Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stanford at Arizona, Second to last PAC-10 Game

Well, C and R are afraid this will not be a very good run down of the Stanford Women’s Basketball game against Arizona. It wasn’t on TV, of course, and Gametracker was down for every game, at least on our computer. We got KZSU live on the Internet, but it was hard for us to follow the action. But then luck of all luck, a fan who was there courtside sent us a first-person account of the game! Stick around for the end of this post to get an eye-witness view.

We did hear JJ Hones was a starter for Ros. We found out later that Ros Gold-Onwude was in the “black sweat suit of injury” because she took a blow to the head in the win over Arizona State two days ago. They wouldn’t’ come out and say it was a concession, but rather they were being cautious. Well, with all the uproar about t concussions in the news lately, we are glad they are being cautious.

And we did hear when Jayne Appel grabbed her fifth rebound of the game for a total of 1,215. When she did that around the 4-minute mark in the first half, she broke Lisa Leslie’s PAC-10 career rebounding record. Jayne would end up with 8 rebounds and 11 points it the game.

Arizona kept it close in the first and got within 3 in the closing minutes. Stanford had the ball last and Jayne got a lay-up in the closing seconds so we took a shaky 32-27 lead into the locker room.

Then C’s computer asked if I wanted to install updates. C absentmindedly clicked “yes”. Normally her computer installs updates in the background and she can keep working. This time the update was for stupid Windows Media Player, the device that was letting her listen to KZSU. Media Player shut down while it installed 11 updates. Several minutes later, the computer was still on one of 11 updates. (Apple computer fans, no need to write in).

Ten minutes later, C gets KZSU back online and the score is 48-37. Still relatively close. Then Kayla Pedersen hits a three. Then she hits another and now its 54-37 and it doesn’t sound so close anymore Kayla would finish with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Love hearing that Kayla is shooting and scoring, especially in front of friends and family as Kayla is from Arizona. Maybe we should fly them out to every game. Then all of a sudden it’s 64-38 us, with five minutes left and it seems we have really limited their scoring. With about two minutes left and the subs come in. The final score was Stanford 75-48

Next is our Johnny-on-the-spot reporter, who we shall call MA, with his eyewitness account. The remarks in parentheses are C and R’s.

I'm back home from the game, a 75-48 win over Arizona, and ready to give my report. I'm going to try this bullet-point style, since my memory doesn't seem to operate well in linear fashion...

  • I have to note first that player of the game goes to Kayla Pedersen. She was, as always, everywhere on the court, and with Nneka not too involved-more on that later, Kayla couldn't have been more clutch. She was hitting three-pointers, putting in a couple of key put backs, and just generally seemed to be where she needed to be throughout the game. I don't have the box score, but she accounted for at least a third of the team's points.
  • Nneka Ogwumike didn't end up being a factor at all during the first half, primarily because of foul trouble. The trouble all started with a phantom foul call within the first minute or so of the game. One of the Arizona players was coming up the court with the basketball and tripped over her own legs on her way to half-court. Nneka happened to be in the neighborhood, and even though the replay confirmed that Nneka didn't even come close to the other player, she got called for a tripping foul. Tara yanked her right away and put Joslyn Tinkle in -and our bells got to tinkling!. When Nneka went back in somewhere around the 12-minute mark, she got called for another foul pretty quickly -this one legitimate after Nneka didn't get position on a rebound- and came right back out.
  • The upside of Nneka's absence was a good deal of playing time for Joslyn during the first half -not so much during the second, when Nneka stayed in the game for most of the half. We started our bells ringing, and even had an extra set to pass to the Stanford-clad family sitting next to us. They asked whether we had started the whole bells tradition, and we of course deferred credit to the C and R blog. As it turned out, the nice folks sitting next to us were none other than the Tinkle family! Joslyn's grandmother apparently lives nearby, and her mom was there for the game, too. Mama Tinkle reads your blog, you will be happy to know, and loves the whole tinkle bell concept (Yes, C and R did know and a big shout out to Mrs. Tinkle and Family! And Grandma Tinkle, too! We gave a genuine Tinkle bell to Mr. Tinkle when he was at Stanford). I, of course, turned into a gushing fan upon learning who the family was and went on and on about how great we think Joslyn will be for our team. (Oh, aren’t we all just gushing fans?!) Joslyn, for her part, had a quiet but solid performance, getting just a few points but really playing good, active defense.
  • I can't believe I've gone this long without mentioning Jayne, who got her Pac-10-record-setting 1215th rebound during the first half. They played on for a little bit, and during the final media timeout of the first half, the stadium announcer recognized Appel for having broken Lisa Leslie's old record. That's a heck of an accomplishment, and she's not done yet. Any idea what the NCAA record is? (Career NCAA Div 1 record 2,034—Courtney Paris, Oklahoma) Appel wasn't scoring a lot of points today as she got fronted and doubled all game long, but she was still a big presence, getting attention on the offensive end and doing her usual shot-blocking and rebound-gobbling on the defensive end. And I only saw her get beat down the court once during the game, just over halfway through the first half, at which point I told my wife that Jayne was looking a little tired, and Tara apparently overheard me because she promptly subbed Jayne out for a breather.
  • My wife, E, pointed out an amusing thing during the game. One of Arizona's players, who was on Appel most of the game, would frequently supplement her defense by yelling/stuttering "B-b-b-b-b-b!" I couldn't tell whether she was trying to communicate to her teammates-if she was, complete words might have been better or just trying to distract the ball-handler. It was certainly amusing to listen to. (She was probably trying to say “ball”, and then yell “dead” if the player stopped dribbling, a common tactic to unnerve a player, but we are sure wouldn’t bother Jayne)
  • It should be noted that Ros was in pants and a t-shirt for the game today. She got knocked in the head pretty hard while scrambling for a ball Thursday at ASU, and was taken out of the game in what appeared to be a very appropriate precautionary move (we agree!). The Tinkle family told us that Ros suffered a concussion from the incident-not sure of their source, but it was a reasonable inference, so she must have been kept out of today's game to make sure that she recovers. I hope that she's feeling okay and that she's able to come back, but her health is top priority, and I'm glad to see that the team is protecting her. We'll be glad to have her back when she's ready.
  • My last note is a question: what happened to Lindy LaRocque? I haven't noticed her getting much playing time this season, but she did see a fair amount of court time in today's game, probably because of Ros's absence. Lindy used to have more of a swagger, and would shoot the ball anytime she had a little bit of space -and sometimes when she didn't. I don't think she shot the ball once in today's game, even though she had some open looks. Maybe the coaches told her to cut back on her fire-away approach and she took it too much to heart? I, for one, loved her fearlessness, and it just wasn't there today--I hope that's a fluke and not a trend.

