Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stanford vs South Carolina

It was great to see Stanford live and in person. C and R played host to R’s relatives (W + W, they are so cute!) and our good Bball friend P. W + W had never seen a live basketball game, men’s or women’s, and let me tell you Stanford, they were impressed. They were impressed with the size, natch, as C was sporting he “Fear the Trees” shirt, and their speed. And of course they loved the score! Half time was 35-11!

Stanford would go on to beat South Carolina 70-32, and W + W got to hear the brainiac cheer “2X plus 4, where X is your score!” Only at Stanford. We must have bored them to death about sisters Nneka and Chiney before the game. And yet how were the first four points scored? Sister to sister. Both times Chiney fed her older sister Nneka, but you could tell she was looking for her all the way. One close by fan said “They’ve been doing that for years!” W + W got treated to some ferocious defensive grabs from Nneka, too.

We got to see Stanford’s new and improved man-to-man defense, and the very new 1-3- that features Chiney’s desire to chase the ball. Both worked well. Stanford reacted quickly to South Carolina’s penetration, and then our height took care of the rest. It really was as if they hit trees. And, well, it wasn’t that Couth Carolina was bad, it’s just they had no three point shooters. If you can’t get anything inside, you need to go to plan B, and they just didn’t have one. A very glaring weakness. Stanford, on the other hand, is trying to up their accuracy and shot 42% from beyond the arc, which is a good thing, because we don’t dribble penetrate all that well, although freshmen Toni Kokenis was one of the few for Stanford to do that Friday.

Well, the real test will be Sunday against number 16 Texas. Oh, head coach Tara VanDerveer is just three wins away from the very elite 800 club!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stanford vs Gonzaga Redux

Happy Thanksgiving from C and R! We are thankful Stanford will be back in town tomorrow and R gets to escape her house and life as a shut-in following shoulder surgery twice this weekend!

Heard from TG, who answered most of our questions from out last posting. Faithful readers with nothing to do will remember that we asked how others “saw” the game. TG said he utilized the “All-Access” pass you can get through Stanford’s website, we believe. He commented” no commentator, just audio from the court announcer and crowd noise. Miss all the insightful commentary :), but it's better than watching chess pawns shoot baskets.” (Meaning that gawd-awful game tracker).

And we also asked how Stanford barely squeaked by with a win when we beat them by 30 points last year. Here, let him tell you: (comments in parenthesis are ours)

1.  Great, great, energy in the Gonzaga sell-out crowd of 6,000.  Wonderful statement for women's BB in Spokane. (Yes, and their coach asked the community to fill the place for every game, not just this special occasion-let’s hope they do)

2.  Courtney Vandersloot is one of the best guards in the country.  She finished with 24 points, 10 assists on 1 turnover, and threw in 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and a blocked shot just for good measure.  Off the charts.

3. Stanford defensive rebounding was awful.  We gave them 21 offensive boards, to our 15, and overall rebounds were tied at 49.  Trees need to play like trees! (!!)

4.  On the other hand, it's probably the only time Gonzaga will lose at home all season-- they had a 19-game home streak broken, and they’ll easily make the NCAA tournament, and probably win at least a couple of games. (Ah, that answered the question about Gonzaga’s dramatic improvement)

5. Overall, a good, tough early season road win for the Cardinal - with lots of room for improvement. (We would say so!)


OMG, did you catch “Trees need to play like trees!” We smell another T-shirt if that keeps up, hee hee. Thanks for the insight, TG, don’t go startin’ your own blog or anything, your comments are always welcome here!

Oh, forget to give a shout out to Kayla Pedersen! She almost scored a triple double against Gonzaga, scoring 8 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists, which would have been the first since Nicole Powell had three in the 2001-02 season. But fear not, Kayla set a different record. The 10 rebounds put her at 1006! She is just the fourth player in Stanford women’s basketball history to do that. Who else is in the “1,000 rebound club”? Oh just Jayne Appel (Jayne!), the aforementioned Nicole Powell and Val Whiting. And… and, she is just 257 rebounds away from Apples record mark of 1263. You go, Kayla! Show them what Trees can do!

