, the Internet said Stanford was rattled by early pressure and full court presses (What’s new) by Arizona State, but then went on a 35-5 scoring spree in teh second half, and Charli Turner Thorne got the technical. Boy, both C and R wished they could have seen that! We wonder if it was for walking on our court with her pointy high heels? Somebody who was there, please tell us what happened! 

Guard Ros Gold-Onwude had three threes and a career high 19 points. Kayla Pederson was finally back in her scoring form and scored 23. Jayne Appel added 12. Our high scorer and PAC-10 scoring leader, Nneka Ogwumike, was on the bench for almost half the game because of foul trouble and only scored 8 points. Oregon State couldn’t stop Nneka the other day, but Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer can if she fouls. Just think if we could ever get all three of our tall players, Kayla, Jayne and Nneka to score in double figures in one game. 

C’s son is resting comfortably, thank you for asking, after eating nearly everything in the house after he got home from the hospital. Email us with your observations of the game if we left anything out.

Quick Basketball Notes

Q McCall of Swish Appeal kindly quotes us again, about Nneka Ogwumike, in his article Pac-10 Weekly Review & Honors: Will More Physical Play Make Women's Basketball More Appealing? We also wondered how did Nneka NOT get PAC-10 Player of the Week honors?

Good PAC-10 summary and some interesting things about the physicality of women’s basketball.

In WNBA news, the WNBA All-Star game is to be played at the Mohegan Sun reservation in Connecticut, right near Geno’s UConn team. How convenient, because, in what President Donna Orender called a "twist", this year Geno Auriemma's Team USA will compete against a squad comprised of other WNBA all-stars. WOW! That will be exciting!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Impressions against Oregon

C and R are impressed, and that is not an easy thing to do. We are impressed with the Oregon Ducks Women’s basketball team, the game they played on Saturday and the turn around in one short season, really just in six short months.

First year Oregon coach Paul Westhead installed a philosophy of shooting the ball within the first 7 seconds on the shot clock. And that they will live and die by the three (more on that later). Simple philosophy yes, but for it to work, you have to have the right personnel to do this, mainly all your players must be shooters, and accurate ones at that, not an easy feat in women’s college basketball. And oh, if you play Stanford, press the heck out of them (more on THAT later, too)

C and R were also impressed with the way Stanford shot their threes. Some of them were three or four feet beyond the arc. And every time we scored a basket, we were impressed with how well Oregon quickly brought the ball up and scored as well. We kept trading the lead in the first half, and we could not relax for a second with their relentless scoring drive and their defense.

We were impressed the game was on cable TV, and also thankful. We watched the first half and then had to tape the second so we could coach our little girl’s game, which was a nail biter as well, with us winning by one basket and our center doing her best Jayne Appel impersonation. To leave in the middle of the Stanford game, a nail biter, witness another nail biter and come back to watch the second half of the Stanford game was almost too much for C and R to take. We thought one or both of us might have a heart attack before the day is through, and C hoped it would be R because she knows CPR and R does not and her insurance is not the best!

Oh, BTW (texting lingo), did you see that last play of the first half? As C and R are preparing to leave, we see Stanford has the ball in the final seconds. Who will they go to for the last shot? Who is their “go-to” player, and since getting the ball inside is not working, who is going to take the three? Will it be one of our guards, Ros Gold-Onwude or Jeanette Pohlen, even gimpy JJ Hones, or maybe three-point specialist Lindy La Roque. Why, it’s Joslyn Tinkle, our big 6-4 freshmen who has taken, I think, three in her short career. Yes, Tinkle shoots the three and it goes in. A good omen for Stanford and tinkle bells all around.

We were NOT impressed, however, with Stanford’s ability to handle a full court press. We turned the ball over so many times in the frontcourt! There were times we couldn’t get it out of the front court, and times we couldn’t even inbound it! How did we turn it over? Let us count the ways. We threw it inbounds and had it stolen. As we dribbled, we had it stolen. We inbounded the ball, then threw a pass and had it stolen. We threw it out of bounds. And C and R’s personal favorite, we got a five second count because we couldn’t find anyone open to throw it to! The announcers said Stanford worked for a week on full court pressure and how to handle it all week. Oregon forced 10 turnovers in the front court, seven in the first half. Think what would have happened if we HADN’T worked on it!

But C and R were MOST impressed by Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike! She scored a career high 30 points. She was everywhere on the boards. She got 23 boards and set Stanford’s single-game rebounding record, which was 21 by Nicole Powell, ex Sacramento Monarch. Nneka also scored 30 points. And her boards and points were very impressive. She skied, she caught and shot in traffic she had fast breaks, and she played strong under the basket.

OMG (more texting lingo), her best play of the day? Her catch and shoot on the two-second inbounds play. And thank goodness the play was on TV, because in the final highlights they showed not one, but two different camera angles on that spectacular play. Stanford had the ball out of bounds under their basket with two seconds left. Followers of Cal will remember that the rules state it must be a catch and release without landing, a stupid rule that makes sense in the men’s game but hard to do in the women’s game (Cal had a similar play but with 1 second left in the whole game, and they caught, landed then shot and made the basket in the final second of an NCAA playoff game, only to have it disqualified and they lost the game). Back to live action, C immediately yells “Give it to Nneka.” Now if C knows this is coming, shouldn’t Oregon put a body on Nneka? No, they are business as usual in a zone. JJ Hones lobs the ball to the middle of the key where Nneka jumps, catches and shoots straight in the basket. It was amazing! Not many women’s basketball players can do that. Oregon, how did you not see that coming!

It was funny, watching the game, it seemed like Oregon was just bombing threes like crazy. Two of them were step back threes! But the stats say Oregon only made 9-28. Stanford, in contrast, made 13-35, the most attempts we have ever tried! So Oregon, live by the three and die by the three, as Stanford out shot you at your own game.

When C and R finally got back to watching the second half, we couldn’t relax until the last nine minutes, in a game that seemed to go on forever! We finally got a ten point lead with our crazy threes and Nneka’s rebounding and Jayne Appel. Jayne had a good second half and scored 17 points for the game. We finally broke 100 and the subs got to come in with under a minute left. The final score was 100-80. It felt like we outlasted them rather than out-played them.