OK, I think that about covers what stands out to me. As for the Arizona fans, they weren't a problem because they mostly weren't there. Attendance was barely over 2,000, and there were a sizeable number of Stanford fans accounting for a chunk of that total. Arizona, for their part, didn't get a whole lot done to energize their fans. They did hang around for much of the first half, but this was yet another game in the apparent pattern of Stanford starting slow and allowing teams to stay close until the second half march towards a big win. Ibekwe, their best player-I think you all called her Arizona's version of Nneka- (yes, also baby Nneka and Nneka’s twin) was pretty quiet throughout the first, and didn't start making good-looking plays until it was already too late for them to mean much to the outcome (although we did hear Ibekwe wrapped her arms around Jayne at one point and Jayne got called for the foul). But E and I had a lot of fun. And I hope that you will give a big shout-out on our behalf to the Tinkle family, who were kind enough to lend us their Joslyn's talent for a few more years to come.


More Stanford Goodies at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stanford's Victory at Arizona State

The Stanford Women’s Basketball game vs. Arizona State is, surprise, surprise, on TV, and R, being the resident season ticket holder, gets an email that a local bar in Los Gatos is showing the game and has invited ticket holders and all fans Stanford to attend. Wow. On TV and having the broadcast shown in a sports bar that serves alcohol no less, how lucky can we get? C and R will be there. We are warned it is a rare 6 PM start, so we head down there with plenty of time to get a table and order some food and have a grown up beverage.

C and R nod to the other Stanford fans, all decked out in Stanford gear to show their Stanford support with the added bonus of receiving 15% off their bar bill, hee hee. Then we discover there will be a raffle and prizes! Could this day turn out any better? The prizes are the shirts they throw when Stanford makes a three point shot, which is good because during the Stanford games, they NEVER throw to the section where C and R sit. But wait, there’s more, as they say on TV. There is a grand prize of a Stanford basketball that has been autographed by this year’s team. C wants the grand prize! She asks if they will be throwing the shirts if a three pointer is made and she gets back a non-plussed “No”. Apparently her joie de vie of throwing and grabbing shirts goes unshared with the contest promoter.

As the tables fill, we see our Number One Fan (NOF) come in, and offer her space at our table and we order drinks all around. The game starts and we cannot hear the sound, which is a bummer. We are rooting for Jayne Appel to get 13 rebounds to break Lisa Leslie’s PAC-10 rebounding record. We just have to hope they flash a graphic if she does. Funny thing is we can hear the commercials perfectly.

As the game goes on, C and R start talking to their NOF and we get caught up in our delightful conversation, first on Stanford basketball, and then broader topics at large. It is very engrossing. So much so that we barely register we are up10-0 due to poor Arizona State shooting in the first four minutes. That and we completely forget to make fun of Arizona State’s head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s high heels.

When the first media time out happens, the contest promoter picks a name out of the raffle bin. It is not C nor R, and this is a good thing, C figures, as she now does not want to win the T-Shirt and wants two chances at the grand prize drawing in the end for the basketball. Sure enough, during the third media time out, C’s name gets picked out of the raffle tin and she has won a shirt! Oh well, a prize is a prize. R still has a shot at the basketball. C asks the contest promoter to throw the shirt at her, as if Stanford has just shot and made a three-pointer. He walks over and gives an unenthusiastic throw about three inches to her hands. Sigh.

C did remember to bring her tinkle bell, and she shakes it when Joslyn Tinkle comes in the game. A knowledgeable fan says you can shake it here legally (see, audience members are not allowed to have artificial noise makers at the game, but our small tinkle bell is hardly a “noise-maker’). Tinkle would get 4 points and attempt one three-pointer but missed. Speaking of three pointers, with the shot clock winding down, Jayne had the ball on the three-point line and had to shoot. It had no chance of going in, and hit off the lip of the rim. I think that makes three attempts at three point shots in her career!

Somehow during our conversation, we look up and it is 29-20 with a few seconds to go in the first half. What happened? We wish we could tell you how or why Stanford went so cold, but we kinda weren’t paying attention, Whoopsies, our bad, but in our defense, we were in a bar. The half time graphics for Jayne Appel said she had 10 rebounds, C swears. Imagine her chagrin when she reads it the paper this morning Jayne as only credited with 8 rebounds. Either the conversation was that good or the adult beverages kicked in. Maybe the scorers went back and decided some of the rebounds weren’t legit. We did see Jayne grab a rebound and then fumble it out of bounds. Does that count as a rebound? Well, at least she is only four away from the record with two games left.

We drift in and out of the second half and Stanford just can’t seem to pull away. In fact, Arizona State gets to within 8 around the 14-minute mark. Then Jayne took over, scoring easily. She would end the game with 19 points and her 8 rebounds. Kayla Pedersen would get 12 points, closely followed by Jeanette Pohlen’s 11. We would win 62-43, a low scoring affair.

With this win, Stanford has won the regular season PAC-10 title and the winner of the autographed ball was not R. Still, it was a fun time out with like-minded Stanford fans. We are looking forward to traveling to Cal (C’s sister-in-law magically dropped off two free tickets to the game) to see Stanford in person.

