Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hurtin’-Candice Wiggins is Out of Training Camp

Arrgh, former Stanford player and current Minnesota Lynx player (and favorite player of all time for C), Candice Wiggins is hurt! She had surgery to repair a small tear in the meniscus in her right knee. She is expected to be out for about four weeks. This is on top of the questionable status of Lynx star Seimone Augustus (underwent successful surgery to remove fibroids), and now the Lynx are not looking so good in going into training camp. Maybe it is a good thing Jayne Appel was not drafted by the Lynx. C and R thought maybe Candice got this injury in the Eurocup Championship, but she had this injury DURING the season where she was named Eurocup MVP and leading her team to the championship. Gritty performance. We wish Candice and Seimone a speedy recovery.

Speaking of Jayne Appel, do you need a Jayne fix? R does, as she is her favorite player. See and hear her talk about the first day of training camp. Her stress fracture is doing well, but her ankle is talking longer to heal. Go figure.

Still awaiting word from our junior bloggers about the awards ceremony-perhaps they couldn’t have their sleepover as planned! Meanwhile, check out the Stanford Fast Break Club’s take on the evening. They got some great candid shots of the players NOT in uniform.

More Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel and of course, Stanford,at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog--

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stanford Awards Ceremony Part I

OMG, the Stanford Women’s Basketball end of the year banquet was yesterday, and although C and R couldn’t be there, bummer of bummers, our intrepid NOF (number one fan) could (and she plugged our blog to Nneka Ogwumike! When we get T-shirts made, we are giving her a free one!). Here is her report, edited by us, which means lots of typos, with C and R’s (unnecessary and obtrusive) comments in parenthesis.

Hi, C and R,

I wish you could have come to the banquet (us too!), it was a lot of fun. There were somewhere between 250 and 300 people there, fans, players, staff --which is extensive, including bus driver and Jimmy V--, family. It's very different seeing everyone out of uniform - players in mufti, fans dressed up - only Tara looks the same in her suits.

We chatted with people we recognized and stared at the players as they arrived. They look so different dressed up and with their hair down!! Jayne was there and looked great in sweater and jeans. Jeanette arrived in a short, tight skirt and what seemed like six inch heels. Kayla looked lovely, and much more slender--and somehow taller!-- than I expected in a tee shirt and skirt with sandals. Hannah had a very tight, short black dress and long scarf. It was interesting to see what they each chose to wear. JJ was on crutches but still looking fab in short skirt and tank top..... (okay, we don’t want to be one of those blogs that concentrates on women’s fashions when it comes to women athletes, but we love visualizing what these young women choose to wear when not in uniform, so there, it’s appropriate).

So we gawked at people, but only talked with other fans prior to the dinner starting. But we had paid EXTRA to sit at a table with a player, so were kind of excited to see who that would be when we went in to the main dining room. Amazing!!! We were at Nneka's table!! (AHHHGH, you’re killin’ us!!) It was incredible. She looked great in a gray top, short, full black skirt and lots of silver necklaces. She was charming and gracious to everyone at the table, none of whom she had previously met (OMG, we think she is amazing and no wonder we love her so much!!). We rotated people around during the different courses so everyone would get a chance to sit next to her, I felt like a really amateur stalker (good girl) because when my turn came I only had silly questions about her courses, plans for the summer, etc. She had an allergic reaction to something in the salad, so had to go off in search of allergy medicine and couldn't eat any more of the meal, and boy, was she a good sport about all of that, even though her stomach was hurting and she couldn't swallow... (we suspect the pinenuts). BTW, I did ask if she read your blog (good girl again). She said no,(ECK!) she hadn't heard of it, but sounded interested... (Hee hee, a big C and R shout out to you, Nneka, if your there, look at the archives for this year because we think you are in every post, we also think you are great and we are the stalkers who with our little girl’s team got your autograph many times this year!)

Tara did a very nice job with all the thank yous, introductions and commentaries about each member of the team. She told us she was worried about being emotional because she choked up writing her notes, but she toughed it out in the event. It was very moving when she thanked the three seniors--JJ and Mel came up with the Juniors to be introduced, so they are definitely coming back (YES!). Tara said that in her thirty plus years of coaching, the best gift she ever got from a player came from Michelle Harrison, and she brought it to show us. It was a picture Michelle drew of Tara's dog, Scout, a thirteen year old golden retriever. It was a great picture and it obviously means a lot to Tara. She told about how exciting it was when Jayne accepted and how she could remember it so clearly she knew what she was wearing that day. She also told the very cute story of Jayne asking her to keep it secret because Jayne wanted her dad to find out where she was going when he read it in the papers--those Appels are jokers!. Tara was also very effusive about Ros and what an awesome defensive player she is. She went through game by game, how Ros stopped the top scorers. The three seniors each spoke and I cried when Jayne talked--like at least half the room (BAWHAHA, please pass the tissues, C and R are bawling right now just imaging it).

