Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stanford VS Texas

Friday Night:
So here we are in front of three, count ‘em three computers to watch our beloved Stanford Women’s Basketball Team. And what online site did we tune in? The Texas Longhorn Network! Blasphemy, or just really glad the content is available online and free? You decide.

Friday Afternoon:
Thanks to social media, C and R found out Nneka Ogwumike was not going to play in the Texas game. After C got over her heart palpitations, and R helped her off the floor, we quickly retweeted it. And worried. The tweet said “Upper Body Injury.” What the heck does that mean? After an exhaustive search of the Internet, we found out she got the unspecified “upper body” injury in practice this week and should be back for the home opener this Sunday vs Gonzaga. Still not very helpful on the “what” but we are glad it is not serious to Nneka and she can still play.

Back to Friday Night:
After getting all the computers fired up, we tuned in just in time for the starting lineup to be announced without Nneka. Starters were little sis Chiney, of course, plus vets Lindy LaRocque and Toni Kokenis at guards, Joslyn Tinkle and a surprising freshman pick, Taylor Greenfield at the center and forward spots. Stanford was also were wearing their black uniforms, the ones C personally likes, and thinks of as good luck charms, something she thinks they are going to need, without Nneka and a lot of untested and inexperienced guards.

Friday Game Time:
Okay, Stanford has Chiney, who has been a rebounding beast in exhibition and can score inside, we should be okay and then a whistle 30 seconds into the game and Chiney has her first foul. Any astute Stanford fan knows what that means, you foul, you take a seat. Stanford head coach Tara VnaDerveer wouldn’t take her best scoring and rebounding weapon out early, with the second best option on the bench, would she? Yes, take a seat Chiney, next to Nneka not in uniform. Now our two best scorers and rebounders are on the bench.

Stanford doesn’t panic and although we are not scoring early and often, as we do when Nneka and Chiney are in, we are not letting Texas getting many scoring chances.

Friday Night, three minutes into the game:
Three minutes into the game and another freshmen Amber Orrange (not typo and pronounced Or-rahn-jah, with the r sound rolling off the back of your throat.) enters the game. She uses her quickness to quickly get a steal. Then just as quickly makes a freshmen mistake, turning over the ball. She, and all the freshmen, will be a work on progress this season, that’s for sure.

So, we know Nneka is not playing, then we keep hearing the announcers say, “Nneka dribbles, Nneka passes”. It’s not our Nneka but it turns out they have a Nneka, too. Texas has a player named Nneka Enemkpali, who also played her high school ball in Texas, like Stanford’s Nneka. And here we though Nneka was such a unique name. Small world.

Friday Half Time:
Score at the half 35-30, Stanford holding on to the five point lead. Unbelievably, when Chiney picked up her second foul in the 1st half she was limited to 6 minutes playing time. Yet she collected 4 rebounds. Although with Chiney out, Texas caught up on rebounds in the stat column.

Almost all the freshmen got to touch the floor in the first half. Bonnie Samuelson and Erica Payne made it in. Bonnie got a three-point shot off with an incredibly quick release, but it seemed more rushed than spot on and missed its mark. (However the official score says Bonnie did not shoot, so maybe C and R are imagining things) Yet it was freshie Amber Orrange who impressed. She had 12 first half points, and scored when Chiney was on the bench. Texas Coach Gail Goestenkors was grabbed at the half for a recap and she told the announcer, “we wanted to limit Stanford’s threes (they did, Stanford only made one in the first half). And we need to guard Orrange and her left hand. Everything is left, and everything is a lay up.” Memo to Tar VanDerveer, teach Amber to go right sometimes. Amber only had two points in the second half for a total of 14 points. Maybe Texas was on to her.

Friday Start of Second Half:
Second half opens and Stanford has better ball movement, nice crisp passes, and scores five quick points in two and a half minutes to go up by ten before Texas takes a timeout to discuss why they have no points the second half. Freshie Taylor Greenfield had a nice pull up jumper and looked calm and poised. She would end up with nine total points.

The second half would see short runs by both teams, but Texas was plagued by poor shooting and could never manage to come close to taking the lead. Stanford also got a lot warmer, shooting wise. Toni Kokenis had two first half points, then ten for the game. Chiney would end up with 16. Tinkle had four 1st half points and ten in the second for 14 total. Several media sources say she looked more comfortable playing with her back to the basket as a true center tonight than as a forward, as she has been asked to do the last two years.

Texas was limited by only dressing eight. Several were out for medical reasons and one for team violations. Texas also hurt themselves by not making a three pointer in the first half. The Texas starting center, Ashley Gayle, was held to zero points. The announcers mentioned several times that certain Texas players were not in “game shape” some due to injuries limited training, but really, this is college basketball, you need to be in game shape the day of the game.

One thing we didn’t imagine hearing this game: “Amber Orrange with the block!” Oh yes she did. She made a block, gathered the ball, and raced for an uncontested lay up. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said Stanford is a different team this year.

Friday End of Game:
Stanford went on to hold the lead and increase it, winning 72-59, and Texas didn’t help themselves by shooting 34% for the game. Amber was the most impressive freshman, with 14 points and six rebounds. However, she did have five turnovers, and they were mostly rookie mistakes, trying to force a ball in to traffic, a pass that might have worked in high school. Hopefully experience will weed that out. A little startling was Chiney’s free throw shooting. She was 2-7 for the game. Stanford can’t afford to leave points on the board like that.

Friday Evening:
Out for a night on the town with friends

Saturday Afternoon:
Finally get around to writing this blog

It is always good to have that first game under your belt. Game two is Sunday vs. Gonzaga, who won their opener 101-88 over Hofstra. Hopefully Nneka will be back in the lineup. See ya then.

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