Mark your calendars. Stanford plays Friday against South Carolina at 1:00 PM and then gets a televised date with Texas at 12:30 on Sunday. See ya there!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stanford vs Gonzaga

Oh yeah, with this smorgasbord of football this weekend, we almost forgot the Stanford Women’s Basketball team played a game Sunday against Gonzaga. Almost. Stanford is the highest ranked women’s team to visit Gonzaga, and in their honor they sold out their 6,000 seat stadium. Cool. It was only the second sell out for their women’s team, the first being Tennessee in 2008, but then again, we were higher-ranked! Hee hee.

Since the game was not televised or else C and R couldn’t figure out their stations, we didn’t see the game, so imagine our surprise when we read that Stanford holds off the ‘Zags 84-78! What?! Gonzaga even tied the game at 68 with just over 5 minutes left. Last year we beat them 105-74! Well, they did go on to have their best season last year and reach the sweet 16 for the first time in their school’s history, so maybe they have improved.

But boy Stanford, you sure are giving us plenty to worry about in the mean time. Are we going to be able to hang with the top-ranked teams? Don’t make those pollsters back East regret your number 3 or 2 or whatever the ranking is now.

Nneka Ogwumike got to play today, and it was a good thing because she lead the Cardinal in scoring with 21 and in rebounding with 14. So much for the “ankle-gate”, which didn’t even get started, although she did have her fingers taped for this game. Could that have been the “undisclosed medical condition” the Stanford officials gave out as the reason for her missing Friday’s game? Inquiring minds want to know.

C and R will be thankful to have Stanford back in CA for Thanksgiving. The next two games are at home over that Thanksgiving weekend. The first game is against South Carolina. Have we ever played them before? Can’t recall.

Happy Thanksgiving from C and R if we don’t see you first.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stanford vs Utah

Yes, yes, yes, we knew former Stanford women’s basketball player Michelle Harrison is now playing on the Utah women’s basketball team, thanks to all who wrote, it’s just been a busy end of the week and C and R didn’t get time to write!

So, Michelle Harrison, who has a special place in C’s heart because she studied art at Stanford and C studied art in… palookaville, and Michelle played college basketball for Stanford and went with them to the final four several times and C played college basketball for her intramural team which won the championship trophy T-Shirt her freshmen year, and Michelle was a three time letter winner in golf in high school and C once got a par, so yes, you can see they have a lot in common. The similarities are endless! Hee hee.

No wait, let’s start again. Michelle Harrison played high school ball in the Provo area, and was much heralded and recruited locally. She chose Stanford in 2006, but blew out her ACL in the early part of the season in 2007 and then sat out. Spent 2008-2010 with Stanford, had an incredible ride, and last year was part of the Stanford team to beat Utah 60-41.

Now fast forward to the 2010-11 season. Michelle had to apply for a waiver from the NCAA to get one more year of eligibility, and she won, but Stanford had two other fifth year players returning and new recruits coming, so she was the odd man out. She has no hard feelings and still likes and respected Stanford head basketball coach Tara VanDerveer immensely. She even keeps in contact with some of her former teammates. But she had this year of eligibility left, and was still working on her masters of arts so… she contacted Utah, a school that recruited her heavily and said was there a place for her? And they said, “Come on down!”

Having a player with four years of coaching from a high level coach like VanDerveer, and a teaching coach to boot, it was like get a player and assistant coach all rolled in to one. With the added advantage Michelle knows how to win and what it takes to create a winning environment. We are sure she is going to be a tremendous asset to Utah. How cool!

And it paid off early on with a game against Stanford Friday night. Oh, the scoreboard will tell you Stanford won 62-53, but for Utah, they won a huge moral victory. They came within a point in the second half, and rebounded and played defense well, holding Stanford to 23 first half points. (Unfortunately Utah only got 15 first half points themselves) Michelley scored 14 points against her former teammates.

But wait, this is a Stanford Women’s Basketball Blog, not Utah’s so let’s get back to basics. Jeanette Pohlen led Stanford with 19, followed closely by Kayla Pedersen with 13 and Chiney Ogwumike with 12. Stanford was able to score or get fouled nearly every time they threw the ball inside in the second half, and C and R like that game plan.

And big sis Nneka Ogwumike was sorely missed, sitting out the game with a very vague “ankle injury”. The official Stanford website called it an “undisclosed medical problem”. Hmmm, C and R are skeptical, after the whole Jayne Appel “sprained-ankle-but-really-a-painful-stress-fracture-gate” at the end of last season. Let’s hope it is nothing serious.

