Thursday, July 28, 2011

Candice Wiggins Interview

And now, thanks to modern technology, you can have Candice Wiggins right in your living room (or computer room, or on your phone). Here she is giving a radio interview on Minnesota Public Radio the other day. And we loved one of the links pointing to the interview said all the other Minnesota Pro teams had struggled the past year but the Lynx are currently in first place in their division!

Three words
Healthy healthy healthy

Life after basketball:
When you get advice from Condoleezza Rice, you tend to follow it.
(plus, that is not a typo, those really are all the consonants and vowels that belong in Condoleezza’s name).

Listen for yourself, unless modern technology has failed you and there is no button to click.

 If so, then go directly to the MPR website and try your luck there.

We look forward to the second half of the WNBA season, coming near you on your favorite media of means!

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Guarantees in Life…

In sports, nothing is certain. Just ask the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, fresh off losing the Women’s World Cup (or winning the silver medal, take your half of glass). Or just ask the Brazilian Women’s National Soccer Team, who lost to the United States in overtime-penalty kicks in the semi-finals, after Brazil lead for 122 minutes.

So we were looking forward to seeing the Summer SF Pro Am championships this coming weekend, secure that the “Stanford-lite” team would be there. First they had a play-off game the week before, and what with injuries, one star shooter out of town (Tinkle went to Vegas), overtime and players fouling out left and right and playing with four, and bada bing bada boom, Stanford is out of the championship game (See Judy Richter’s account). Dare we say shades of last year? No we don’t dare because this game had completely different set of circumstances.

So back to our original premise, in sports, nothing is certain. When the US Women’s National Team lost such a roller coaster, overtime-penalty kick game in the World Cup Finals, Stanford Women’s Basketball player Nneka Ogumike posted on her Twitter account “Those women battled hard. It's not over and it's not done, but this fight was worth the run. I know the feeling.” Apt words from someone who felt their pain. (You know we would bring up social media sooner of later, what with our adolescent infatuation with all things Twitter or Facebook).

So even though Stanford was a perennial top 5 team last year, there are no guarantees for the upcoming season. Stanford fans have gotten used to the Cardinal having their way in the Pac-10, oh excuse me Pac-12, that it could be a year of ups and downs. Preseason polls have been non-existent, we think all the sports writers are still recovering from Women’s World Cup Fever, but at the end of last year, everyone was touting Baylor and barely had Stanford in the top ten. We’ll see how that shakes out in the fall. But with a huge crop of rookies for Stanford (six) we are not so sure of things as in past years. And that’s exactly why we follow sports. Nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed, but we love watching talented, hard-working athletes try their hardest.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tweetering, We Mean Teetering on the Brink of a Championship

C and R are so excited, we can hardly stand it. Tomorrow the United States Women’s National Soccer Team plays in the Women’s World Cup final against sweetheart Japan. Never mind that the whole world is supporting the plucky Japanese team that are playing for their country after a devastating earthquake and Tsunami and the Americans are being viewed as big bullies, we are still rooting for Team USA.

And the coverage! Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we barely get any mention of the two professional women’s leagues, the WNBA and the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Heck, the WNBA just released their All Star Lineups and our paper didn’t even mention it at all.

But a USA Team in a final is a USA Team in a final, and the late bandwagon jumper-on-ers are out in full force, thank you very much NY Times. But what’s been fun for C and R has been the social media we just became a part of (talk about being in the right place at the right time). Facebook has been kinda tame with straight reporting of news-type articles. So it’s been Twitter where the excitement is!

It’s so funny, because when we joined Facebook and Twitter (@StanfordWBBBlog), we thought Twitter was pointless, 140 characters at a time. But it turns out people (and athletes we like to follow) feel freer to express quirky and humorous thoughts. And the best part is we can tailor what we see on Twitter to our tastes. Take that mainstream media. We like sports, men’s and women’s don’t get us wrong. We just didn’t want to fall into a rut be following the traditional mainstream media outlets that ignore women’s sports most of the time. ESPN and Sportscenter? Nope, not following you on Twitter. EspnW and US Women’s National Team? Sign us up.

Tall Abby Wambach with her awesome headers joined Twitter today and in five hours had over 13,500 followers and counting. Wow, it was like watching the National Debt counter roll up and up. And then people got cute. We are also following Abby Wambach’s head (not affiliated or endorsed by the real Abby Wambach you understand, just someone’s idea of a lark, and Fun-nay!). This lead to discovering not one, but two people tweeting as Megan Rapinoe’s hair. They had us lmao, well, laughing anyway. Then there’s Amy LePeilbet’s headband, jealous of her hair. Silly, funny, playful. And tailor-made for us. Yes, we’re digging the social media scene.

Well, see ya tomorrow at the Women’s World Cup. No, we won’t be in Germany, but you can turn on the game and then Twitter and hear fan reaction from around the Twittersphere.

If you prefer the old-fashioned way, connect live:
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to get together, Brandi' Chastain's Foundation, BAWSI is having a viewing party for the Women's World Cup, details below and on BAWSI’s Facebook page:

Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI)
There's been lots of excitement about BAWSI's Women's world Cup viewing party on Sunday morning, and it looks like we may even have some media joining us. We're hoping to have some painted faces, American flags, and red, white and blue home-made signs rooting the team on. Game coverage begins at 11:00 am at Neto's Market & Grill: 1313 Franklin St, Santa Clara, CA 95050. Join us! All are welcome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Most. Thrilling. Soccer. Game. Ever.