R got the best line of the night when she said, “I would like to see Oregon play UConn!”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Notes from Corvallis

It is so frustrating either listening to the Stanford games on the radio, or trying to follow the action on the internet with stats and or game pieces running around. It is hard to get a real flavor for the game. This lackluster game against Oregon State was no exception.

Here to help us out is C and R’s home away from home correspondent, TG, who was there at the game in Corvallis last night and here are his observations, with C and R’s in parentheses.

- Our kids look a lot bigger in person than on TV. (We know, don't our players seem tall when you stand next to them or see them up close and personal or stalk them?)

- Sarah Boothe looked lonely in black passing the ball in warmp-ups. 14 players suiting up is probably a record for the year. (We asked Sarah if she has officially red-shirted this year and she said it’s not official yet, but since she has not suited up for a game this season, it’s a foregone conclusion. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope she is in the line up for next year. We noticed how hard she worked in the off-season this year to lose weight and get in “basketball shape”. We know she is dedicated.)

- Jeanette and JJ are definitely a step slow with their respective injuries. Good to see them in action, though. (okay, we need them to heal, and heal NOW!)

- We score on the first six possessions, looks like the start of a rout, then no field goals for the next 10 minutes. (Yes, this inconsistency is driving us crazy. Our top two guards being hurt haven’t helped, but we should not be this schizophrenic! Nneka is the only consistent one, and then coach Tara VanDerveer took her out for most of the first half!)

- Really needed a tinkle bell for tonight. Joslyn was all over the court - blocking shots, crashing the offensive glass, even draining a three. Easily her best game of the year - she is really starting to mature. (Six blocks, nine points, and it sounds like you had to be there to really appreciate her performance)

- Talisa Rhea is the best pure shooter in the Pac-10. Also does a great job of creating off the dribble. Ros was in her face for most of the game and she still scored something like 26. OSU a bit one-dimensional, though. (We did hear Talisa Rhea's name a lot and she shot the lights out. We didn't know that Ros Gold-Onwude was in her face and contesting her, making her performance all the more spectacular. Interesting to hear you say OSU is one-dimensional. That can separate okay teams from great teams by having a consistent supporting cast, and Stanford used to have that in the first half of the year. I am begin to think that little "mini-NCAA" tournament, with games at Duke, Tenn. and UConn wore us out. It was our focus, and we did it well, and now we have let up emotionally and psychically.)

- Free-throw shooting down the stretch was sensational - I think 12 in a row from Kayla, Jayne and Nekka. Kayla hit both ends of three straight 1-and-1's. (Right, this ain’t high school! And every point counts!)

- Crowd was disappointing for a good Pac-10 team playing the #2 team in the country. Had to be less than 1,000. They\'re offering a "fill the seats" day for Cal on Saturday - general admission for $1. 2,000, maybe? (yes, disappointing turn-out. OSU, did you promote this game?)

- Overall, a good game to watch though definitely not our best. Will see the Cardinal again in Eugene on Saturday. (Yes, what a game that will be. At least we get to see it on TV. Send us your personal observations, TG!)

Stanford vs. Oregon State

C and R open up their computers to get to that stupid Gametracker going when we suddenly remember KZSU streams their radio feed of the game live on the Internet. We tune that in and like the interplay of the two announcers.

They warn Stanford not to look ahead to Saturday’s game against high-flyin’ and high-scorin’ Oregon. Good advice. They tell us Jeanette Pohlen is in hose and good to go. Must be the black tights we saw Melanie Murphy wearing to keep her legs warm and avoid injury. Pohlen is listed as day to day with her ankle sprain. Lindy LaRocque will start in her place, her second start of the year. The last thing we learn is that Stanford is wearing their black road uniforms C and R love so much.

Nneka wins the jump and then does everything else for the next 8 minutes or so, scoring 6 points until she picks up first foul. Head Coach Tara VanDerveer pulls her and C and R groan. She’s our go-to offensive player, our steady hand. The announcers say Ros Gold-Onwude is playing aggressively on offense, driving in and not backing down, but she is not consistent enough in her shooting to make up for Nneka being gone.

Pohlen comes into the game and later, JJ Hones, so it is good to see our injured point guards are able to play. Joslyn Tinkle comes in and we shake our imaginary tinkle bells. The announcers tell us that Tinkle, a former two-time Montana Gatorade Player of the Year, is guarding another former Montana Gatorade player of the year, Oregon State’s Kirsten Tilleman. Wonder if they ever played against each other? I mean, Montana’s a big state…hee hee, just a little dig to Joslyn and our head coach of our little girls team!

With all this subbing and Nneka on the bench, Stanford stays stuck on 13 points. Oregon shoots a rainbow three and by the crowd’s reaction, we know before the announcers tell us that Oregon is up now 13-14 with about 8:45 left in the game.

Then Stanford hits their own three, shot by bench player Michelle Harrison of all people, to put us up 16-14. The teams trade points until they are tied at 19 and the announcers say not the kind of play you expect from the number two team in the country. Ouch, that hurts. Then one announcer says how can a team like Oregon state that doesn’t have a player over 6’1 contain Stanford’s tall trees? He backs it up with stats, saying Oregon State has 17 rebounds to Stanford’s 8 with 3:38 left. And Oregon State’s Talisa Rhea has 17 points!

Stanford gets the last shot, and Kayla makes it plus the foul. She is a good enough shooter to make the bonus shot and Stanford takes a 29-27 lead (barely) into the locker room. Ohhh, wonder what Tara is going to say?

One bright spot is that our Miss Montana Joslyn Tinkle has four blocks.

The half starts with Jayne Appel scoring over their Miss Montana, and then not wanting to be out shown by our Miss Montana, makes a block of her own on the other end. Jayne follows that with another score over Montana Tilleman. The third time is not the charm, as Jayne tries to go over her again, and instead gets called for the offensive charge. Jayne was not happy getting bested by Montana.

So Stanford puts in Montana Tinkle, their Montana misses and our Montana scores over their Montana. Then our Montana blocks her fifth shot of the game. Our Montana misses but Nneka puts it back in and then on a fast break, our Montana hits a three! The score is 40-32 with about 15 minutes to go, to give Stanford their largest lead of the second half. Is anyone else on the floor? The announcers seem to be calling nothin’ but Joslyn’s name.

