Friday, December 31, 2010

Ding Dong, the Streak is Dead!

The first, the last, and UConn was everything in between. C and R are of course talking about the amazing UConn Huskies women's basketball streak of consecutive wins and Stanford’s small part in it. Stanford was the last team to beat them in March 2008, and the first team to beat them since they got the all-time men’s or women’s streak record of 89, stopping them at 90.

This win was so great; let’s savor it minute by minute, shall we?

40 minutes before the game, tons of scalpers on the sidewalks next to parking lots, which themselves are choked with cars. Tickets like the seats R has are going for $125 a pop!

35 minutes before the game, C and R get in Maples early to watch the teams warm-up, but only UConn is out there. Where is Stanford?

30 minutes before game, the countdown clock stops. This game is being televised after a men’s college game. Are they waiting for men’s’ basketball to be over? Stanford waits to come out to warm up, too.

15 minutes before the game, a friend walks up to Stanford box office and gets 3 general admission seats at face value. Say what, Stanford? You advertised the game was sold out and many of our friends who did not have tickets (And yes, you who did not heed our warnings know who you are) friends without tickets stayed away and yet they could have gotten in? Why didn’t you advertise, “Limited seats left?” You might have gotten even more fans here. Official attendance is 7329. Why is it when Tennessee women’s basketball has a sellout, it is 14,136?

10 minutes before game, both teams are now out and warming up. UConn is intense in warm ups, and to our untrained eye, Stanford looks half hearted, kinda going through the motions. UConn has purpose and drive on their lay ups to the basket, Stanford, well, not so much.

5 minutes before game, time for the National Anthem. Maya Moore tells a teammate, “The flag is this way.”

3 minutes before the game, C and R see former Stanford players Jayne Appel, Candice Wiggins, Ros Gold Onwude and… JJ HONES? Wow, she is the guard who got kicked off the team at the end of last year with one year of eligibility left for drinking and driving… a golf cart (Lord, what a thing to live down) and would be starting this game if not for that. It would be hard to show up back at the farm, yet here she is which says a lot about her character, wanting to support her friends and Stanford. Let’s hope she is not bitter.

Pregame introductions

Maya Moore gets a healthy round of applause. Geno gets booed. C and R hate when anyone boos players or coaches, we just feel it is bad sportsmanship. Anyone who is out there playing or coaching is dedicated and putting forth a high effort, and let’s face it you have to respect the streak of 90 straight winning games, nearly 2 and a half years worth of not losing.

Game time-tip off, Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike loses the tip, not a good sign.

18:42 minutes left in the first half, Jeanette Pohlen makes a three. (C leans to R and says, look, were winning! Little did she know Stanford would not give up the lead for the entire game!)

18:29 minutes left in the first half, Kayla Pedersen gets a defensive rebound. She would be tough on the boards all night. In fact Stanford would go on win the rebounding battle 43-36.

18:02 minutes left in the first half, UConn makes their first basket, a two pointer

(C: look, were still winning!)

15:59 minutes left in the first half, Jeanette Pohlen makes another of her five threes and Stanford is up 6-2.

14:08 minutes left in the first half, Lindy La Rocque hits the first of her two three-point shots, glad to see running, gunning Lindy shooting. And she has a great, great defensive game. Was on Maya Moore for part of the night, was very determined and focused.

14:00 minutes left in the first half, the Jumbotron shows the Quattro of friends (Jayne, Ros, JJ and Candice), for the first of umpteen million times.

13:31 minutes left in the first half, Jeanette Pohlen post up over a smaller guard and makes a lay up, first practiced two days ago against Xavier, and finds success again.

13:31 and 12:27 minutes left in the first half, Stanford goes up by 13 points!! Thirteen points! The largest lead of the night, but still, 13 points!

Oops, wait we did it again at 4:21, too.

10:36 minutes left in the first half, or thereabouts, National Player of the Year Maya Moore shoots an air ball. The crowd chants the “Air-ball” refrain. Look, not that we are making fun of Maya Moore, it’s just that Maya Moore has the best pull up jumper in the country and has been so outstanding and so consistent during the two and half year streak, we are sure that was very uncharacteristic of her, and hopefully can be attributed to Stanford’s tough defense on her.

3:16 minutes left in the first half, Maya Moore makes her first basket, a three. Her first basket of the night with almost 17 minutes gone by in the game. That’s got to be some kinda record. Stanford’s defense is great. Chiney Ogumike is doing most of the defending of Maya Moore now, except when she and then Nneka get two fouls and both go to the bench in the closing few minutes of the half. Now we do not do so well defending Maya and hence the 3-point shot. Maya Moore hits another one at 1:52, but Stanford holds her to just 6 first points half. Also must be some kinda record.

Stanford fouls with 32 seconds minutes left in the first half and with one second left in the first half. Yes one second, UConn threw a half court pass and Lindy undercut Kelly Faris. She should have let her catch and shoot, odds are she wouldn’t have made it anyway.

0 seconds minutes left in the first half, and Stanford leads 34-30.

Halftime, as C races to the concession stand and gets two hotdogs, R gets stopped by the floor crew letting UConn pass to the locker room. R looks right at Geno and says, “You’re awesome!” He looks right at her and says “Thanks.” He then spies one of the half time performers; a monk in a karate suit and lunges low in a karate stance to challenge him two feet in front of R. R is too late to get the photo!

C and R meet with super fan TG and give him his “Fear the Trees” shirt, a prize for knowing who the other coaches were in the 800 career-wins club. C shows her “Hecka Necka” shirt to the cameras but is sure they didn’t show it.

20 minutes left in the second half, C and R just get back to their seats.

17:56 minutes left in the second half and Jeanette scores the first Stanford basket of the second half, what else, a three! Stanford goes back up by seven.

17:11 minutes left in the second half, UConn scores their first points of the second half, also a three. The last time Stanford beat UConn, it’s not that Stanford stopped them, it’s just that Stanford (And Candice Wiggins) outscored them. Let’s hope this game Stanford just stops them, because this year, sometimes Stanford is not good at scoring.

13:22 minutes left in the second half a three by Jeanette Pohlen….lead is nine!

13:21 minutes left in the second half, Jumbotron shows a live action shot of Jayne, Ros, JJ and Candice Wiggins…

10:52 minutes left in the second half, Maya Moore makes her first basket of the second half, (got to be some kinda record), what did she make? What else, a three, she would have no lay ups, a huge defensive statistic. But wait, her three makes it a four-point game. Stanford needs a basket and cannot let UConn back into this game!

10:44 minutes left in the second half, Kayla makes a lay up, thank you very much Ms. Reliable. (Old Faithful?)