This year they did not do individual awards because they felt it was a total team effort (Wow, cool!). But the team did vote for the famous and historic Lizard Lung award, which went to Hannah Donague, the first time it ever went to an upper classman. Sarah Boothe told about when they were getting ready to go to Italy, and they were all reminded what they needed to bring, including a passport, and Hannah was confused because she thought they needed a different passport for each country they were going to... And when they went to play in Washington, Hannah asked what time zone it was in... And, three months after the fact, Hannah had no idea what was going on with Tiger Woods... Sounded like there was a lot more to the award, actually, the team was clearly all in support of this...

And they showed a highlights video. It was nice. But kind of sad too. God, we'll miss Jayne. And Ros. But Jayne... (Jayne!) But Sarah will be back. And we're gonna have a great team. And lots of people will step up... Oh, well, back to the off season.

Hope you guys are well. Take care. See you in November at the first game.
Cheers. –SA

This weekend, we here from our junior bloggers how the awards ceremony went from their eighth-grade point of view. They first had to have a sleepover to write it, gosh, isn’t that cute!

Jennifer Azzi to be Named University of San Francisco Coach!

Ohhh, C and R have an exclusive scoop for you! Our pals at the University of San Francisco invited yours truly to a press conference today. But before it happens, we already know the news. Former Stanford great Jennifer Azzi is to be named the new head coach. Pretty cool, huh? And we reported it before it was official or in any papers. (Well, except for the Daily Palo Alto and the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury…  okay it made the AP wires late last night, but we just saw it today. Oh, the AP story is written by AP writer Janie McCauley, who C and R met while covering the Tennessee-USF game. Small world, isn’t it? She gives a more personalized touch in her srticle).

Azzi will replace former Tennessee player Tanya Haave. She was fired for a 36-86 record over the past four years, including going 5-27 for this year with a record of 1-13 in conference play. Hmmm, Haave was a former standout at the college level, like Azzi, but it didn’t translate into coaching success. Just trying to think back, does Jennifer have any official coaching experience, either at the college level or any other level? Well, we wish her well and C and R will have to take more trips to San Francisco now.

Hope she and Tara can schedule a few friendlies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Candice Wiggins Still Rankin' 'em Up!

Ex-Stanford player Candice Wiggins, one of C’s favorites in a team of favorites, won the Eurocup Player of the Year Award. She plays for the Minnesota Lynx in the US during the summer, and in the off-season, makes more money playing for her Greece Team, Sony Athinaikos. She also lead Sony Athinaikos to its first ever Eurocup Crown, a feat she wasn’t able to do with Stanford her senior year, losing in the title game to Tennessee.

Candice was also named Guard of the Year and Import of the Year (What is she, a Toyota?), in addition to being named to the EuroCup First Team.

Not only was this the first Eurocup title for Athinaiko, it was the first for any Greek team. Her team also plays in the Greek league. In that league, Candice led Athinaikos to an undefeated record and the league crown and her team also captured the Greek Cup. That’s a lot of hardware. Can’t wait to see her back in the US.

More Stanford Stuff and Candice Wiggins at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Women's College basketball Pre-Preseason

C and R were surfing that there Internet and found that the pundits are already predicting the top ten women’s college basketball teams for next year, even though most colleges were still unwinding from this season, Stanford included.

Typical themes will be how teams handle the loss of seniors. For Stanford, they lost Jayne Appel and Ros Gold-Onwude. They might lose guards JJ Hones and Mel Murphy depending on off-season knee surgery. However they add red-shirt Sarah Boothe, who is 6’5” and freshman Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike’s sister, plus two strong guards. Here’s an in-depth analysis of Stanford by Jake Curtis of the Examiner. UConn loses center Tina Charles and Kalena Greene, yet have the best player in the country in Maya Moore. However, it helps to have a supporting cast. Stanford fits the team concept/supporting cast better than UConn next year, so many predict the streak will end, including C and R. UConn also comes west next year to play Stanford at home. Mark your calendars for that one!

You can also check out Jake’s preseason picks. He echoes that UConn will be vulnerable, and he picks Stanford above UConn. However, his number one team is Baylor. Say what? We disagree. Brittney Griner has unique skills yet we do not think she has a strong supporting cast. We still pick Stanford above Baylor.