Get more Stanford Goodies at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little This and That for Stanford

C and R are feeling lazy, what with all this rain in Northern CA, and us watching the Olympics and all (and yes, C IS old enough to have heard live Al Michaels exclaim “Do you believe in Miracles?” in the closing seconds of Team USA’s win over the Soviets in ice hockey in 1980. It truly was an amazing sports moment that gave her goose bumps and still makes her a little misty-eyed to this day). Speaking of the Olympics, C’s son is completely riveted by curling. C liked the Simpson’s episode on curling. (I mean come on, a pregnant woman is on the Canadian curling team as an alternate…how hard can it be?). Is it time for Lindsey Vonn to ski again?

Anyhoo, let’s check in with others to see what they have written about the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team.

First of all, Senior Jayne Apple was named the PAC-10 Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. She ties the PAC-10 record for career selections with nine, sharing with our fave of faves, Stanford’s own Candice Wiggins. Yeah, they kinda have to give it to Jayne, who earned her 2000th career point and 1,000 rebounds. She needs just 13 rebounds to break the PAC-10 record set by Lisa Leslie. She also had two double doubles in the two games for the week, and helped Stanford clinch at least a tie for the PAC-10 regular season title.

The Palo Alto Online had a cute quote, “The Three Trees got Seven. The three tall front court players for Stanford have combined for 7 PAC-10 Player of the Week awards this season. Jayne and Kayla Pedersen each have 2 this season, and Nneka Ogwumike has 3.

Heard from a former Stanford player and she asked if C and R had seen the “Fear The Tree” Stanford T-shirt? She said it should read, “Fear the Trees” with an “S” at the end, to honor Jayne, Kayla and Nneka. We love it. We are going to go and buy that shirt and make an “S” out of masking tape! Maybe we can do it in time for the Cal game.

Here is Michelle Smith’s take on the seniors and their injuries. And here is ESPN’s own Mechelle Voepel’s view of the Stanford Senior Night game. C and R thought they spied her there on press row. And just for a little home town cookin’ check out the Stanford Daily’s write up on Senior Night.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stanford Seniors

Sorry for posting this story so late but C and R finally stopped crying. It was senior night and Jayne Appel’s last game at Maples in the regular season. (There’s a chance she and Stanford could play the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Maples).

Four other seniors were also honored, although three of them could come back. Strange, I know. The true seniors are Jayne and Ros Gold-Onwude. The other “seniors”, JJ Hones, Michelle Harrison and Melanie Murphy, each have a year of eligibility left, although only JJ hinted she would be back.

Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer finally figured out after Jayne’s freshmen year that the seniors get too emotional to do the tribute before the game and don’t play as well, so they have wisely moved the senior tribute to after the game on the Maples floor. Then the real fun begins as a smaller party moves a building over to sit down with the families and listen to them tell funny and embarrassing stories about the seniors. Last night most of the stories involved golf carts and Jayne’s flip-flops.

But first there was a game to be played against Oregon State. So, remember how C and R said when the Stanford Women’s Basketball team played Oregon and Oregon pushed the ball up court and played a quick game, we enjoyed it and responded with a lot of energy and baskets? ‘Member? Well, Oregon State came out slower and more plodding and we did too, missing Oregon’s energy. We took an 11-1 lead with five minutes gone in the game and with 10 minutes gone it was 21-7 Stanford. We know, we know, we are spoiled and we should be happy for the lead, but it just seemed so…routine. Every time we spotted Jayne one-on-one, we gave it to her and she scored. Nneka Ogwumike couldn’t be stopped or even held to the ground, except when she was all alone on a fast break, and we mean ALL alone, no one from Oregon State even in the front court with her and she did a stutter step without dribbling to get the traveling call. Who was she trying to fake out? The cheerleaders?

Jayne ONLY scored 12 and got 10 rebounds, a double-double, but around the 8 minute mark she got her 2,000th point. That, coupled with her over 1,000 rebounds puts her as only the third Stanford women’s basketball player to get to the 2,000-1,000 club. The other two are Val Whiting and Nicole Powell. What’s more astounding to C and R is the fact she is 13 rebounds shy of Lisa Leslie’s PAC-10 career record. Jayne has 3 road games left, so we are confident she can do it. Wow, to pass Lisa Leslie is fantastic!

Oh, the win in the game (you didn’t doubt the outcome, did you? Final score 82-48, Stanford) gave us a tie for the PAC-10 regular season title, and a win in any of our next three road games will clinch it outright. But as we said, our opponent was lacking in energy and made us feel slow, too. In the first half Oregon State could only muster 26% shooting percentage for 21 points. Contrast that with 70% shooting percentage for Stanford and 46 first half points and you can see why we won.

It was interesting when they did the senior tribute on the big video screen. They showed still pictures and video of the women in action. The song playing in the background had the lyrics “Here comes the rest of our lives”. Basketball has been a big part of these players’ lives for so long. Will they be able to walk away from it? Jayne Appel has a good chance to be drafted by the WNBA. We wonder if she really wants to go? She has mentioned she would love to go to law school and give back to the community by being an advocate for the mentally and physically challenged. Maybe she should get on with “the rest of her life” and go to law school. Then again, a few years in the WNBA might enable her to build up tuition for law school. With her eligibility used up, she can’t keep attending Stanford for free, ya know. Still, it’s nice to know she has options.

We’ll get to see Stanford again at Cal’s senior night in two weeks!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Three-Headed Monster

Swish Appeal, your one stop shopping for PAC-10 blogging (hey, let's put that on a T-Shirt!), has a nice article on Stanford’s Kayla Pedersen. They charmingly call her “The Calming Force of Stanford’s Three-Headed Monster”. C and R get quoted, too. Maybe that’s why we are partial to this website! Warning, the Three Headed Monster Article might reveal our beloved Nneka Ogwumike in a possibly bad light (RE: She missed her defensive assignment and left Jayne Appel out to dry-but it’s okay, Stanford is smart and can adjust). You know, the article expresses all the great things we have said about Kayla’s smarts through the years… oh just go read the article.