We wish we had more to report about the actual game itself, but since it was not televised in our area, we didn’t see it. So of course we get an email first thing this morning saying, “Did you see the game?!” And "what the hecka is wrong with Nneka?" (Okay, the joke came from our bball friends, but they like Cal, so we are stealing the joke and giving no credit).

And how did they see the game? R actually called Comcast, our stupid cable company to see if we could get the “Mountain Channel” or whatever the channel was that supposedly had the Utah-Stanford game but Comcast said we don’t get it. And the next game against Gonzaga also is listed as being on TV, but Comcast said you could only get it if you have a HD-3D TV! C has HD, but they said no, it is only broadcast to the Sony HD-3D TV sets?! What? Someone, please help C and R and tell us if that game is televised or not? And they shouldn’t advertise the game is on TV if it is a channel no one gets! Or else we will start advertising fictitious games on our C and R channel. Sorry, we’re a little cranky.

Anyway, a win is a win for Stanford. Best of luck to Michelle for the rest of the season, but we are on a mission, and we need to get Nneka healed before… UConn!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Streak is Still Alive

Someone asked C and R who they were rooting for in the UConn/Baylor match up. C had to scratch her head a minute (bedbugs), she didn’t know, she doesn’t like either team! Hate Uconn, given, but what does she have against Baylor? Well, she will tell you… Baylor has the “most unique” women’s college basketball player in the country right now in 6-8 Brittney Griner, yet C feels she is not coached well. She should be getting every rebound, and the Baylor guards should be throwing a post-entry pass to her every time down. They don’t, Brittney gets boxed out, and Baylor loses, that’s on Kim Mulkey.

R usually likes the underdog, which we both feel is Baylor, despite their “number two in the country” ranking. She is a tried and true Sanford fan who feels THEY should have gotten the number two ranking.
But we both admit the game of the year didn’t disappoint, coming down to one point game in the closing seconds.

There certainly was a unique player on the court all right, but her name was Maya Moore. Two-time player of the year for UConn, she was phenomenal in the first half. Her threes were from NBA range. She stops and elevates for scores. And her defense was outstanding. She helped in double-teaming Brittney Griner and stole a lot of those entry passes. Baylor had 17 turnovers in the first half alone, most of it trying to get it to Brittney.

Look, it’s not hard. Griner’s an athletic 6-8 and can jump. Have her hold her hands up and throw it about two feet above that. Case closed. Actually, Baylor surprised the heck out of C by getting Brittney the ball early in the game. She either made it or was fouled. Then it stopped. Could be Maya Moore’s double team, could be UConn took their freshmen center off of her and had 6-1 Samarie Walker push Brittney around. The smaller player did an outstanding job pushing Brittney away from the basket (Why is Brittney catching the ball at the top of the three point line? Coaching) and boxed her out after the shots. They made Brittney disappear and only have 6 points in the first half. Oh, Brittney missed her free throws (5-13 from the line). Sorry, this ain’t high school and you team needs every point, as this one came down to the wire. (Coaching, Coaching, Coaching!)

Then half time happened, and for the first five minutes or so of the second half, UConn continued their lead, going up 44-29. Then… somehow, Baylor found Brittney again and went on a 27-4 run. Maya Moore stayed stuck at 20 points. Baylor got Brittney the entry-level pass we were all waiting for, she turned and fired, drawing fouls and showing a nice soft touch around the basket, causing two UConn centers to foul out. Brittney added 13 points for the second half to make 19 for the game (compare that to Maya Moore’s 30). But C still believes Brittney is not the player she should be, and you need to play both halves and have a complete game.

UConn was up 44-29 as we mentioned and blew a 16-point lead, but came back from 8 down to make it a one-point game with 36 seconds left. Then, the worst coaching blunder cam from none other than Baylor’s Kim Mulkey. UConn had the ball with 36 seconds, Baylor plays great D and when Maya Moore finally got the shot off, Brittney blocked it out of bounds with 2 seconds on the shot clock for UConn and 8 seconds in the game. UConn calls a time out, comes back to the floor, and Kim doesn’t like the way they set up for the out of bounds play and calls a time out, using Baylor’s FINAL time out. Now if Baylor gets the rebound or Uconn makes it, they need that time out to stop the clock and move the ball closer to the basket. But no, they waste their last one.