During a time out, the announcers struggle for something to say so they concentrate on the game of music chairs being played on the court. They mention it is funny, but no one is there to see it, estimating there is only about 750 fans. Only 750 people came out to see the number two team in the country? I blame marketing. When Stanford came to Gonzaga this year, the school advertised this was the highest seed to come to their gym and they filled the place. Did Oregon State publicize this match-up? Oregon State took the lead, imagine if they had a bigger home crowd to cheer them on and help them gain momentum?

Tinkle is fouled and she makes both. Good, then C and R do not have to remind the rookie that “this ain’t high school” and every point counts. The score is 42-34 with 12:39 left in the game. Joslyn has 9 points so far, which is good as Jayne Appel is in foul trouble and on the bench.

JJ comes in and when she inbounds the ball, she throws it right to Oregon State. JJ fouls, and then fouls again as they are shooting and she is just not in the rhythm of the game. VanDerveer pulls her.

Rhea makes herself know again, already having 24 points and stealing from Tinkle as she is shooting. How do you steal the ball when someone is shooting? The score is 42-39 and our lead is only three. Tinkle comes out and Jayne come in. Jayne gets the next rebound and is fouled. Come on, Jayne, we need you to take up the slack.

We get four-for-four free throw shooting from Kayla and Jayne. Then they call Jayne for a charge and that is her fourth foul. She goes out but Tinkle comes in for her so let’s hope there is not a drop off. Nneka makes both of her free throws and we are up 54-45 with about five minutes left.

Stanford solves their rebounding problem and is in control for the last five minutes. The subs come in with 40 seconds left. KSZU gets pulled off the air but we see Stanford wins 63-47. Yes, we also turned on GameTracker to get the stats. Funny, Kayla Pederson is listed as having 23 points. When did she score? We were so obsesses with Tinkle we must have missed her points. Tinkle did end up with 6 blocks, which we are sure is a career high and matches Jayne Appel’s career high for blocks.

KZSU comes back online and announce they are going to talk to Tinkle. They also say the official stats only credited Tinkle with 2 blocks, and we are not sure if they mean for the second half. GameTracker had her at 6.

A win is a win, no matter how ugly, but we have to do better against Oregon on Saturday. Hey, the powers that be is actually broadcasting the game on TV at 11AM. Look for it on your local cable channels. Should be an interesting game!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

PAC-10 News

PS
Check out C and R’s comments on Swish Appeal, your happening place for PAC-10 news and reviews. Q McCall asks in his Pac-10 Week in Review: Is Stanford Just Bored?

PPS
What was Michael Cooper thinking? At the start of the USC/UCLA post game press conference, USC women's basketball coach Michael Cooper first words were: "[expletive] UCLA”

He has since apologized, according to ESPN.

Another blogger wrote something like, “What was the big deal? And it's just college.” So of course we had to chime in:

We say, yes, it does matter that Michael Cooper is at an institute of higher learning, that he is a coach, educator and role model to his players and the University at large, and that he is to lead the way in graciousness, sportsmanship and class for the University he represents. This was not some “trash talking” that he did in a private arena; say in his practice or in a hallway or among friends. This was in a very public arena, a press conference, one of the ways to help publicize the sport of women’s basketball. They were the first words out of his mouth! Unacceptable. Is this the type of attitude we want to teach any player, male or female? In these days where you have parents getting in physical altercations with opposing players’ parents and coaches and even officials (witness the case of the hockey coach who confronted a referee after a game and knocked him to the ground, only to have the ref hit his head on the ice and die), we need some civility, grace, and sportsmanship in our sports, and we need the leaders to be the coaches at colleges and universities, including a high profile one like USC and Michael Cooper.

Stanford Celebrates National Association for Girls and Women in Sport Day January 30th

Help Stanford celebrate National Association for Girls and Women in Sport Day (NGWSD) at their January 30th home game against Arizona, game time 2 PM. To help celebrate Girls in Sports Day, $4 GA tickets for all girls 14 and under. It is also Girl Scout Day, with $4 GA tickets for all Girl Scout troops, and they’re having a Camper Reunion, featuring $1 admission when you wear your women's basketball camp T-shirt. Whew!

National Association for Girls and Women in Sport Day (NGWSD) is celebrated nationally February 3rd, 2010. Thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Stay Strong, Play On." It is sponsored by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD).

No excuses, think of that young girl in your life and then take her to the game. And her friends. Take a bunch of girls! Bring your tinkle bells. We were set to take our little girls basketball team, but then we found out we have a game at 4 PM. We are working on getting that changed so we can all go together.

See ya at the game!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Put a Ring On It

Talking to friends, we decided if we get thrown out for tinkle bells, we’d make a T-Shirt saying, “I got thrown out for tinkling!”

Speaking of shirts, where oh where can C and R get those black t-shirts that say, “Put a Ring On It” with a picture of red hand? At first we thought someone was just “Glee Happy” but then we finally got the joke that Stanford wants a championship ring, not BeyoncĂ©’s song. And if you don’t know what the heck we are talking about, you need to get yourself a teenager to show you how to operate You Tube to look up the “Glee” videos where they use that song, especially when they use it to win the football game, it’s a hoot!

Oh, wait, found the "Put a Ring on it" - Glee football scene:


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogging with Nneka Ogwumike

Hey, Nneka blogs, too! Stanford sophomore extraordinaire Nneka Ogwumike wrote a blog about the team’s different personality types as they prepare for the game. And she’s fun-nay!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stanford vs. Washington

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!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Odds and Ends

Hi All, C here to jot a few quick notes before we coach our little girl’s basketball team and head to the Stanford game vs. Washington. (So if I make more typos than normal, you’ll understand I am under a self-imposed deadline!)

First, cute blog by Joslyn Tinkle at the Fast Break Club Website. She almost had me there….

Second, the tinkle bells, the ones we shake for Joslyn Tinkle got mentioned on KZSU, the Stanford radio station that also streams the Stanford Women’s Basketball Games free on the internet. This is what our fan, let’s name him TG, wrote to us: (yes, we have a few fans now not named Mom).

“Tinkle bells were mentioned prominently (and quite favorably) by the KZSU announcers during the WSU game. Something like "the Stanford fans are tinkling their bells in recognition of Joslyn Tinkle as she goes to the foul line. Nice to see that kind of fan enthusiasm in support of a young player."

Thanks, KZSU! and TG.