Charlie Creme of ESPN also has Baylor above Stanford. He lists UConn, Baylor, Stanford as his one two three. Jeff Linder of the Gazette Online has the same top three. What? Baylor above Stanford next year. We do not believe it and hope they both eat their words. Picking Baylor above Stanford. Do they know something we don’t? (that’s certainly possible). But C did not like how Baylor’s Brittney Griner was coached and doesn’t think they will use her as effectively as they should, plus her supporting cast is shaky and that’s why she thinks Stanford will prevail over them.

All the analysis’ have PAC-10 foe UCLA on the rise and in the top 15, with Jake placing them 7th, and Charlie 13th and Jeff has them 11th. Let’s not look ahead to UConn just yet, folks.

Well, we wish the Stanford players a healthy and restful off-season, full of hard work and training. Hee hee, can they have both? Well, we wish them a happy time at the awards ceremony. This was a special year and we hope they savor what little remains.

Monday, April 19, 2010

You've Got Mail

Hi, C of the basketball duo C and R here, and I am so excited because a fan letter just came pouring in today. Let me read it to you.
Dear C and R,
I cannot find the junior bloggers.  Are they still blogging?
Love and Kisses,

Sigh. Even our fan mail is not about us. Such is the life of a blogger who blogs about women’s sports, I guess! (okay, I did add the “love and kisses” part and I was jk-- in text speak, just kidding, AR), But in the interest of answering your question, our Palo Alto Junior Bloggers J and K are still with us, just enmeshed in homework and facebook. Well, although, I think if was spring break for them, so probably more of the latter than the former.

Hey wait, here is junior blogger J with an update (all typos are hers, unless I created them):
I was on a plane from O'Hare Airport in Chicago coming home to San Francisco Airport, and guess who were sitting three rows behind me but... Kayla, Jayne and Nneka!!! No, I'm not even kidding!! They were coming home from the Team USA practices. I said "Hi," Dad said we had season tickets, I said we were going to the banquet, they said great, see you there. And then Dad was calling Mom after we came off the plane and the three of them walked out and they all smiled and Jayne said, "See you on Thursday!" I didn't know what to say. I sort of stared at her for a minute and then came to my senses and said, "Oh! Yeah! Definitely!" It was amazing. Haha :)

Okay, even I think I make this stuff up!

The Kayla, Jayne and Nneka she is talking about are the trio of trees, Stanford’s very own Kayla Pedersen, Jayne Appel and Nneka Ogwumike. And I am about ready to induct them into C and R’s Stanford Women’s Basketball Stalking Hall of Fame, which I just invented on teh spot. Can you believe it? Of all the planes…. I would have gotten 50 million autographs and then talked IN-DEPTH about that UConn game and what, oh what, if Jayne had been healthy and what they gleaned from their practices with Geno until they made the stewardess throw me off the plane at 50,000 feet.

For those of you not ITK (in the know-texting lingo), Thursday, April 21 is the end of the year awards banquet for the Stanford Women’s Basketball players. Let’s hope our junior bloggers send us an update on the evening. With their great luck/stalking abilities, I am sure they will have some inside scoop!

C and R can’t go because R has a job and C has jury duty! Yes really. I have been contacted about three other times over the years and have never been called down. So dear reader(s), can you imagine justice and jurisprudence meted out by my razor sharp mind, the fate of the free world resting on my head, the thin line between society and anarchy held in check by me, denizen of details, typer of typos,… uh, forgot what I was saying. Anyway, I can’ t go to the awards ceremony because I am on call with the superheroes at the hall of justice and could be called ANY SECOND. Get off the phone. Now!

My other basketball buddy actually got her group number called a few weeks ago and went to the court house to be screened by the lawyers for a trial case. She was not looking forward to serving on a long trial. We all made up radical excuses for her to tell the lawyers to get herself dismissed from the case, such as she was a Satan worshipper or hated all men or was looking forward to the trial to silence the voices in her head...  I know, we are bad, helping our friend shirk her civic and patriotic duty and NOT being good role models for our junior bloggers, are we? We should be inducted in to C and R’s Hall of Shame.

Anyhoo, when it was her turn, they asked her one question: where did you grow up? She said Utah and they dismissed her without another word. So we think they assumed she most be Mormon and republican and how dare they stereotype and type cast people without getting to know the real person inside and we were so outraged that we almost forgot she really was Mormon and republican, but they didn’t KNOW that for reals. Geez. Hmm, I don’t know if being from Ohio will be enough to get me excused so I might have to go with the devil worshiping thing or else say I am a CAL fan…ahh, I am so bad, go to the corner of the hall of shame, right now, young lady.

Anyway, keep those fan letters coming, and maybe ask about us or something. If you do go to the awards ceremony on Thursday, drop us a line and let us know what you saw, thought, felt. (or, you know, do our job for us and we will give you half our salary… -half of zero is still zero, isn't it? I am not too good with the math skills, either). Looking forward to hearing from all of you!

