Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stanford Beats Oregon, Win PAC-10 Title

C and R piled in the car with their good friend P, and headed to Maples to see the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team clinch the regular season PAC-10 crown with a victory, on a clear but cold day. The snow that was promised for our area never materialized.

Nice crowd of 5,114 for a night game that was changed to day. We see Nneka Ogwumike, coming off a badly sprained ankle all suited up and even starting and EVEN JUMPING! What the hecka! C and R figure head coach Tara VanDerveer must be a little more worried about this game then she is letting on to risk more injury to their top scorer and rebounder.

And then the game starts and what the hecka was she worried about. Stanford is playing a run and gun team in Oregon, which means they will be the ones to come out and run and gun, and yes, true to form, they emulate their opposition’s style and energy. Jeanette Pohlen makes some incredible fast break passes, along with her threes (and ends up with 20 points). Toni Kokenis runs down the floor as if she has jets on her sneakers. Nneka gets to have a rest after 12 minutes of play. Sisters Nneka and Chiney, true to form, emulate each other with having a contact lens pop out and putting it back in on the floor (all contact lens wearers everywhere in the building mouth, “aren’t they even going to wash their hands first?”). Stanford takes a 56 to 25 lead into the locker room at half.

If anything, the foul calling slowed the pace of play. Ya know, it’s one of those “careful what you wish for” moments. C and R always are ready to criticize the horribly called PAC-10 games, and this game the refs did a great job making mostly correct calls, but they called every-single-thing. Away from the ball, on the ball, every travel, every maybe charge, every reach in and they called it about 90% correctly, which was amazing. However, calling every single contact really slowed down the pace of play and slowed Stanford down. How many fouls were called? We lost count, but Oregon would have three players foul out in the second half. (And the fouled-out players and the band were trying to second guess each other as the band likes to yell “Siddown” when they sit and they kept lowering and raising themselves to try and catch the band off guard.).

Then the Stanford bench got in very early in this game and scored 47 of the 99 Stanford points. The bench held Oregon to 60 points and you have to admire Oregon coach Paul Westhead taking two time outs in the final minute 15 to get them to 60 points. Always play your hardest until the final whistle.

Stanford clinched the PAC-10 title and the PAC-10 commissioner himself was on hand to present the trophy to Tara VanDerveer. He said this was the 25th anniversary of women’s sports in the PAC-10 and Stanford has won the basketball title 20 of those years. Remarkable tribute to the consistency of Stanford’s head coach, who has been at Stanford for 25 years.

The only suspense was were they doing “senior night “ a game early. At half, we heard a rumor that because the last Cal game was changed from 6 PM to 8 PM, it would be too late to do a senior tribute after the game so they were going to do it after this game. C and R and P hang out and they say the seniors were going to come out on the court for a short time.

Seniors Mel Murphy, Ashley Cimino (Cinnamon) Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen came out and did a nice little Q & A with the crowd. However, it was a little bit of a let down from the usual tributes where everyone goes next door and parents tell stories and teammates reminisce, and it has a cozy, intimate family atmosphere. This one seemed more impromptu and hurried and injured senior Hannah Donaghe wasn't even there (she was on a previously scheduled field trip). Just the four seniors came out, no teammates and most parents were not in attendance (exception Jeanette Pohlen's parents, who told the story about the first time JP fiercely wrestled away a defensive rebound to put it right back up in the wrong basket.). At one point, Tara VanDerveer stepped away to check on Toni Kokenis and Amy Tucker stepped in, and it would have been nice to hear a little more from Tara about her players.

Still, it was nice to hear what the players were going to do next year. All thanked the crowd for their unwavering support, whether they were up by 30 or down by one. And thought it was great how the fans cheered a basket, whether it was made by a starter or a reserve. Jeanette said part of the record 60 consecutive home wins and counting record was because of the fans. The internet notes they have not lost at home in more than four season, so we guess it is fair to say these seniors don’t know what it is like to lose at Maples.