9:12 minutes left in the second half, a friend texts R and tells her she thought she saw C and R on TV!

8:05 minutes left in the second half, jumper by Moore.

7:26 minutes left in the second half, three pointer by Moore. Oh no, is this the start of an UConn come back? Little did anyone know, this would be the last points for Maya Moore all night.

7:05 minutes left in the second half, no, no comeback, a lay up for Joslyn Tinkle, who also is having the game of her young life. She played great defense, also asked to guard Moore several times and did a great job. C and R hearTinkle bells in the audience, even though we haven’t promoted it as much this year. Thanks, Stanford fans! R also starts to say, “we’re going to win, I can feel it!” C has a sour pit in her stomach. She can’t handle the stress (You can’t handle the truth!)

6:44 minutes left in the second half, missed three-pointer by Moore. R pounds C’s knee.

Kelly Faris for UConn makes 2 three-pointers at 5:59 and 4:49 to cut the lead to six. Yikes.

3:35 minutes left in the second half, Maya More is being guarded by Tinkle, who gets screened and hands her off to Lindy, who gets screened, hands her off to Kayla who defends her tough and although Moore gets a three point shot off it misses badly.

Tinkle to Lindy to Kayla

Tinker to Evers to Chance

(go ahead and look that one up, especially the sad poem part about breaking opposing fans hearts! C’s head is full of useless trivia like that, just swimming around in her head, waiting to surface at parties to annoy people and mostly beat R at Jeopardy).

2:19 minutes left in the second half, two UConn free throws narrow the lead to six points again, and C is worried, worried, worried. Little did she know this would be the last time UConn would score on the Maples floor that night!

1:42 Chiney would foul Maya Moore and also foul out of the game. Maya misses the front end of a one and one. Again, uncharacteristic of her.

1:37 minutes left in the second half, timeout with Stanford still leading by six and R all smiling and happy and pessimistic C still cannot let herself believe lest she jinx it for Stanford and it is the longest 1:37 minutes of C and R’s life!

1:20 minutes left in the second half, another timeout. Time seems to be agonizingly suspended.

1:14 minutes left in the second half, Nneka would score again to end up with 12 points and have 6 sky-high rebounds.

53 seconds left in the second half, Reliable, Old Faithful Kayla misses the front end of a one and one! And we were just saying about Maya Moore… (To be fair, Kayla got knocked to the floor and possibly hit her head and got her wrist banged so much she grimaced in pain for the final 23 seconds.) Kayla would finish with just 8 points but 11 timely rebounds.

But wait, Tinkle got the rebound and was fouled. They have another chance to pad the six point lead.

51 seconds left in the second half, Tinkle would miss the front end of a one and one… C is about to have a heart attack.

42 seconds left in the second half, 34 seconds left in the second half, 17 seconds left in the second half, Jeanette is fouled, and she would sink all six shots! She would finish the game with a career high 31 points!

4 seconds left in the second half, UConn’s Kelly Faris shoots a three pointer and misses and Jeanette Pohlen grabbes the rebound.

1 second left in the second half, Jeanette Pohlen throws the ball in the air.

0 seconds left in the second half, Stanford wins 71-59, a margin of 12 points! R predicted they would win by 10, so C is taking R to the track next weekend.

2 seconds after the game ended, Candice Wiggins, Stanford great, who is NOT on the team currently stormed the floor and hugged Pohlen, Pohlen still had her game face on and hurriedly pulled away, probably wondering if it was a violation of game rules or something for her to even be on the court and wanted to do nothing, nothing to jeopardize this incredible win. Jeanette wanted this one. She wanted this so badly and has stepped up her play. Kara Lawson on ESPN said Jeanette Pohlen was the best guard on the floor tonight. Maya Moore was held to 14, 10 points below her average, and credit Stanford for being in her face and not letting her have good looks all night. Credit Stanford Head Coach Tara Vanderveer for having the exactly right game plan and Stanford for executing it.

5 minutes after the game, the team came back out, lead by a leaping Nneka.. Tara spoke to the crowd, thanking them for helping to make Maples a good environment to win (and keep their home streak alive at 52) and asked that everyone come back for another game. Then she thanked The UConn team and coach and staff.

R said she feels bad for Geno. Heck, C figures, Geno must feel relieved. He got the streak in the record books, and now the pressure and the daily questions will go away and he can focus on basketball, league play and the March tournament. Hey, same for Stanford.

15 minutes after the game at the post game conference on national TV Tara said, “We didn’t win a national championship.” We have a lot of basketball left.

Yes, good to keep it in perspective, Tara, but it sure makes those losses to DePaul and Tennessee easier to swallow, and gives much hope for the future.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

UConn - Stanford Game Sold Out!

Thursday’s Stanford Women’s Basketball team’s game vs. number 1 in the country UConn is sold out. However, if you did not secure your ticket like C and R (well, R, she has the season’s tickets), we have seen scalpers outside of Maples during big games like this, so maybe you will get lucky. And, if you can’t go to the game, this one is being televised on ESPN 2.

So, the national papers were kinda hum ho about Stanford’s win against Xavier. It seemed to C and R they already discounted that game and were looking ahead to the UConn game. The game where Stanford played their best game all year. The game where number 9 Stanford knocked off number 4 Xavier. A game where number 9 beat number 4 by 37 points. You can’t discount a game like that.

C and R were encouraged by that win because it means at least we have a chance with UConn with the team that showed up Tuesday. And remember, this is essentially the same team that held UConn to 12 first half points in the championship game. (The two Stanford players missing from that game are defense specialist Ros Gold-Onwude, and center Jayne Apple, who went scoreless for the first time in her college career). Annnnnd, Stanford’s Jeannette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen were the last two players to beat UConn in 2008!

Travel safely to the game, come early, and expect long lines at the concession stands. Plan on eating out for dinner.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Different Stanford Team Shows up and Crushes Xavier

R leans to me to be heard above the din and says, “This is a totally different team. This one is good.”

At the time, C and R were sitting with 4,493 fans who braved the misty rain (East coast readers are quoting the “We are a nation of wimps” mantra, but we almost went hydroplaning when we made that U-turn at Embarcadero and got our tennies wet walking back to our car, light rain is no laughing matter in Northern California, but I digress.) Anyhoo, C and R were sitting with all the Stanford fans that interrupted their Christmas vacation and played hooky from work to come out to a rare 1:00 PM game against Xavier, the game that C and R are billing as the revenge-of-the-double-missed-lay-up game from last year’s NCAA regional finals.