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun With Stanford Video

C and R are so missing our Stanford Women’s Basketballs Players, that we found video of them. Well, it’s that adorably cute/dorky video series entitled “Superhoopsters--Superheroes with Ineffectual Powers.” Most of these have shown on the Jumbo tron during games, and C and R have shown some of them in the past (The Amy Tucker/Bobbi Kelsey one cracks us up “Every time, Bobbi, every time--I'm just saying”). It’s fun to see the players (and coaches) let their guard down a little and be silly.Well, enjoy, if you are at a place a lets you access You Tube videos (so far schools and Ipad users are out of luck).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxing Day

Taxing day, so why don’t we re-live the PAC-10 season, the one where the Stanford Women’s Basketball team made it to the NCAA title game and Cal brought home their first-ever WNIT crown. Tons of records here, too.

Speaking of taxes, are you worried that Jayne Appel will have to deal with adult issues and complicated taxes and mortgages living on her own in San Antonio for the first time ever and drawing a pro salary? Well, don’t be, as she will only make $49,000. WNBA rookies get paid a minimum $35,190, but since Jayne was drafted 5th,  she gets the 49K. Well, geez, you ask, how much do the established veterans make? The maximum WNBA salary for veteran players in 2010 is $101,000. Currently, the average NBA salary is 5 mil. Women basketball players can make more playing in Europe in the WNBA “off-season.”

Jayne currently is in UConn territory watching the National Team play and trying to learn from Geno Auriemma’s system in the hopes she will some day be healthy enough to play for him. It must be so frustrating for Jayne not to play, especially since the only center on the National Team is Tina Charles! Geno said he really wants to utilize Jayne and her passing game. Get well, soon Jayne, and show Geno and the world what you can do after being hurt in that Title game. (And bring back some UConn secrets you can share with Tara and the gang!)

Check out pictures of Jayne with the National Team, including one with her talking to Tina Charles.

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life After Basketball--Includes a lot of Basketball

So how’s your life now that Stanford Women’s Basketball is over? C and R’s is awful, or maybe it’s the rain that is depressing us. It’s April, we don’t get rain in Northern CA in April!

Not only are we depressed; we are lethargic and lazy, too. So skipping back to last week, R wanted to point this out

Did you notice the only other pac-10 player drafted (besides our Jaynie-Jayne) was Alexis Gray-Lawson - in the 3rd round? Also, the only other West coast team that had anybody drafted was San Diego State (Oops-don't forget Gonzaga) - okay, the West gets NO respect…

Good Point. No Rodney Dangerfield Respect.

More depressing, JJ Hones has microfracture surgery on her knee (and Mel Murphy will soon). The surgery creates tiny fractures in the bone and, in theory, new cartilage forms and will strengthen the bone. She will know in six months if she can play basketball for Stanford again.

In other basketball news, Team USA, the National Team that plays in all our international tournaments, including the Olympics, has no international tournaments scheduled for a long while, so Team USA head coach Geno Auriemma (you know, that pompous guy that gave NO credit to Stanford for holding his UConn team to 12 points, the worst performance in school history in a half, that guy?), um, lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, Geno has no competition for the National Team to play against so he came up with the idea of a Team USA “Select Team” to play against this week. Think of it as the junior varsity to the varsity team. Anyway, Stanford’s Kayla Pedersen has been invited to play for the select team. Yay! Nneka Ogwumike is already on the select team, and we thought she was asked to the varsity team, so what do we know? And we are glad to find out that although Jayne Appel is too injured to play (stress fracture) she is at camp to watch and learn for when she is better. And we think she is slated for the National Varsity Team.

Oh, they listed Kayla’s National Team accomplishments as a 2010 All-Final Four selection and three-time USA Basketball gold medallist. Kayla has USA Basketball experience with the “Age Groups” teams, meaning she played on the U18, U19 Teams, and at the USA Basketball World University Games Team in July, 2009. She won gold medals all three times.

C and R fully expect to see Kayla on the big girl team someday.

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

Friday, April 9, 2010

Game Hangover

Hi, C here, and sorry to be so absent, but I was working with the little kiddies in the past two days and not near a computer. Besides, what more needs to be said about the Stanford Women’s Basketball team losing the National Title game to UConn that has not been said?

I was going to play good stat/bad stat, but it just depressed me too much. (You hold the number one team to 17% shooting and 12 first half points, they only have scored 31 points with 10 minutes left in the game, you think you are going to win….but no, you end up shooting 26 % for the game yourself and set a record for futility. What hurts the most about this is we lost the game, beat ourselves, a few more points and we win…but wait, I wasn't going to torture myself and the C and R fans still out there by reliving this game…)

Here, you can look up the good stats/bad stats yourself. Also, check out these records set or broken, courtesy of the Stanford Fast Break Club (wow, Nneka set the Stanford single season record for rebounds).