We heard Stanford was still going to do the flowers and stuff for the seniors at the Cal game on Thursday. Last year, Stanford’s final regular season game was at Cal, and when Cal honored their seniors, they gave flowers to the Stanford seniors (Jayyyyyynnnnne!). Hope Stanford reciprocates. Remember, game time is 8 PM on Thursday. Broadcast on Fox Sports Net/Comcast Local Sports Network channel.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stanford, Bench, Crush Oregon State

Okay, in the car on the way to Maples, C and R had a prediction about the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team’s game vs. Oregon State. We predicted Stanford would start out slowly, let Oregon State hang around, have a small spurt before the half, then come out and go on a 12 to small something run. Well, that was easy to predict because that seems like how the last five PAC-10 games have gone. Also in the car, we had to negotiate RAIN! Or more specifically, the drivers driving in the RAIN! And in northern California if anything hits our windshield we think hurricane forces are at work and slow down to about 7 miles per hour, unlike back East where it rains so hard you can’t see more than 5 feet in front of your car so you slow down to 70.

So 3,344 of our closest, bravest friends came out for the game. One who was none other than fave of faves Candice Wiggins. Yours truly went up and talked to her at the half. Wanna know what Candice said? Well, you go get the courage to go and talk to her yourself!! But C and R will share she is vibrant, radiant, in great health, and just a wonderful athlete in her prime. We wish her a healthy and successful WNBA season. Even if her team gets Maya Moore.

Oh yeah, they were playing a game at Maples; we got a little distracted with Candice. Stanford, playing again without Nneka Ogwumike, takes an early lead, as predicted. Then there was a weird technical foul against Chiney Ogwumike, who was called for an intentional foul around the 15:58 mark, and the stoppage of play to review the monitor slowed down Stanford more than anything. So they watched Oregon State go up by 5, with the score 6-11 at the 13:39 mark. We didn’t predict that! C and R mention the time and score because Oregon State will stay stuck at 11 until the 2:33 mark. Almost 11 minutes without scoring a point! Halftime ends and it is 29-14, Stanford. Wow. Now that’s defense, and Stanford was flawless and seamless in their switches and Oregon State did not make the most of the mismatches. Plus, love the 1-3-1 with Chiney Ogwumike on point.

Stanford didn’t go on a huge run to start the second half as we predicted, but slowly chipped away at Oregon State to build a 17 point lead. But starting at the 11 minute mark, in the span of two minutes, Jeanette Pohlen made a steal and then hit a long three, Kayla Pedersen hit another three and Jeanette got another three after that and Toni Kokenis got a steal and fast break basket AFTER THAT, for a quick 28 point lead, and it was all over except for bench duty.

Speaking of Toni and steals, ya know how when you hear two words put together so often they lose their meaning, such as saying this hot chocolate is cold, or this iced tea is hot or my hot dog is awful? Well, take the words fast break. Freshmen Toni Kokenis doesn’t do a fast break, she does a fast fast break. Man her speed; has anyone timed her in the 40? She has great anticipation skills already to time the jump for the steal, but when she does get the ball, she sure can accelerate. Even when she was stumbling and trying to maintain her balance and keep control of her dribble, she still beat the person she stole the ball from to the basket. Stanford got 14 points off the fast break; the overwhelming majority from Toni.

And speaking of the bench, C and R were especially impressed with the bench this time. Sarah Boothe matched her career high with 16 points. Mikaela Ruef sure likes to pass to Boothe. Even their names rhythm. Perhaps they bonded over their summer league experience where Boothe was the “go to” option for that team, because Ruef sure gave the ball to Boothe whenever she could and Sarah was able to bank a lot of shots in. Stanford got 32 points from their bench. Impressive.

Stanford tied their school record for consecutive home wins. They also got the top seed in the PAC-10 tournament. They can set the consecutive home wins record at 60 and secure an outright conference title by beating Oregon on Saturday. Remember, game time is 2 PM.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conversation Observations

Super fan TG wrote in with some nice observations. And frankly, it’s such hard work for C and R to create this blog, what with making up facts, supplying grandiose hyperbole, being completely and utterly biased in all things Stanford and finding new and creative ways  tO   mAKe A. TY/pO, that we thought we would just let him rant for awhile so we could rest and relax and roll in all the dough we make from this blog!!. All remarks in parenthesis belong to C and R and are not as funny or insightful.

1. The injury to Nneka Ogwumilke looked pretty serious when I saw it -on my $14.95 a month All-Access! (See, he’s not cheap like C and R). She grabbed it immediately, and couldn't put any weight at all on it.  Hopefully there's no ligament damage or fracture - best case she should rest until the Pac-10 tourney.

2. We just beat the #9 team (UCLA) in the country, #7 RPI, on their home floor, without our best player-arguably the third best player in the country (Nneka), by 14 points. Remarkable.