Sure enough, Maya airballs it (Maya airballs?!), Baylor rebounds it with 5 seconds left in the game, and NO TIME OUTS! Baylor has to dribble the length of the floor and shoot a ball well beyond the three-point arc. It comes up waaaay short and C and R immediately switch to “Glee” and debate if we like Gwyneth Paltrow as a sub for Mr. Shoe or not (One for one against).

But first, the basketball announcer said Baylor didn’t even get the shot off in time had it gone in. Think back to Jeanette Pohlen racing the floor with 4.4 seconds left to beat Xavier. That happened after Tara had called time out!! (Coaching!)

Terrible mistake, Baylor loses, the streak is still alive and will be waiting for Stanford in December, for that game of the year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Game of the Year?

So, when UConn was on our schedule to come here, to Maples in December, to play the Stanford Women’s Basketball team, the last team that beat them, what, three years ago, and then lost to them in the NCAA Championship game last year, and the game was going to be the exact number of games to beat the UCLA men’s basketball streak of consecutive wins, it was going to be the game of the century. Well, UConn’s league added in some meaningless games to their schedule and now the game against Stanford is not the magical number and besides, UConn has to get by -sniff- number two Baylor, tomorrow, so now that game is being called the game of the year... so far.

Of all teams not named Stanford, experts agree Baylor has the best shot of stopping UConn this season. Baylor is lead by 6-8 shot blocking/dunk machine Brittney Griner.

The game is being televised, and is set for 6 PM EST, and after a frantic search for all basketball games at 6 PM on our Tivo, we remembered our math and calculated the game starts at 3 PM our time. C and R have to work and or nap at that time, so we are taping it. Please don’t call, email, text, chat or send smoke signals about the game. We will be watching it later in the evening, unless “Glee” comes on, then we’re screwed.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how much Brittney Griner has improved. BTW, didn’t one of the Baylor guards quit? A quick internet-thingie search says it was starting point guard Kelli Griffin who quit days before the season opener. That can’t be good. And more googling turned up that the new Baylor freshmen guard, Makenzie Robertson is fiery Baylor coach Kim Mulkey’s daughter!! Wow, that’s got to be tough. We mean, has that even ever happened before, a Mom coaching her daughter in a DI school in a top 10 program?

Wonder if they had any special NCAA rules to follow about no contact or special gifts or considerations when she was in the recruiting process. (Not that we are saying Kim violated any rules, just that there are specific recruiting rules that would be hard to follow as mother/daughter, such as they can’t see/talk to each other before signing up, although maybe her daughter was a typical teenager and locked herself in her room 24/7!). Geez, how did we get so off-track? We just wanted to tell our faithful fans about this match up.

Anyway, tune in or record this game of the year and scout UConn for Tara, won’t you? We know we will. Hee hee (That’s Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer and we are SURE she would love to hear from us!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stanford Women's Basketball Team vs. Rutgers

Oh joy, oh joy, the first (real) game of the Stanford Women’s Basketball season is here and R finally gets to leave her house (Shut-in from shoulder surgery). And it was a glorious day on the Stanford campus, the weather was perfect, high 70’s, the campus was hummin’, and NCAA women’s soccer was being held, right down the block from Maples. We stopped to see Stanford taking on Santa Clara, which is bittersweet for us as C always took the soccer teams she coached down the road to Santa Clara and cheered for them. Stanford was attacking from the opening kick-off, and it was no wonder they would win 2-1 and advance in the tournament. Sorry Santa Clara.

Maples was its usual sauna, which felt good, and no one bumped into R’s arm, so that was doubly good. Warm ups were fun to watch, and it was evident to C that sisters Nneka and Chiney truly like each other and enjoy playing together. And Chiney is ALL business. She wants it. She wants the ball, the basket, the rebound, to be the head of the line, she wants it. You can’t teach that, it is just there from the get-go and Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer took advantage of that.

From the opening tip off, which Nneka won, Chiney was a beast. She grabbed the offensive rebound and muscled it back in. For someone who doesn’t weigh very much, she sure can fight to the basket, to Rutgers chagrin. And yes, the freshmen Chiney started. It was Nneka and Chiney, Joslyn Tinkle, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen. Fear the Trees indeed! Our smallest player was 6 feet. In fact, Chiney owned the offensive paint when she was in, getting 12 boards, 5 of them on offense.

Stanford took a lead but Rutgers, to their credit, hung around. Speed was a big weapon for them and they were very fast in the transition game, pushing the ball and it was 32-29 Stanford at the half.