And MK writes: HECK NO - OUR BELLS WON'T GO!!
ALL POWER TO THE TINKLERS!!

Hee hee, love it!

Then, someone actually asked C and R’s opinion on Stanford Women’s Basketball and we said, do you have three hours? Anyway, Q McCall of Swish Appeal, a great new PAC-10 Women’s Basketball blog asked us some questions about Stanford and printed our responses here. Well, actually, just C responded because R was busy making a living so she could afford the Stanford season tickets, and he made us sound waaaaay better and more intelligent than we really are.

The title of the article is: How Can Anyone (Not Named UConn) Beat Stanford? Check it out.

And incidentally, if you always wanted to be a blogger like C and R, or think you can blog better than C and R (Not a hard thing to do) then you can sign up to Swish Appeal and start adding you fan posts.

See ya at the game (late).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stanford vs. Washington State

Well, the Washington State game went pretty much as expected and C and R could write a boring post about how we dominated, which I am sure we will do anyway, but don’t stop reading until the end because the most exciting thing happened after the game.

C and R got to meet Mr. Tinkle.

Really! No lie! And yes, he is an actual person who does exist. And so nice! Okay, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Slog though the details and then stick around to the end.

When C and R get inside Maples Pavilion for the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team vs. Washington State, the first thing C notices is Hannah Donaghe is out of the “black sweat suit of injury” and suited up for the game. Yay! She has been out with a torn ACL for almost a year now. And there’s Mel in tights. Guard Melanie Murphy, who has been fighting off a knee injury, is in black tights, probably to keep her muscles warm. We know all about that from the time R had torn her calf muscle playing basketball and she had to wear similar gear to keep her muscles warm and avoid reinjury. But oh no, other guard JJ Hones is wearing the black sweats. Her knee is giving her trouble again. Not good.

Nneka Ogwumike wins the jump and we are off to the races. It starts out being a Nneka highlight show. She is everywhere, scoring at will. A pull up 15-foot jumper, because no one expects it, driving in and leaping practically to the rim over smaller players. Center Jayne Appel, playing at the high post to give Nneka room to create these incredible drives passes up a chance to score and feeds it to Nneka coming closer to the basket for a rebound. The next two times Nneka tries to return the favor to Jayne by passing up shots to pass it back to her, but she is forcing it and both times it leads to turnovers. R loves the unselfishness of Nneka’s play, not caring to just pad her stats against a smaller team.

Then we see Nneka holding her right elbow and grimacing in pain. She keeps her elbow limp at her side for two offensive series. We want to rush onto the court and call timeout, as protective of her as we are the little girls we coach. She finally does get subbed out and her elbow taped, comes in, then has to go out again to put a protective sleeve on it. Will this be a problem? For Nneka, no. She goes back to being a one-woman highlight show, jumping so high for rebounds and shooting at the top of her leap and making just about everything. And this one steal where she jumped through the air, breathtaking.

Joslyn Tinkle comes in around the 15-minute mark and C and R defiantly shake their tinkle bells. Well, it is hard to look defiant shaking cute little tinkle bells, but we reported in our last post that a fan wrote in saying noise makers are banned from basketball games and now C’s grand experiment is to see how long it will be before she is kicked out of a game for a tinkle bell. No one really seems to notice or care and C is disappointed.

Okay, you know when you go to the Opera or the Symphony or a play…what, why yes, C and R are cultured, we don’t just eat, sleep and play basketball… well okay, we do the eating and sleeping part... a lot… wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, so if you come late to the Opera, Symphony or a play, they won’t seat you until there is a break in the action, like the fifth movement, the second act, or the fat lady sings, and C and R would love it if those rules applied to basketball. People always come to the game late, always next to our section and stand for five minutes with tickets in hand asking, “Is that our seat, is that our seat?” blocking our view of the action on the floor. Then C and R look like that classic bobbing bird toy leaning forward and back to try and keep up with the action.

It happens once again to us, and then a few minutes later, two more latecomers stand right in front of our row! C rolls her eyes and R says isn’t that our friend, the one you play basketball with on Wednesdays? Yes, it is our friend, we will call her N, so we now feel compelled to shout, “Down in front,” and “You are not allowed to sit here, you bum!”

Yes kids, being friends gives you license to be cruel. N looks up and smiles at the cruelty and says, “What are the odds of us seeing you guys here? And sitting in the same row?” N and her friend A are sitting in the same row as we are, but four seats away. In between us is another long-term season ticket holder, here without her family this time, and we are rude all night shouting down the row at each other. Apologies to her!

C asks N if she brought any tinkle bells with her and N answers no, C reaches into her bag of extras and passes down two. C tells her to ring them whenever Tinkle touches the ball. Tinkle is, in fact, in the game at this moment and dives on the ground for a loose ball. She lands hard, but C and R love her hustle. C shouts down to N to shake her tinkle bell for that play. N shouts back, “Which one is Tinkle?”

C apologizes again to our fellow ticket holder that N is really not much of a basketball fan and we don’t know why she bothers coming to the games… N would punch C if she were closer, but if we can’t tease our friends, who can we tease? N pantomimes drinking and mouths, “Wanna go out after the game?”

It is a school night for C and R, but we mouth back okay because N is about the funniest person we know and could probably write this blog ten times better! We shout different locations back and forth at each other, not hearing a word either of us says and then guard Melanie Murphy comes in and is driving to the hoop! We love to see such aggressive guard play and hope she can stay uninjured in her tights.

Half time is 42-19 and the Stanford band shout “2X plus 4, where X is your score!” If C had known there was going to be algebra problem-solving she would have brought a calculator, the one her son “forgot” to bring to Algebra II all last year.

The second half opens with Washington State scoring the first 6 points and us going scoreless for the first three minutes. Oh no, we hope this is not a repeat of the last two games where we are up by a lot at half and let them back in the second half. Not to worry. Nneka keeps scoring and Jayne keeps blocking. Jayne would end up with 6 blocks, matching her career high.

Then, at about the 17 and a half-minute mark, a pile of players goes down, with Jeanette Pohlen at the bottom. She is down for a long time and C thinks it might be a concussion. She sits up and it is clear she is in pain. When she does stand up, she puts no weight on her ankle. Oh no, she sprained the same ankle against Cal as well, and we hope this is not serious. She makes her way to the locker room and we don’t see her the rest of the night. Injuries never come at an opportune time, but with almost all our guards banged up, this could be very hurtful.