3. This is traditionally the toughest weekend of the regular season.  To put the two solid wins in perspective, our 2008 team (With Candice Wiggins!) - which went on to beat a Connecticut team with Maya Moore, Tina Charles, and Renee Montgomery in the national semifinals - lost twice on the LA trip.

4. Defensive adjustments and intensity in the second half made the difference in both games.  We were getting killed with 3s by Corral and S. Gilbreath in the first half of USC, and the same by Morris at UCLA.  Great man-to-man pressure on the perimeter, flawless switches, and help rotation on any dribble penetration inside. It wasn't just that UCLA shot poorly, there simply weren't that many good shots to take...

5.  Kokenis and Chiney were both remarkable - each had their best games of the season.  For Kokenis, remarkable decision-making for a freshman - especially when to drive the basket on the fast-break, versus pull up and run the half-court offense. For Chiney, it almost seemed like she was playing double duty, filling in for her sister as well as her own position. Either scored or got to line each time she got the ball down low, and nailed her free throws -10 of 12.

6.  With due respect to Nikki Caldwell, the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, in my opinion, comes down to Tara or Scott Rueck at Oregon State -just beat Oregon for their second conference win, coming back from down 20 at half.  My vote is to Rueck - Tara started with 6 McDonald All-Americans and a 3-time returning Final Four team - Rueck started with exactly 2 returning reserve players and the smoldering aftermath of a mutiny -like that?. In addition to the two conference wins and 7 non-conference wins, they play basketball the right way, and have been competitive in every game except ours.

Sorry about the wordiness, it's therapeutic - keep up the great blogging!
(Yes, C and R help to keep the streets safe at night as all the crazies are home either blogging or reading blogs, us included). Anyone else, feel free to write in!

Don’t forget to check game times up until, well, game time as they keep a’changing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pulling Rank

So when C and R saw Baylor lost, to unranked Texas Tech, we thought the new women’s basketball rankings this week would be UConn, Baylor, Stanford, especially after all those PAC-10 games where Stanford started out so slowly, they would be lucky to hold on to number three. Lo and behold, the rankings dropped Baylor to number three. Both polls have UConn number one, Stanford number two, and Baylor number three. Yippee. We're number two! And we mean that in the best possible way! Maybe it is a good thing those PAC-10 games weren’t televised. Oh yeah, Tennessee is a distant fourth, hee hee.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Ogwumike as Good as the Other to Beat UCLA

So this game was different. It was different because for the first time ever R doubted Stanford could win. Granted, her reasoning was sound. Arguably the best player in the PAC-10, Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike, was in a walking boot because of a sprained ankle and sidelined for the game, and Stanford has come out flat in the first half in their last five or so PAC-10 games, AND Stanford was set to play number 8th ranked UCLA on their home floor, who was out for revenge after their 26 point loss to Stanford the first go-around. C is usually the pessimistic of the bunch. She thinks Stanford will lose every game. Even if Stanford was matched up against the 4th grade girl scout troop daises, or pirates with wooden legs and eye patches on both eyes and stricken with scurvy or whatnot, she will lash her teeth and lament their lack of an inside game. But R has never, ever doubted Stanford, no matter who the opponent. Even when Stanford was playing UConn and their streak, R pronounced they would win. And win by 10 even. (C had to buy the dinner that night, but it was worth it!)

And UCLA almost, almost made R’s prediction come true. UCLA kept Stanford from finding the inside player for the awhile but Stanford relied on the three point game. When Stanford did work it inside in the first half, they missed some easy jumpers. (Nerves?). Then Stanford relied on their fast break. Stanford? A fast break team? What ever it takes, baby. Of course it helped to have speedster Toni Kokenis on the floor, who contributed 13 points to the cause. And Stanford let Jasmine Dixon lose to score and grab rebounds too much in the first half.

The score was tied at 28 at the half, and C and R were hoping Stanford’s second half magic would come to life. UCLA shot a lot, 61 times, but they missed a whole lot of them, only making 19 of them for a 30 percentage shooting average for the game. UCLA also went 0-5 for three pointers in the second half. At times it seemed like UCLA was shooting themselves in the foot.

At the start of the second, Stanford slowly chiseled away at UCLA, led by the veteran play of Kayla Pedersen (loved the behind the basket reverse lay up) and when Jeanette Pohlen hit that three around the 4 minute mark to go up 12, the game was over. Final score was 67-53 Stanford.

Also at half time, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer asked Nneka’s younger sister, Chiney, to be the Nneka of the game. Chiney responded by scoring 13 of her 18 points after the break. She also grabbed an eye-popping 15 rebounds and made 10 of 12 from the line. Wonder if she will get PAC-10 player of the week?