And ye of short term memory, that was the game where Jeanette Pohlen raced coast to coast with 4.4 seconds left and Xavier was too late in picking her up and let her score the game wining lay up. Well, she did that in this game not once, not twice, but three times! She took the inbounds pass after a Xavier score and went coast to coast, twice the defense did not pick her up and she made easy lay ups. The second time they showed the replay on the in house Jumbotron not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES as she passed her defender about the foul line and the second defender stood frozen on the opposite block and watched, watched from about 4 feet away as she scored easily. The third time she drove in the defenders at least saw her and moved; unfortunately they moved right in her way and fouled her. Didn’t they watch any game film? Although to be fair, Stanford again did some things they don’t normally do, so if Xavier did watch game film, Stanford surprised them. Tara has been surprising us all season with showing teams new things.

And as we said this team is different. This is not the team that lost at DePaul. This is not even the team that beat USF 100-45 to get Tara VanDerveer her 800th career win. This is a team that woulda-coulda-shoulda beat Tennessee. This is a team that can beat UConn.

So, dear reader, you are asking what is different about this team beating #4 Xavier by 37 points? (Thirty-seven points! Number 4 Xavier!). Well, first of all defense was king (Xavier didn’t score a point until 13:49 into the contest). Now Stanford IS a team that watches game film and devises a plan tailored to a specific team. Stanford played man-to man help defense, especially on number 53 Ta’Shia Phillips, who averages 13 points a game. She was limited to six. Nneka Ogwumike was on her and it was usually Kayla Pedersen or Jeanette Pohlen that came off their man and helped. Xavier never found the left-open player, as they usually were away from the ball. Their best scorer, 6-5 Amber Harris surprisingly played away from the basket and liked to hover around the 3 point line. Chiney Ogwumike was able limit Harris somewhat, and although she wasn’t 100%, she played 30 minutes and got 18 points, 2 away from her average.

And Stanford stole the ball, mostly by Kayla and Nneka playing that deny defense. I hope young girls were watching because they put on a defensive clinic.

Tara went with an opening lineup of two guards and three trees, (Jeanette, Lindy, Kayla, Nneka and Chiney respectively ). Lindy La Rocque was serious and in control. She played great defense, and even shot three threes and made two (she has been strangely silent on the scoring front this year).

Another huge change was offensive. Stanford started their offense in that predictable pass, pass, pass around the perimeter, then the post comes up to the three point line, gets the ball with her back to the basket and hands off to the guard. Xavier probably was thinking, oh yeah, like last year. And then, out of nowhere, the post turned to the basket and fired to a player cutting underneath. A wide-open player. Say What? Stanford did a great job all night looking inside, including when Xavier was in a 1-3-1 half court defense with 5-3 guard Shatyra Hawkes under the basket! Kayla, no slouch at 6-4, would sneak in at the block and have an easy basket. This happened several times. Say what, Xavier? And the first few times it happened, shouldn’t you adjust? But what do C and R know?

And could C and R believe their eyes, point guard Jeanette Pohlen was suddenly on the blocks down low, posting up, calling for the ball. What? She never, ever is given permission to go inside the three-point line on offense. She is usually the one that stays back to defend a fast break. But Xavier was in a man-to-man mode, and little Special Jennings, 5-6 or the same Shatyra Hawkes, all 5-3 of her, would be on Jeanette. Jeanette (and Tara) recognized the mismatch and took advantage of it. Stanford missed her the first few times down low, but when they hit her, she took it to the basket over her smaller opponent for easy points. Man, we have never seen that in all of Jeannette’s four years here!

And when Xavier, relying on last year’s film again we guess, pressed us after their basket, Jeannette raced the length of the court again for her third lay up! Hey Xavier, remember that time…

Okay, couple of plays that nearly brought down the house, a fast break with the ball in Jeanette’s hands and Nneka out on front pointing up in the air. JP gave her the alley oop and she caught it around the height of the backboard and shot it against the backboard without landing. Unfortunately the bank angle was too steep and it just missed. Then there was the leaping put back by Nneka, again, grabbing for the rebound at the height of her jump even though the ball was off to her right side, reaching out her arm and putting it back with same arm while in air. Fantastic. Not often seen in the women’s game.

Nneka leaping, Jeannette posting, Kayla stealing, three point T-shirts flying, C almost got one but fell into her back row seatmate’s lap, Tinkle driving, yes Tinkle who looked like she lost weight, Gracie coming in off the bench in the final seconds and getting a three, 30 point leads! Wow, glad this team showed up today. Hope they stick around for Thursday night.

Other possible headlines:
Xavier almost matched last year’s score, missing by one. Too bad Stanford scored 34 more points than last year (compare 55-53 to 89-52).
Jeannette drives the length of the court against Xavier for the lay in, not just once but many times.
Nine Nnekas leaping!
Bring On UConn!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Say It Ain’t So, Diana!

C and R favorite of favorites, so much that we overlook the fact she came from UConn, Diana Taurasi, has bee reported to have tested positive for a banned drug while playing basketball in the country of Turkey. Of course, all issues of privacy went out the window when the news was leaked, but like Pandora’s box, it’s out and in the news.

The first reports from her lawyer was that is it NOT a steroid. Okay, that piqued C and R’s interest enough that we dug deeper. Now it is being reported she tested positive for a stimulate, modafinil. Modafinil is used to counter excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy, shift-work sleep disorder or sleep apnea, according to the website for the prescription drug Provigil. Man, she must have trouble staying awake over there is Turkey. To make matters worse, this very stimulate has been involved in several BALCO doping cases, most notably sprinter Kelli White. And we all know that BALCO was all about coming up with new and improved ways to HIDE steroid use. Sigh.

Taurasi has been suspended from European play and asked for her “B” sample to be tested. If the “B” sample is also positive, it could put her in jeopardy for the US National Team and Olympic lay in 2012. Augh!

Say it ain’t so.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

VanDerveer Gets Win Number 800, Beating USF 100-45

The day dawned glorious before us: we had tickets to the exclusive, only-museum-in North-America hosting the post-impressionists from Paris (yes, we have other interests beside basketball, too), dinner in SF and a Stanford basketball game where head coach Tara VanDerveer was hoping to make history by wining number 800. What could be better?

It was only slightly misting when C and R made their way to the De Young Museum, and C especially enjoyed the Seurats, and that Van Gogh is some sort of crazy genius, both and separately, kinda like us. When it came time for dinner in the most cuisine friendly City by the Bay, we asked the trusted ol’ GPS and what did we pick? Mel’s Diner with burgers, fries and shakes. Walking back up the hill to USF, bloated, we see the Stanford bus and C waves like the bloomin’ idiot that she is, and that’s why you, dear reader, read us because we sure don’t get bogged down in things like facts or statistics of the Stanford games, now do we?