Speaking of articles, Mechelle Voepel of ESPN wrote a great article about Stanford. It’s a “We-Get-No-Respect-But-That’s-Okay-With-Us” type. It sounds like Mechelle was at the Stanford Women’s Basketball Game vs. Oregon, as she described that great play Nneka had almost out jumping an Oregon player from behind for a rebound. I wonder if Stanford threw her a red victory ball?

Oh, this was interesting to C and R, a little tidbit about Tennessee in the ESPN article:
-Tennessee left center Kelley Cain in Knoxville on Thursday because she had missed a lot of class work and needed to catch up. The fact that Tennessee was playing at the SEC's last-place team, Alabama, certainly made that decision easier. But it contributed to a much closer than expected game, which Tennessee still won, 74-67.-

Hee hee, bet Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer has never had to do that to one of her players. Bet Tennessee coach Pat Summitt STILL wishes she had Jayne Appel.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stanford vs. Oregon, Again

The first time the Stanford Women’s Basketball team played the high-scoring Oregon Ducks, it seemed the more Oregon pushed the ball up court and played up tempo, the more Stanford responded and scored. They would go on to win that game 100-80. Well, it was an almost duplicate night. The more Oregon pushed, the more Stanford enjoyed, no relished, the tempo and scored, scored, scored. The main difference between this game and the last was that Oregon seemed resigned to losing.

We are sorry to be so harsh, Oregon and Coach Paul Westhead, who has C and R’s vote for PAC-10 coach of the year. The first game, coach, you had your team believing they could out run and out gun Stanford and win. And your team did a great job and were only down by 5 points with 8 minutes left in that contest before Stanford pulled away. Tonight your team seemed slower and not as confident. Your team made all-kinda-crazy shots in the first contest. For this game, your team missed open shots, only hitting 28% in the first half. They weren't feelin' it.

Back to the current game, Oregon came out in a full court press, and anyone watching game film on Stanford this year knows our guards have trouble dribbling out of the press. We either dribble into a two-guard trap or get the ball stolen from our hands. If we survive that, we give into the pressure and make an ill-advised pass that gets stolen or goes out of bounds. So Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer came up with an ingenious way to beat the press. Don’t have the guards dribble in pressure. Beat them with fast breaking players and even faster passes. We noticed three new offensive sets for the full court press. Mostly we would have Kayla Pedersen inbound it near the basket and then we would throw it right back to her. Kayla Pedersen, at 6 foot 4 inches is arguably our surest dribbler and smartest player. As two Oregon players moved to trap her, two of our guards would streak up the left and right sidelines, one who would be sure to be open. Kayla would hit one of them like a quarterback delivering a pass and now our guard has it at the half court line moving quickly and three Oregon players are stuck back at their free throw line trying to trap. A few unpressured dribbles and we now have three Stanford players on two Oregon players near our basket, usually resulting in a score. We would beat the first wave of players waiting to trap us by quick passes over them and not let them get near us as we dribbled.

Of course our favorite set was when Oregon went to a full court man to man press. So we had every Stanford player in our backcourt, along with the whole Oregon team. No one is back by the Stanford basket. Kayla and Jeanette would look at each other and do play number two. Guard Jeanette Pohlen would stand even with Oregon’s free throw line and put her hand out to the Stanford basket and then run. Kayla would throw it from out of bounds in a huge arc to about the half court line. With Jeanette’s Oregon player closer to Kayla, she would be behind Jeanette. Jeanette would catch teh ball at the half court line while running full speed and dribble for an uncontested lay up, as the rest of the Oregon team is back doing their assignment of guarding their man. No one was back to help. Brilliant!

We only had 10 turnovers for the whole game. Usually we have that by half. And guard Jeanette Pohlen had ZERO. Hmm, maybe C and R should reconsider who deserves the PAC-10 coach of the year award.

No she dit-int!
Say it like this, put your left hand on your hip, hold your right index finger in the air and wag it back and forth to the syllables: “No-she-dit-int!”

Yes she did. Kayla Pedersen, the player C and R say is the smartest on a Stanford team that has a combined SAT score of 20 billion, was inbounding the ball under our basket with the five second count winding down and finding no Stanford player open because Oregon was pressuring the pass with their back to the basket, threw the ball at an Oregon player’s backside, stepped inbounds, picked up the ball under the basket and got an easy lay up before anyone knew what was happening. So much so, that C turned to R and said, “Did she just inbound the ball off a Duck’s butt?” Later in the evening during a break in action, the scoreboard operator put together game highlights and included that play! You get away with a play like that once a game, heck, maybe once a season!

All five starters were in double figures that added up to 94 points. Jayne Appel had 26, Nneka Ogwumike had 17, although it seemed like more as she was all over the court when she was in, Kayla had 14 and Ros Gold-Onwude had 11. The biggest surprise was Jeanette Pohlen’s career high 26 points. She is not known for her scoring. We would go on to win 104-60. Joslyn Tinkle was the one to put us over at 100 and we proudly shook out tinkle bells.

A word about Jayne.
Senior Jayne Appel had a great game, scoring 26 points. She looked great under the basket and can take anyone one-on-one. She started out the season slow, for two reasons. One, she was still recovering from a knee injury and two, Tara VanDerveer positioned her away from the low post under the basket to the high post at the foul line to give Nneka Ogwumike room to create and score. Jayne’s strength is under the basket and cannot hit a jumper at the foul line or beyond to save her life. She was averaging around 13 points a game this season. Now Tara takes out Nneka for most of the first half and has moved Jayne back to the low post for most of the game and she is averaging about 21 points a game in the last 5 games.

We have some Internet theories we want to test. You want to hear them? On second thought, nah, who wants to hear crack pot Internet theories by two people who have no scientific or journalistic or coaching pedigrees or insider information to back it up? What? Oh, turns out a lot of people do, that’s what the Internet is here for…so here goes.