It was nice to see 6,725 people make it out to Pauley Pavilion to see the game. It was the biggest turn out for a women’s game down there in 13 years. C and R watched it at their friends C and P’s house, who have an amazing big-screen TV and who fed us like queens. We apologize to their Mama for our cheering and obnoxious screaming.

It will be nice to see them back in action, live and in person. Make sure you check the time of the Oregon game; it has been moved to a 2 PM start time.

What Really Happened

Okay, we have an eyewitness report about Tara’ technical at the Stanford Women’s’ Basketball game vs. USC from someone who was at the game. (Thanks to PM)

Tony K made a brilliant swoop inside under the basket, making a layup. The USC player (not planted) stepped into her way and the refs called a charging foul, not counting the basket.  It was so flagrant that the whole red audience stood up and screamed NOOOOO.  Tara hopped onto the court to have a shout at the refs (I've rarely seen her so animated.)  Refs held to their call and gave USC two free technical shots, which they missed, showing there is a GOD.

And, Nneka's fall was really scary.  She lay on her side for over two minutes not moving.  We are all scared it is much worse than just a sprained ankle, but nobody is saying.

Papers reported today that Nneka Ogwumike did not practice Saturday and received treatment for her ankle, and is questionable for today’s game against UCLA.

Come on Stanford, don't start out slow this time!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stanford Beats USC, Nneka Ogwumike Sprains Ankle

So, okay, it’s not that C and R are cheap, per se, when it comes to shelling out the $14.95 a month for the CBS web package to watch their beloved Stanford Women’s Basketball Team, its just that it is so confusing to get the right screen to even figure out if the Stanford-USC game will be shown on the internet site and if it’s worth it to buy the package. (Okay, so maybe we are cheap). Was it on the website? Because we sure could not make heads or tails of the stupid Gametracker. Well, that also might be because we were trying to watch “Jeopardy” at the same time because now that the machine that beat all humans is gone it’s teen tournament time and with the questions scaled down we actually have a shot at getting a question or two right (Hmm, distracted much?).

Anyhoo, what we learned from chess pieces. Kayla Pedersen had a heck of a game (scored 17 points on 7-9 shooting) and Jeanette Pohlen (and everyone else) were told to make some threes after last games low three point shooting ratio. Jeanette was 5-9 from downtown and had 19 points for the game. It looked like Chiney Ogwumike missed some easy shots and had a lot of turnovers, especially in the second half, yet ended up with 13 points, but is hard to tell what is going on. Tinkle had four fouls in four seconds in the second half.

What we did not learn from Gametracker. Nneka Ogwumike’s sprained ankle. We guess Gametracker doesn’t have little red chess pieces to fall to the ground and clutch their ankle. Nneka sprained her right ankle early in the second half and left the game. That’s going to have repercussions against Sunday’s UCLA game. We also did not learn that Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was whistled for a technical foul. (It’s okay, Jacki Gemelos missed the two free throws). Guess Gametracker doesn’t have a little red icon to yell at officials or throw a shoe or whatever happened. Anybody know what happened? Was it when Tinkle got four fouls in four seconds? R does not even remember a time Tara got a technical foul.

It appears Stanford have lost their intensity and lost their edge. It can be expected a little when we had focused and prepared for the UConn game in late December. The same thing happened last year after Stanford’s “mini” NCAA tournament run before the start of the PAC-10 season. They focused on that, and after surviving it, intensity and urgency dropped. A clear pattern has emerged against this second round of PAC-10 foes. The foes come out swinging, trying to slow things down, and we respond to plodding play with plodding play of our own and go into the locker room close (This time it Stanford was only up by two, 38-36). Then Tara VanDerveer yells/inspires/gives them good feedback/suggestions/points out their flaws and they respond and open the second half with a XX point run. (This time it was a 12-2 run). Then we hold them off and win by 12-18 or so points. This time the final score against USC was 78-64.

And….  and word is out we don’t like it when the other teams get physical. And why should Stanford like it, they play such pure basketball, using their smarts more than their brawn. Witness Washington, who knew they couldn’t rebound with Stanford, so just had every player hold the arm of a Stanford player. It worked for a half, the score was close, and when the refs finally woke up and threw out 4 players with 5 fouls each, Stanford finally got back to Stanford basketball.

Two quotes that support our rant:
“USC came out, and it looked like they wanted to slow the tempo a little bit," VanDerveer said. "They were more physical this time around."