The subs come in a little earlier than usual and we are glad to see our starters get some rest. One distressing thing was Kayla Pederson’s shot. She uncharacteristically missed a lot. She was 4-12 from the field, including missing all 4 of her three-point shots. Hmmm, that’s two games in a row she has not shot well. Let’s hope that gets corrected. She did end up with 13 points and 10 boards, always a contributor.

We win easily 80-43. Nneka was high scorer with 22 points and 13 rebounds, another double double. Jayne had 14 points and 9 rebounds, just missing a double double.

We tell N and A to spread out for the red victory balls and tell them to knock down anyone who gets in your way, much like N plays basketball! None get thrown to C and R, bummer, but C sees a red ball hit the empty seat right in front of N and she doesn’t get her hands on it. It falls to the floor and someone else scoops it up. OMG, she had a chance and she missed! Just like she plays basketball! No, really, C can kid N because one, she is her friend and two, N admitted she NEVER HAS READ OUR BLOG! So now we can really say whatever we want about her!

C and R make our way down to the stands opposite the Stanford bench, where our other friend, N is seated. Let’s call her Coach N, because she is the head coach of our little girl’s basketball team. She was at the game with her daughter, sister, and nieces. C and R did notice they were throwing shirts every time we made a three-pointer to the same section, the one where they were sitting, and we hoped our girls would be the recipients of this bounty. Sure enough they had shirts! Atta girls.

Then Coach N said to a very tall man, “This is the one that started the tinkle bells!”

The very tall man stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Wayne Tinkle, Joslyn’s dad.” C and R shook his hands and were in heaven. Wayne was so nice and warm and friendly. He also is the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Montana, and he had such an easy rapport with us, with the kids, we can bet he is great with his team. His team is playing Sacramento State this weekend and he flew here to see this game, coach his team Friday, then see another of Joslyn’s game Saturday. Cool!

We told him we just heard it is illegal to bring noisemakers to the game so we would be honored to be the first ones thrown out for tinkle bells. He appreciated our rebel spirit. We tell him that someone heard the bells and instead of saying Tinkle, she said Jingle and he likes that nickname, too. We gave him his very own tinkle bell, because what good Stanford basketball fan doesn’t carry around a plastic bag full of bells, and he promised to ring it Saturday, and ain’t nobody throwing out Tinkle’s dad!

Then he said his wife reads our blogs and so we want to give a warm California shout out to Mrs. Tinkle, a former DI basketball player herself. Your daughter is enjoying her stay in our fair state and she really didn’t land that hard on the floor like we said in the beginning of this loooong post. She was fine, absolutely fine. Bounced right back up, don’t you worry. Everything’s fine! Boy, she can shoot a mean three!

Anyway, bring your banned tinkle bells to honor Joslyn and Mr. Tinkle to the Washington game on Saturday. C’s got extra if you need them. Kids get in for a buck with a paid adult admission. We are bringing most of our little girl’s team after our game. See ya there!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jingle All the Way

OMG, another fan just wrote to C and R! (Woo Hoo!) With some not so good news (Boo-woo-hoo?)

She said, hey dummies, don’t you know artificial noisemakers like tinkle bells are banned from college games. Well, okay she didn’t say “artificial”. No just kidding, she didn’t call us dummies (that we could see in print anyways). However, C and R did always wonder about that in our grand experiment to honor Stanford freshmen Joslyn Tinkle by shaking “tinkle bells”. We knew it was frowned upon to say, bring an air horn to a basketball game. But harmless little tinkle bells, how can you ban them, NCAA? So now part of our grand experiment will be to see how long it will be before C gets kicked out of a Stanford game. I mean Jayne Appel got tossed for the first time this year, why can’t I? I will defend to my death for my right to shake tinkle bells! Hey, could be a catchy T-Shirt.

But seriously, what do they do if someone has an artificial noisemaker? If say, 100 people are ringing the bells, what do they do? Do they kick out all 100? Take them away one by one? Or do they punish the home team? If so, we should go to Cal and bring noisemakers and air horns and fire crackers maybe, hee hee, and get them a bazillion technicals. Well, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Not expecting a big crowd tonight against for the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team against PAC-10 opponent Washington State due to the strength of the opponent and a rare Thursday game, hard for the work-a-holic Bay Area to get away. Bring your athletic shoes to recycle, and your tinkle bells.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PAC-10 POW Again

Nneka Ogwumike was named PAC-10 Player the Week for her help in beating USC and (barely) beating UCLA. She scored 21 points each time and pulled down 12 and 9 boards, respectively. More importantly to C and R, she made all three of her free throw attempts in the first game and missed only one of 12 attempts in the second game. A huge improvement over last year when she would miss her free thorws. A lot. And some of the free throws were under pressure. She was four for four in the last two minutes when we needed them most to beat UCLA 65-61. She is like a rock this year.

This Player of the Week Award is Nneka’s third honor of the year, taking over Kayla Pederson’s record of two this year.

In other news, C and R completely forgot we have a home game Thursday against Washington State. Be there with bells on (literally!). Then another home game Saturday against the Washington Huskies.

Just wanted to let you know,
Thursday, Jan 14th. 7 PM against Washington State is Recycling Night (Recycle a pair of used athletic shoes and get a $4 GA ticket). Even if you have tickets or plan to buy a more expensive seat, bring your old athletic shoes to get recycled.

For the Saturday Washington game, lots of stuff going on.
First, there is a Stanford Basketball Clinic open to boys in grades 3-6 and girls in grades 3-8, cost is $10/child. This Saturday, Jan 16th, 12:30 to 1:30 before the Washington Game at 2 PM. Call Sarah to reserve your place or if you have questions about the clinic, contact:
Sarah Boruta
Stanford Women's Basketball
Video Coordinator
517-242-8683

Game time on Saturday: 2:00 PM with a special promotion: Take A Kid to the Game Day ($1 GA tickets for kids 14 and under when accompanied by a paying adult). Then the whole Stanford Women's basketball team will come out for a meet and greet autograph session Jan 16th after the Washington Game.