On to happier thoughts, stepping back from that April game, this truly was an amazing team and fun to watch, too. Both Kayla Pedersen and Nneka Ogwumike said this was their favorite team of all time. To make it to the championship game, to stay focused on the prize since October, to commit to that mission while taking challenging college coursework, that was very hard to do. The 2009-2010 Stanford Women’s Basketball team has our utmost respect and admiration.

Kayla Pedersen and Nneka Ogwumike did make the Final Four all-tournament team. Nneka also got invited to work out with Team USA under UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Jayne Appel was supposed to go, too, but now that it has been revealed that Jayne had a painful stress facture in her foot for about a month now, she is not going (not sure if that was Geno’s decision or Jayne’s).

Jayne Appel was drafted in the WNBA. She didn’t go second as predicted, which would have landed her in Minnesota with former Stanford player Candice Wiggins. She did go fifth to San Antonio. We can only wonder if her poor performance the last few weeks due to injury played a part in that. She will make about $49,000 a year. Maybe she can play two-three years and get enough money for law school and get on with the rest of her life. Jayne was a warrior with the injury and is putting a good face on where she ended up in the WNBA. C and R wish her nothing but the best.

Sorry this is so somber. Even the players were hard pressed to be cheerful when a number of fans showed up at the Stanford campus to welcome them back. One comment of note, head coach Tara VanDerveer said (the crowd today) was more than the fans in her first two years at Stanford. And isn’t that what it should be about? Supporting this incredible women’s sports team, no matter what their record?

Sigh. WNBA starts May 15th.

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

There is No Joy in Maples...

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The Stanford band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Maples-- mighty Cardinal have struck out…

C and R KNOW it’s a baseball reference, but you are supposed to recite it to the tune from the "Casey at the Bat" Poem
But there is no joy in Mudville-- mighty Casey has struck out....

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

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day Before Jitters

Well now, the Internet is all abuzz about the Stanford/UConn national title women’s basketball game Tuesday, as well it should be. It will be hard for Stanford to beat them, but C and R have really enjoyed how much attention the local papers have showered on the Stanford Women’s Team. It helps they are doing so well (and no local men’s team remain in the men’s Final Four). We guess everyone loves a winner (except UConn-and we are soooo tired of Geno saying, “everyone views us as the bad guy and are rooting for us to lose,” heck yeah, with your pompous attitude we sure are, whether our team was playing you or not—sorry, C and R are in a bit of a foul mood because, on one hand, we made it to the National Championship game, and on the other, we are playing a really talented team, such mixed feelings)

One thing we will say is we do respect the heck out of Maya Moore after watching that Baylor/UConn game. She really did deserve all the National Awards she won (yet, strangely, they gave the Naismith award to teammate Tina Charles). She is the best in college ball today. Tina Charles is a great post player, but her skill set is that of a post player. Maya Moore is a complete all-around player. She can give you guard skills, forward skills, shooting skills and rebounding skills, plus defense.  It is going to be a tough road for Stanford (so tough, that for once, C and R don’t have any advice for Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer, we think we will just let her coach this one… although, when we last beat UConn two years ago, we didn’t beat them so much as outscore them and outlast them. We would have to score every time down the floor to have any chance to beat them. Are you listening, guards?).

Going back for a second to the first Final Four game, the one where Stanford let Oklahoma back in it and needed all of Nneka Ogwumike’s 38 points to win, yes that one, did you see when they cut to Chiney Ogwumike? That is Nneka’s sister, who will be a Stanford freshman next year and is the number one women’s basketball recruit in the country. Every time they showed her she was standing and serious looking, like she was saying, give me a uniform and I’ll show you how it’s done. And when Nneka got boxed out to the ground, she looked like she wanted to step down there and box that girl right back. (Our NOF noticed as well and said Chiney showed the “Eye of the Tiger!” We both can’t wait until next year to add her to the mix).

Chiney chose to play Saturday in the Women’s Basketball Coach’s Association All-Star Game on the same Alamo Dome court as big sis. She scored 24 points, and got to stick around to see Stanford’s as well. She said she likes to scout opponents and then give Nneka (sometimes unwanted) advice. Let’s hope she can find some UConn weakness to exploit and pass it on to Nneka. That and she likes to munch on nachos. So do C and R.

In fact, C and R are going to a sports bar (ggod nachos AND pizza) because so many people in the Bay Area, while pretty sure UConn will win, want to share all Stanford has accomplished this year with everyone else. And they would love to witness a miracle, too. We do too, but they better be quiet when the game is on. If anyone so much as whispers during game time, R will have that look Chiney had at the Alamo Dome.