We knew it was going to be tougher the second time around," Pedersen said. "Everybody scouts everybody, and everybody talks to everybody."

Okay, this last quote from Kayla actually helps to make more sense as to why the PAC-10 teams are having more success the second time around.

Sister Sister
Oh, C and R didn’t realize that USC has sisters, too, like our beloved Nneka and Chiney. They have a Briana Gilbreath and a Stefanie Gilbreath. And like our sisters, who often are high scorers for the team, or at least score nearly identical points. Briana Gilbreath scored 17 points, and Stefanie Gilbreath added 16 in this game. Briana Gilbreath scored 11 of them in the first half and was responsible for keeping the score close, or at least that’s what we gleaned from Gametracker. Stanford then shut her down for the second half with one jumper and four foul shots.

Well, the UCLA game is supposed to be televised on Fox Sports Network. It will be refreshing to see the team for real and not read the play-by-play.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taurasi is Cleared!

ESPN reports that Diana Taurasi's suspension is lifted! The doping charges have been dropped and she can play in the 2012 Olympics. And, oh, the Turkish team that dropped her contract like a hot potato after the already suspect Turkish lab came up with the positive test result says all is forgiven and she can come back and play and win them a championship. Diana said no thanks.

Funny, Taurasi was just saying at the end of the WNBA season last summer she needed some time off from basketball. She had been playing basketball year round going from WNBA to overseas and now USA basketball was filling any free time she did have and it was getting to be too much. Careful what you wish for.
C and R are glad she was cleared and back in the USA, and can play for the USA!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stanford Sweats Out 10-Point Victory Against Washington

Let’s see…
Went to a fight yesterday and a basketball game broke out.
Or, try this…
C and R, what did you do on Saturday?
Well, we watched the worst officiated game of women’s basketball you ever did see.
Stanford “Only” wins by 10, 62-52 over Washington, and Washington had it within 2 with 5:41 left in the game.

C and R have seen some badly called games before at Maples, but this one was unusually bad and helped contribute to Stanford not finding their rhythm. Plus, Washington was aggressive and physical, and when refs let most fouls away from the ball go unnoticed (as they did in the first half) then teams like that take advantage. Also in the first half, many traveling calls were whistled against both teams when the player was not moving, prompting C to wonder if they really knew what traveling was.

Then in the second half, some obvious contact would go by and then minor contact would get called. Very inconsistent. To make matters worse, when there was contact, the refs didn’t really know who fouled. Whistles would blow and they would give a foul to a player who was not involved in the play. The instant reply on the jumbotron would confirm this many times. It happened to both teams. It happened to Stanford, and then minutes later it happened to Washington. Unfortunately for them, the misplaced foul was given to a player that had four, so she was the second player for Washington to foul out. The Washington players reenacted the foul for the refs and the real person who fouled held her hand up and even pointed to the jumbotron screen to no avail. Sorry, they don’t use instant replay like they do in the NFL.

Scary moment when player number two fouled out walked to her bench and the Stanford band, who in our opinion, can behave in an unsportsman-like way sometimes, shouted “Siddown” as she lowered herself to the chair. She stood up without letting her behind touch and took a step to the band with fists up and murder in her eyes. I thought for sure she was going to charge the band. There’s no need for violence on her part or the band’s, and she was the biggest one to hold the Stanford inside players, usually getting her hands up high around their necks.

How physical was Washington? Well, four, count ‘em four Washington players fouled out. After the fourth, we wondered if they had anyone eligible to put in the game! I am sorry, but I have to comment on how to a man (wo-man) Washington held Stanford players away from the ball and to me, that was just dirty. It wasn’t just one player; it was all of them, hence when the refs finally starting calling it, they got their four players quickly thrown out of the game (Second scary moment was seeing Nneka going heels over head and then to the floor. How does that happen?). Washington got many offensive rebounds and put backs, unusual for Stanford to give those up, but when you see how the Washington players were grabbing and holding the Stanford player’s arm at waist level, it is easier to see why they got so many offensive rebounds. And if one Washington player was holding, another Washington player was aggressive and did go hard after the ball.

Still, bad officiating and holding under the basket cannot explain Stanford being one for twenty from three-point land (thank you Toni Kokenis). When guard Jeanette Pohlen finishes with three points, you know your outside game did not come through. Thank goodness for Stanford’s inside game, which is to throw it to Nneka Ogwumike and watch her create her own shot. She can drive all the way to the basket, spin away from a defender if blocked or drive hard and then pull up and EL-E-Vate for a hecka Nneka jump shot.