Okay, one, Tara wants Jayne’s stock to go up for the WNBA draft, so she is putting her back in the low post and sending Nneka to the bench. Nneka can have her chance next year. Unconfirmed Internet theory number two, something is wrong with Nneka, she must be injured. It is weird, when Nneka touches the ball, she is incredible in her creative scoring ability which is greatly aided by her leaping ability. She got some incredible rebounds last night. But when she is away from the ball she shuffles slowly and it looks like her knees are in pain. She only played 26 minutes last night and Tara would take her out for long stretches, even though she would be on fire offensively. Usually something a coach would do to rest a player.

Either way, we need Jayne to be prolific at scoring, as it seems when she has a great night the team calms down and feels good and limits their mistakes. Also, Jayne needs help to score. Last year we got sorta one dimensional always going to Jayne and Nneka is the perfect antidote to teams doubling Jayne, as Jayne has great court vision and passes well and Nneka near the basket can out leap anybody. R says we are peaking at the right time and we look back on track to focus on the PAC-10 tournament and the NCAA tournament.

This game was a Pink Zone Night, where the fans ands players are encouraged to wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. C and R only have pink bandanas and the free pink shirts were all gone by the time C and R got to the game, so we were disappointed. A big thank you to the volunteer who ran down to our section and threw a pink Stanford shirt right to R! And she actually caught it! C wore it the rest of the night even though it was a size too small. We just love our freebies. Although Stanford, you better throw us a red ball on senior night!

Speaking of which, see ya Saturday for Senior Night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stanford vs. Washington State, Round II

Sorry C and R are late talking about the Stanford Women’s Basketball game against Washington State, but C went to play in the snow and she has the keys to the computer.

To recap, Stanford won. The End.

Well, okay Stanford scored 98 to their 67 and to be fair, senior Jayne Appel had a great night, scoring 25 points and getting 14 rebounds. Many remarked she looked like the Jayne of old, well, of last year. So much so that the PAC-10 gave her the PAC-10 Player of the Week Award. This is her first Player of the Week Award this season. She won it seven other times over the last three years, for a total of 8. Candice Wiggins won it 9 times in her four year career.

Nneka Ogwumike added 21 points and Kayla Pedersen had 13 and when you get our trio of trees involved, they are hard to stop and we are going to win games. Our baby tree, Joslyn Tinkle (tinkle bells) also added 12. Nice to see such an offensive output and spread around as well.
Oh, one thing C and R did manage to catch on TV was the UConn v Oklahoma game on TV. Imagine our glee when we discovered UConn was actually losing! And in the second half, too! Then UConn went on a patented 13-2, lead by Maya Moore and won 76-60.

The next two games will be your last chance to see Stanford on their home court in the regular season. Thursday is a Pink Zone Night, where you are encouraged to wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. We are playing the high flying Oregon team, coming off a four game win streak, the last two against the Arizona teams.

Then Saturday come on out and bring your hankies as it is senior night and Stanford will have a ceremony for its seniors, Jayne Appel among them There are other seniors of course, but with red-shirting and knee injuries C and R never know who is senior at the moment and who is not. That game is at 7 PM against Oregon State, not the stated 8 PM. Got it?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stanford vs. Washington Round II

R comes to C’s house so they can get the Stanford Women’s Basketball game vs. Washington on C's computer and watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics on C's fancy HD TV. R has the fancy phone, C has the fancy TV, call it even. The Stanford game is set for 7 PM, and the opening ceremony is advertised to begin at 7:30 PM.

We dial up Gametracker and the entire site goes down for the first few minutes. Then we discover from 7:30 – 9:00 PM the network is just showing fluff and filler on the Olympics and the real opening ceremony starts at 9 PM. Bummer. Then Gametracker goes down again.
The Olympic coverage does start out with the somber news that luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from the country of Georgia had crashed during his training run and died of his injuries. We are very saddened by the news.

We get Gametracker back up and discover Nneka is on fire, again. Stanford Sophomore Nneka Ogwumike has scored 6 of the 8 points in the first 6 minutes. She always starts out the game hot. Then she fouls and goes to the bench and for some reason, we do not see her again for the rest of the half. C and R always wonder what head coach Tara VanDerveer is thinking by sitting down your best and most creative scorer, and for the rest of the game? But then we are always questioning Tara and she has 2 National Championships and 17 PAC-10 titles and counting and we have none so needless to say she doesn’t need to listen to us.

It’s hard to get a feel for the game reading off a play-by-play, and the half ends with Stanford only scoring 28. That should be bad news for Stanford, but Washington only has 12 points for the half. Twelve points? Come on PAC-10! USC only mustered 10 points at half against Stanford on February 7th of this year. Washington only made 4 of 31 shots in the first half. Now, we love Stanford and all to an obsessive point, but we don’t think they play such stifling defense that teams cannot get to 15 or more points in a half. Heck, we don’t even utilize a full court press! Make a shot!

With Nneka on the bench Jayne saves the day. Senior Jayne Appel ended with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the game, 12 of those rebounds coming in the first half. We win 58-36. Nneka would finish with “only” 12 points, well below her 19 points a game average but still great, as she single-handedly tied Washington’s first half output. As C and R have said before, the only person who can stop Nneka from scoring is Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. See, if Tara benches her… she can’t score…oh, if we have to explain it, it just isn’t funny…what, you got the joke but thought it wasn’t funny anyway? Them’s fightin’ words…wait, R is tapping me on the shoulder and telling me to knock it off.

So after the Stanford game and the slog of the parade of nations, the opening ceremony from Vancouver was pretty creative and clever. C really liked the use of lights and projection on the floor and on the sheets of fabric in the sky to create magical places. Too bad the fourth pillar of the Olympic flame cauldron got stuck and they had to do with an impromptu tri-pod. Should be a fun Olympics if the snow shows up.

See you at Washington State this Sunday on Candice Wiggins’ birthday, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

When is the Stanford Game?

So I rush home Thursday night after dropping off the boys at water polo practice and log on to my computer and navigate to the Stanford schedule page and call up Gametracker, only to discover that the Stanford Women’s Basketball team is not playing that night. They play the following night, Friday. Geez, who ever heard of a Friday night game? But be kind to me, (this is C writing by the way) as I have had another rough week.