So C and R have finagled a press pass from USF, and if they are reading this post, I am sure they have morning-after regret. Plenty of back story on this game. Tara coaching against her two former and favorite players, USF head coach Jennifer Azzi, and assistant coach Katy Steding. Tara going for win number 800. Stanford dropping two on the road definitely need a “fix” of an easy win. The venue practically being a home game due to the proximity of Stanford. But we’re just happy to be here.

We get inside plenty early and chat with Tara VanDerveer’s mom, a delightful woman. She regaled us with stories, and said how happy she was to share this game with Tara.

We see Jennifer Azzi, still looking like she could play college ball, take a few minutes to address the young ladies and gentleman from Oakland Parks and Rec, who were here to see the game and get a taste of college life. She asked how many planned on attending college and just about all the young players raised their hands. Very cool.

R hits my shoulder, and good thing it was not the other way around as she is still nursing major surgery to hers, and says, “Chiney is wearing injured black.” We learn later in the post game press conference (yes, they let us in, hee hee) that Chiney turned it in practice and it is not major and should play the next game.

The starting line up is again juggled, with veterans Jeanette Pohlen, Necka Oqumike and Kayla Pedersen, Tinkle and Lindy. Tara alluded in the post game conference that this is the fifth starting line up she has experimented with and they need consistency and need to know what works down the road if they expect to compete.

Even though the house is not sold out, about 3,600 show up, a lot of it is Stanford faithful. We all expect a victory, and win number 800. So it is with dismay we see USF take the lead at the 14 minute mark, pulling ahead 11-10. Stanford looks ragged and slow on defense. The teams exchange leads several times, then something clicks. Stanford tightens up their D and they stop USF from scoring. Kayla looks like her old self before the head injury, and drives down the middle. We start hitting threes, including two by freshmen Sara James. USF gets stuck on 21, and go about 7 minutes without scoring until the half comes, and the half ends 21-48. Although, did you see the old inbounding-the-ball-off-the-opponents-backside-for-a-score-trick Tinkle did. Only a coach’s daughter could get away with that!

The second half opens and you can tell Nneka is feeling good. WE don’t let USF score until17-minute mark in the second half. A lot more of the second string get to play, for valuable experience, and perhaps not to embarrass her former player, Azzi. Sara James gets more playing time and she got the ball stolen a few times and showed she still can get rattled. Even with the bench players in, Stanford breaks 100 points and the final score ends up 100-45.

USF hands out Cardinal read signs that say “800” and “Congratulations Tara”. Jennifer gives Tara a warm hug, and some flowers and the game ball at center court. Tara returned the favor and spoke to the USF players after the game and told them to keep focusing on little things, which made Azzi happy because that’s what she tells her players every day.

At the post game conference, several reports asked Tara to reflect back on winnng 800, and she said, “I don’t even remember win number 700.” But that this was special and ironic to win it against Jennifer Azzi, the player that put Stanford on the map. She also appreciated winning it with “family” around to witness it, whether it be her sister and mother, or her extended family of former and current players and fans.

One thing Tara said to Kayla and Nneka as they were leaving the press area was, “See ya on Sunday.” Christmas day is Saturday. No rest for a team trying to find itself and resurrect a season in what is arguable their two toughest opponents in a two-day span.

And, oh, Azzi had to buy dinner for Tara.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Limited Seats Left for Stanford at USF

Tonight’s game at USF has limited tickets left. Reserved seating is sold out, but general tickets remain, so get there early if you need tickets! Game time is 6:30. Having Stanford, with its large following show up, coupled with the chance for head coach Tara VanDerveer going for win number 800 makes for good ticket sales for USF. Add to that it is USF’s annual "Pack the House Challenge" contest. Each year colleges compete to see who can get the most people to come to their gym on a certain night, and it seems like making the Stanford game the one is a little like cheating, or good business sense.

Speaking of good business sense, C and R had a hard time navigating the USF website. Couldn’t find the roster, current record, schedule in visible links. We had to dig deep. We thought we saw the Dons were 1-13, now we get a press release they are 2-9. Not that we want to short-change anyone a win, when so desperately needed, but someone needs to redo the website. C and R were sent a press kit for tonight’s game and they list Tara VanDerveer’s alma mater as Southern Utah (!) and that she graduated in 1994. Wow, how did she rack up 799 wins? They list her career record as 799-197, and her Stanford record as the same. No, she coached at Idaho and Ohio State and got some of those wins at those places. We’re just sayin’… someone needs to check their facts, and this from two people who routinely say whatever we think without fact checking.

Anyway, see you at the game.

Congratulations to UConn for… CONTINUING  THE STREAK of wins in women’s college basketball with win number 89. Some people have been comparing it to the UCLA men’s streak of 88, which is not the same game, just ask Geno Auriemma. Maya Moore was unbelievable, scoring a career high 41 points, and they beat FSU by 31. Got to see an interview of Tara VanDerveer as the last coach to beat UConn.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Come See Tara VanDerveer Make History at USF

If there is one silver lining to the fact Stanford Women’ Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer is stuck on number 799 and could not get win number 800 in two tries on the road it is that she comes back to the Bay Area to try in what amounts to a home game up the hill at USF. And it would be against her first favorite ex-player, Jennifer Azzi. The game is on Wednesday, December 22.

Lots of people have been eyeing Azzi, to see if the former great player can translate her success unto others, and so far her team sits at 1-13. In all fairness, these are not the players she recruited. Hopefully she can turn it around if not this year, then next.

Game time is 6:30 if you want to get front row seats on a piece of history, as everyone is expecting Tara to get win 800 Wednesday. C and R will be there, crashing the interview area. Plenty of tickets left, and the game time is not 7:00, as we saw listed on an old schedule some place, make sure you are there before 6:30.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stanford Loses Two in a Row, This Time to Tennessee in OT

So faithful readers of the C and R’s Stanford Women’s Basketball blog will know C and R often give advice to 2-time national championship and Olympic gold medallist coach Tara VanDerveer. Never mind that we have never won a gold medal or a college basketball game or well, anything: we just feel qualified to give advice to the coach that has won 799 college games (and holding).

So our advice the last few years has been to stop taking out a player when they commit a foul. The trend seemed to start with Jayne Appel in her freshmen year. If she fouled, she came out of the game. It is a negative reward, the stick instead of the carrot, if you will, to teach her not to foul. Since Jayne has graduated, Tara, if we may call her by her first name, has kept the traditional alive this year.

In the game Stanford lost to DePaul on Thursday night, Stanford fouled a lot (Sarah Boothe fouled out in 17 minutes, which has to be some sort of record) and with the constant subbing, they never found thier offensive rhythm. And C and R scream and yell and rant and write not to take the starters out and lo and behold, in Sunday’s game against Tennessee Tara listened. (Yes C and R flatter themselves into believing Tara VanDerveer even pays attention to this blog!)

