Hi, C here. So I get through work without “accidentally” hearing, seeing, or getting texted the score of Stanford’s earlier semi-final PAC-10 tournament game vs. Arizona, which is not hard because I am surrounded by elementary school children and preschoolers all day long who still say “Banilla” for vanilla ice cream and my phone battery conveniently died. So then R comes over so we can watch the taped version of the game and as we turn on the TV she says,” I’ve been watching the UCLA-Cal game and they said Stanford won. We killed them.” Right then, I wanted to kill R! I said, “then why should we watch the game right now if we know the results,” and she said, “because the sisters had an incredible game.” And she was rigth! It was fun to watch.
The sisters, or as Arizona’s coach refers to them, “THOSE sisters,” are Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. And although I was at first fuming, it WAS a joy to watch those two play.
Wanna feed your inner stat monster? The sisters combined for 53 points and 23 rebounds. That’s 53 of Stanford’s 100 points and 23 of the 41 rebounds. At the half, the sisters had scored 36 of Stanford’s 45 points. From 8:49 until the 2 minute mark in the first half, the Ogwumikes scored 21 straight points! Kayla got two free throws in there at the 1:57 mark, and then Chiney scored the final two baskets of the first half! Want it further broken down? Both had double doubles with Chiney scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 of the rebounds, and big sis Nneka scored 32 points and sky-ed high for 10 rebounds.
The only bad note of the game, that probably kept Chiney from scoring more, was the hard hit to Chiney’s mouth that sent her to the sidelines in tears. Turns out she wasn’t wearing mouth guard and took a vicious hit to the jaw and she chipped her tooth. Ouch! She came back in to score more points. Nneka didn’t have it nearly so rough, only losing a contact lens again, popping it back in on the court. R wonders if she should invest in some goggles or lightweight glasses. C remembers her freshmen year when Nneka broke her nose and had to wear that clear plastic mask. It looked like she hated it, always pulling it off to wipe away sweat, so she probably has bad memories associated with headgear.
The game was so one-sided that C and R kept watching the score to see if we could chant the brainy Stanford taunt the Stanford band uses. They like to chant 2X plus 4, where X is your score when we are killing teams. We had to do math on the fly, and it wasn’t pretty, but we don’t think it happened. But we did double their score a few times, so we came up with 2X plus zero, where Nneka is the hero! You get the drift.
One of the announcers, the guy, jokingly said, I wouldn’t want to see my sister every day! But these two young women have a special bond and clearly enjoy each other. If you were not a sports fan, or said you didn’t care for women’s basketball, I would take you to a Stanford basketball game and tell you to just watch the nature of the relationship between them, it is very special. After every dead ball or especially after a Stanford turn over, the sisters gravitate to each other and reach out and touch hands, even so briefly, as if to say, hey, its okay, I’m here for you.
The best moment of the Arizona game was when Chiney was down low in the paint, her back to the basket and Kayla threw her a high pass, she had to reach high and then bring the ball down, throwing off her timing. Two Arizona players instantly collapsed on her, and as she dribbled to create some room I think four Arizona players surrounded her. So as she’s trying to fight her way to the basket, she sees Nneka standing two feet away from her, in the lay up spot, with no one guarding her, so she gives a little shovel pass and Nneka scores untouched! But it was the identical smile and the joy on both of their faces as they ran down the court, side by side, that clearly showed these women have a special energy together.
And didn’t you love their post game interview? Man, they could be a walking, talking commercial for Stanford. Poised, graceful, humble, articulate, used poly-syllabic words C and R barely know the meaning of and I can barely spell… tenacity, reciprocity, good SAT words. (Just dropped my son off at the SAT test, so vocab words have been on my mind lately).
And didn’t you just love, part two, when they interview Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer at the half saying she wanted to put in the other little two Ogumike sisters who were sitting in the stands in the second half and see what they could do. Hee hee, no disrespect to Arizona, who scored 71 points and are waiting for Monday to hear if they made it to the NCAA tournament, but I think all of Stanford-land would have agreed to it!
Finals 11:30 AM today. UCLA beat Cal, who put up a good fight, having two really great tournament games, but seemed to run out of gas against a pressing UCLA. And if I have to pause the game to pick up my son from the SAT’s at 12 noon, no one call, text, sky write or in any way contact me. (That means you, R! Or else I should just take you with me so you can’t peek at the score).