Remember how I wrote in a previous post that my 16 year old son uses his cell phone to text pretty blonde girls and never calls me, and when he finally did it was because he had split his head open on a water polo post and was bleeding all over the place? ‘Member? Well, I was driving home from work and checked my phone for any calls from R, who usually calls me with something interesting about women’s basketball she saw on the web when lo, and behold my little phone said I missed a call from my son. Two in one month, how did I get so luck…wait a minute, last time he called it was bad news. Ah, this is not going to be good. I listen to the message and discover, yes, this is not good. My son, who has had his driver’s license for all of a month and a half, has hit a parked car! And he was driving his sister’s car. Luckily no one was injured, good news. Bad news, he hit the gas instead of the brake and bent the heck out of his sister’s car. The hood, the frame in two places, has to be realigned, busted out the lights on the passenger side… and you should have seen the other car! Pushed in the back door of a little Rav 4. Man, maybe we should push the driving age up to 18. Needless to say he is learning an expensive lesson and is paying for the damages out of our pocket.

Well, okay, to steer this post back to women’s basketball, USA Today recently had an article about What does UConn's dominance mean for women's basketball? Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and Tennessee’s Pat Summit are quoted. You can even leave your comment and be part of the news!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stanford Mail Bag

Time to open up the ol’ mail bag, or email bag, now that we actually have mail from Stanford Women’s Basketball fans.

Thanks to all who wrote in to say they heard the Tinkle Bells mentioned on the USC-Stanford TV broadcast! The announcer mentioned that Stanford fans (that’s us) like to shake little jingle bells whenever Stanford’s Joslyn Tinkle does something good on the court. What started out as a little social experiment has hit the big time! We were hoping to get on National TV, too, as the announcer asked where we were seated but it wasn’t meant to be.

Oh, Mrs. Tinkle wrote in, too! For C and R, it’s like saying Mrs. Claus dropped off some cookies. (It’s funny, with the Tinkle Bells, we forget “Tinkle” stands for someone’s last name and there are real people attached to the Tinkle name). We hope to catch up with her, too, the next time she is in town.

Another fan saw the same report as C that Florida State University (FSU) got penalized for cheating. C went to the University of Florida for Grad School and our archrival was Florida State, much like the Stanford-Cal rivalry. Anyway, Florida State was sanctioned in part for letting 61 student-athletes cheat and they must give up wins in various programs, including some in football. The men’s basketball team lost all 22 wins from 2006-07, and women’s basketball lost 16 victories that year, including two in the NCAA tournament. Super Fan TG pointed out that FSU beat Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2007. Do we get that back as a win? How does that work? Does anyone know?

Well, we’ll be going through withdrawal as Stanford is heading North to Washington to take on the two PAC-10 foes up there and no TV coverage. Next home game is the 18th, and wear pink for breast cancer awareness night.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stanford vs. USC on Super Sunday

I just want to say this about the Stanford Women’s Basketball game vs. USC on Sunday… Peyton Manning looked so good until that one and only interception! Okay, it was a banner day for sports fans in that there was a Stanford women’s basketball game on Cable TV no less, and the Superbowl, a culmination of six months of football.

For a basketball game that was changed to the Sunday of the Superbowl, it was a pretty good turn out of over 4,100. Of course, Stanford was also honoring their 1990 team that won Stanford’s first National Championship, a team that has a special place in Stanford fans’ hearts.
Before the Stanford game, both C and R worked hard to get our Superbowl party preparations in order. Here’s all you need to know about C and R. R went to the local farm by C’s house to buy fresh veggies (twice) and C went to the store (twice) to make sure she had enough salty chips and dip. In fact, C forgot the dip mix and had to rush back to the store and R forgot fresh cauliflower and rushed back to the farm. But we had the dip a chillin’ and the bugs scrubbed out before we left for the Stanford game at 1 PM.

The game opened with Nneka Ogwumike on fire, rebounding and scoring, then it seemed her knees were bothering her and she leveled off. USC had some cool road uniforms, all black, but had the worst luck shooting we have ever seen a team have. The first half stats said USC shot 9.7% from the field and made zero threes. The score at the half was Stanford 29, USC 10. Yes, that’s right, they only mustered 10 points by half time. It was the lowest scoring half in USC’s program history. The 10 points they scored in the first half surpassed the school's previous-low of 15 on Jan. 27, 1990. And it was not that Stanford over powered them. They got great looks and made great shot selections. They hustled the ball up the court. Just nothing fell through. Boy, we bet USC coach Michael Cooper was wishing he never left the WNBA and Candace Parker.

Plus, the whole 1990 Stanford National Championship team sat right in front of our seats. (Every day C thanks R for maintaining those season tickets!). Look, there’s Jennifer Azzi, there’s Katy Steding, now they are hugging Molly Goodenbauer.

Also in the first half, Jayne Appel surpassed Nicole Powell to become Stanford’s rebound Queen with 1,153. She would finish the game with 13 rebounds and 15 points. Our other twin towers also got a double double. Nneka finished with 13 boards and 16 points, and Kayla Perdresen had 14 boards and 18 points. It’s nice to see our three tall trees have a great game and spread the scoring around. When you have three players that can score and rebound like that, you are hard to beat.

The only negative for Stanford was when they pressed us we made turnovers. We had 10 in the first half. When they pressured Jeanette Pohlen, they picked her pocket and forced her into a bad pass on consecutive plays. We have to improve on the press if we want to have any realistic shot at beating UConn. Oh, wait, make that two negatives. We missed a lot of free throws in the first half, too. For the game we were 12 of 19, about 63%. This ain’t high school and we need to make those.

We do want to give a special shout out to USC’s Jacki Gemelos. This kid has torn her ACL FOUR times. She has had five knee surgeries. She first came to USC in 2006. She has two years of college eligibility left after this year. Her first game back was at Cal on Thursday. She played on Sunday and scored 13 points in her team’s loss. Pretty remarkable in that the team made only 12 for 67 baskets in the whole game.