So, back to Tennessee, Tara left her starting five in when they fouled to give them a chance at unity and cohesiveness and then it came back to bite her in the behind when two players fouled out in overtime (note to Tara, never listen to C and R!) In fact, three of the starting five players had four fouls in the final minutes of regulation, and one was at three fouls, so it was inevitable we were going to get in trouble.

Unfortunately, it was Jeannette Pohlen who fouled out first early in the overtime period and it sunk us. Stanford self destructed in OT (sticky post it note to Tara all over her office, never, ever listen to C and R and always take out players when they foul to save them for the end). To be fair to C and R, the refs were up to some home cookin’ by calling ticky-tacky fouls against Stanford then letting Tennessee knock us to the ground for non-calls. We thought the game was horribly called.

Rewinding a bit, Kayla Pedersen was back in the line up against Tennessee after suffering headaches from hitting her head taking a charge against Fresno State. They kept saying she didn’t have a concussion because she passed the concussion tests, yet had headaches for days afterward. Isn’t that the definition of a concussion? And Kayla is good at taking tests. Just what were those concussion tests? What day is it? Who’s the current president? Can you solve for X in the polynomial x2 − 4x + 7 using non-negative integer exponents? What’s 2X times 4 where X is your score? (Insider joke for Stanford fans who sit by the band).

C and R cheered when we saw she was back in the line up, the team needed her. But she responded by missing her first seven shots. She was ice cold. Rusty. She would shoot 3-16 from the field, definitely not Kayla-like. And the refs started on some home court advantage in calling fouls and we were down 10 points early in the game.

To Stanford’s credit, near the end of the second half, they started to claw their way back. They did it with the veterans Jeannette Pohlen, Kayla Pedersen and Nneka Ogwumike. They took the ball to the basket in transition before Tennessee was set in defense, and before Stanford would go into that stale half court offense where everyone stands in precise spots (Oops, we are giving free advice to Tara again and we all saw how that worked out). We felt lucky Stanford was only down 31-39 at half time.

Then Nneka showed up for the game (Hello Nneka, welcome to the Summit, now please score a basket) and we even took the lead with 9 minutes left on a Jeannette Pohlen three. She had another 20-some point game, too bad she fouled out. We even put some distance between us and Tennessee, going up by 6. Then Nneka disappeared, and when Stanford tried to make several passes to Nneka down low they were flat out stolen. And Stanford had some defensive lapses and their lead disappeared. After trading leads, Jeanette hit a three with one minute left to go up 70-67, but their freshmen countered and it was tied.

Then suddenly there are 5.1 seconds left in a tied-at-70 game and it is Stanford’s ball and they call time out. The first thing C and R say to each other is, did we set the Tivo to record overtime? Then the second thing we say is, remember that time against Xavier when there was 4.4 seconds left and Jeanette Pohlen raced the length of the floor and made the game wining lay up? But that would be too obvious. Then the third thing we say to each other is give it to freshman speedster Toni Kokenis, and since we know we have a direct ESP link to Tara, that’s exactly what Stanford does. Toni takes it up the court, dribbles behind her back to lose her defender but runs into two or three Tennessee players around the three point line and gets a weak shot off. She may be fast, but she is still a freshman and does not know how to finish like a Jeannette. (The ball hit the bottom of the net, and C and R instantly stood up and thought it had gone through the net, but it didn’t and we had to settle our hearts back down).

So now it is overtime and we have Boothe, Jeanette and Toni with 4 fouls and Nneka with three. Jeanette goes for a steal and fouls, is out of the game around the 4 miute mark and that sunk us. It’s funny, we thought we could play without any player but Kayla, but now we see we need Jeanette, too. Then Boothe loses the ball and fouls in frustration sixteen seconds later and we are just doomed. We lose 72-82 (the only points in OT came on Kayla’s free throws).

Tara will have to wait on win number 800 (and congratulations to Barbara Stevens, the DII coach of Bentley college who got her 800th win today and becomes the fifth college coach to join the 800 win club). If Tara does it Wednesday against USF and her favorite ex-player Jennifer Azzi, she will be the sixth coach.

See everyone up in SF.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stanford Loses Big Time to DePaul, VanDerveer Stuck on Win 799.

Thursday night I am nose deep in lesson plans when R calls me in a panic.

*Ring Ring

C: Hello?

R: I have that stupid game tracker on my computer and Stanford is playing Depaul and they are LOSING!

C: Wait, who is this? And who is this “stanford’ you speak of?

R: You know it’s me and you know it’s Stanford and you know they are losing.

C: What? I didn't know they are losing, I am doing lesson plans and don't have game tracker open, it always makes my computer crash. Well, they always trail early in the game and then come on strong…

R: It’s almost half time and they are trailing by nine…

C: Okay, that’s not good.

R: I think my game tracker is frozen. Why oh why can’t the game be televised? I will restart my computer or something and call you back. Bye

*Ring Ring

C: Mike’s pizza, please hold.

R: You’re not funny and I think I figured it out. Kayla is not playing.

C: She must be feeling the effects from her concussion or whatever when she hit her head taking a charge in the Fresno State game.

R: Exactly. We are not okay without Kayla Pedersen, our security blanket. It’s now half time and Pohlen hit a three and we are only down by 2, 37 to 35.

C: I bet they are pressing us. We panic without Kayla.

R: Well, it’s hard to tell with the stupid game tracker, but it looks like we are turning the ball over a lot, and we are fouling, so we are subbing like crazy, Ruef, Tinkle, Sara James, Toni, so it must be hard to find a rhythm

C: What about the sisters? Our beloved Nneka and Chiney?

R: Scrolling through the play by play, it looks like Chiney is missing, then turning the ball over. Nneka hasn’t scored many points.

C: I wish Tara didn’t have the policy of taking out players when they foul. The constant subbing and different personnel sounds like we cannot get in an offensive flow. Call me back when half time starts.

*Ring Ring

R: We lost!

C: That was a quick half.

R: I didn’t want to bother you, and we never regained the lead in the second half.

C: Man, what was the final score?

R: DePaul won 91-71.

C: Wow, they killed us? I thought for sure Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike would save the day and pull out win number 800 for Tara.

R: We just fouled too much, and Depaul made a lot of threes. Nneka only scored 10 points. Plus Pat Summit and Vivian Stringer each got win number 800 against this DePaul coach so he was super motivated to NOT lose to Stanford.

C: Bummer, and since Tara didn’t get her career 800th win, now that Barbara Stevens from DII Bentley College will get there first.

R: I thought they kept Division I and Division II records separate.