It doesn’t hurt to have little sis Chiney be practically a carbon copy inside, and the sisters would score 22 (N) and 21 (C, with 10 rebounds), added to Kayla Pedersen’s 13 points (7 were free throws) and that is 56 points out of 62. Yikes. What happened to all starters in double figures?

And yet the bad officiating didn’t harm Washington’s ability from the arc. They were 6 for 12, and more importantly, they (Kristi Kingma) bombed threes to the very end (Stanford, where has your “D” gone? Remember when you didn’t let Maya Moore take a three point shot in your house?). When the third or fourth Washington player fouled out, all they had was the three-point game, and it was just two players (Kristi Kingma and Sarah Morten) taking and making all the shots. Someone put a body on those two players next time and sag off everybody else. Oh, one bright spot was Stanford's 1-3-1 defense worked really well against this team (Washington didn’t take advantage of working the ball to the bottom of the basket where the defense is weakest. Love seeing head coach Tara VanDerveer knowing her opponent well.)

Well, a victory is a victory, even if the outcome was still unclear to the final minutes. The victory gives Stanford their 58th straight home game win at Maples, one shy of the old record. We won’t see the conclusion of the record until they come back home Feb 24.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stanford has Unsettling 100-59 win over Washington State

What a weird game. What a weird 100-59 victory. At first, Stanford came out with its starting five and looked like a machine, passing inside, scoring, even an early alley-oop to Nneka Ogwumike and the score was 23-14 at the eleven and a half mark. Then, Stanford’s man to man defense, long it’s stalwart all year, looks confused and a step too slow and we let 7-17, 5-7 in the PAC-10 Washington State make all kinda crazy shots, so much so that it was tied at 28 with about 6 and a half minutes left in the first half.

To Washington State’s credit, they executed their screens and double screens well and freed up their shooters, and then their shooters knocked down shots. Stanford was slow to help when they drove in to the lane, to switch when picked, or even react and therefore they frequently lost their man, hence the crowds chant of, “Somebody guard number 11!” Okay, that was C yelling, but number 11 Jazmine Perkins had 14 points in the first half and actually put Washington State up 28-26 with a three with about 7 minutes left in the first half. Hecka Nneka, Stanford didn't even give up the lead when they played UConn.

Stanford did this before with a PAC-10 foe, we think it was USC, where they had trouble with switches on defense and double screens and Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer adjusted her team to a zone, and that was all she wrote. They shut down the other team defensively in that game without having to worry about screens. So, C and R kept waiting and waiting for Tara to call a time out and go to zone. And she didn’t and she didn’t and then it was tied at 28 with about five minutes left.

And then…
Stanford went on a 20-4 run in those last five minutes and went in to the locker room up 46-32. Talk about demoralizing for the other team. To be tied, to have the lead even, and then you blink and you are walking to the locker room down by 14.

How did Stanford score? Well, they worked it inside to Nneka and sister and Chiney Ogumike, and Chiney got offensive rebounds and put backs, too. Jeanette bombed a three in there, Nneka had a tip in, you know, the usual. Kayla made a save under the Stanford basket, while falling out of bounds, a backhanded scoop to a streaking Nneka down the middle of the lane and she put it back off the glass before Washington State could react. Hecka Nneka indeed! When they want to be, they are incredible.

When they blew the whistle for the second half, Stanford didn’t let up and went on a 15-2 run and Washington State didn’t score until almost 6 minutes had gone by in the second half (Jazmine Perkins made 2 free throws). Nneka was a beast on the boards, treating the crowd to ohhhs and ahhs when she would sky high and also when she would put back an offensive rebound without bothering to land on the floor. And the Stanford team as a whole was hustling and hitting the floor for loose balls, most notably Lindy La Rocque and Kayla Pedersen. And then there were fast breaks and Washington State’s inexplicable ability to guard the bottom of the basket. Its was as if their defense kept creeping up to the foul line and a Stanford player would slip back there and have an easy, uncontested lay up. First the starters, and then the bench was able to do it when they came in with 10 minutes left. Loved seeing Toni Kokenis score 13 points by driving in the lane. The crowd favorite was reserve Grace Mashore and they heartily applauded her three. Even with their bench, Stanford won by 41, after being down in the first half. Just weird. And Stanford might not be able to come back so strongly against ranked opponents in the tournament.