And hey, Stanford, where were the free shirts for the threes Stanford made? Gotta throw those out to the fans, especially in our section!

C and R were a little disappointed at how Tara kept the offense so disciplined and regimented to the point were it stifled some of our creativity. The point guard stopped at the top of the circle and passed around the perimeter. Tinkle connected with a couple of threes, but with our height, it seemed we should be working it inside more. It wasn’t until the second half we had the guards drive and create something, or kick it out to a now-open players. Freshmen Toni Kokenis did this a few times. It certainly opened the game up for Stanford and we were able to pull away from Rutgers.

And we saw something we haven’t seen in a long time. Tara played a 1-3-1 trap defense, with Chiney at the point. Chiney has that desire to be around the ball, chasing it on defense. When we saw her play in the summer league and her team played man to man, she would often leave her man to try and steal the ball and we thought Tara would hate to see that. Instead, the mastermind coach saw it and used it to her advantage. She played Chiney at the point and let her chase, trap the ball and otherwise hound the ball carrier. Chiney loved it and put out tremendous energy. She is going to be great on offense and defense.

But it was sister Nneka to the rescue for the Cardinal on offense. Early in the second half, when Stanford opened up their offense a little more, she drove in and would pull up for a jumper, and she out-jumped the defense for easy scores. C and R loved seeing that instead of the set passing. And did you see her rebound? On her defensive rebounds she skied so high and tore them away from everyone. Hecka Nneka indeed! She would end up with 20 of Stanford’s 63 points. Rutgers would end up with 50.

Oh, it was cute when Stanford was on defense and playing man to man, Chiney kept yelling “Nneka, Nnecka!” every few seconds, if the ball went anywhere near her sister. And we saw the sister–ESP when Nneka was open down low and the pass instead went to Chiney up high, she immediately gave a no-look pass to Nneka down low.  It is going to be fun to see these two play together, and we hope Tara will play Chiney more, as she only played her 21 minutes.

We did get to see a lot of Toni Kokenis, who played point, which is a bold move for Tara to trust a freshmen so early in the season. Well, Toni is fast, as when Rutgers pressed us with about 2 minutes left, Toni outran two of the Rutgers players. We got a little peek at another freshmen, Sara James, but she wasn’t in long enough to make a splash.

All in all a fun game and we have no where to go but up! Too bad the next two games are away!

A special shout out to all our Stanford friends that said hi to us at half time (you know who you are!).

Friday, November 12, 2010

No Bad (Stanford) News

Ya know, it’s funny; R just asked me if I had heard from our junior bloggers this season. Faithful readers like Mom will know that the junior bloggers are still in school and almost as obsessed with Stanford Women’s Basketball as we are. Almost. And they have even taught C and R a thing or two in the stalking department. So it was serendipitous (it’s okay, they live near Stanford and that radius automatically boasts your vocabulary level by about 20 points on the SAT and they know even bigger words than C and R), serendipitous that I should receive an email from one of them today, taking a break from her algebra homework or facebooking or whatever the devil it is kids do today.

It was on the subject of who (whom?-- I never know, I don’t live in the radius of Stanford and therefore I are dumb) who Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer should get rid of if we have six recruits coming in 2011 and five active seniors graduating, which was the subject of our last post.

It began: Hey Stupid Idiots….
No, no, no, the junior bloggers are waaaaay too polite to begin a letter like that.
So it really began, DEAR Stupid Idiots….
No, no, no, and right now Mama Junior blogger has had a heart attack twice over. No, Junior Mama, just kidding, your daughter is very polite and very nice. In fact, she was so polite she wrote and said she wanted to point out a small detail I forgot. She said there are 15 scholarship spots and we have 14 players on the roster now with one spot open due to JJ Hones being dismissed last year, so we have six spots open.

Isn’t that cute, saying we “forgot” that detail, instead of calling us out and saying you idiots forgot about the void from JJ, which is what really happened (and thank you to other email writers who are not junior bloggers to point out the same thing to us). So although we are embarrassed, we are relieved Tara does not have to make the difficult decision to let someone go before they are a senior.

Well, the season is almost here, although I have to dish that one of the junior bloggers is going to MISS the Rutgers game, and I am so upset I think I might have to revoke her Tinkle bell. But it is okay, she is going to Yosemite, which is R’s favorite place in the world, so she is excused and gets to keep the Tinkle bell and will make the next home game!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Many Recruits?