C: Good point, but if Bentley wins before Stanford, then Tara VanDeveer will be the sixth coach not the fifth to join the club. Bentley plays Sunday and Stanford plays Sunday. Who is Stanford playing again?

C and R: Tennessee!!

C: Oh no, trying to win the 800th against Pat Summit on their court…

R: …Named after Pat Summit…

C: …Will be all but impossible! I thought we could beat Tennessee easily after the way we beat Texas, after all Baylor handled Tennessee but now I am not so sure.

R: Especially if Kayla stays out.

C: Especially if Kayla stays out. The junior bloggers told me Kayla started in the first game of her freshmen year and has not missed a game, for a total of 121 straight starts.

R: Gotta love those junior bloggers.

C: No wonder we panicked. Everyone there has played with Kayla every single game of their college career, and she is just so naturally strong at every position.

R: Well, at least the Tennessee game will be televised on a proper channel we actually get, so we can see for ourselves what is going down with Stanford on Sunday.

C: Get well soon, Kayla, Stanford needs you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stanford vs. Fresno State

C and R hurry to Maples, after all it has been exactly 14 day since we have seen the Stanford women’s basketball team play, live or tele-vised, and we are excited. R is out without her sling, giving her new and improved bionic shoulder a spin. We are pleased to see a good-sized crowd make its way to Maples Pavilion. Then we see the signs proclaiming it is “Dog Day’ at Maples, and we see some dogs and owners waiting outside. They are to perform at the half time show in the agility contests, and C would like to one day see what her time would be.

Ex-Stanford player and C's favorite of favorites, Candice Wiggins is sitting four rows and two chairs away from C and R, not that they notice her in her gray sweater and looking the picture of health. Here’s hoping all the leg/knee issues are healed.

C and R are surprised to see freshmen Toni Kokenis getting her first start, even if it is Fresno State. Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is going with a two guard set, Toni and veteran Jeanette Pohlen and her choice of three trees, Kayla Pedersen, Nneka Ogwumike and little sis Chiney, also a freshmen. Surprising, and it leaves Jocelyn Tinkle odd man out, although she would get used heavily as a sub.

Speaking of Tinkle, or Jingle, as she got inadvertently nicknamed due to our habit of bringing jingle bells to all the home game last years and ringing then when she stepped on the court, C and R have been remiss in getting that trend going again. So C wore her jingle necklace, and when Tinkle came in, we heard other sleigh bells going off.

In fact, we thought it was our good friend, Coach N, who brought some of the little girls from her team this year that were on the team we helped coach last year (time constraints aren’t allowing us to coach this year, bummer). We found them at half time and asked if it was them shaking their jingle bells like a good Montana-nite should and they said no, they still had their bells in their back pack, it was someone else. Good to know the trend has not completely died.

And speaking of Toni Kokenis, as we were before we got sidetracked on Jingle, it was good to see Toni show some emotion. She usually looks so serious and focused, as if nothing phases her, sort of like Tara. Toni missed a fast break lay up and said a bad word that we could never say in front of the little girls we did coach and then when she got called for a foul, she jumped up in the air and stomped on the floor as if to say, “NO way!” She also was smart enough to turn away from the officials as she as doing this lest she get a technical.

Which reminds us, the other team got a technical. It wasn’t for swearing, but for holding down Nneka. It was strange to see the official go to the little courtside monitor to look at the foul and see how flagrant it was before she assessed the technical. We thought they didn’t use instant reply in college basketball.

R has family members who attended Fresno State so although she did not want Fresno to win, she wanted them to do well, so it was she that put the small jinx on Stanford. Fresno was fast and aggressive, and held the lead for 7 minutes early in the first half. Of course, once Fresno got to the score to 9 to 13 around the 15 minute mark, Stanford shut them down and went on a scoring frenzy, scoring 33 to their 4. Half time score was 42-17.

Our man-to man defense was solid and we forced many shot clock violations. Nneka hit her sister, Chiney, with a pass under the basket and then it was as if our confidence soared to work the ball inside. The sisters Nneka and Chiney would finish with 17 and 18 points respectively. Sarah Boothe also had some easy baskets once we worked it inside.

Many dog pictures were shown and many dog videos got played, our favorite being the dachshund-type dogs on the treadmill trying to get the milkbone. Reminded C and R of our jobs, always running runing and getting nowhere, the allusive prize always out of reach (no,just kidding). Jeanette Pohlen became the 32nd Stanford player to score 1,000 points, and Tara got her 799th win. Many subs got to play, and Stanford would go on to win 77-40. Former Stanford player Ros Gold-Onwude got to interview Tara after the game for ESPN, and they played it on the jumbo tron.

Scary moment in the first half around the 8:22 minute mark when Kayla took a charge and hit her head hard on the floor. She was helped off and kept out of the rest of the game. C and R were sure it looked like a concussion. The papers would report they kept her out to be “cautionary”. And I think that was the longest we have been without Kayla in three and a half years. Kayla is a senior and once she made the starting line-up, we think, she has not missed a game, and has logged over half a game in minutes for each game she has been in. Kayla is usually our go-to person, that makes us feel confident and secure with her ball handling skills, excellent rebounding and ability to score a three or drive inside. We wonder how it felt to the rest of the team to not have her in?

Fresno State did press us little, and without Kayla, we did panic a little and lost the ball a couple times. Hope other teams do not look at that footage and get any funny ideas. And of course we hope Kayla is back in for most of the games. Stanford has a tough schedule coming up. Stanford travels to DePaul, and then number 8 Tennessee on their court and then back to Maples for number 4 Xavier (the revenge of the double-missed-lay-up game) and then, dun, dun, dun… number 1 UConn December 30th. Hope Kayla is rested and ready.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just Who is in the 800-Win Club?

Quick order of business, we need to follow up on what coaches are in the 800-plus-win club. Reminder, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is just 2 wins away from joining that club. Last week or so, C and R asked our faithful viewers who else was in the club. And as anything else in our lives, the answer is complicated. Active, retired, percentages, which Division, all divisions, all time?

So I think we need to qualify it and say Division I college basketball coaches with 800 or more wins, active or retired. Most sites agree on this order:

1. Pat Summitt
2. Judy Conradt
3. C. Vivian Stringer
4. Sylvia Hatchell

C and R love that all the coaches that preceded her are women. (Geno is stuck around the 740’s, hee hee, although to be fair, he has THE highest win percentage to losses).

So VanDerveer will be the fifth coach to join that club. Well, yes, except Barbara Stevens of Division II Bentley College is practically tied with Tara, and what if she gets it first? Will VanDerveer become the 5th or the 6th college coach to join the club? Depends if you say “Division I” or “all time winneniest”. And yes, the NCAA records website uses the word “winningest” so we didn’t make that word up, unless they made that word up then we are all just using a made-up word. Anyway, go Tara.