Oh, congrats to the Cal Women’s Basketball Team for winning the WNIT. The Women's National Invitation Tournament is a second tier tournament for D1 teams that did not make the NCAA tournament. The WNIT offers teams an opportunity to get more practices in, to experience playoff-atmosphere games, and to play in front of passionate fans. This year 64 teams were invited to the single elimination tournament and Cal, lead by Alexis Gray Lawson, was the last one standing. Think of the great experience all those Cal freshmen got and how Lexi got to end her season on such a positive note. The reason C and R bring this up is C. Vivian Stringer said she wouldn’t be caught dead playing in the WNIT if her Rutgers team didn’t make the NCAA tournament, intimating the WNIT was small time rinky-dink, effectively insulting the 64 teams that did participate. (Her team did make the NCAA and lost in the first round to Iowa, poetic justice, no?)

Oh, the NCAA, in its infinite basketball wisdom, won’t let bloggers get press credentials to blog about the Final Four games. Yes, why receive free publicity and reach out to many women’s basketball fans? Why, that would only spread interest in the women’s game.  See, they have this crazy rule that the person applying for a credential must have a website that gets 1 million visitors per month (mom, keep hitting the back button and Google us again, say, 999,999 more times, please). Some of the bias is outdated and based on old print media models (which is funny because the print model is dying quickly, replaced by... the internet and bloggers). The NY Times website gets the required 1 million unique visitors per month, yet pay little attention to women’s basketball, whereas a site like swish appeal is ALL about women’s basketball. Women’s basketball sites do not generally get the attention male sports get, so they won’t get the one million number (yet). Chicken or the egg, anyone? Still, why would a business pass up free publicity to the very fans you are trying to attract?

See ya at the.. game, TV, bar, floor, radio, internet, however you are watching the game. May your team do well, but may Stanford do better.

More Stanford Stuff (but no blogging) at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Stanford's Final Four Win

Stanford, after that scare with Xavier, did you have to make this one so close? This, of course, being the Stanford Women’s basketball team’s Final Four win over Oklahoma to advance to the National Championship game. We looked in large and in charge, thanks to Nneka Ogwumike’s fourteen first half points and nine rebounds. Stanford center Jayne Appel is still bothered by her sore ankle, and it hindered her movements around the basket on offense.

Then, in the second half Stanford bogged down. They missed their threes, making one, one out of fifteen tries! (And what was Nneka doing taking a three? And the box score says she took two three-point attempts). They missed their free throws, nine of them, which is very uncharacteristic of us (although Nneka went 12-13 from the line, tying a final four record for FTs made). And they let the two speedy Oklahoma guards slash in for points and left some shooters open for threes. And that let Oklahoma get within three with 46 seconds left. But Nneka to the rescue to lead Stanford to a 73-66 victory.

All though it Nneka kept shooting. She would score a career-high 38 points. However, she was 13 for 25 from the field. Her 38 points broke an NCAA record for a National Semifinal game, also second most in a final four (The first? None other then the 47 by Sheryl Swoopes of Texas Tech in the 1993 National Championship Game.). Nneka would score 24 in the second half, setting an NCAA record for most in a half in a National Semifinal game and tied for most in a half in a final four (tying the same said Sheryl Swoopes).

Yes, Nneka had a record performing night, including that soccer throw-in to Jayne Appel for the lay up, and that break away lay up fed by Kayla Pedersen’s baseball pass from the baseline with, what, 15 seconds left. But one could argue she didn’t get much help from her supporting cast. Jayne had 13 and Kayla had 12 points. Although Kayla does so many intangibles, including being the go to person when they pressure us. The rest of the team had 10 points, We will have to score more to beat our next opponent…

Scary moment when Nneka elevated in the air and the Oklahoma player started to box her out and stick her back side into her, not realizing Nneka was still elevating in the air. The Oklahoma players’s backside totally undercut her and Nneka went down face first to the hard wood. She landed mostly on her shoulder and face. She sat out a minute or two to ice her hip (?) but came back in to score more points. The refs looked at the tape to see if it was a flagrant undercutting. They correctly ruled it wasn’t, but that goes to show you women’s players don’t expect other players to elevate as much as Nneka does. Glad she was okay and C and R hope she will be ready for the National Title Game with the opponent who shall not be named.

And how ‘bout that officiating? As in it was horrible. So many hands hit while shooting and not called. Last game you so much as touched a person and got a foul called. Heck, Jayne’s fifth foul to put her out of the game, she rested her hands on another player’s back. Now, you could hit, hit, hit, and not get a call.

