Monday, May 30, 2011

Stanford Stuff--Coaches and Players

Lots happening in the off-season for Stanford Women’s Basketball. First of all, they hired Trina Patterson as assistant coach. Patterson has a ton of head coaching experience, so at first C and R couldn’t figure out why she would step back to an assistant role. But then half the coaching world would give their right arm to learn at the master’s feet, those feet belonging to Stanford Head Coach Tara Vanderveer. Oh hear, let Trina tell you in her own words and more elegantly, quoted from the official Stanford website:
"Tara is one of the finest coaches in the country and I could not be more excited to work with her, the players and the staff. I will embrace the culture at Stanford which highlights a world-class education with world-class athletics. I look forward to working hard and bringing energy, knowledge and passion."
Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike In other basketball news, sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike were named as finalists for the USA Basketball World University Games Team. They will return to the Olympic Training center in late July to finalize the roster and go to the World University Games in China in mid August. They will be hanging around with (or as C and R like to think of it, spying on) other college standouts and such as Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame (if only she chose Stanford!) Jackie Gemelos of USC (current Pac-12 foe), Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnsonof Tennessee (What’s Pat Summit really like?) and Odyssey Simms of current consensus number one Baylor. Hmm, notice no Texas A&M players in that mix of finalists.
May and June starts the graduation season all over this land and C and R would be remiss if they didn’t give a little shout out to our good basketball friend P’s niece for graduating from nursing school at San Jose State! Congrats!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jayne Appel Injured

AHHHGGGHgghghghgh, C and R just jinxed Jayne Appel, ala the Sports Illustrated Cover, by recently writing she is finally healthy and looking forward to an injury-free WNBA season.

Well, we just have confirmed reports that the former Stanford Women’s Basketball player and current San Antonio Silver Star had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in her left knee and will be out three to four weeks. Sorry Jayne. Get well soon.
C and R

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pedersen and Pohlen Preseason Previews

So, biding or time until the women’s college basketball season starts back up, C and R are trying to keep tabs on our recent Stanford grads Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen and how they are faring in the WNBA.

Even if we can’t see them live and in person the way we used to, we are trying to keep up with their press clippings. The Tulsa World compared Kayla to Larry Bird, even though Kayla was three when Bird stopped playing, and boy don’t that make C and R feel old! (Yes, R, I know this is bad English but I am doing it to make a point or have personality or somethin'). But the good news is her new coach, Nolan Richardson, likes her. He typically likes to play a run and gun style pace and likes that she ran at Stanford. Hope she will crack the starting line up. They open May 29th at Seattle.

The great women’s basketball writer Mechele Voepel, caught up with Kayla and Jeanette and wrote a long, in-depth interview about what life is like right out of college for a basketball player, and right out of a program that made four final-four appearances and never once came away with college’s top prize of a basketball championship.

Interesting reading about both of them being aware of social media and to not say anything too controversial and to stay a role model. Wish some more pros would think that way.

For people of a certain age like C and R (read, before cell phones) the cell phone part was a little chilling. Not about Kayla and Jeanette themselves, but just the fact college-aged kids get together to hangout or have dinner and bring their cell phones to text other people not present and then ignore/not connect with those that are present. Jeanette’s an old fashioned gal who leaves her cell phone at home when out with the folks. Now, is that a role model or what?

C and R wish them both good luck. Got a little nervous when Mechelle wrote, “Admittedly, with 12 franchises and 11 roster spots for each, making a WNBA team in 2011 is exceedingly difficult. The vast majority of players who compete in women's college basketball will not play in the WNBA.” Yikes. Looking forward to the start of the season, as we are sure JP and KP are, too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Maya Moore Hecka Smart

Boy that Maya Moore sure is smart. Much as we hate to admit it, C and R have always (begrudgingly) admired the former UConn women’s basketball star when she gave interviews. She seems very bright and articulate. We mean, she was thinking to apply for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, for goodness sakes!

So it should come as no surprise the WNBA rookie got tapped to write an article for the Huffington Post. In the words of the article, “Moore shared her thoughts with The Huffington Post on unions, fair pay in athletics and what is soon-to-be the ‘Maya’ brand.” Very good reading, makes you believe male basketball players are entitled to and worth all their millions. Too bad some women only make, in Maya’s words, “$36,570.” Fair pay indeed.

And, speaking of the “Maya Brand,” the-just-a-month-out-of college-young-twenty-one-year-old just signed with Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc. Jordan. As in Michael Jordan. Now she can clearly say she is on Team Jordan. Now that’s smart.

