Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two Stanford Women’s Basketball Players Named to Preseason “Wade Watch”

On to lighter news. Stanford Senior Women’s Basketball player Nneka Ogwumike and her sophomore sister, Chiney Ogwumike have both been named to the preseason “Wade Watch” list. The Wade Trophy is given to the player who embodies the following criteria, according to the Stanford Women’s Basketball site: "game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability." And also the player that best embodies the Spirit of Margaret Wade, the three time national champion at Delta State University. Or as the Wade Trophy Wiki says, for the best women’s basketball player in NCAA Division I.

Either way, we wish the best of luck to the sisters Ogwumike. BTW, Stanford is one of six schools to have multiple candidates. UConn's Maya Moore was the last winner, and the previous two before that, and so, of course, is the only 3 time winner. Who was the last winner before Maya Moore? Our very own Candice Wiggins!

Stanford season starts November 11th!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pat Summitt Shocks Women’s Basketball World, Diagnosed with Early Dementia

The Women’s Basketball World was shocked today with news that legendary coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early onset dementia (“Alzheimer’s Type”). Writer Sally Jenkins, who helped Pat Summitt write two of her books, wrote a touching article for the Washington Post. You can read it and also watch her interview Pat.

If you can’t get the video, go to the Washington Post Link.

Pat released this video on the Official Tennessee Vols site, stating that she has always been about honesty. And then she was brutally honest. And very calm and classy. The Pat Summitt way.

Go to the You Tube site if you cannot get the video.

She wants “No pity party” and will continue to coach with much help from her staff, with the blessing of her University. Classy lady gets a classy act right back at her. That’s the way it should be.
The Twitter world explored with an outpouring of support and love and good wishes from anybody who cares about women’s basketball, and the name “Pat Summitt” was a trending topic. Many major news media orgazations picked up on the AP feed and placed it on their websites and Tweeted about it. C and R only wish the mainstream media would give as much coverage to women’s basketball when something good happens, too. (Incidentally, R noticed last year that Pat Summit seemed “out of it” and let her assistants do all the talking in huddles. We’re sure others who were closer must have noticed, too).

Stanford Women’s Basketball coach Tara VanDerveer released this statement on the Official Stanford Women’s Basketball Facebook Page:
"Hearing today's news about Pat Summit's diagnosis was numbing to me," said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. "Pat is not only a great coach but she has been an outstanding mentor and friend. She has shown great courage in announcing this news. I know that she has the best support group around her that anyone could ask for, and I know that Pat will fight this development with the strength, spirit and determination that she has shown throughout her Hall of Fame career. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."

As is the whole women’s basketball universe. All the best to you, Coach Summitt.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Women’s Basketball Go Undefeated to Win Gold Medal at World University Games

Women's Basketball WUG GoldSummer is not traditionally women’s basketball time, but the World University Games held in Shenzhen China this August gave us some basketball sunshine. The World University Games host a variety of sports and are held every other year. The women’s basketball team, made up of college all stars including Stanford’s very own Nneka And Chiney Ogwumike, went undefeated. In the Gold Medal game, they beat Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) by a score of 101 to 66.

Chiney Ogwumike WUG GoldNneka certainly saved the best for last, scoring 24 points to lead all scores and added 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Chiney chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. It was Nneka’s third USA Basketball Gold Medal, having won gold at the U19 World Championships in 2009 and the U18 FIBA Americas Championship game in 2008. Little sis Chiney has two USA Basketball Gold Medals, this one and the one she earned at the U18 Americas Championship game in 2010.

Here’s what USA coach Bill Fennelly had to say about Nneka, culled from the USA Basketball site, along with all photos:
“We wanted to go to Nneka (Ogwumike) early and often, and we did,” said Bill Fennelly, Nneka Ogwumike WUG GoldUSA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. “I think (tonight’s game) was even better than the game she played two years ago (in the U19 World Championship gold medal game). I think that says a lot about her, not just her talent, but her commitment and focus. You want your best players to step up at the biggest times, and a gold medal game is a good time to step up and do the things you can do.”