See ya there.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

UCLA

Well, first of all, readers this year will notice something new about C and R. We have fans not related to us in anyway! And not one, but two, two fans reached out to us and told us to stop watching that stupid Gametracker and listen to Stanford’s low-powered radio station… over the Internet! Cue Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” and don’t C and R feel stupid. Yes, we knew of Stanford’s radio station, KSZU, but thought you could only get it on your radio if you lived near Stanford. Then our fans told us the radio station is streamed live over that there Internet. Will wonders never cease?

So as we are waiting for the 2 PM start between the Stanford Women’s Basketball team and UCLA, we turn on the TV. Yes, yes, we KNOW our game will not be on TV, but we see that there is women’s college basketball on TV. Who is it? Why it’s Tennessee, ranked lower then us, playing Memphis, which is not ranked in the top 25. And on pay per view women’s college basketball is Rice and Tulane, both teams not ranked in the top 25. Then at 2 PM, there is a televised women’s college basketball game, between Marshall and Southern Miss, both teams NOT RANKED. Why couldn’t they show the #2 team in the country, Stanford? R thinks it is a West Coast/PAC10 bias/conspiracy.

So we fire up the computer and get to the KZSU website. We hear cool Indian music but no game. Then about 2:03, we go to live coverage. We also turn on Gametracker for the stats.

Man, it is hard to follow something as free-flowing, fluid, and quick paced as basketball on the radio. C and R collectively sigh. Ros Gold-Onwude (called RGO by the announcer, George Steinbrenner or something like that, it was hard to tell, our little tin computer speaker is not the greatest), anyhoo, RGO makes two three pointers right off the bat. We are sure head coach Tara VanDerveer is happy about that, what with us starting out 0-13 from three point land last game before we hit a few.

Nneka Ogumike makes a long jumper and we are glad she has permission to break the play off and pull up outside. Then she works inside and it is the Nneka and Ros show, and we are up 13-3, all points from Nneka and Ros.

Joslyn (Jingle) Tinkle comes off the bench and is paired with senior center Jayne Appel instead of for her, and we applaud that decision as we shake our imaginary tinkle bells. Jingle quickly makes a basket.

Soon we are up 21-9, Nneka has nine points and no one on UCLA has more than 2, according to George Steinbrenner on KZSU. Injured guard JJ Hones is struggling with her shot, and we say (to the computer) put Ros back in, she was on fire! And this is not the first time we have questioned Tara VanDerveer’s decisions.

Interesting, the announcer says UCLA is playing us “player to player” instead of “man to man”, and C and R discuss this. C does not mind the “man to man” tag when women are playing basketball, as she feels it has lost its gender designation. She says that is what anyone calls it, such as saying everyone is an “actor”, not designating the difference between men and women, actor and actress. R likes that the announcer is aware of the gender difference and there is a flaw in C’s argument because “actor” does not mean “man” or “woman”, whereas “man to man” means MAN. This is also not the first time R has disagreed with C.

The Internet announcer says this is a slow game for Stanford offensively but they are playing great defense. Gametracker says UCLA is shooting 21%. We hate to say, no offense and slow defense makes boring basketball and Jack a dull boy.

Melanie Murphy comes in for JJ, and she is our second injured guard. We are killing UCLA, and they are currently tied with us for the lead in the PAC-10. At halftime, it is 34-18, and they got a quick score by stealing and getting basket in the final seconds. The announcer says Stanford got off to hot start but has cooled off.

Uh oh, that’s what we did at USC and we let them back into the game, with them coming within 9 points. C hopes that we don’t repeat this mistake in the second half. R votes we turn on that episode of Glee with all that hair, and they sing that song from “Hair”. She thinks we have this game in the bag.

We get the Glee DVD in and going, and believe you me, it takes C and R a long time to find the right DVD, find the right remote, and find the right menu to get to the Hair episode and find the right button to make it play. While we are doing all that, we see that UCLA has come within 7 points after five minutes have gone by in the second half. It is 40-31. Oh no, just like in the USC game.

We start to pay attention. GameTracker stats shows that Nneka has 4 fouls at the 12 minute mark. Jayne gets her fourth at the 9 minute mark. But Ros (RGO) has 16 points. Way to go, Ros. UCLA closes to within 5 points at the 8 minute mark. Come on, clock, we need time to run out so we can outlast them. Jayne fouls out at the 2:44 mark. We are only up by 3! C and R can’t remember anyone fouling out this year, and in Jayne’s four year career, only once or twice before. This is not good.

Ros comes in for Jayne and our spirits lift. Ros goes for a lay up! We hold our breath. Ros misses a lay up. But wait, Nneka gets the rebound and puts it back in. We are leading 59-54. Nneka gets fouled and makes both. She is fouled almost immediately after that and makes two more to make us go ahead 63-59. GameTracker says Nneka is 11-12 from the free throw line. The announcer says she has improved so much over her freshmen year when she would miss a lot of free throws. C and R remember, always shouting at her, “This ain’t high school!” when she missed. (Oh hey, the word “freshmen” is applied to men and women in their first year of something, without regard to “gender” just like “man to man”, but I digress).

So anyhoo, UCLA races down the court and makes a jumper and 63-61, a 2 point lead for Stanford with 1:06 left! Kayla misses a jumper and C and R stop breathing. After 50 million time outs UCLA has the ball with 9 seconds and they inbound. Jeanette Pohlen, with only 6 points all game, blocks their shot. Nneka grabs the ball and gets it to Ros and UCLA quickly fouls her with 4 seconds left! Ros makes both (good, because this ain’t high school) and we are up 65-61. We hang on to win by that score.

Ros had a career high 18 points. Nneka had 21 points and 9 rebounds, missing a chance at a consecutive double double. Jayne finished with 10, limited by her foul trouble. Kayla Pederson, the only player to play all 40 minutes, had an uncharacteristic 6 points. She hasn’t scored in single figures in a while.

The announcer sums it up by saying Stanford did not play well in the second half, letting UCLA get 43 points. When we played UConn, we lead at the half then played a horrible second half. We shouldn’t be repeating that mistake, even with lesser teams, as UCLA proved they just might take the second half.

Next up Washington at home and no more GameTracker. Bring a pair of sneakers, get in free. Also, little girls clinic before the game and meet the team for autographs afterwards. Whew. Welcome home, Stanford.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

USC

With heavy hearts C and R turn on our respective computers to watch the stupid GameTracker, the online version of live stats (Yes, this is blog #862 complaining about Women’s basketball NEVER BEING ON NETWORK TV!).