Maya also wore number 23 in college and identified with Michael Jordan and relishes the chance to be mentored by him, although she didn’t say a mentorship of basketball skills or of his endorsement skills. Can’t go wrong with either one. Terms were not disclosed yet the Hartford Curant reports, “There may even be a sneaker made with her name on it.”  C and R hope she got Michael Jordan Money to augment her low WNBA rookie salary.

Curious, the headlines announcing this endorsement deal state: “1st female basketball player to join Jordan’s sportswear brand.” Not to rain on Maya Moore’s parade, but Zachary Rymer of the Bleacher Report asked the 64 million penny question, “why did it take this long for the Jordan Brand to align itself with a female basketball player?”

See Maya Moore talk about her first day of WNBA practice with the Minnesota Lynx (With our girl Candice Wiggins). Is she wearing number 23 for the Lynx?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jayne Appel Back in Shape and Ready to Play

Well, first day of WNBA training camp happened, so let’s check in with former Stanford Women’s Basketball Player Jayne Appel

Jayne, playing for the San Antonio Silver Stars is just happy to be able to participate in training camp. Last year coming off the NCAA title game loss, she revealed she had a broken foot and severely sprained ankle, and needed to take a month off. During the WNBA summer season, she really wasn’t herself all season long. Now, a year later and after a month’s rest and some super-Stanford-NASA-workout, she is healthy and just able to play basketball, a blessing. Check out how healthy and trimmed down she looks.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Basketball Just Isn’t the Same

May (Friday the )13th- Spring Basketball Just Isn’t the Same
Has this been the slowest women’s college basketball off-season in the history of the world, or what? Maybe because we had such high hopes last year and knew we had a potential title team, and feel a little cheated we didn’t even make it to the championship game. But lets not dwell on the negative, and you can reread all the great things the Stanford Women’s Basketball team accomplished the past season. (Psst, it’s a lot!)

So the best way to fix a basketball jones (somebody set a pick for me on the free throw line…) is to find out what the players are up to in the off-season. Former Stanford players and newly drafted WNBA players Kayla Pdersen and Jeanette Pohlen will hit training camp May 15th. And here are 15 reasons to be excited about the upcoming 15th season for the WNBA, courtesy of the WNBA. (Warning, there is no mention of any Stanford players in the article, well except for our girl Candice Wiggins gets a shout-out.).

Sigh, and yet… it’s hard to get excited about pro training camp because, well, we don’t have a pro women’s team within 500 miles of us. We can‘t go see training camp or hang out and watch the players at training camp or ask for autographs after training camp because even though the Bay Are has 11teen million people crammed together on the peninsula and has a devoted core group who watch women’s basketball with tons of disposable income to buy a $25 dollar t-shirt and a five dollar hot dog, we can’t get a team. Oh sure, we can live vivaciously through the WNBA puff pieces and the players’ twitter accounts, whatever that is, but its not the same as seeing your team live.

Speaking of twitter, a little birdie told me that Kayla Pedersen called a certain young fan on her 10th birthday and made her day! And speaking of Kayla Pedersen, which we actually were, she has a new website coming out soon called Stay tuned to C and R to find out when it goes live (Because why should you check the actual source or anything, hee hee.)

Speaking of pros, as we were a while ago, the WNBA and Team USA basketball veterans had a three-day training camp in Vegas with head coach Geno Auriemma. Here, let’s let former Stanford Cardinal player Jayne Appel tell you about it. As to what she did in Vegas… she slept.

So what are the current Stanford women’s basketball players up to, you ask C and R? Well, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike get what amounts to free high level coaching and training by being invited to USA basketball to represent the US at the World University Games. They have represented USA basketball a bunch of times already. They go May 22-25 to work out with the other collegians, follow Chiney on twitter, if you can understand any of it.

Sadly, that’s all we have to report. Fall can’t get here quick enough!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pac-10 (Pac-12) Off-Season

A lot is happening in the off-season for the Pac-10. For starters, there is no more Pac-10, it's now the Pac-12, but you knew that already.

The second thing is the coaching changes. Joanne Boyle went from Cal to the University of Virginia and was replaced by former Cal Assistant Coach Lindsay Gottlieb. Arizona State’s Coach Charli Turner Thorne, former Stanford player, is taking a leave of absence this year to spend time with her family and Joseph Anders will run the team for the upcoming season.

UCLA lost Nikki Caldwell to LSU soon after the end of the NCAA tournament. She is replaced by Cori Close, who was at Florida State in the SEC. There also was a player change at Cal; Cal's leading scorer in DeNesha Stallworth left Cal to go to Kentucky. These last two events are related in C an R’s mind. LSU and Kentucky both play in the SEC and have a lot more of their games televised.

First of all, DeNesha said Joanne Boyle was too laid back for her tastes, and she has a point when Cal would play inspired basketball and knock off a talented opponent one week and then give a lackluster effort the next week and lose to a lesser team. But Joanne Boyle is gone, so will DeNesha stay? DeNesha (or her Dad) gave another interesting quote saying by going from West Coast basketball and playing for barely 1,000 people, they go to the SEC and play for 6,00 a night. Reading between the lines, we guess Nikki Caldwell left UCLA for the SEC and LSU because she gets instant respect and more attendance. Hmmmm, are you listening Pac-12? (C and R wonder, conversely, how former SEC coach and current UCLA coach Cori Close will like coaching out west?).

Which brings us to our last point. The Pac-12 WAS listening! The Pac12 signed some huge TV revenue deal worth a bazillion dollars or some mind-boggling sum and they promise much much more exposure of women's basketball and televised games, like they do back East. (Wonder if DeNesha or Nikki would have stayed if they knew this was in the works).

Let’s hope the games are televised on channels we already get and not on some pay-to-watch-site. And let’s hope Pac-12 women's basketball is worthy of this new-found exposure.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

VanDerveer honored at BAWSI’s Sportsapolooza

Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer was honored at the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative’s first annual Sportsapolooza. Also honored was BAWSI co-founder and soccer legend Brandi Chastain. Sportsapolooza was a fundraiser for BAWSI held at Santa Clara’s Leavey Center May 4th of this year.

BAWSI (pronounced "bossy") “create avenues for strong, talented and accomplished women athletes and coaches to inspire girls, women and families with their leadership skills and community service,” according to their website, and no one can deny VanDerveer is an inspiration to girls and women and beyond. Congrats!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sportsapalooza at Santa Clara

C and R’s favorite non-profit, BAWSI (pronounced Bossy) is having a big fundraiser May 4th (Yes we know it is tomorrow, whoopsies, we just found out about it, darn it, but wanted to pass the info along).


First, BASWI stands for the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative and was started by soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy along with Marlene Bjornsrud, former general manager of the San Jose CyberRays women's professional soccer team. Two, BASWSI is a public benefit, nonprofit corporation with a mission to create programs and partnerships through which women athletes bring health, hope and wholeness to our community. BAWSI provides a meaningful path for women athletes to become a more visible and valued part of the Bay Area sports culture.

Yes, a cause near and dear to C and R’s heart. C and R have volunteered for them over the years.
Details: The fundraiser is Wednesday, May 4th, 2011, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Leavey Center at Santa Clara University. Enjoy great food and beverage and try 12 different sports along with celebrated female athletes and coaches from the area’s college women’s’ teams. This just in, this is your chance to meet soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy, AND Stanford Women's Basketball coach Tara VanDerveer! Plus… plus, a video stop over by none other than America’s worst coach, Sue Sylvester from Glee!! Maybe she will sing a song or two.

Try to make it if you can. If not, contact them and ask how you can volunteer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

USA Basketball is Vegas Bound, Baby

So with WNBA training camp starting May 15th, what are the veterans doing to get ready for training camp. Well, if you are a select few, you are practicing with Geno Auriemma on the US National Team’s traing camp May 10-12. In Vegas (what happens in Vegas….).

And just who is practicing? Only our two faves, former Stanford Women’s Basketball players Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel. And twenty-two other women, none of any importance….

Here’s an interesting side note. Last year right after the NCAA tournament ended, Geno wanted some competition to scrimmage against his US team so he invited a full squad of some WNBA players and some collegiate players. Stanford’s’ very own Kayla Pedersen was on that team last year. C and R wondered at that time why Brittney Griner was not included. We wanted to start a totally unsubstantiated rumor that Geno didn’t want to bring in Brittney because he still considered her a work in progress and he didn’t want to be the one to give her pointers to get her better because his UConn team was going to play her the following season (hee hee). Well, we have to kill that rumor before we start it because this year he DID invite BG to training camp. Also invited was Courtney Vandersloot, whose stock has risen in the basketball world from that NCAA play-off game vs. Stanford. Both Brittney and Vandy are “special guests” and could play their way on to the team and the Olympics next year.

Here’s Geno talking, quoted from the National Team Website.
“I can’t wait to get these guys on the court in Vegas,” said Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “This is going to be the first time we’ve had this many together and healthy at a training camp, and it’ll be interesting to see how bad some of these guys want to make the Olympic team, how much they hustle, fight for rebounds, I’m really looking forward to that.

“Then you add in the two new kids, Griner and Vandersloot. I’m anxious to see how they interact with some of the veterans. Certainly they’re a couple of great players, but I’m excited to see them go up against our National Team and try to earn their spot in our pool.”

Ah, turning it in to a competition and pitting the women against each other, eh Geno? Well, C and R wish all of them a healthy training session and a successful upcoming basketball season no matter what their level.