Congratulations to superfan TG, who won the shirt, although he lost style points for not unearthing Barbara Stevens, and a special shout out to the junior bloggers, because hey, at least they pay attention when not doing homework!

Stanford is back in town Sunday against Fresno State!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day

Hey, the National Women’s Law Center wants to draw attention to opportunities for women to play sports by holding a national “Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day,” on December 8th and drawing attention to Title IX issues.

Rally for Girls’ SportsDay

Let me quote their website:
The idea behind our Blog to Rally for Girls' Sports Day is simple: "What did you win by playing sports?" You can use this theme to begin discussing what the chance to participate in athletics programs meant to you and/or your daughter and how it has affected your lives.

Rally for Girls' Sports: She'll Win More Than a Game: Is to address the discrimination in athletics that girls still face in high schools nationwide, the National Women's Law Center launched the Rally for Girls' Sports: She'll Win More Than a Game campaign, which features advocacy and outreach to parents and other adults.

So I have been asked to write about what I won by playing sports… okay, you don’t have to ask me twice…

I could write volumes about how sports has meant to me, and a separate chapter about what it was meant for my almost grown daughter, but I won’t bore you with the details. I mean, I have a life long love affair with all things sports. Sports has shaped my life and body, defined who I am, revealed to me my closest friends and even became my job (PE teacher). I am my happiest when playing sports. I am the second-most-happiest when coaching and passing along my passion of sports. Sports were my earliest connection to people. I grew up with three tolerant older brothers and toddled after them, doing whatever they did all day, which just happened to be sports (well, mostly baseball back then, but we were very clever at making up our own games, such as freeze-ball tag, and our mother often yelled at us for the sound we made when we would throw tennis balls against the slanted roof to try and predict where they would bounce down).Sports helped see my though the turbulent times of high school, both as a stress reliever and as a built-in coolness factor with the popular kids. It was a shame I could only play three sports a year. There is not an American sport I have not played at some point in my life. But I won’t bore you with those details.

My daughter, I remember like yesterday, was a shy first grader who did not have much interest in catching balls like her ol' mom, no matter how much I cajoled her to play catch. But she really enjoyed swimming laps. Mindless, endless laps, although that’s not how she would refer to swimming. She loved the anonymity of the lane instead of the anxiety of competing against others head to head, and for years we cheered on her “personal best” ribbons instead of remarking what place she finished in. She wasn’t the fastest and didn’t need to be, she enjoyed being out there. It gave her confidence and purpose and access to instant friends. Then one day when she turned 14 and her shoulders grew from all those butterfly strokes, she actually touched the wall first in a race! No one was more surprised then she was! And then the competition bug bit her, and she wanted to be first every time.

I went to every swim meet, of course, but was never more proud of her then when she won first place in the 50 free her sophomore year of high school in a 20-team tournament against hundreds of other girls. The 50 free event in a swim meet is like the 100 yard dash event of track and field. It is the shortest distance and an all out swim. You swim down and back again in a 25 yard pool. It is a sprint and you hardly breathe. Blink and you miss it. Only the bestest, super fastiest girls, totally going all out, win this event. Times are separated by hundredths of seconds. You have to stretch, twist, reach, hold your breath, dig down deep, go into oxygen depravation mode and will your arm to grow a quater of an inch as you go for the finish…  And she touched the wall first.

I had to ask several parents, banging them on their shoulders “Did my daughter touch the wall first? Did my daughter win? Did she win?” I couldn’t believe it. My shy little girls who was not even able to say her name to adults in first grade touched the wall first! It is a moment that connected her to her team and connected us.

On a side note, she even brought pride to our little public school. We were matched up with quite a few “name” private school from our area, the schools that field all-star teams and year-around athletes with moneyed parents and private lessons and go on to swim at places such as Cal and Stanford. And my little daughter, from that “ghetto-school” as one private school parent derogatorily called us, won it all! Attuitude, Ha!

And she joined water polo in high school despite never throwing a ball much. And she was good! Even though the object of the game is to drown the other player. And when her team's goalie graduated, she decided to be the goalie even though she had never played goalie before in any sport and her reflexes were questionable, what with NOT having spent hours throwing a tennis ball against a slanted roof. And she became good. She was fearless. Girls would throw hard water polo balls 80 mph at her and she would block them. (She once scored a goal from the goalie position, swam out a few strokes then heaved it and as I followed the arc of the ball from my vantage point at the top of the stands I knew, just knew it was going in. And it did, right over the outstretched hands of the goalie).

Her favorite play was when she would make a save and the opposing player would swim after her in the goal, trying to scare her/pressure her/get her to give up the ball and get an easy score. Her coach taught her to swim to teh side with the ball in front of her face, pushing it with her chin, protecting the ball with arms on either side and churn her elbows up and down in an exaggerated motion so she was all-elbows to the opposing player. It was like trying to reach over a band saw, an elbow was sure to hit you and knock your teeth out. Opposing players would do that once a game and then wisely leave her alone. She would smile at them, daring them to come near. This from the shy first grader who would never harm a fly and always let more aggressive kids take her toys.

She decided not to pursue swimming in college, which shocked the swim community and me because she loved it so much. So what is she up to now? She decided to instead join the rugby team, which isn't too much different from the wrestling she did her last two years of high school.

Sports has given a lot to my daughter, the same as me, but in a completely different way.

But like I said, I don’t want to bore you with the details.

I could not imagine my life without sports, or the opportunity to play them, just as I could not imagine my daughter without all sports has given her. Please sport the girl or woman in your life to have opportunities to play sports.

Write in and share your sports story, and I will publish your thoughts.

And if you see a tennis ball, pick it up and bounce it. You’ll be surprised how your mood will improve.
One half of C and R

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sorry Stanford Soccer

Our hearts go out to the Stanford Women’s Soccer Team. They made it all the way to the finals, the championship game, and lost a heartbreaker to Notre Dame 1-0. (C and R know that feeling, losing in the championship game, like the Stanford Women’ Basketball Team did last year to UConn). Even more heartbreaking, Stanford was going for its first ever soccer title. And even MORE heartbreaking, they were in the title game last year and lost that one, too, to their arch rival, well, everyone’s archrival, North Carolina. Sort of like UConn is everyone’s archrival. North Carolina was the soccer team’s UConn, and even more, more heartbreaking was the fact North Carolina was eliminated earlier in the tournament and with them out of the way, Stanford thought this was going to be THE year.