The Good News:
The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team signed six recruits for next year, and the recruiting class was ranked number four in the nation. Read all about their incredible accomplishments. (One is from Jayne Appel's old high school!)

The Bad News:
There are only five seniors listed on the roster. Who is Stanford Head Coach Tara getting rid of?

Convincing Win

Sounds like the Stanford Women’s Basketball team’s 100-52 win over UC San Diego on Tuesday was a lot of fun. Too bad C and R missed it, what with “Glee” on and all. No, R is still healing from her bionic shoulder, so we skipped this exhibition game. It will be hard for R to make the opening game, but when we saw it is Rutgers, well, she is saving her pain pills for Sunday!

Ogwumike leads the way, but it was Chiney, not Nneka, although C and R were cheered to hear Nneka played after sitting out the first exhibition game with a sore ankle. Hecka Nneka* (registered copyright!-T-Shirts pending) just played 13 minutes. Hope she is going to be okay to go for Rutgers.

Chiney, healthy as a horse, scored 24, almost a quarter of the points, and Stanford shot 75% from the field. Whew! Although the three point shot was not a threat in this game, who needs that when you have rebounders such as Sarah Boothe, Joslyn Tinkle, Kayla Pedersen, Ogwumikes squared… did we leave anyone else out. Fear the TreeS!* (Registered copyright!-T-Shirts pending).

Tara is sure trying out Toni Kokenis at point. It will be interesting to see how the freshman holds up in a game against say, Rutgers. Did we mention Rutgers is coming to town? (BTW, Tara is Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer- registered copyright!-T-Shirts pending… nah, just kidding on that one!)

Oh, we got an email from a fan that was actually at the game. Her observations were that in the Van Guard game, everyone, and we mean EVERYONE, was told to shoot threes. In this game, it seemed Tara said only shoot twos. In fact, everything should be a lay up. Boy, if any of that is true, we truly ARE a versatile team! Thanks PM!

If you bump into C and R at the “real” game on Sunday, make sure not to bump into R’s arm, as she needs to heal. See ya there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pre Season Favorites?

Stanford’s Nncka Ogwumike has been voted a preseason All-American, C and R see, but what about Kayla Pedersen? What, cannot have two players from the same team? Man, that’s cold. To quote someone from the internet, all that matters is how you are voted post-season. Hee hee.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stanford Says "An Guard Vanguard"

The day dawns bittersweet, as this is the first, albeit it exhibition, game of the Stanford women’s basketball season, yet R cannot make it due to her broken wing. She graciously gives up her ticket to C and R’s good friend, P, a dyed in the wool Stanford Women’s basketball fan.

Granted, Stanford is only playing Vanguard, which confuses me because my retirement fund is with Vanguard, the investment company, and I bet the college loses today as much as I lost last year with the retirement company, or something like that, you know what I mean, I make a similar joke like that every year.

P, decked out in her finest Stanford gear, shows up around noon to attend the game with C. She brings a story. She was shopping this morning and the clerk, noticing her Stanford shirt, asks if she is going to the game today. She replies yes-indeedy, and the clerk says she hopes they beat Arizona. Arizona? Oh, she meant the MEN’S football team, not the women’s basketball team. C and R hate when that happens.

P and C make it to Stanford with plenty of time for the 2 PM game, but with the men’s football team set to play at 5 PM, traffic is fierce and parking is nil. We end up parking far away in some residential area and hoofing it to Maples. We make it in time for the National Anthem.

We see them warming up, Kayla Pedersen looks the same, and look, there’s Chiney Ogwumike, C wonders how she is going to contribute in her rookie season, and what the hecka is wrong with Nneka!! (Okay, kudos to P for giving me that joke.) Nneka is wearing the black sweat-suit-of injury and looking dejected along with Mel Murphy (knee surgery), and Hannah Donaghe (torn ACL). We later read she is nursing a left ankle sprain. We will need her for Rutgers in a week.

The first thing P notices as we sit down in R’s seats is that Vanguard looks so short. Why, we think P is taller than their center. The second thing P notices is that Jayne Appel is sitting courtside, in all her blond-haired-and-booted-foot glory. Soon Ros Gold-Onwude joins her, and we wonder what the former Stanford players think and feel not being a part of the Stanford line up for the first time in four years? Well, they were all smiles.