It certainly helped that Team USA had a distinct height advantage over their opponent. Taiwan averages 5’9 and USA over six feet at 6’1. They kept throwing it inside, mostly to Nneka and Team USA outscored them 62-22 in the paint.

What motivated Nneka in this game? Listen (or read for yourself, from USA Basketball):
“Yesterday against Australia, I was in a lot of foul trouble, but my teammates held it down. Today I wanted to redeem myself and let them understand that they can lean on me. I just really wanted to play hard. Play for four quarters and to win the gold medal.”

Nneka was also asked what it was like to play with her sister. She said to play on team USA and win a Gold Medal with her sister “was great.” We know what you mean. See both of you back in the US and in the Fall.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stanford Women’s Basketball 2011-2012 Schedule is Here

Stanford Women’s basketball released their 2011-2012 schedule today. Most notable, for C and R anyway, is the December 20th match-up with Tennessee here at Maples. Get your tickets early. (Notable away game is UConn November 21st). For those of you who remember 1997, Stanford meets Old Dominion this year, so try not to hyperventilate (quoting twitter-buddy @SGC72). We had to be reminded of history-ODU knocked Stanford out of the Final Four in a heartbreaking overtime loss in 1997, and it would be 11 long years of no Final Fours until Candice Wiggins!

Also, this year starts Pac-12 play, and this article explains the confusing formula for playing 8 teams twice and 4 teams once, and how that rotates through the years. C and R thought they created the Pac-12 to have two “flights’, such as the SEC with 6 teams in the “Eastern” and six teams in the “Western” divisions. Then they have a reason to have the end of the season tournament to determine who is the conference champion. But what do we know? Maybe all the teams want to play Stanford and couldn’t bear the thought of being in the division without Stanford! Hee hee

See ya at Maples. Soon. Very Soon.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tara VanDerveer’s Hall of Fame Speech

Couldn’t make it to Springfield to see Stanford Women’s Basketball coach Tara VanDerveer get inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on August 12th? It’s okay, C and R couldn’t either. Well, now due to the modern marvel of technology, you can watch the video of Tara’s acceptance speech from  (We can’t embed it, but you can see it on the NBA link.) Let’s go to the replay booth. Love the audience energy for her-We got goosebumps watching it! Enjoy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tara-isms: Words of Wisdom From a Hall of Fame Bound Coach

Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this Friday, August 12th. She is currently only one of seven women to be inducted into that hallowed Hall, so that makes it even more special. You can watch Live Coverage if you get the NBA channel (hint, our good friend P does, please tape it for us), starts at 3 PM Stanford time, with enshrinement Ceremony starting at 4 PM Stanford time.

Former and current Stanford players and coaches have been reminiscing on social media, mostly Twitter, about “Tara-isms.” Tara-isms, or Taraisms are sayings only Tara VanDerveer’s creative mind could come up with to “school” her players.

Taraisms are not new. First of all, Tara has been coaching for 32 years and counting, so there ya go. Plus, C and R are veterans of many Senior Night tributes and the players like to share their favorite Taraisms.

Jilllian Harmon (class of 2008) shared our favorites. She was the original storyteller, at least to our ears, of “Prayer Basketball!” She said in one of her first Stanford practices, she was making a long pass (and she claimed her arm was bumped) and it didn’t go as planned and Coach Tara yelled out, “Jill, this isn’t Prayer Basketball. We don’t just throw the ball and PRAY someone will catch it!”

Jill also told the crowd about, “don’t be a squirrel caught on the wrong side of a tree!” But so many other former players have quoted this, perhaps she says it to all defensive players who are on the wrong side of the offensive player, and does that happen a lot in practice?

Assistant Coach Kate Paye has had the benefit of being a player to receive Taraisms as well as a courtside seat to them, so to speak. She shared the most on her Twitter account. (Acknowledgements to players and coaches who give Taraisms on Twitter are listed below-comments from C and R in parentheses) .

Taraisms from former Stanford player and current Stanford coach Kaye Paye
-The “S” doesn’t stand for stupid. (Several players remembered hearing this one!)
-Mind over mattress.
-You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to be best teammates.
-It's not the start of the race but the finish.
-Mental is to physical as 4 is to 1. (Several different players liked to point out that Tara wanted to prepare them for the “thinking part” of basketball)
-You want to have fun, try winning.... that's fun! (Again shared by several and so apt!)
-Sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the fire hydrant. (Okey-dokey!)
-Basketball is a team sport. If you’re into individual things, take up tennis!
-Basketball was invented as a team sport, it’s always been a team sport, and it always will be a team sport. (Along the same vein-must have been some hot doggers she needed to take care of!)
-This is not a democracy. (Love this one and will use it on kids and students)
-Christmas is over; quit standing around like a decoration. (hee hee)
-Excuses are like belly buttons…everyone has one.
-FINISH! (Not sure if a Taraism, but several players said you just had to hear her voice)
-Got to put the hammer down.
-Sleep nights. (C always says you can sleep when you’re dead. Plus the players are so young and have boundless energy, why are they tired?)
-I was born at night, but it wasn't last night! (Tara’s no dummy!)

Former Stanford player Jayne Appel
-Don't be running like a station wagon if you have the ability to be like a Ferrari on the court. (Wow, that is so cool! Also probably why Jayne ran so hard on fast breaks!)
-You can't be a light switch and turn your game off and on, it has to be on all the time (Very Good!)

Former Stanford Player Angela Taylor
-Why use a water pistol when you have a cannon?

Former Stanford Player and Assistant Coach Charmin Smith
-A repetition of error shows a lack of intelligence (We all could use this quote-many other players remember this one, too, such as Vanessa Nygaard, so it must have occurred a lot!)

Former Stanford player Ros Gold Onwude was on fire with her Taraisms. We think she appreciated Tara’s wit the most!
-They already made the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and you’re NOT in it! (Remembered by Ros Gold-Onwude and JJ Hones)
Don’t be a pig and hog the ball!
LESS is More.
-When I was playing I used to love guarding weak Wilma because I could help in and get steals!
-You have to be more than a one trick pony! (On having more than one “go to” move)
-There's too much mustard on your hotdog. (Ros said this was said on showoff/fancy moves)
-You don't want to be “the nice girls from Stanford.” (Ros said Tara was telling them to be tough)
What offense are you running? Mumbo Jumbo?!!! Be a point guard! Run the play! (I think that was specific to Ros!)
-That play’s not for you! The play is called money! Not funny! (For Ros only?)
-This play is called “Motion”….not “SLOW Motion” (For Ros only again?)
-No, no no, Candice, just play dummy D on her, she's not ready for real D yet. (We are sure Ros and Tara had a great relationship!)

Former Stanford Player Jeanette Pohlen
-Even a blind squirrel can find a nut (Guess Tara likes the squirrel and nut thing!)
Former Stanford Player Melanie Murphy
-You’re making million dollar moves but taking nickel shots (We can only imagine)

Former Stanford Player JJ Hones
-If there’s a fire in the house, get off the porch! (JJ said this was in reference to the ball in the key and helping in, and it took her “a sec to get it.” C and R still don’t get it, maybe meaning if the other team has the ball is in the key, you better go and get it before they score?)
-JJ shared this one, not so much a Taraism, but a way of life, “Tara would yell ‘YOU CAN’T DO THAT!’ Cue sub asap”

David Siegel at Hoop gathered several former players and got them to talk on his show Dishin & Swishin to give “A Tribute to Tara VanDerveer.” Several Taraisms were mentioned. Here, due to the modern marvel of modern technology, you can listen to the Tara podcast your very own self.