Coach, what happened out there?
"The second half, we really took over," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "I think our team might have come out a little casual. We weren't as aggressive as we needed to be early in the game. We had to make some adjustments offensively, which I thought we did.”

Nneka, what’s your take?
"One of the things that I think is our best quality is we don't have an arrogant air about ourselves," Ogwumike said. "We don't walk in and say, 'Oh, we're Stanford, let's just play, things will work for us.' When we're not playing or performing, it's a lack of concentration and focus."

Quotes courtesy of the Official Stanford Website.

Both teams sported pink accessories to support Breast Cancer Awareness, the second killer of women behind lung cancer. Attendance was pretty good for a game on a school night (3,252) and C and R even saw scalpers outside, which was strange because there were plenty of seats left for sale at the box office. C even got a pink Stanford shirt, although she had to snatch it away from a seatmate (Sorry!).

Stanford got their record 49th straight PAC-10 victory and the old record holders were themselves. Stanford also extended their winning streak on Maples floor to 57 and are two away from tying the school record of 59 straight wins an a row. With Jeanette Pohlen’s first assist of the night, she reached 500 assists for her Stanford career. She is the fourth Stanford player to have 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 500 assists.

Come out Saturday to see one of those wins. It is National Girls and Women in Sports Day and there will be a post game autograph session.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stanford Supports "Breast Cancer Awareness" at the Thursday, February 10th Game

Oh, C and R just saw that Stanford’s Thursday, February 10th game is designated a Pink Zone game, which means wear pick to support breast cancer awareness. If you haven’t bought your tickets, show up in pink and get a reserved ticket for just $10. Game time is 7 PM. Added bonus, the Stanford Women’s Basketball team is playing Washington State and a win will set the PAC-10 conference record of 49 consecutive PAC-10 wins.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stanford Back on Course with 30-point Win Over Arizona

Well, it doesn’t take Stanford Women’s Basketball Head coach Tara VanDerveer long to “fix” what is wrong with her team. After winning “only” by 18 against Arizona State, Stanford beat Arizona 91-61 and more importantly, got back to playing Stanford basketball. What is Stanford basketball? Well, it’s rebounding on both ends, taking care of the basketball and working it inside as well as hitting threes and just smart, smart play befitting a number three ranked team. Right now, Stanford is hard to stop because they do have a good inside game and an accurate outside game. Most teams feel lucky just to have the one aspect on offense, and Stanford has the two. If you shut one down, or if Stanford is struggling with one aspect of their game, the other takes over (hopefully).

This time it rained threes in the desert. Jeanette Pohlen made five three pointers and Lindy LaRocque made four. Add to that the stat that all five starters were in double figures with eight players having at least one assist and that is a well–balanced team.

Stanford also tied their own PAC-10 record by winning 48 PAC-10 games in a row. Come out and see them make history on Thursday against Washington State.

Sorry C and R don’t have more to report, as we couldn’t stomach another game followed on Gametracker (And the game was not televised, on TV or internet anywhere) and the call of the incredibly warm Northern California weather on Saturday was too much. But our number one fan (N1F) was brave enough to soldier the cold, cold weather of Arizona (hee hee!) and filed this report exclusive to C and R:

The weather was crazy cold when we got here Thursday, but has warmed up quite a bit by Saturday (in the low 60s).  Not quite the warm weather vacation we had planned in December, but, oh well.

It was Arizona’s pink day and they had cute pink warm up shirts that said “Love” with a ribbon for the V.  We had cute pink warm up shirts too and pink shoelaces.   (Awww, C and R wished we could have seen that!)

There was a pretty good size Stanford section and a total crowd of just over two thousand. The local fans near us were enthusiastic and very nice, cheering all promising signs from the Wildcats, but also cheering great moves by Stanford. (C and R love hearing the other team’s fans were classy).

We played well, much improved from Thursday's Arizona State game. The threes were falling!!  And we were so happy to see Lindy hitting her shot. Jeanette had a great game (!!!), Nneka was a monster on the boards, Toni looked good in the second half and hit a three. Everyone but Mel got to play (and we think that was simply because Mel had so many minutes on Thursday and is recovering). Gracie Mashore hit a three and a layup (we are especially fond of Gracie). Sarah Boothe did a good job, all in all it was a good game, though not much of a challenge.

Cheers – N1F

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stanford Survives Arizona State

Geez, here C and R were all raggin’ and braggin’, ragging on Duke not looking like a number three team and bragging on Stanford looking like a number three team that is, and then Stanford has a bit of a clunker game at Arizona State. Stanford let Arizona State hang around for much of the first half before Ogwumike squared and Kayla Pedersen muscled it inside in the second half to win 72-54.

Let’s back up a bit, first of all, it was a minor miracle C and R could see this away game as it was not televised (rant number 762 about Stanford not being on TV). The local Arizona Fox Sports affiliate “broadcast” the game on the web and after opening five hundred windows, we finally got the video player to play (technology is not C and R’s strong suit, although, C did get out her phalanx of cables the cats play with and found the correct one to hook up to her fancy HDTV so C and R could watch it on the big screen without having to travel to Mike’s Sports Bar). Cool, and we didn’t have to pay the $14.95 internet access fee yet. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (emphasis on old).

Anyhoo, we tuned in just in time to see Stanford’s Toni Kokenis dribbling (and love the black away uniforms). Glad to see she was back after missing games with a head injury. Speaking of which, Arizona State’s lead scorer Dymond Simon missed the game because of a concussion she suffered against USC. Wow, there is so much awareness and caution around concussions these days across the sports board, not just football. Unfortunately, Toni didn’t stay in long and did not return for the rest of the game. The official stats say she only played a minute. Hope she is okay. (PSsst, to our spies in Arizona, did you find out what’s up with Toni?).

This was Kayla’s last collegiate women’s basketball game in her home state of Arizona (And our spies reported her parents are also tall trees!), and although she got a double double of 15 points and ten timely rebounds to pass Nicole Powell on the career rebound list, she also made a lot of bad passes, which is uncharacteristic of her. To Arizona State’s credit, they jumped in passing lanes and got steals and attacked Stanford players when they picked up their dribble and C and R have never seen so many balls ripped from Stanford player’s arms. Stanford also let Arizona State get offensive rebounds and put-backs (Trees gotta play like trees). And when Stanford was in man to man in the first half, Arizona State got quite a few lay-ups by driving to the basket and no help coming, although coach Tara VanDerveer did adjust by going to a zone defense. Stanford just seemed to have an energy let down in this game, not taking care of the ball well, not rebounding or boxing out well and giving up easy baskets. At half time, it was 32-27 Stanford. We are sure Tara did and will continue to address those issues.

Of course our feed went down (internet!) and when it came back on we saw Jeanette Pohlen pick up her fourth foul about 5 minutes into the second half and we saw her sit. And sit and sit. Until about 5 minutes left in the game, and when she did come back, she was on fire, driving and scoring. She wants it, she wants a national championship, that’s for sure. Her energy and drive were welcome and must have felt good for her after sitting on the bench for 10 minutes.

We also enjoyed watching Jeanette post up down low and score in the first half. It was annoying to have to listen to the regional broadcasters because to C and R’s ears, they seemed so biased (and C and R never get like that!) and kept using the same obscure terminology. We mean, call it the half court line, not the time line, as in “Pohlen just crossed the time line” and quit saying the right angle and the left angle to mean the left and right side of the court! However, the woman announcer made an excellent observation when Jeanette posted up her smaller guard when Arizona State was in man to man by saying most guards do not know how to defend a post player as they don’t often practice that. So not only does Jeanette use her size advantage, she is forcing the other guard to be uncomfortable and play out of position.

Next up is Arizona (not Arizona State as we originally reported!) and let’s hope Stanford looks a little sharper as befitting a number three-ranked team.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

Celebrate the 25th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day!
On February 2, 2011, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Play, Believe, Achieve." NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. It is sponsored by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD). Find out more about National Girls and Women in Sports Day, including events in your area today!

Support the girl or women (or you) in your life who play sports.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now Stanford is Number 3!

So, AP top 25 Women’s College Basketball polls tallied their marks on Monday BEFORE the UConn vs. Duke game and listed Baylor, UConn, Duke number three, Stanford four. How can we tell? They list Duke as 20-0, their record before said game. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll tallied their marks AFTER the said said UConn - Duke game. How do we know? They list Duke at 20 and ONE! Stanford is number THREE, behind Baylor and UConn, then Tennessee four and Duke FIVE! Attitude, HA! (AND C and R just discovered the CAP lock button on our keyboard). Take that back east, where we get no respect (And thank you to all who wrote in to remark we get no respect… preaching, choir), but at least we can go outside in shorts here in California and not worry about shoveling snow. So yeah, um, take that back east…

Here, check out our math, we’re not lyin’