Starters take the floor, and it’s seniors Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen, of course, along with Sarah Boothe, Joslyn Tinkle, and, oh, Chiney Ogwumike. Good, head coach Tara VanDerveer likes what she’s seen in the 30 or so days of practice they have had.

We win the tip off, what with 6-5 Sarah Boothe against their 5-3 center (Well, she certainly looked 5-3). And from the first play we discover Chiney is a beast! She grabs the offensive rebound and puts it back up. She looks hungry for the ball and wants to score points. She misses her first free throw and C resists the urge to yell her age-old anthem, “this ain’t high school!”

Tara lets everyone in the game, giving freshmen Toni Kokenis a taste of point guard, and Sara James a shot at the off guard spot. At one point, it was a true freshmen-to-freshmen connection, with Toni running a fast break and passing to Sara for the score, and Sara passing to Chiney as she out-maneuvered her defender for the score. How much will we rely on our freshmen this year?

Even Lindy LaRoque gets in the game, which is surprising since we last heard she was hurt and might be out for the season.

With our height of trees, we out rebound them 67-27, especially offensively, and freshmen Sara James bombs a three to get us to 100 points. Where’s the free pizza, Stanford? Oh, BTW, what was up with poor Hannah doing the “three-point” duty? You know, when Stanford hits a three-pointer, someone from the end of the bench runs to the head of the bench and high-fives everyone. Poor gimpy Hannah, missing her ACL had to hobble down the line 14 times! Shouldn’t we get someone who has two good knees to do that job?

Wanna hear the box scores? You should, they are impressive. Kayla had 25 points and Chiney had 24. Jeanette Pohlen and Sara James each got 16, and Tinkle and Boothe each got 10. Granted it was against Charles Schwab, I mean Vanguard, but still. Oh, final score was 116-65.

One more exhibition game then on to Rutgers to start the season. Boy, Stanford doesn’t waste time testing themselves, do they?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dunk School

So, women's basketball player Baylor’s Brittney Griner can dunk, so what, so can our Nneka, and she even takes out cameras! And yes, her hand WAS above the rim in Stanford's gym!

Well, it was all in part for Stanford’s “Dunk Schoool”, cuz, ya kow, those Stanford kids are so smart they are always in school or learnin’ or somethin’—enjoy!

Remember boys and girls,
throw down
rinse and repeat
See ya at the game!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Head in the Polls

Well, preseason polls have come out, and although each one is a little different, C and R are seeing a trend; UConn number one, Baylor number 2 and Stanford number 3, or something like that, we are just happy when we place higher than Tennessee, hee hee… And blaspheme to the polls that have us below the top three, what, we are sixth in some of them! Who is better than us? Who?

Yes, UConn is the preseason favorite, since they won the championship and have that 50 gazillion game winning streak going on, but wake up pollsters, they lost Tina Charles and some other people to graduation and injury, (we don’t know if the people they lost were any good, we don’t follow UConn basketball), and they are not the same team. And Stanford, we added recruit of the year Chiney Ogwumike, sister of Nneka, and have Kalya Pedersen who can play all five positions at once, and the X-factor of red-shirted, rehabilitated, and rebuilt 6-5 Sarah Boothe. Pollsters don’t know about her yet, but C and R believe they will soon.
Now take Baylor, please. No, just kidding, Baylor is an interesting case. They have Brittney Griner, the… well, the TALLEST player in women’s basketball. And some pollsters are impressed with that. Yes she can dunk, and she can block shots, but C and R were NOT impressed with how she was coached last year. She was lazy on rebounds, did not box out, and would often run out to the three-point line to block a shot, miss the block, then be out position to get the rebound. And on offense all she had to do is stand on the block and put her hands up and have the guards throw it to her. No one could intercept the pass and no one could block her. And she can dunk, for goodness sakes, give her the ball on the block and let her dunk! But she would disappear, scoring wise, during the game. And who is in her supporting cast? Can you name one ontehr player that supports here? Or was in any of the preseason trophy watches? UConn deposed of Baylor easily in the play-offs, and Brittney did not look good in that game. C and R blame the coaching. So if she was not well used or well-coached last year, what makes the pollsters think she will be well used or well coached this year? We think Baylor is going to crash and burn.
Well, it will be an interesting year for all!