The only drama was could our subs, who came in around the 3 minute mark, keep them under 40. We did, the final score being 77-39. See UConn, we can (almost) beat teams by 40 points, too.

Oh, we mentioned to the announcer of the game, you know, the guy who sits next to Lisa Leslie and told him we shake the Tinkle Bells when Joslyn Tinkle comes in the game. He said last game he would mention it on the air. So we reminded him again. WE shook them hard when Joslyn came in. We forgot to tape the game, so we wonder if her kept his promise. Did anyone hear if he mentioned the tinkle bells?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Extra Extra! Jayne Appel NOT Thrown Out of Next Game

Well, we can all breathe a little easier (and C and R will stop with the "extras", we promise). Jayne is not suspended for Sunday’s Stanford Women’s Basketball game against USC. Stanford senior Jayne Appel was ejected from the UCLA game Thursday night for what the refs thought was a flagrant elbow to Jasmine Dixon’s face. The PAC-10 will typically meet the next day review the play and to decide if the player needs to be suspended for the next game.

Both the UCLA coach, Nikki Caldwelll and the player hit, Jasmine Dixon, insist the elbow was not intentional and that Jayne is not a dirty player.

Internet theorists are suggesting two things: One, because the PAC-10 ruled the night of the foul to not suspend Jayne, they did not agree with the refs that it was a flagrant violation. This calls into question whether or not Jayne should have been ejected in the first place. Internet theory number two: UCLA is insisting the foul wasn’t flagrant because they want Jayne to be eligible for the next game, which is USC, a team UCLA is tied for second place in the PAC-10 and UCLA needs Stanford to beat USC.

Okay, that last theory is fun, but C and R place no stock in it. Dixon and Caldwell made those statements immediately after the game and would have to really, really be calculating and manipulative to be thinking ahead to Sunday’s game. Now, for the former, that the PAC-10 didn’t further suspend Jayne, we believe it was a bad call all around (see last post), maybe worth a foul on Jayne, not a technical and not an ejection.

Don’t forget, the game is this Sunday, Superbowl Sunday at 1 PM. Stanford will be celebrating the 1990 National Champion Team and Jennifer Azzi, Katy Steding, Trisha Stevens and Val Whiting will be among the former players expected to be present. Yes, yes, C and R know this is Superbowl Sunday, but with the 1 PM game time, we will have you back in your snug little homes in front of you big screen TVs in time for the 3:20 PM kick off. So come on out!

Ah, geez, our Internet scouring robots just found out Jayne was NEVER in danger of being suspended. According to Jake Curtis on the San Jose Examiner’s website, the PAC-10 did not need to make a ruling, because:

“(Jayne’s) foul was called a flagrant PERSONAL foul, not a flagrant TECHNICAL foul. A flagrant personal foul, which is excessive contact while the ball is live, is not subject to suspension and does not require a review by the conference office, so Appel was never in jeopardy of being suspended. The penalty is two free throws and an ejection, and that is all.

“A flagrant technical foul involves unsportsmanlike conduct that is extreme in nature during play or excessive contact while the ball is not in play. Fighting is the best example. A player hit with a flagrant technical foul is subject to a suspension, depending on the ruling of the conference after a review.”

So take that, internet crazies… oops, C and R are one of the many crazies.. so what’s new? We like our version of reality better, anyway. Jayne shouldn’t have been ejected!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Extra Extra! Jayne Appel Thrown Out of Game for First Time Ever!

So C and R were sitting there watching a perfectly normal Stanford women’s basketball game vs UCLA when the abnormal happened. Jayne Appel got ejected from the game in the second half! Jayne? Our Jayne? Out mild-mannered, everyone loves Jayne, Jayne? The Jayne who had a foot infection and wasn’t even supposed to play tonight Jayne?

When C and R saw Jayne run to the locker room we looked at each other. We have never seen Jayne thrown out of a game in her four years here. We looked away and then back at each other and then said we can’t remember a Stanford player EVER getting thrown out of a game in all the years R has been going (She has had season tickets longer than she has known C). Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said the same thing he next day, that in her 24 years of coaching, she’s never had a player thrown out.

And it did seem like a normal PAC-10 game. UCLA came out scrappy and hustling, and in a man-to-man press. We took an early lead, let them come back and take the lead, then we had a slight lead at half, then came back and pounded them in the second half to win 74-53. You know, typical game for us against a PAC-10 foe, as it has happened three times in a row now.

What was abnormal was that Jayne was having a game from last year. Even coach Tara VanDerveer was quoted as saying, “She was the old Jayne.” Jayne was taking them one-on-one and had 23 points and 13 rebounds before she was tossed with 7:41 left in the game (Think if she played the whole game). By contrast, Kayla had 4 points at that juncture.

Also abnormal was we discovered Stanford’s 6’2” Nneka Ogwumike can dribble. Yes, really. She even dribbled between her legs in the opening minutes. When Stanford is pressed, as they were last night by UCLA, a tall person will inbound it to the guard and the guard, feeling pressure, will pass it back to the person who threw it in, as she is not guarded. The other team rarely expects them to throw it backwards. We have been lucky in that usually it is Kayla Pedersen back there, who is a great ball handler for someone so big. But tonight it was Nneka inbounding the ball, and she kept winding up with the ball in her hands and she took it up court in the point guard position. In past games, when we have seen her dribble, it is high and not so deft. She did a credible job last night but let’s not have this be standard operating procedure, Stanford.

UCLA is coached by Nikki Caldwell, a former Tennessee player and assistant coach under Pat Summit. You could see Pat Summit’s fingerprints all over this team. They were disciplined and in shape. They ran and they hustled constantly. They did the fundamentals extremely well. (They boxed out Jayne so hard one time they made her bend over backwards and got called for a foul). They even had a little speedy but teeny point guard ala Shannon Bobbit to push the ball up court.