For those of you who saw the game on the TV, didn’t you love Ros, not once, but twice, admitting she was a total diva? (And C and R are sure that was Jeanette’s bucket o’ nail polish, not Ros’). And what about the fancy dressed young ladies who would whirlwind into basketball players? Kinda cute!

In the second game, Baylor faced off against UConn. When Baylor followed C’s plan and got it to Brittney Griner, they did well. But they didn’t do it often enough. Granted Baylor got within five in the second half before losing by 20. Okay, so C and R are totally impressed with UConn’s Maya Moore. She is something else. Okalahoma did not have an answer for Nneka Ogwumike tonight, but no one has an answer for Maya Moore on any night.

Stanford’s reward for winning the semifinal game is playing UConn.

More Stanford Stuff (but not UConn) at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog

Friday, April 2, 2010

Two Days ‘Til the Final Four…

OMG! This is C here to tell you that R won a prize in the Women’s Talk Sports Basketball Challenge (we told you to register). And it was not for her basketball team picking acumen; believe you me, although she did end up higher than me. How is that possible? I read up on the teams on that there Internet waaaay more than her! Anyhoo, she was chosen randomly for the prize, but as we say here at C and R’s, a prize is a prize is a prize. And it just wasn’t any prize, she had a choice. She chose the purple bra! (It’s not everyday you win a purple bra). Now C wants to know if WTS will deliver it by shooting it out of a cannon!

In other news, since C and R couldn’t travel to San Antonio for the women’s basketball Final Four (C’s son needed help with homework. Seriously.), we have sent some intrepid reporters (meaning some fans went on their own and wrote us). One group we dispatched on Wednesday by car and we are not sure if the made it. Anyone seen four women in a car with California license plates? They play basketball.

Our NOF (number one fan) is down there and is enjoying some food (fried, battered and dipped) the weather (stormy, hot and humid) and some sight seeing (River walk, Mission San Jose and The Alamo Dome--isn’t that where they are going to play the basketball games?). Said not many Stanford fans there yet, but tons of UConn fans. Hurry up Stanford fans, and get there to out-number the UConn fans! We have to beat UConn at something…Oops, I did not just write that…delete, delete, delete.

So we saw on Women Talk Sports you can download some sort of Stanford App. One fan was telling us about the app while razzing us about doing better in the Women talk Sports Challenge but who took home the purple bra? Huh? Who? Anyhoo, the Stanford App will have photos, team videos and news releases and head coach Tara VanDerveer’s Twitters. Hmm, I get all that now at C and R’s Stanford Women’s Basketball Blog! Hee hee! Plus I don’t own an Iphone.

So we asked her to write a review about the app we can post, stating something like, what is an app? If any of you have the Stanford Women’s Basketball App, email us a review as well and we’ll post.

Oh, Happy Stanford Send -Off Yesterday:

And Here's What they Did Today! (compliments of Mel Murphy's Melevision)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools

Okay, C and R, at the risk of being big April Fools, want to comment on Baylor’s 6’8” center Brittney Griner and to be even more foolish, give her coaching advice, because we have no national titles or conference titles or any pedigree in college coaching! So we’re completely qualified!

Everyone is talking about her strengths, which they should as she has many, but no one is talking about something subtler; how she is being coached.

Here are some observations we wanted to share. Really these are coaching observations, not criticisms against a young 19-year-old player who has gotten an inordinate amount of attention. Writing this basketball blog is fun for us, however sometimes we get caught up being too critical of young players. We need to remember they are student athletes and not professional players, trying to play up to the best of their ability. However, coaches are grown ups and get paid a salary to coach on a national stage to their best of their ability so we feel we can criticize more freely.

So C and R saw the elite eight Baylor/Duke game. Not a pretty game for either team. But it was our first full-game look at Brittney Griner, not just dunking or blocking clips, since we saw her in her first college game against Tennessee. We didn’t think she was ready for prime time then. But she has a whole season under her belt and we are sooo pinning our hopes on Baylor beating UConn in the Final Four.

So, Brittney Griner has a lot of strengths, as we mentioned. One is her shot blocking abilities. She already has the NCAA single season record for blocks (over 200 and counting), and the NCAA tournament record for blocks broken in 3 games (What is it- 32 and counting?), when the previous record took 6 games to accomplish. Harder to put in a statistical column is when she makes teams alter their shot selections, such as when a guard slashes inside, sees Brittney’s arms and keeps dribbling through the key back to the top. That’s huge!

Coaching Criticism Number One:
However, and here is the coaching criticism, and believe me, Baylor coach Kim Mulky is a big girl and can take it, they are misusing her. In the Duke game, Brittney came out of the paint to challenge a three point shot. She missed the block. Granted, she was quick and athletic and covered a lot of ground and did rattle the shooter. So much so that the Duke shooter missed. But where is 6’8” Brittney for the rebound? After lunging towards the three-point shooter, she is now on the three-point line and… stays there. She is out of position for any kind of rebound, and doesn’t even attempt to come back to the paint. This happened more than once. Coaching!