To backtrack, C came over to R’s house to watch the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team take on USC. We turned on our two computers because GameTracker freezes up all the time, usually around the 17-minute mark, so we thought that with constantly refreshing our screens we could see the majority of the game. As C’s computer is booting up, R reminds her we have three hurt point guards. C does her best Homer Simpson imitation (Don’t forget to tune in to the Simpson’s 20th Anniversary Hour Sunday) and says, “D’oh!”

When GameTracker finally starts we see Jeanette Pohlen, one of the three hurt guards playing. Well, she did just have a sprained ankle and not the knee swelling of the other two. We read, not see, that Kayla Pederson makes a basket, Nneka Ogwumike has a fast break lay up, Jayne Appel makes a block…and suddenly we are up 30-7. It looks like a great game…that we are missing! (Blog #862 and a half about women’s basketball not being televised…)

During that time, Jayne is on a tear and we hope she is back to her old self and not bothered by her knee. Joslyn Tinkle comes in with Jayne instead of for Jayne, a rarity that they get to play together, and as we shake our imaginary tinkle bells, we cannot help but think of her new, inadvertent nickname, Jingle. Then we read Jingle misses a three! Jayne rebounds and puts it in, and R notes that is something Jingle can do that Jayne can’t, and that is hit a three. An interesting dimension for her, one we might need to explore more next year when we don’t have Jayne.

With the constant freezing of our scoreboard and refreshing R notices USC finally gets to double digits with 8:58 left in the first half, with them hitting a three to go from 9 to 12 points. We are killing them. JJ Hones has come in, injured guard number 2, so her knee must be feeling better.

Kayla now grows cold, and is 5 for 9 from the field. Jingle fouls and gets subbed out, replaced by Jayne, which is more common, and now it is 33-16. They have almost half our score. Nneka gets cold, making misses. Is this a comeback?

Then we don’t score for 2 and a half minutes. Then it is 35-21, us. Then our computers freeze. Then Kalya gets her tenth rebound with 5:46 left in the half. Wow, she is already in double digits for rebounds in the first half.

Okay, we are enjoying the one perk seeing the game this way in that can see instant stats. For example, we are shooting 53% to their 35% and have 22 rebounds to their 7. Yes, they only have 7 rebounds. Then JJ Hones misses a three and then comes right back and misses another three. We are 0-8 from three-point land. Not good.

The half ends 39-25, with us in the lead. GameTracker pops up a screen saying Kayla leads with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Jayne with 8 points and 8 rebounds. How symmetrical!

We start to watch a rerun of Glee while we are waiting for GameTracker to start the second half. It’s the one where that woman from Wicked comes on to corrupt our sweet innocent kids from McKinley High. Oh wait, the second half starts.

Okay, watching this exciting game from GameTracker is boring and writing a blog about watching little chess pieces shoot an imaginary ball is boring and I can only imagine reading about watching stats is VERY boring so let’s just say nothing eventful happened in the second half and skip ahead to the rest of Glee.

Except USC closed the gap to within 9. How? Well, the score is 43-34 and we see we are 0-12 from the three-point line until Jeanette finally hits one to go 1-13. We also have a lot of turnovers. Then JJ Hones hits not one but two three pointers. With about 13 minutes left, we have 41 rebounds to their 18 yet 7 turnovers to their 3. That is not good. Then we pull away.

Jingle, Tinkle makes a three pointer and we wonder what her career high is? We are now 6-20 from three-point land but our instant stats say that is a magical 30%. Anything over 30% from the three-point line is good, so we have somehow salvaged our three point shooting percentage. C swears she sees Melanie Murphy’s name in the game, which would make her injured guard number 3 to be better, but we read later she did not play. Hmmm, GameTracker….

Then the Internet goes down. We are not sure if it is the entire Internet in the whole wide world or just the wireless at R’s house. We get back on with a few minutes to go and the subs are coming in. R predicts we are going to win. We do, 82-62. Kayla finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds and Nneka added 21 points and 12 boards. Jayne alllll-most got a double double, too, finishing with 11 points and 9 rebounds. We out rebounded USC 54-27, great, but had triple the turnovers then USC, not great. We need to take better care of the ball or else that could come back to haunt us.

We also beat first year had coach Michael Cooper, who came from the WNBA and coaching Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker. So far this year USC have beat three Top 25 teams this season and thought they could make Stanford the fourth. So ha, um… we beat you! (Okay, C was never any good at trash talk). BTW, we just found out former Trojan Lisa Leslie showed up to the game in support of USC. Cool. Too bad we couldn’t see her!

Stanford continues their LA road trip by playing UCLA Sunday. Guess what, not televised. Aren’t you shocked? Better fire up GameTracker now to be ready.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Swell

Ahhhhh, all three of our point guards are hurt! Well, all three are swelling. Yes, we know they are swell, but some of their body parts are swelling, making them unable to practice.

Jeanette Pohlen was knocked to the floor in the Cal game and sprained her ankle. She got it taped but returned to action in the game, a move C and R questioned (when are we not questioning head coach Tara VanDerveer?) as we were leading by a lot. Now her ankle is still swelling. Both JJ Hones and Mel Murphy have swelling in their respective knees. JJ is coming off of ACL surgery and Mel was out the previous five weeks with her knee injury. Too bad because Mel looked good in her second game back, taking care of the ball and scoring a career high 11 points.

We do have senior Ros Gold-Onwude who has given some steady minutes and Tara can always use 6’4” Kayla Pederson as point guard!

Oh, faithful readers will know we are attempting a grand experiment this year with shaking our “tinkle bells” for freshmen Joslyn Tinkle. One such reader reported that as Tinkle came into the Cal game and the tinkle bells were ringing she heard the lady behind her say, “Oh look, here comes Jingle.” Well, I guess you could say our experiment half-worked!

Although…. C and R are now warming to the “jingle” nickname! Joslyn Jingle, it has a cute ring-- ar, ar, ar pun intended!

Okay, USC on Friday, with or without a point guard. No TV coverage, but what did you expect? Gametracker it is. See ya on the computer

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cal

So PAC-10 play opened with a game against archrival Cal. It was a strange game. Stanford was totally off, and you have to wonder if there is a letdown from playing a NCAA-type schedule that got progressively harder. They were probably focusing so hard on Tennessee and UConn, that the rest of the season seems an afterthought. Hmmm, might want to rethink scheduling two big games in a row so early in the season.