So here’s something funny we noticed about UCLA. The faster they pushed the ball, the better STANFORD responded. UCLA came out of the gate in the opening seconds pushing the ball up court quickly, and playing an up tempo game. We responded by scoring 11 points to their 2 in the first five minutes! Then they slowed down. And we slowed down all of a sudden it’s 16-10, Stanford, with 10 minutes gone. We said in a previous post we seem to respond or mirror the team we are playing. Play us up tempo and we come out firing. Play us slow with a set half court offense and defense and we are sluggish and lose our scoring ability. Hmmmm, hope other teams don’t catch on to this.

As UCLA and Stanford slow down, we let them take the lead with about 6 minutes in the half and then hang on to a 36-32 lead at half time. The game is getting rough, as UCLA is scrappy and the refs are allowing it, emboldening UCLA to get even more scrappy, which will come in to play in the second half and Jayne’s ejection. (Yes, finally, we got to the ejection! You were just about to go to another site to satisfy your curiosity, weren’t you?)

So here’s what happened. Jayne grabbed a rebound…did you know going in to the game she was just 17 away from the all-time Stanford record? And last night she moved past Val Whiting and into second place on Stanford's career rebounding list with 1,140? She is three away from tying Nicole Powell’s school record. (Arrgh, R just pinched me to get on with it).

So Jayne grabbed the defensive rebound and three UCLA players surrounded her. Usually one UCLA player would harass the rebounder, but they were getting a little desperate with the score being 60-42, trying to force turnovers. Jayne did as she was taught, which was to move the ball quickly back and forth in her arms to not let them grab it, and if they reached in, would probably foul her as she is moving her arms quickly. When the three UCLA players did not back off from her movements, and were reaching in on her, she moved the ball quicker and higher, and her elbow caught Jasmine Dixon in the face, and she dropped to the floor and the whistle blew.

Now, you know C and R are huge Stanford fans. Heck, it says it all over our website. But we are also honest and fair to a fault. And in our opinion, it was not a dirty play on Jayne’s part at all. She was not slinging her elbows maliciously or far away from her body. She was not using her elbows as a weapon. She was moving aggressively within the context of protecting the ball and the UCLA players were not giving her any space, in fact were moving in closer on her. At first we thought UCLA should be given the foul and when we found out it was Jayne, we booed with the rest of the crowd. Then when it was apparent UCLA was shooting a two shot technical, we were livid and booed harder. It was not flagrant, in our opinion, as we said. Give Jayne the foul, but not a technical. Then when we saw Jayne run to the locker room and was ejected, we were really, really mad. It was not done deliberately or maliciously; there was no reason to kick her out of the game. And would she be suspended for the next game, too?

When play resumed to a chorus of boos, the refs are calling any little contact (Two UCLA payers would eventually foul out of the game). After a minute and a half of whistles, Stanford steals the ball and gets it to Ros Gold-Onwude. She is running uncontested for a lay up and we see the UCLA player speed up from behind. Now, C and R are thinking, if the UCLA is smart, she will let this play go, she can’t stop the lay-up, and in light of a player just getting kicked out and seeing the refs are whistle happy, should not risk a foul here. Instead the UCLA player grabs Ros’ arm as she is jumping up. Okay, if you aren’t going for the ball on a lay up, if you grab a jersey or an arm to stop a lay up, that is usually a technical foul. If a player touches the body or hand trying to stop the shot, then that is a regular foul. The technical foul designation is used to stop a player from coming up from behind and stopping the player at all costs, by saying grabbing a fistful of jersey, or hair or her arm. Do they call a technical? Noooooo. The crowd is even more incensed. (Someone grabbed my ponytail once to stop me on a fast break and got a technical, hee hee, but it sure did hurt).

Back to Jayne’s technical and ejection. This morning, Jayne said her action was unintentional, and Dixon and UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell backed her.

"Appel was just trying to get the rebound and clear the board," Dixon said. "I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Said Appel, "I was in no way intentionally trying to be flagrant or trying to hit her, just playing basketball."

While neither VanDerveer nor Caldwell saw the entire play, both defended Appel. Caldwell recruited Appel while working at Tennessee.

"I saw a lot of arms and people around and Jayne trying to square up," VanDerveer said. "She's got like three people all over her. People are swiping at her. She was trying to hold onto the ball and be aggressive with the ball. She's not a dirty player."

Said Caldwell, "I don't think she's that type of kid who would intentionally try to hurt anybody."

Gracious of UCLA’s coach Caldwell and Jasmine Dixon, and we appreciate their candidness. We hope the PAC-10 review committee that is deciding if Jayne can play in the next game is listening.

OMG, almost forgot to report THE most exciting part of the game. As the Stanford women’s team was throwing their red victory balls, Joslyn Tinkle ran over to our section and C was vigorously shaking her tinkle bell. She looked right at us and threw the ball to R! So we want to give a big thank you shout out to Joslyn Tinkle and say how great you look on the court!! Hee hee. R said she bets her mom made her find us and throw us a ball! So thanks Mrs. Tinkle. C and R didn’t have time to meet Mrs. Tinkle when she was here, but the coach of our little girls’ team, who is from Montana, did. Mrs. Tinkle probably told Jos to throw those women a ball; they are so nice to you!

See you on Superbowl Sunday, with or without Jayne.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Extra Extra! Jayne Appel Nominated for Another Award

Well, first of all, Jayne has a foot infection and might not play tonight against UCLA. Stanford senior Jayne Appel has a mysterious foot infection (athletes foot?) and is being treated with antibiotics. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I don't know how she got it," she said. "It's an absolute mystery, just a random infection." (Where were the Cal players or any PAC-10 foe, when she was in the locker room and did they have access to her shoes?) Wonder if the extreme challenge video makers will work this into their script?

In other news, Jayne is up for another award. She’s been nominated for The Lowe's Senior Class Award for Women's Basketball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a senior at a NCAA Division I institution and have earned high achievements in the classroom, and the community through character and competition. And guess what? Fans determine the outcome! Fan voting for the award begins today, Feb. 3, and runs through March 22, and will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.

Vote early and often for Jayne! Well, you can only vote once a day, but C an R know you have access to multiple computers/cell phone devices. Be creative, Stanford fans! And keep a close eye on your shoes.