How’s your summer going? C and R are exhausted from watching the USA’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Brazil today! (And we just sat on a couch. Those soccer players had to play123 minutes.) Yes that’s right, the game went into overtime, with penalty kicks and everything. Dramatic as all get out. Bad refs, yellow cards galore, tall headers and Solo saves, it was amazing.

We can’t really do the game justice, nor add any superlatives to what has already been written. But that won’t stop us from blabbing on about the game.

To open the game, Team USA scored in the second minute. Abby Wambach, who we were chiding on Twitter for being the unluckiest forward at the World Cup this year, scored. Or did she? Replays showed the Brazilian defender accidentally kicked it in. (We have joked for years that in other soccer-crazed countries they shoot you for it, based on real life incidents in Central and South America, but then R said this is women’s soccer, so she is safe. Don’t know whether to laugh at that one or not). But a goal is a goal and it inflated the Americans 1 - nil, to use the correct terminology.

Then, in the second half, the center referee got involved. Yellow cards were been given out indiscriminately (By our count, eight yellow cards and one red). There was flopping on both sides to be sure, but eight cards?

Now, Marta for Brazil is very dangerous, and Team USA was using two players to track her.  When she got loose in the box, the US’s Rachel Buehler tangled with her and brought her down. Probably was a penalty kick, at worst a yellow card for Buelher. But the ref went all the way to red. Buelher was sent off the field and the US was not allowed to replace her. Watch and judge for yourself.

To make matters worse, US goalie Hope Solo stopped the point-blank penalty kick. But the ref said she moved off the line, or else one of the US players moved in the box too early, she was not clear which. Either way, Brazil got to retake the penalty kick. Solo argued the call and got a yellow card for the effort. So Brazil sent up Marta and she drilled it home. The score was tied and Team USA had to play a man down, ten versus eleven for the next twenty minutes. Against the best scorer in the world. “Pressure Makes Us”, says Team USA in the commercials? But what will it make?

Team USA played inspired ball. They were the ones on the attack for most of the second half even though they were short a player. After 90 minutes the game was tied and the rules stated they would play two 15 minutes periods and whichever team was ahead would win. Minutes into the first overtime period, Marta put her team ahead with an amazing backward lob to the far post. Replays show that Brazil was just a teeny bit off sides on the pass into Marta, but since C and R hate the off sides rule anyway, what can you do? Now Team USA was up a creek without a goal, down 2-1.

Okay, you had to see the flopping and stalling the Brazilians were doing, it was bizarre. At one point around the 117th minute, a defender went down (the clock still runs) and they brought out a stretcher, strapped her down and carried her off. As soon as the stretcher got out of bounds, she unstrapped herself and got up. A soccer miracle! She was given a yellow card and the ref said she was going to add extra minutes to the end of the game. (Remember that)

With the time running out, the 30 minutes passed with the USA losing still 2-1. They have now played one hundred and twenty minutes, fifty of them with only ten players. The ref gave three extra minutes for Brazil's stalling. One hundred and twenty one minutes, one hundred and twenty two minutes… With seconds left, Megan Rapinoe kicked a long ball towards goal. Tall, tall Abby Wambach fearlessly leaped in the air a second before the Brazilian goalie’s outstretched hands could get there and headed the ball squarely in the net. She tied the game with seconds left.

Here, watch for yourself:

Make sure you watch the third replay; it shows just how slam-bang it was over the goalie’s outstretched hands.

Now, penalty kicks. “Did we mention this was the 12th anniversary of soccer great Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick winner in the Women’s’ World Cup in 1999?” said the announcer. And Brandi was in the booth now? Oh yeah, good karma for Team USA. Both teams make their first two goals. Then, just like in 1999 against China, on the third shot, goalie Hope Solo correctly guessed which way the Brazil player was going and blocked the shot. Team USA up 3-2. Each team makes another goal, so the penalty kick score is 4-3. If this last USA player makes it, it’s over. She calmly places the ball in the corner. Team USA wins. Ali Krieger becomes this decade’s Brandi Chastain, although she didn’t take off her shirt. Team USA back from the dead, wins the match. It was the most amazing and bizarre thing we have ever seen.

To top it all off, we won wristbands from Brandi Chastain’s charity, Reach Up and Facebook (knew social media would pay off!). Take a gander here. They look like cookie cutters of the iconic moment when Brandi scored the goal and whipped off her shirt, but they are rubber bracelets you wear on your wrists. They are popular with all the kids, and now C and R have them. Jealous much? We have extras; maybe if you are nice to C and R we will send you some, too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer (Sports) Days

How’s your summer going? Are you beating the heat in the Bay Area? One way to do that is to go to San Francisco on the weekends to see the Stanford freshmen play in the summer Pro Am. (You know, the freshmen class that was ranked sixth in the nation). C and R couldn’t make it this weekend to Saturday’s game, but the Fast Break Club’s Judy Richter was there. The standout stats read like a repeat from last week. Stanford Veteran Joslyn Tinkle led the way with 38 points. (Last week it was 37 points). Judy also has more stats for you about the freshmen and the one notable is Erica Payne was in action after sitting out last week with a sore ankle.

Women’s World Cup:
Team USA continues to win. They are now 2-0 and play again Wednesday. Show them some love (and some ratings) by tuning into ESPN local time to see the game.

To counteract the time we waste indoors on Twitter, C and R got bikes and have been tooling around the Bay Area. Email us any good (easy, cool weather) Bay Area biking trails you like.