In the Tribute, Candice Wiggins talked about quotes that motivated her, “Hungry lions hunt best,”  (about drive) and “Pressure creates diamonds.” The latter helped her in Stanford NCAA playoff runs.

Vanessa Nygaard shared many gems. One she remembered was when Tara would shout, “get your big toe off the line,” in reference to stepping on the three point line and making the shot go from 3 points to 2. “Worst shot in basketball, worst shot in basketball!” Tara would call out, Vanessa remembered.

In the Tribute, Vanessa Nygaard (we think that was her voice) shared she was not a great student and one day she was jawing with teammates about how far away she could hit a shoot, from off the court, from the doorway, and then Vanessa bragged, “I like to shoot from the library!” And Tara quipped right back, “you don’t even know where the library is!” Fast thinker, that Tara.

And great coach. Acknowledged basketball genius, and funny to boot!

* Special thanks to these player and coaches (And there Twitter handles)
Ros Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21)
Candice Wiggins (@CandiceWiggins)
Kate Paye (@KatePaye)
Jayne Appel (@JayneAppel
Mel Murphy (@melmel0)
Jeanette Pohlen (@JFP32)
Charmin Smith (@21Charmin)
JJ Hones (@jj_hones)
Angela Taylor (@AFTAylor22)

Don’t forget to check out Tara VanDerveer through the 2000s, including pictures, from the Official Stanford website.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tara VanDerveer Going to the Basketball Hall of Fame!

Sorry it has been awhile since we wrote a blog (apologies to good friend P).  Just, we’re on summer vacation and Twitter is so much easier to blurt out somethin’ short and silly. Or just retweet what others say so we don’t have to think of anything original. (We got our chops busted for that recently!). However, it is fun to follow what those youngster Stanford players are saying and doing. Keeps us young, too, and Goodness knows we could use some of that youth elixir!

Anyhoo, Stanford University Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer is set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this Friday, August 12th. Stanford is doing their best to promote the heck out of it, and we surely appreciate that. So check out the special Tara VanDerveer page they created. It will chronicle her 32 years and counting of coaching, one “that has featured Olympic Gold, NCAA titles, conference titles, and national coach of the year honors.” (Don’t forget the 800+ college wins!) The page also includes the “bittersweet” morning when she found out about the HOF induction, that day in April last year right after her team was eliminated in teh Final Four by Texas Tech.

Highlights of the page include pictures of Tara throughout the decades. The first installment features pictures form the 1970’s and C for one is glad to see the tall socks. So cool, so retro, so ahead or behind the times, C can’t take her eyes off them! Probably because they remind C of her basketball playing days (and how the high stirrup socks would slip out of her Converses because she had flat feet and no arch to anchor them to her feet!). But we digress…

Keep checking back to the page to get more photos throughout the decades and other goodies. Oh, there has been a call through social media to publish “Tara-isms.” Those are sayings only Tara could come up with to “teach” (torture) a player. Such as the one Tara told Jillian Harmon on her first day wearing a Stanford uniform. “Jill, this isn’t prayer basketball. We don’t just throw the ball in the air and pray someone will catch it!” And Jillian has also shared this classic about being on the wrong side of a screen. “Jill, don’t be a squirrel on the wrong side of a tree!”

Or this one remembered by Ros Gold-Onwude and JJ Hones; “They already made the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and you’re NOT in it!” Ros had many memories of Tara-isms such as: “Don’t be a pig and hog the ball” and “LESS is More.” To all point guards everywhere: “What offense are you running? Mumbo Jumbo?!!! Be a point guard! Run the play!”

To quote Ros Gold Onwude again, “Along with basketball genius, she’s said a lot of funny things over the years.” And won a lot of games. And mentored a lot of young women. And is going to the Hall. Congrats to the one and only TVD!