Instead, if C and R were the coach, we would say, “Brittney, you own the paint and don’t let anyone take a shot inside here. But you are not allowed to leave the key. If the other team does get a shot off, you are to get the rebound no matter where it goes.”

Which Brings Us to Coaching Criticism Number Two:
Many times we saw Brittney with her hands down for rebounds and not boxing out hard. Two BIG coaching fundamentals. C and R feel we are spoiled by Stanford, which preaches the fundamentals. We made it a point in the Stanford game immediately after the Baylor game to watch our bigs. They boxed out and stayed with the play every time. They might not have been the tallest player out there (Xavier had two players taller than ours), but Stanford put themselves in position to try to get every rebound and worked hard for it.

If Brittney is standing in the middle of the key, with her long arm span, she should be getting every rebound. A check on the NCAA site for statistics says Brittney has 291 rebounds for the season. Baylor’s 6’1 player, Morghan Medlock has 274. Hmmm. Stanford senior Jayne Appel, at 6’4, averaged 311 for her four-year career. You could say the stats are close, but the point is with better positioning and readiness, Brittney should be getting even more! She should be breaking the records for rebounds, too.

Again, have Brittney stay near the basket, maybe sacrifice a few blocks but make up for it by getting more rebounds.

Coaching Criticism Number Three:
Brittney disappears offensively for long stretches of the game. She did not attempt a shot in the first 10 minutes of the second half in the Duke game. Sometimes she did not even touch the ball in the 30-second play. That is inexcusable. Well, in Brittney’s defense, she cannot score if her teammates do not pass her the ball. And her teammates would drive in and shoot (and miss), not play a passing game. (Spoiled by Stanford, who pass, pass, pass for the open shot). That’s a coach’s decision on how she wants her team to be run. However, you have the best weapon in basketball that can give you a high percentage shot. Why let the lower percentage drives against double teams and off –balance shots happen?

During a timeout in the Duke game, the announcers showed a little graphic of Brittney with her hands up near her basket. Then they put a circle above her hands. Her wingspan is listed as 86”. Above her upraised hands is, oh, let’s say 8 feet. And Brittney can jump. They announcers said, throw it to this circle above her hands where no one can get it but Brittney and then have her turn and shoot. Then they showed the ONE play where Baylor did that. She made the basket. No one was close to getting the ball but her. In fact, the other team, with their up-stretched hands, come up to her elbows and hit her elbows but she did not get the foul call. This play is unstoppable, but they had only done it once in about 30 minutes of play! Only once!?

Here’s how a coach solves this problem of selfish team play and not passing to their unstoppable center:
Kim to point guards: Pass the ball to Brittney up high-do not drive in.
Point Guards: Yes m'am.
Kim to point guards: You drove in by yourself and missed; if you don't pass the ball to Brittney up high I will bench you and put in someone who will pass to our center. Do you understand me?
Point Guards: Yes m'am.

Result: Fifty passes to Brittney up high and nothing the other team can do but watch her score or foul her. However, if the coach is not asking her guards to do that, you can’t fault them for not passing. Chicken or the egg, we guess. However, Kim should have every play run through Brittney until the other team can figure out how to stop her. Then have someone who can knock down threes.

So, here is C and R’s patented plan for Baylor to beat UConn. Defensively, put one player on Maya Moore and keep Brittney in the paint to stop anything else. Heck, play man to man and even put two players on Maya Moore and let Brittney stay in the paint to stop the other players who think they are open. And have her box out hard with her arms up and then have her stick her arms out to get every single rebound. Do not give UConn offensive rebounds. Offensively, throw it to Brittney up high, have her catch, turn and shoot and get UConn center Tina Charles in foul trouble. Every single play until they stop it. And UConn is not deep at the center position. Get Tina Chares on the bench with two or three fouls. In the Florida State/UConn game Maya Moore got in foul trouble with two fouls and sat for most of the first half. The team goes flat without her in there. Sending Tina to the bench early would help. Sending Maya to the bench early would help Baylor out a lot more. Having both on the bench will win you the game. Let’s see, Maya Moore likes to drive into the key. Could Brittney be tempted to forgo the obvious block, set her feet, and take the charge on Maya Moore to get her in foul trouble? Now that would be coaching!

Anyway, we hope Baylor uses Brittney to their advantage and that she has an amazing game. C and R might be as selfish as the Baylor guards, but Baylor beating UConn, wouldn’t that be something? And something for Stanford?