The game was on TV and R was able to watch it, what with C busy trying to learn Brazilian dance steps, the Salsa, and country line dances all in one day. R said Notre Dame’s Melissa Henderson played like the best player in the country. In fact, she said Notre Dame just seemed hungrier. Plus, several of our forwards, including our best, Christen Press are small, and their defense was able to win more of the headers. Maybe we need to recruit taller soccer players. (Hmm, wonder how Kayla Pedersen would do as a college soccer player. Does she have four years of soccer eligibility left?).

R, admittedly not a fountain of soccer knowledge, said a huge bright spot for Stanford was freshmen goal keeper Emily Oliver. Let’s quote her, “The score easily would have been 3 or 4 nil without her heroic saves”. Did you like the use of the word “nil”? It’s a soccer term meaning zero, which is what Stanford is in soccer titles, which is causing our eyes to tear up. To come so close, twice in two years, it has got to be harder to lose the second time around.

A small consolation is several Stanford players getting picked for the All-Tournament Team: Camille Levin, Christen Press and the fearless Emily Oliver.

Well, third times a charm and we wish them best of luck for next season.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Too Tall for Texas

Ice, Ice, Baby!

That’s Kayla Pedersen, BTW, during the Texas game, hitting those two technical free throws to put Stanford up 2-0 BEFORE THE GAME STARTED! BECAUSE TEXAS FORGOT TO SUBMIT A LINE UP BEFORE THE GAME! Oops, sorry for yelling, and yes… we know, we know C and R are extremely late on the Texas blog, the game that happened Sunday. (and for those of you who saw us buddy buddy with some Cal fans, they did not, repeat did not poison our salsa at Chevy’s where we went to discuss all things women’s basketball, and no, they are not so much Cal fans as fans of all of women basketball and impressed us with their fountain of knowledge of all other teams not named Stanford. We kinda forget to pay attention to those other teams….streak, what streak, who has a streak going on… BUT. I. DIGRESS.) Now I am yelling and being grammatically incorrect, something R hates, and now I am switching which person I am speaking in, and oh, be nice to me, I have had a headache of a week because I am teaching DANCE to my students. Sure yeah, if I was teaching basketball I could teach a cross over move on the way to a lay up to the basket like it was nobody’s business. But all this week I have been trying to memorize the steps to the Macarena, the limbo and the d'hammerschmiedsgselln (boy, did that dance just break my spell check). Google it, then try it with a friend, it’s fun!

And today I was doin’ the hula in one class and doing Bollywood dance in another.

No wonder I complain to R all the time that it takes me so long to write a Stanford Women’s basketball blog because I am already a jillion sentences in have not really talked about Stanford women’s basketball at all. Boy, I am not sending this baby to the serious sites that discuss women’s basketball. At all.

Anyhoo, back to Kayla, she is so smart. R called her perfection the way she shot those free throws before the game with a perfect arc-- it was nothing but net and no doubt! She is so smart. Also, when Kayla got her fourth foul with about 4 minutes left in the game, Tara sat back impassively instead of subbing her out. Why? Because she trusts Kayla. She trusts her to play smart and not get the last foul, unlike our beloved Chiney Ogwumike! WHO FOULED OUT! Well, first of all, we thought the officiating was really good, all three refs. And although the game was called tightly, it was called consistently tight for both sides. Texas quickly got everyone on their team in foul trouble. And Chiney couldn’t help herself! Poor sister Nneka was tossed around inside, too. Our Cal friends, who know a quality basketball player when they see one, said Nneka needs to put some meat on her bones. (Loved Kayla’s leaping tip-in, too!)

Okay, best live moment of the game you won’t see in a stat sheet: Kalya asking a question of the ref while the game was going on and him answering. It was when Kayla went for a defensive steal and knocked the ball away and kinda dribbled it then picked it up. She ended up with the ball in her hands and her elbows out as everyone ran down the court. I was wondering if she could dribble. Did that little pushing around count as a dribble. Kayla paused there with a thoughtful look on her face and actually turned to the ref and said, “Can I dribble?” The ref was getting ready to run down the court and stopped and looked at her. And I’m thinking (yes, I do that occasionally, too) that he won’t answer her, he is not allowed to answer her during live play, and he turns to her and says, “No.” So Kayla motions Jeannette back with her hand, she runs back down the court and Kayla passes it to her. Smart. And as for the ref, he probably was so shocked she asked, he just answered her automatically. Does anyone know, can a ref give a verbal ruling or answer a question like that during live play?

Scariest moment of the game: Watching Texas Tech warm up. Okay, technically that happened before the game, but when C and R first sat down, we saw how intense they were doing a man on man pressuring drill. And then we saw they had size like us. We thought oh no, they are going to press us with their long arms and pick on our lack of depth at guards. After watching Stanford play hum-ho against South Carolina, we were worried indeed. And then... Stanford came out and was all business, and a different team then the one of Friday. Boothe gave quality D, and we were successful when we dribble penetrated. And teams can stop full court pressing us right now; because we solved it right away. First we passed down-court quickly and got some easy baskets, a memorable one to Kayla all alone. And then we inserted frosh Toni Kokenis at point guard and she just out ran them before they could trap her. She out ran both pressing guards. It was great. Texas quickly called off the press.

And kudos to the big crowd. Friday’s game was sparse, it was nice to see a showing against a ranked team, and nice Stanford responded too, beating Texas 93-78. The game never really was in any doubt. (Oh, except when they led 6-9 in the opening minutes). Kayla scored 19 with 12 boards and Nneka added 22. Chiney got 14 before the foul out.

Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is only 2 victories from joining the tony 800 win club. She is trying to become the 5th women coach to do it. Quick, can you name the other 4? The first one to write in correctly (and can tell me where to find the answer) gets a “Fear the TreeS” T-shirt. Oh, oh, oh, Tara has more wins then Geno, by the way!

Good luck to the Stanford players who are taking finals and resting. We are sure Kayla, whose majors are communications and psychology is taking finals like..ah… Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience Computational Neuroimaging Analysis Methods and the affect on Cell Signaling and Behavior and the ever popular Neural Basis of Cognition: A Parallel Distributed Processing Approach and then the Applications of Parallel Distributed Processing Models to Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience.

And how to Dance the hula 101. (okay, I got those fancy titles off the Stanford psychology website and combined several together just to make R laugh, so if I even remotely guessed and got close to a real class Kayla is taking, it is all pure coincidence, Kayla’s parents, we are not stalking the players on campus. Only after games and at coffee shops and such. No, R is pulling out her hair with her one good shoulder, she hates when I call us stalkers, we are just normal fans. Well, mostly normal. A little Abnormal. Maybe we need a psychology class or two.. and maybe I need help with my digression.

Se ya at the next game whenever it is.