The game was strange in that Stanford keep missing easy shots, put backs and even lay-ups, yet kept the lead. The paper reported Stanford made their first two baskets then missed 14 in a row, and 21 of 23 shots to keep Cal within 4. So Cal is still losing when we miss 14 straight and misses 21 out of 23? Cal started 4 freshmen, (there were a lot of turnovers, 11 in the first half and they certainly did not function as a team) and I wonder how that feels to the “old timers” who have put in the work?

The good news is we got a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half. The bad news is we kept missing the basket. Most series we would get two or three attempts to put it back in and kept missing. Some of the misses were due to rough play and zero whistles by the refs. Poor Jayne Appel. She didn’t seem herself. She was 2-for-11 in the first half, and missed a lot of inside shots, her specialty. And she made a beautiful transition play, anticipating the Stanford rebound, out in front on the fast break, Kayla chucked it down court, Jayne all alone, and MISSED! Jayne still looks like her knee is still hurting, wearing a knee brace.

Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said after the game that “…this is not a game where Jayne was effective,” however she acquiesced that Jayne is playing in the high post to give room to Nneka Ogwumike to create. But this is what I admire and respect about Tara. The next thing out of her mouth after saying Jayne was not effective is, “But one of the great things about Jayne is that even though she's struggling, she didn't get down; she stays in the game, keeps playing hard.” I really like that she comes back with something positive about her player in public.

Speaking of Nneka, she did create. I love that when she is waiting for the other Stanford players to run around in their set offense and when no one is open, she takes it inside and spins left or right, or jumps high for a jumper. Stanford has needed that kind of player for along, long time. She finished with 24 points. Also impressive was Melanie Murphy. She was inserted for ball-handling duties as Cal was harassing Jeanette Pohlen. She not only handled the ball well, but scored a career-high 11 points and had a great no look pass to Nneka on a fast break.

Alexis Gray-Lawson, the lone hold out from last years team, playing with the four freshmen, hit a three in the closing seconds to make it 35-24 at half. It wasn’t until later we realized it was her only points of the first half. And even more later we read she was the ninth Cal player to reach 1,500 points in a career.

But enough of boring stats you can get anywhere. We took our little girls basketball team. We all had tinkle bells in the ready. C even passed them out to her seatmates. Joslyn Tinkle got in the game early and often, and you could hear the tinkle bells throughout Maples. Let C and R tell you what happened after the game.

So our little girl’s basketball coach is from Montana and played college ball there. Joslyn Tinkle is from Montana and her dad coaches college ball there. It was arranged the two fellow Montana-ites would meet. As we were waiting, Jayne Appel came out to talk to her family. Our little girls mobbed her for autographs. Jayne could not have been nicer or more gracious. She asked the girls about the game, did they like it, have fun, play basketball themselves? Just very polished and they type of role model all ages could appreciate.

Then Nneka came out. Again, very gracious with the girls, big smile, who wears number 30? She asked if they caught a red victory ball and C’s “No” answer was the loudest and poutiest (Yes, R, C knows that is not a word). She offered to throw a ball their way next time. Both Nneka and Jayne posed for pictures. C and R have heard Tara VanDerveer say she coaches her players to be gracious and be an ambassador for the game, and these players have taken that to heart.

As we were still waiting for Tinkle, we found out the players who did not play a lot of minutes have to do a workout after the game to keep in shape. We were surprised the players had to do that, and the Tinkle had to as well because she played 14 minutes.

Okay, then we were there long enough that we saw almost the entire team. Jeanette Pohlen came out, swollen ankle and all (She got knocked to the basket on one play and left the game to get it taped), JJ Hones (She asked who was the point guard for our team?) Grace Mashore, Ros Gold-Onwude, who only had a few minutes but still graciously signed the posters, and finally a sweaty Tinkle. She knew our Montana coach was waiting and came out as soon as she could. Our girls were already in heaven.

We shook our tinkle bells for her and we asked if she could hear them during the game? She said yeas and her teammates kid her for it. Hee hee. She and our coach talked about Montana and basketball of course they had to compare the weather from sunny, mild northern California to cold and drab Montana. Although both said they missed seeing the beauty of the snow.

Here’s a hint, before the January 16th game against Washington, girls and boys can sign up for the Stanford camp, and after the game, the whole Stanford Women’s Basketball team will come out for an autograph session! See ya there.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Best of the Best of 2009

Good Morning, or should we say good afternoon, depending on when you got up today. With 2010 here, we thought we would talk about 2009. Ya know, ever get tired of Women’s Basketball”? (Blasphemy, I know). Ever wonder what else is going on in the world of women’s sports? Well, now you can get catch up to speed, with the “Best of 2009” From Women’s Talk Sports. The Women Talk Sports Network wanted all of their women bloggers to write a “Best of 2009” Series and link to others. We didn’t really write a best of 2009 blog, because it would just be Stanford, Stanford, Stanford and then all about us and anyway, who can remember what happened the last twelve months when we can barely remember where we parked the car.


Well, okay, now that we think about it, highlights include Stanford beating Tennessee, December 2009 and the first half of the UConn-Stanford game, December 2009, where we were leading. C and R going to the Sacramento Monarchs game on a press pass this summer and interviewing Candice Wiggins and going to the USF-Tennessee game on a press pass in the winter and asking questions of legendary Pat Summit. And oh, we lost to Cal last year and were in danger of losing the PAC-10 regular season and Cal choked and lost its last game to give us the PAC-10 regular season title and the number 1 seed in the PAC-10 tournament, which we won! Hee hee, that was sweet. The February 14th game to support breast cancer research where we beat Cal and Lindy LaRoque did the “Lindy Slide” to knock over Cal’s Alexis Gray Lawson and get the ball to Jill Harmon for an easy score. Sorry, we warned you it would be all Stanford and C and R. Oh, Stanford women’s soccer going undefeated in the regular season and undefeated in the NCAA tournament until the Title Game where they fell 1-0 to powerhouse North Carolina. There, at least it wasn’t all basketball.

Anyhoo, check out the other Women Talk Sports “Best of 2009” blogs. We'll update them as they come in. Tell ‘em C and R sent ya.

More "Best of '09" from other WTS bloggers: