Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tara the Terrible's Sense of Humor

Whenever C and R run into Stanford women’s basketball fans, we inevitably talk about Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer. And for those who have been lucky enough to meet her, all remark on her sense of humor, something that does not show when she is on national TV sitting on the bench.

 But if you don’t believe, all you need to know about Tara’s sense of humor can be seen in this video for Stanford wrestling, in which Tara proudly wears the Stanford singlet. And they also showed this clip on national TV!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cheap thoughts…

So much great women’s basketball on TV, a big thank you to ESPN for showing it. Hey, Mechelle Voepel says the ESPN brass listens when people write in and say they like to see more women’s basketball, so take a moment today and let them know you like it and want more!

And a big bouquet of roses to Texas A & M.

Heard its snowing in indy… pack your warm things, it jus tmight be a frozen four.

Did you see and hear “I Got Bounce” on National TV! Mel Murphy, you’re a star!

Best Geno Quote…. Best thing Maya does is not listen to me

Our NCAA bracket went to heck (way to represent, PAC-10! Said sarcastically) but C is beating R and that’s all that matters.

Although we must give shout out to super fan TG, who is sitting at the top of the bracket! He correctly picked the Texas A & M win over Baylor, the Gonzaga trip to the elite eight, and Notre Dame knocking off Tennessee to get to the final four. TG, we are taking you to Vegas or having you buy lottery tickets or somethin’!

Both Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen have tied the record for most Stanford career games at 149. They broke Ros Gold Onwude’s old record of 148. It’s fitting that the seniors are doing it together. Pedersen and Pohlen are 1-2 on the career minutes played list with 4,722 for Kayla and 4,316 for Jeanette. Kayla has 1,256 career rebounds, and is seven away from tying Jayne Appel (Jaaaaay-nneeee) for the Stanford and Pac-10 career rebounding record, while Pohlen is second all-time in Stanford history with 265 3-pointers made. Kayla also has a career-high 119 assists this year.

Kayla was also awarded the Pac-10 Scholar Athlete of the Year for basketball. She has a 3.53 GPA and is majoring in communications/psychology.  We knew she was smart!

Jeanette and Nneka Ogqumike have been named to both the John R. Wooden All-America Team and the Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America Teams. Congrats, you two deserve it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stanford Final Four Bound with Win Over Gonzaga

Well, that slump is over! Stanford Women’s Basketball player Jeanette Pohlen, probably tired of getting asked about her mini scoring “slump,” responded in the Elite Eight game against Gonzaga by hitting shots and playing with intensity and determination. How intense and determined? Try 60% shooting from the floor, five of them three pointers for a total of 17 points.

Fellow senior Kayla Pedersen had twelve timely rebounds and the team as a whole had 49 to Gonzaga’s 25, thirteen of them being on the offensive end for more chances to score. Kayla’s eight points are little low, and we don’t want to say anythAng, but C and R are sure she will be the next one to have a scoring outpouring.

Two Stanford players who aren’t slumping are the Stanford sister, Nneka and Chiney. They combined for 51 of Stanford’s 83 points and 26 of the 49 rebounds, and had the first 11 Stanford points of the second half . Nneka ended up with 23 points, 18 bounds, and Chiney, 18 points 15 boards. In the first half it was mostly Nneka who was scoring, Gonzaga not having the size to deny the entry pass or stop her path to the basket like UNC previosuly. When big sis Nneka was in a little scoring slump of her own in the second half, missing shots in the paint, it was Chiney who grabbed the rebound and put it back or was fouled trying.

Credit Gonzaga’s Courntey Vandersloot, the incredible point guard, for keeping her team in the game in the first half. She was on fire, hitting for 21 points in the first half and dishing out nine total assists to her teammates. C and R had to yell the now familiar refrain, “somebody guard her!”

So what does basketball genius Tara VanDerveer do in the second half? She goes into a little used zone defense to limit Courtney to one basket in the first 14 minutes of the second half, and four total points for said half. C and R, not the basketball geniuses, didn’t even realize Stanford went into the zone. We just kept our eyes on Vandersloot and just who was going to guard her and would call out, “Lindy is guarding her, now Jeannette, now Kayla, now Nneka” Whew. We thought they were handing her off man to man like they did Maya Moore. Now that we realize they were in zone, they weren’t switching and handing her off, she was just rotating through Stanford’s zone and they were guarding her as if man to man, so maybe a zone man to man. Duh C and R! Well, whatever it was, it worked, shutting down Gonzaga’s amazing point guard and no one stepping up in her place.

And then it was too much Ogwumikes. Nneka misses, Chiney gets it, even though they were being PUSHED by the other team and it wasn’t called (gee, we biased-ly think the refs aren’t calling fouls against Stanford, what’s new?) Courtney is negated, the sisters roll, it’s Stanford by a score of 83-60.

During the game, the announcers kept talking about Pac-10 player of the year Jeanette Pohlen and R prophetically said, Nneka deserves an award. She got one at the end of the game, or, well several. First of all, both sisters were named the “Player of the Game.” And how cute is that? Then Nneka got the Spokane Regional's most outstanding player award. And sometime after that when the all-regional team was announced, it included Nneka, Chiney and Kayla Pedersen. Yay, someone else was watching and appreciating Nneka like we do.

Side Notes:
C and R were watching the Tennessee-Notre Dame game right before the Stanford game. C, wisely learning her lesson about using up her good luck mojo, kept fairly silent throughout the game, even though secretly she was rooting against Pat Summit’s Tennessee team, a team and coach we love to hate. So now she can say those things she repressed for so long. Oh, how sweet was that ND win? Guess 21 times is a charm! And next time, Pat, when playing the green Irish, wear something else besides a mint green suit!!

ESPN cut in late to the Stanford game due to the Tennessee-Notre Dame game. However, C and R persevered. Some of our fans had earlier clued us in to ESPN 3 on the internet and they were streaming the live game and we saw all ten Stanford points, and R said this was the fastest game she ever saw, points flying across the boards for both teams, so glad we didn’t miss a second.

Then when Stanford won, we saw a little graphic that said go to ESPN 3 to see the net cutting ceremony because ESPN had spent long enough on a women’s sport. So back we went to the computer screen and we saw the trophy presentation and net cutting ceremony, with the team cutting the net into tiny pieces to wear behind their ears, Nneka herself cutting about five strands, and Tara VanDerveer throwing what was left of the net to Jeanette, silently expressing she was glad JP was out of her slump.

Cool it was a sold-out arena for women’s basketball. Not so cool it was a home game for Gonzaga and 10,500 were rooting for the Zags. Cool the arena held 11,000 plus. Not so cool Gonzaga got to sleep in their own beds for all four games. Tournament officials said they will look into that, and let’s hope they mean teams have to travel the last two games and not make a rule about sleeping in beds.

Other things to note we stole from the Stanford website:
The top-seeded Cardinal (33-2) will be making its fourth straight trip to the national semifinals for the first time in school history. The seniors of Pedersen, Pohlen and fellow seniors Ashley Cimino and Hannah Donaghe, hold the distinction of a perfect 63-0 career record at Maples Pavilion, and also becoming the first class in Stanford history to reach four consecutive Final Fours

Nneka was named the Most Outstanding Player in the regional for the second straight year while Chiney was named to the All-Regional Team along with Pedersen. Kayla has been named to the all-regional squad for a third time. Pedersen now has 1,256 career rebounds, just seven shy of tying Jayne Appel's all-time Stanford and Pac-10 record of 1,263 boards.

Stanford senior guard Jeanette Pohlen was selected to the Associated Press All-America First Team. Junior forward Nneka Ogwumike earned a spot on the Second Team for the second year in a row while senior forward Kayla Pedersen earned her second straight honorable mention.

Through the regional final win over Gonzaga, Pohlen has shot 41.2 percent from behind the arc and hit 93 3-pointers, breaking the old Stanford single-game record of 91 set by Krista Rappahahn in 2005-06.

And the last award:
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association named Tara VanDerveer the 2011 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I Head Coach of the Year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stanford Survives North Carolina

I’m sorry Stanford, I knew I shouldn’t have watched that Gonzaga-Louisville game. I was rooting too hard for Gonzaga that I used up all my good luck/wishing mojo (I mean, how do you lose a twenty point lead, Zags?). Think I’m being silly? Think I’m being superstitious? Well, R called me Sunday morning to say UConn was losing to Georgetown, and when I tuned in UConn went on a 16-2 run. Before I started watching, Georgetown was raining threes and Maya Moore was 1 for 9 or something like that. When I stated watching, Georgetown couldn’t buy a basket and missed every three, and UConn stepped UP their game and Maya Moore made everything she touched, even though I was rooting hard for Georgetown to knock off UConn. Why did that happen? Because Geno’s such a great coach? No, it’s because I used up every LAST drop of good luck mojo rooting for Stanford to pull out their Sweet Sixteen victory the night before.

Well enough about UConn, after all this isn’t the C and R UConn Women’s Basketball Blog. Uweee, I don’t even like writing those words together! But I am delaying the inevitable to write about Stanford’s win last night. Yes, a win is a win is a win, and winners advance and non-winners go home and end their season, so C and R are definitely thankful Stanford is still alive in the tournament, but it was not pretty last night.

It’s funny, because C and R said all night Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike is having a “bad” game. She was bad for 19 points and she and sister Chiney scored the last 12 points for Stanford before Jeanette Pohlen iced the game with her free throws. North Carolina used their size (they have a 6’5 player, a 6’3 and a 6’0 player, similar to Stanford’s size) to deny and steal the entry pass to Nneka. You can’t score if you can’t get the ball. And when Nneka did touch the ball, they blocked her or pushed her out away from the basket to frustrate her all night long. (And the refs let a LOT of contact go uncalled).

Good thing for little sisters. Chiney would come to her big sister’s rescue to the tune of 16 points and eleven very critical rebounds. None was bigger than the offensive rebound and subsequent basket and the FOUL with 39 seconds left to give Stanford the lead, 69-65. She was a beast on the glass (guess her dislocated pinkie didn’t bother her) and saved Stanford many times.

So Stanford guard Jeanette Pohlen, is in a little, minor, just a teensy little bit, tiniest bit of a slump. It’s very small, so small we should hardly mention it. So small R didn’t even want me to mention it here in the blog because then we might be responsible for jinxing her for the rest of the tournament. She was 1-9 shooting for the night, yet she was 80% percent from the free throw line and she made 3 out of 4 free throws in the final 30 seconds. She is ice, ice baby. In fact, the other coach called a timeout to try and “ice” her first attempts and she was all like, huh, free throws I can do. Final score was 72-65 but it was a much, much closer game.

Kayla Pedersen had her usual “quiet night” scoring 15, yet was 5 for 13 from the floor, and only 2-6 from three-point land. Fifteen points is nothing to sneeze at, but Stanford’s shooting percentage is waaay down, shooting 36% for the game, and only 19% from beyond the arc. Gotta step that up for these next few games.

Kudos to Kokenis for playing on a sprained ankle that was encased in silver-plated armor. No, just kidding, but Toni’s sprained ankle was bandaged up good and tight and she scored 9 points from the bench and even on a busted ankle she was faaa-ssst, leading the fast break, which Stanford had so few of. But she also missed a lot of pull-up jumpers she normally makes, going 3 for 11 from the floor. Hope she can play or even walk by Monday.

And Tinkle bells were ringing for Joslyn Tinkle, another bench player who came in and contributed big time. She was 3 for 4 for the night with 7 points. It’s good to know the role players can step up when someone like a Jeanette is struggling.

Monday night we play home crowd favorites Gonzaga, and although we beat them before early in the seaosn, they gave us a game of it. We need all Stanford players to be “on” Monday and for the rest of the tournament.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stanford's Got Bounce

Enjoy "I Got Bounce" written by Stanford's very own Melanie Murphy for VanDerveer records. Featuring the muggings of one Chiney Ogumike and the singing voice of sister Nneka. And is that Toni Kokenis doing the worm?

In other news:
TVD in the NYT

Injury Update:
Chiney Ogwumike injured her left (non-shooting hand) pinkie (got dislocated in Monday's game) and was back to practice on Wednesday. Toni Kokenis is listed with an ankle injury and is being kept out of practice but expected to play on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stanford Beats St. John's, Seniors are Perfect at Home

You would think C and R would be used to it by now; Stanford falling behind a little in the first half, battling back, taking a slight lead into the locker room. Stanford head Coach Tara VanDerveer working her adjustment skills magic, second half opens, Stanford goes on a XXX run, where X does not equal anything pornographic, but a large number to their opponents small one. Then, boom goes the dynamite, the subs come in and the Stanford Women’s Basketball team wins the game. It has happened all season long (except when Stanford played UConn, they lead that one wire to wire, hee hee), so you think C and R would not worry when Stanford is down. But no, worry they did. The Stanford seniors starters (an alliteration, my third grade students like to point out), of Pohlen and Pedersen (double alliteration, they would say) looked tight and… uh, can’t think of another “T” word to fit the theme, let’s just say they looked not as comfortable as they usually do at Maples. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact their 62 home game wining streak, of never having to walk off Maples without beating their opponent, of being the first Stanford senior class to accomplish this feat was on the line. A sense of history can do that to a person or two.

But, as C and R already spoiled the ending. Stanford beat their second round opponent St. John by a score of 75-49, after a slow start, for a record 63 staight home victories. Half way through the first half, Stanford was down by eight, yet when the half ended, it was Stanford up by eight, 38-30. How did that reversal of fortune happen? Nneka Ogwumike happened. Granted, St. John’s didn’t leave her open, it’s just they played her one on one. They denied her an easy path to the basket. This time she would turn around quickly, elevate, and we mean elevate, and then shoot, ands she must be taking  a class in geometry because she banked in some crazy angles. It really was Nneka to the rescue. It helped little sis Chiney picked up any and all rebounds, six on the offensive side, six on the defensive side, a little of everything, and happy birthday to her, she just turned 19 during the game!

So remember the half time score being 38-30, Stanford. St. John’s would score only seven more points in the first fourteen minutes of the second half. They got stuck on 37 points for eight whole minutes! Stanford has some great D! Mikaela Ruef stepped up big for Chiney when she was on the bench. St. John’s got 12 more points against the bench.

Scary moment of the game with 2:20 left before half time, Toni Kokenis, who already gave Stanford a spark off the bench with three three-pointers and eleven total points, went for loose ball and a St. John’s player rolled up her leg, injuring her. She left the game for treatment, and came back on the court in the second half (to thunderous applause) but she was wisely rested for the rest of the night. Hope she heals by Saturday, it is being listed as an ankle injury. Chiney also go hurt, the injury being listed as her finger (dislocated pinkie), but C and R know from their playing days that any jammed finger hurts and hurts for awhile. Hope both of them are better by Saturday.

It was great to see another almost full house. About 5,900 people came out to see Stanford and their seniors make history. (And again, watching the other games on TV, hardly anyone in some of the stands). When Jeanette Pohlen came out of the game around the 4-minute mark, she got a Stanford ovation. Same for Kayla Pedersen at the 3:20 mark. Both C and R said good-bye to them, as we will never see them live and in operson in a Stanford uniform again, boo hoo!

Stanford has the late late game on Saturday. No wonder the East Coast gives the West no respect. They never see them, as they are all fast asleep.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sports Illustrated Covered

Superfan TG writes in to help with the Sports Illustrated Cover Conundrum. He also probably bought a copy of the mag cuz he could tell a lot more than C and R. He writes:

In addition to the women players you correctly identified, I have the following:

1. Skylar Diggins - Notre Dame (in the upper right, just below the funny orange mascot)
2. Brittney Thomas - Michigan State (just above the "d" in Illustrated)
3. Jasmine Thomas - Duke (just to the left of Kemba Walker's arm)
4. Felicia Chester - DePaul (at the bottom, right in front of John Wooden)

I am pretty sure those four plus Adams, Griner, Simmons, Nneka, and Harris makes everybody! And oh, that is indeed Maya Moore just on top of the "e" in Illustrated. That means we have players from each of the 1 and 2 seeds, plus DePaul and Michigan State - 10 in all.

Also, I've been a big fan of Barack Obama from the start. Agree with him or not, I think he has handled tremendous adversity with both intelligence and grace. However, he picked Baylor over Stanford in the national semifinals - I'm voting Republican!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stanford Beats Well-Coached UC Davis

Okay, first things first. Yes, number one seed Stanford beat number 16 seed UC Davis 86-59, no surprise there, because no number one women’s seed has ever lost to a number 16 seed before… oh wait, yes one team did, Stanford lost to Harvard on Maples floor but that is not the point I am trying to make. Yes, it was a forgone conclusion who would win this game, but I hope everyone who is following the women’s basketball tournament attended or saw this game on TV (Yes I know the network cut in late) to see what women’s basketball is all about.

When C and R have been checking out the other first round games on TV, the stands have been empty, and we mean emp-tay. It is embarrassing. We didn’t see the Tennessee game, and UConn’s first round game has the stands about half full, but the other regions have looked terrible.

The Stanford-UC Davis game had an official attendance of 6,515, which is close to a sell out due to the small size of Maples. It helped that Stanford’s opponent was two hours away and a lot of vocal fans make the trip to pack the stadium. The place was rockin’! Both teams got applause for good plays, and the audience adrenaline added to the excitement and vitality of the game. Wish every arena could be like that.

So, with all the cheering going on, UC Davis helped out Stanford to know what it will be like to play in hostile environments when the UC Davis fans cheered every bad Stanford play, of which there were quite a few. Stanford shot an air ball. Stanford made a bad pass. Stanford threw the ball away. Stanford got the ball stolen. Stanford pulled their guards and replaced them one at a time. UC Davis fans went nuts.

So, C and R pondered, which comes first, chicken or the egg. Did Stanford play sloppy and not take care of the ball on offense? Or did UC Davis have a great game plan and pressure Stanford into uncharacteristic turnovers? Let’s take a deeper look, shall we?

When the game opened, UC Davis went into the classic UCLA defense. By that, C and R mean they used the defense UCLA developed just one week ago against Stanford in the PAC-10 championship game. They doubled up Nneka Ogwumike and tried to shut down the inside game. The only problem for UC Davis was this time Stanford made their threes from the outside. Then the defense spread out to stop the three and although Nneka was not “open” under the basket, Stanford was able to get her the ball and she could turn and create in the paint, her specialty. So, UC Davis went to plan C. They pressured the ball handler as they crossed the half court line, sending two frenetic players in their faces. If you can’t get the ball to the wing to shoot a three, or throw the ball to Nneka, then you don’t score points, and that’s what UC Davis was counting on. They knocked the ball away, forced bad passes, and outright stole the ball. Lindy LaRocque looked nervous in the first few minutes and made mistakes with the ball. Ditt o point guard Jeanette Pohlen and when Mel Murphy was inserted for her ball handling skills, she also lost the ball. The UC Davis fans cheered every Stanford miscue/UC Davis hustle play. So in answer to did Stanford not take care of the ball or did UC Davis play great D, the answer is a little of both. We are sure Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer will use this as a wake up call to her team.

In the second half, Stanford adjusted and executed, crisp, sharp passes around the perimeter, often reversing the ball flow and freed up their three point shooters, and shoot they did. Lindy matched her career high with 14 points, four of them three pointers. Freshmen Toni Kokenis, who did not start because coach VanDerveer says she gives the team a spark off the bench, sparked indeed, coming in early and knocking down shots. She had three three-pointers and 11 points. Seniors Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette each had three three-pointers, tying the team high 13 made three-pointers.

One interesting note: When Stanford had the ball out of bounds under their basket, we saw the four players line up in a traditional stack, all in a line about five feet away from the ball. C and R don’t ever remember seeing this out of bounds formation. The defense is huddled around the stack, and the UC Davis player closest to the ball has her back turned to the ball, trying to hold the front Stanford player from going in front of her to get the ball. You guessed it, Stanford’s Mikaela Ruef inbounds the ball off of the defenders butt, steps in bounds and picks up the ball and shoots a lay up before anyone on the team has a chance to react, including the poor defender who just got hit in the bottom. Unbelievably, Ruef missed the lay up! But this is twice now we have seen this play. Tinkle did it earlier in the year, and we just thought it was a fluke, a high school play. So what C and R want to know is, does Tara VanDerveer have this play in the Stanford hand book? If player has her back to you, hit her butt? Enquiring minds want to know!

In the closing minutes, the UC Davis fans started chanting, “Thank You Sandy!” It was in reference to UC Davis coach Sandy Simpson who is retiring after fourteen years as their coach. They also chanted, “We’ll be back!” Astonishingly, UC Davis has only been a Division I school for four years. Simpson guided the team to back to back 20 win seasons, and their first conference championship win and NCAA appearance this year. Then Coach Simpson pulled his seniors so the crowd could acknowledge them and the fans chanted “thank you” by name. It was very touching and emotional. When the game ended, the UC Davis team as a unified group, head up, waved to the fans behind the bench, in the band section, and opposite their bench. They didn’t want to leave, because they knew as soon as they stepped foot off the court, their season, their time together, was over.

C and R caught the Texas Tech – St. John’s game, and to be blunt, neither team looked sharp. In fact, UC Davis could have probably beaten both those teams. C and R are sorry, but when Texas Tech was down with 5 minutes to play, they had no sense of urgency, that their season was on the line. St. Johns, missed lay ups and easy put backs, and foul shots! With two minutes left, Texas Tech stayed in a zone and let St. Johns use the full shot clock to bring the ball up and pass. They didn’t go into man to man or try to pressure the ball/foul to stop the clock. They both looked lethargic. Stanford should have no problem Monday night.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tournament Time

C and R are getting geared up for the first round of the Women’s NCAA Basketball tournament being held at Stanford on March 19th. The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team plays UC Davis at 3:30 PM Pacific time, so don’t go by the Eastern time and miss the game.

Last year, the NCAA had a different set of rules than Maples and did not let in any outside food or water. C remembers the rows of reusable water bottles lined up against the wall just outside the entrance that the owners brought and did not want to abandon. So if you are planning on bringing food or water, be forewarned.

In other news, our Number One Fan (N1F) sent us a link to an article written by her sister for “Sports Illustrated”. It is a story about our sisters. Well, Stanford’s sisters, the Ogwumike’s, and it includes correct pronunciations for everybody. And it is really good, although C and R are biased and very interested in the subject matter. It has been a joy to watch their exuberance of playing basketball and playing together. Anyone watching them for all of five minutes can clearly tell they have special bond. Check out the article.

Also check out the cover of Sports Illustrated March Madness issue.
It features a collage of the men’s college basketball players, which is to be expected, and a few college women’s players, one of who is our very own Nneka Nneka. SI has different players on the regional issues, and on some of them, Nneka is covered by the shoe of the featured men’s player. Sigh.

C and R were also able to identify:
Baylor’s Britney Griner
Texas A & M’s Danielle Adams
Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons
Xavier’s Amber Harris (we think)
Two different women in blue uniforms, (we think one might be from Duke)
 UConn Women’s basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma
Maybe a women’s player in green?
(C and R did not notice Maya Moore, although our screen resolution is bad and we are too cheap to actually buy the cover. Feel free to correct of if we are wrong on any of the women’s players, or you know the names of the ones we don’t).

So even with the mystery player in green, that makes nine women’s players. And yet we did see five cheerleaders and nine mascots, added together they make more than the women we saw. Could we get an inside cover of a collage of just the women players? Could we get an "amen?"

Oh, another article about Stanford just popped up over at Sports Illustrated. Well, just popped into our radar. This is written by Ann Killion, who used to be “local” and wrote for the San Jose paper. Talks about the upcoming games.

Don’t forget to fill out your women's bracket before the games start.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are you Smarter than C and R? (Year 2)

Okay, we said that last year and most of you WERE smarter than C and R when it came to picking the top women's basketball teams in the country. Well, smarter than C, she bombed the bracket, but R did well.

Let’s just find out how much you know about women’s basketball and the their NCAA tournament. Women Talk Sports is sponsoring a group bracket on ESPN's website.

Last year Women Talk Sports offered prizes, so not sure if they will this year. But ESPN is offering $2,000 and $1,000 gift cards. Test yourself against C and R (and other Women Talk Sports members).

Join and complete the bracket by SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH. Tell your family and friends to join!
I am listed as “Stanford.C” and R is “Stanford.R” Unoriginal I know, but this way you will know who is crushing you!
Sign up Today!

Important Women's Basketball Links

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Watching Games

Thanks to all who wrote in about how to find certain Stanford Women’s Basketball games that people missed seeing or want to savor over and over again (UConn!).

Here is what we can share. If you want to see the UConn game online, go to ESPN3. Warning, this site was extremely slow, so proceed with extreme patience, and make sure you have all your other programs closed because it crashed my computer, or else the little gerbils that run on their treadmill to power my CPU got tired.

I bombed out three times until I got all the info, listed here:
go to ESPN3
click “all leagues” and set to women's basketball
click “replay” tab
click "all" instead of 7 days
scroll down to Dec 30-whoop there it is!

As for the UCLA PAC-10 tournament game, still no luck, some suggested the All Access site, but heard it was not on it

On a side note, I learned all about the magical world of DVR burning. I had no idea you could do that! It sounds waaay beyond C and R’s scope and power.

Oh, I did have a lovely chat with Stanford’s official video intern and asked her how Stanford gets all their film on opposing teams, because, you know, Tara VanDerveer is such a mastermind at analyzing the other teams. How does she see them all, enquiring minds want to know. Here is what the video intern said:

We get film on other schools in a variety of ways. The Pac-10 teams are required by the conference to upload their games to a conference server. Each school has access to and can download films from all of the other schools.

For non-conference games, there are online film exchange services that teams subscribe to. Stanford subscribes to a main one and utilizes this service to send and receive film on non-conference opponents. We still have to request games from other schools (either done directly through the opponent for a "direct" exchange or through the opponent's previous opponents), but exchanging online is a much cheaper, quicker, and easier process than sending films through the mail.

On another side note, we are partnering again with Women Talk Sports to have a bracket challenge. Last year they had prizes and everything. R won a sports bra and C won a digital sports watch (high quality). Okay, R really won both prizes but she gave me the watch. Will give details soon, hopefully tomorrow. I think they are going to use the ESPN site.

See, C and R told ya Stanford had the toughest road to the Final Four

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stanford Bracketology

Did Stanford get the hardest bracket, or what? If the Stanford Women's Basketball team wins their first round game against UC Davis, they meet Baylor-killer Texas Tech. Then, there is UCLA and Xavier lurking, both teams out for personal revenge. And if they make it to the final four, they get the privilege of playing… Baylor! The one team C and R are worried about. Sigh. Who does Baylor have to worry about? Middle Tennessee State, for goodness sakes.

In other stuff, it was nice to see the Stanford team on TV in the women’s locker room awaiting the bid news (C has been inside there, you know), but it was even better to see other teams in their gyms with more school support. Some schools had students and cheerleaders supporting them on camera. Maybe next year, Stanford? C and R would be happy to be in the background!

Other other news. C and R have been asked by several readers how to get copies of certain games, most notably the UConn game and the UCLA championship game. We have no clue. Any help from you readers would be greatly appreciated.

Go Stanford!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stanford, PAC-10 Champs, Again!


Okay, every so often, someone will say or write so-and-so was the hero of the game, but Toni Kokenis single-handily WON the PAC-10 tournament championship trophy for Stanford. The Stanford freshman scored 10 straight points in the span of three minutes in the second half. Make that ten unanswered points from the 5:15 to about the three-minutes-left-in-the-game mark. Stanford was only up by one at that point, after trailing by 9 at the half, and more importantly, deflated UCLA’s hopes of an upset. And it was a good thing she scored, because it seemed no one else for Stanford could.

First, hats off to a scrappy and aggressive UCLA team, who was knocking down shots, especially in the first half. Credit UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell with coming up with a good offensive plan and an even better defensive plan. First, as Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen pointed out in one of her many post game interviews, UCLA watched them destroy Arizona the day before. They watched Stanford work it inside to the Sisters. So UCLA packed the paint and essentially took away the inside game. Stanford usually says, okay, you take away our inside game, then we will bomb you with threes. That’s why coaches beaten by Stanford this year say they have so many weapons. But this time Stanford could not hit from the outside, making just 3 of 16 threes for a dismal 18% success rate in the first half. At first, UCLA was so quick they could pack the inside and quickly get to the three point line to push Stanford’s three point shooters far way from the line. So many shots were taken a good 4-5 feet behind the three-point line, just out of their comfort zone and it showed. Then it seemed like UCLA just collapsed inside and LET Stanford shoot, figuring all their confidence was gone, and boom, Stanford was down by 9 at the half.

So offensively, Nikki Caldwell used the ol’ pick and roll to her team’s advantage. They know Stanford likes to play man to man and switch defensive players when screened, so when they had a larger UCLA player on a smaller Stanford player, they hit that tall player. And since Stanford starts four players six feet and above, the most obvious to pick on was the smaller Lindy LaRoque. Now, C and R aren’t saying Lindy is a bad player; it was just Nikki took advantage of the weakest link, a 5’8” player. When Stanford switched on the screens the taller UCLA player rolled to the inside, pushing Lindy out of the paint and placed her body closer to the basket. UCLA would penetrate and bounce pass it to the waiting UCLA player who had an easy path to the basket. Stanford tried subbing in different players to solve this problem and instead got themselves all out of rhythm on the offensive side, thanks to UCLA’s defensive scheme. It also hurt to have Chiney Ogwumike on the bench with two fouls for about 9 minutes of the first half, as they missed her rebounding and her defensive prowess. (However, good thing they did because Chiney fouled out anyway with a minute seven left in the game.)

The announcer at half time asked Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer how they were going to solve the problem of switching and TVD said that was exactly the problem and she wasn’t sure. She also said they weren’t sure who to play, admitting the line up juggling did not work, and that they needed to do a better job of working it inside, implying the outside game was waaaaay off.

In the second half, Stanford stuck with their starting line up of their tall trees, with liberal helpings of Toni Kokenis. Having Chiney and sister Nneka Ogwumike back in the game at the same time helped them work it inside and keep UCLA off the boards. And when Stanford couldn’t get it inside and the three was iffy, Toni would dribble penetrate and then execute a pull back jumper.

Now, TVD knows Lindy can knock down threes when she is open, but her weakness is that she cannot create her own shot by dribble penetrating like a Toni or a Nneka. However, since the threes were not falling for Lindy and she is not tall enough to play inside, she was out of options. So when Lindy missed 2 threes in the first five minutes of the second half, TVD wanted Toni to create some points, put her in at the 16-minute mark, Toni goes on her tear including the ten straight unanswered points (She would score a career high 17 points and gave a career high smile when UCLA called a timeout to staunch the flow) and Tara VanDerveer looks like a genius. And she is. Final score 64-55 and it was much closer than it sounds.

It was kinda sad after the game when the network took away Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen to go up to the “booth” to give a post game interview. They missed some of the celebration with their team and the team photos with them all in their championship T-shirts and hats. In the team photo on the Stanford official website with the group posing with the winning trophy you can see the two out of three captains absent.

Also, we think Nneka Ogwumike won the tournament’s most outstanding player, but they network didn’t announce it, so it was hard to tell. And... and, when they interviewed Nneka immediately after the game and the woman announcer was giving leading questions and trying to get her to say they wanted a national championship, Nneka diplomatically said they were taking it one game at a time and they are trying to win the next six. The announcer stupidly said, well if you win the next six, you win the national championship. Yes, Nneka knows that, she is trying to be humble and not be brash or engage in trash talk. C and R didn’t care for her tone! Give us the mike next time, hee hee.

Sad to see, part two, was the dismal crowd. C and R read somewhere it was about 2,600. Wish they would bring it back here. Well, you can say Stanford won the last PAC-10 tournament because next year it will be the PAC-12 tournament and probably a completely different format.

Congratulations to Stanford and watch Monday night to see all the seedings for the NCAA tourney.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sister Sister Act "Does In" Arizona

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).

Friday, March 11, 2011

PAC-10 Honors II

Well, so the media gets there say on post season awards and they voted Jeanette Pohlen the PAC-10 player of the year, Chiney Ogwumike PAC-10 freshmen of the year and Stanford Women’s Basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer the PAC-10 coach of the year. Jeanette Pohlen, Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen made the media’s All Pac-10 team and Chiney made both the All-freshmen team and All-defensive teams.

Congratulations to all, but if the media awards just mirror the PAC-10 awards, why have them? (C and R thought the media was dying..) And just who is in this so-called media? Double and, were any bloggers invited? hee hee

In other news, Stanford plays Arizona in the semi final round at 12 noon today. C and R have to work, so we are taping it (Yeah, thanks for the coverage CSNBA!). So no one better text, call, IM, or facebook C and R with the results. Okay, so we don’t’ “facebook” whatever that is, so don’t do that anyway. But seriously, no texts to R’s fancy phone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PAC-10 Honors

Well shucks darn it, Jeanette Pohlen got PAC-10 player of the year! Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike got it last year for her breakout performance. This year, Jeanette had one of those, too. Jeanette has always been a solid performer but this year she stepped it up and went into overdrive, culminating in a 31 point performance to break UConn’s 90 game wining streak.

Are you a stats junkie? Then feast on these from the official Stanford website:
Currently Jeanette averages 15.8 points and 4.83 assists a game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and Pac-10-leading figures of 43.2 percent from 3-point range and 90.8 percent from the free-throw line. Her 80 3-pointers this season are just 11 back of Krista Rappahahn's Stanford single-season record of 91 set in 2005-06. JP was also named to the All-Pac-10 Team for the third time in her career.

Is Nneka bummed she didn’t win it? C and R don’t know for sure, but we kinda doubt it because little sis Chiney got the PAC-10 freshmen of the year award. According to Stanford’s site, Chiney averages 11.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game while shooting 56.7 percent from the field. Chiney currently leads all Pac-10 freshmen in rebounding, field-goal percentage and blocked shots (0.8 bpg) while ranking second in scoring. She also was Stanford’s defensive stopper, getting a Pac-10 freshman-high 23 blocks as well as a team-leading 43 steals. No wonder she also made the All-Defensive Team as well as All-Freshman Team.

Oh, last but not least, Stanford Women’s Basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer selected to receive the newly named John R. Wooden Pac-10 Coach of the Year Award! Wow! The league must recognize how well she prepares her team and how well she adjusts at half time.

But wait, there’s more, as they say on TV:
Jeanette Pohlen, Chiney Ogwumike, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen were all named to the All-Pac-10 Team. Kayla was named All-Pac-10 for the fourth straight year. Chiney was also named to both the Pac-10 All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams as we said, Nneka and Kayla were named Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honorable mention, and freshman guard Toni Kokenis was named Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honorable mention.

Okay, so that means that 4 of Stanford’s starters are on the All PAC-10 team, 3 were on the All-defensive team (2 honorable mentions), and 2 were on the All-Freshmen team (1 honorable mention), and the coach was the PAC-10 coach of the year. Geez, it looks like Stanford is ready to win a national championship or something.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day

Celebrate the 100th Annual International Women's Day today, March 8th! International Women's Day (March 8th) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, and other countries in Europe, International Women's Day is a national holiday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stanford Beats Cal for Undefeated PAC-10 Season

Well, that was too close. Yes, the final score says the Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat Cal 75-51, but it was a lot closer than the score indicates, especially for the first half. It’s funny, Stanford’s official website has the headline, “Stanford Dominates California, 75-51.” C and R didn’t see it that way. Cal shot 50% in the first half. We mean, they just didn’t miss, everything they threw up appeared to go in, so much so that we thought it was 100%. Layshia Clarendon was impressive for Cal, scoring 12 points. Her team used screens to free her up and she shot well. Rachelle Federico was also impressive, scoring 16 points with two three pointers. Cal looked focused and tough, not intimidated like last game, and weren’t backing down just because they were at Maples.

Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike got beat up and knocked down a lot. At first it appeared her ankle was better, setting the tone with winning the jump ball and orchestrating the opening basket with an alley-oop-no-touch-the-floor shot. But as she got knocked around she appeared to be favoring the ankle. Sister Chiney Ogwumike got the raw end of a push-down-to-the-floor and Cal rightly received a technical for the intentional foul (Chiney missed both shots, though, much to her chagrin).

But, as always, it was a tale of two halves. The half time score was 38-35 Stanford, and only because Jeannette Pohlen hit a three with 21 seconds left, meaning, let’s see, we have to do math, Cal had cut the lead to two after trailing by six at the two and a half minute mark. Then Cal only shot 20 % from the floor in the second half, making just one three-pointer and they lost their air of invincibility as well as their scoring touch. Lead scorer Denesha Stallworth for Cal was held to zero points. Talia Caldwell fouled out. Stanford shot 60% from the floor in the second half (Nate Q McCall will be so impressed with our statistical quotings). Stanford made some incredible steals and fast breaks, and several could be on a highlight reel, but we loved the Toni Kokenis steal and run, pass to Jeanette Pohlen who touch passed it right back to Toni who scored an easy lay up. Cal actually got within 9 twice in the second half but after the second time they got it within 9, Stanford stepped it up a gear, steals, shutdown defense, fast break points and boom, a 24 point victory.

Other Notable things going on that night:
Foam finger. With the game being 8 PM instead of the usual 7 PM C and R are all discombobulated about the time. We decided to drive to Stanford, park, eat, and then go to Maples. Even though we are there in plenty of time for tip off, horror of horrors, we are too late to get one of the 500 free foam finger give aways. Apparently, 4,730 other people beat us to it. C is bummed. No really, C pouted for a whole half. When we saw the 500 lucky fans that had the give away, and discover it is really a red foam tree with the Cardinal "S" that fits on your hand, C nearly cried. Now C is near depression levels. Seriously, this is the woman who still yells at the t-shirt people to throw a t-shirt her way when a three is made, and knocks over little old ladies for victory balls. She is majorly bummed. R does her best to ask around for a tree, even trying to cheer C up by saying maybe someone will forget theirs after the game and we can scoop it up. It doesn’t work.

Then, as C and R go to meet their friends N and A at the T-shirt shack at half time, something happens, R is not sure what, but there was much whispering and pointing and gesturing and haggling and money changed hands and presto, C has a foam tree. She is one happy camper. C and R and their friends admire the craftsmanship of the tree. When we smell cigarette smoke inside Maples, C dutifully waves away the smoke with her foam tree. Handy and stylish! What more could you ask for?

And….Senior Night Part II
When C and R first walked into Maples, we saw injured Stanford senior Hannah Donaghe in an actual warm-up suit and not the black sweatsuit of injury. We figure they wanted to make Hannah feel like part of the team. Then, with 45 seconds left in the game, we see Tara VanDerveer talking to Hannah who is, gasp, in full uniform, shirt, shorts, everything. Meanwhile the Stanford team on the court is battling for rebounds with Cal. Is she going in, we wonder? Yes, she goes in! She goes in the game with 25 seconds left and dutifully stands just inside the court, by the half court line, as legal as you can be without actually playing the game. She is not moving. It is clear she cannot physically play, but Tara wanted to give her one last moment on her home court. The crowd gives her a arousing ovation. Tara is a class act letting Hannah step onto the court on final time. But the game IS going on. And even though Stanford is playing 4 on 5, Tara is still worried for Hannah and calls her to the bench, inches away from her, yet still on the court. So protective, it was cute. Tara does not want anything to happen to her as scrappy play is happening 30 feet away from her.

Finally, Cal sinks a three and then they decide to do a full court press down by 24 (have to admire Cal coach Joanne Boyle not giving up) and because Stanford is playing a man down with Hannah all but on the sidelines, Mikaela Ruef cannot inbound the ball. Her three choices are being guarded by five Cal players, so she smartly calls a timeout rather than lose possession of the ball. Tara decides she doesn’t want to risk Hannah anymore and has her sit down, subbing in Joslyn Tinkle at the 19 second mark. The official Stanford stats lists Hannah’s time played as “0+” minutes.

So the game ends and the announcer says, “Stay in your seats for the senior night tribute.” And everyone stays in their seats except for our friends N and A, who left the building before the final basket! Yes, that’s right, we are calling you out publicly in the blog. You left before the final basket. On senior night! And didn’t even get a foam tree! How un-Stanford can you get!! Hee hee.

Stanford recognized Cal's seniors before tipoff, announcing their names and giving them token flowers. The other Stanford seniors honored after the game, besides Hannah, were Ashley Cimino, Melanie Murphy, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen, plus two male players and two students staff managers. Cool. After a video tribute, players and staff walked out on the floor with their parents and received a bouquet of roses. Hannah was in tears, it must be hard to be injured two of the four years she played. The four seniors, minus fifth-year senior Mel, haven’t lost on Maples floor, and all have a record 61 game wining streak going on. They have two more NCAA games on the floor and are trying to remain undefeated. The team also won its 11th PAC-10 championship. And, this senior class, according to the Stanford website, is trying to become the first in school history to reach four straight Final Fours.

One last note:
Now Stanford needs to prepare for the PAC-10 tourney, and we read, again from the Stanford website, something we rarely hear; Tara rewarded the players with 3 days off!

Also from the website, Cal’s classy quote:
"They're a great team," Federico said. “The first thing said to them after their little huddle, 'Hey, go win a national championship.'”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stanford Celebrates Senior Night, Final Home Game Vs. Cal

The Cal-Stanford game is ramping up nicely. It will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Stanford’s very own Ros Gold-Onwude will be providing color commentary for the TV! Set your Tivos.
Help celebrate Senior Night. Ashley Cimino, Hannah Donaghe, Melanie Murphy, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen will be honored. The official Stanford Women’s basketball website says their will be a celebration after the game, but with the game starting at 8 PM and being on TV, the game will be waayyy late, so we’ll see if the tribute is long.

Oh, check out the Cal Golden Bears Blog. They have a write up about the first Stanford-Cal game (Psst, Stanford won 2-1) and tie it in nicely with the history of women’s basketball at Cal and Stanford.

See ya there!