Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stanford Starts Slowly, then Finishes UC Davis 93-44

C and R couldn’t make tonight’s Stanford-UC Davis Women’s Basketball game, but someone who has never been to Maples did. She wrote us a little ol’ blog, even mentions the other team, too. It’s our twitter buddy and huge women’s basketball fan, Jessica Lantz, who writes for about 500 outlets, and her own freelantz blog. Here she is in her own words:
The Stanford Cardinal took time out of their busy Wednesday evening schedule to dominate UC-Davis at the Maples Pavilion, coming away with a 93-44 drubbing of the Aggies.

As a first-timer to Maples, I was surprised by the quaint, cozy atmosphere walking into the building. Tree was a highlight to my night, prancing and dancing about in a surprisingly good looking costume. UC-Davis came out to play, unintimidated throughout the game, but particularly in the early stages of the night. In fact, the score was tied at 13-13 with 12:31 remaining in the first half. From that point however, the Cardinal turned on the jets sparked by a 10-2 run. The Aggies managed only 23 points in the first half and missed four of their last five attempts of the period.

The Ogwumikes played like you always expect, with Nneka finishing as the high scorer of the evening. Her 20 points in 21 minutes was coupled with nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. Chiney chimed in with 18 points and nine rebounds (six offensive) of her own. The sisters took 13 of the 15 Stanford free throws in the game, hitting a combined 10 of their attempts.

Joslyn Tinkle was quietly effective in the game, especially in the deep stages of play. She finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Bonnie Samuelson used her unorthodox 3-point shooting style to sling in five long-range bombs for 15 points, going 5-of-8 on the evening. Guard play was shared, and Jasmine Camp recorded the start and led the squad with six assists. Amber Orrange came in in relief, assisting her teammates to points on five occasions.

The Cardinal defense was stout, forcing 14 turnovers and holding UC-Davis to 36.2 percent shooting, and a 7-of-28 effort from beyond the arc. Stanford scooped up a huge 47-16 rebounding edge against the smallish Aggies. UC-Davis was impressively led by 19 points from guard Hannah Stevens. She was 7-of-9 on the night and hit 66 percent of her 3-point attempts (4-of-6). She never backed away from the obvious height advantage of her competitors, on both offense and defense. Despite the scoring disparity, it was apparent that the UC-Davis players and staff were using the game as a learning tool up until the final whistle.

Sounds like a through-and-through thrashing, right? Well – yes and no. There were obvious times when the freshmen looked like freshmen, where the posts didn't want to touch the paint and the team lacked a spark that I'm generally used to seeing from my usual seats in Big 12 arenas. I also can't deny that I am unused to seeing a slower game unfold before me. But all said, I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the Stanford campus and am looking forward to my next opportunity to see a game.
Jessica Lantz
freelantz sports media

And why couldn’t C and R make it to the game? Find out in part II tomorrow.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Too Much Nneka for Xavier

It’s so hard to write a blog about The Stanford Women’s Basketball team’s win over Xavier if you don’t see the game live, televised or even follow it on Gametracker. Both C and R were doing family things the day after Thanksgiving (and not pepper spraying our friends, thank you very much) and had to read the news reports just like you.

First we opened the box score and play-by-play. Hey, Toni Kokenis made a three right off the bat. Gulp, then Stanford would miss their next 9 three-point attempts and would not hit another one until the second half. Hey, Jasmine Camp, the freshie started. Gulp, she wouldn’t’ score any points, going 0-2 from behind the arc. A quick scroll to the bottom of the half finds the lead changing hands several times and Stanford only up by one at the half. What the heck?

Here’s what we gleaned from the various electronic outlets:
In the first half, Xavier shut down perimeter, forcing Stanford into missing threes, as we mentioned. Also, Xavier got their game plan from UConn, which was to get sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike on the bench with fouls. They consistently drove to the basket to draw the defense into making fouls. Xavier made 11 free throws in the first half to keep it close, although Nneka and Chiney would be smart and finish the game with only 3 fouls each. Score 33-32, Stanford nursing that one point lead.

The second half was a different story. Well, the same old story since game two of this season. The story line goes like this: Hecka Nneka. Nneka would score 34 points for the game; 23 in the second half alone, and grab 13 boards overall. Xavier’s coach said they even tried to push Nneka outside to shoot jumpers, but Stanford fans know how high and accurate she is on those jumpers. Sister Chiney added 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Toni Kokenis would add 14 points, but again the underlying story is no one else is scoring. Stanford was 3-18 from three-point land for the game. Very troublesome, if you ask C and R. Still, Stanford was more aggressive on defense, stealing 5 times and scoring 23 points off of 20 Xavier turnovers. Ya gotta like that! And we do.

We think Tara is concerned, about being a one-note team, too, and in her press conference she added another Tara-ism to the collection. When asked about Nneka’s scoring all the points, she said, “Yeah, we don’t want to be just a one-move Mary.” Or Not a one-note Nneka. Other notes will have to sound off if we hope to be the full orchestra Tara VanDerveer wants to conduct. (Sorry for the clumsy a metaphor).

Work in progress...

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Stanford UConn Gone All Wrong

What a frustrating game. Frustrating for Stanford, frustration with officials and frustration for C and R who couldn’t WATCH the game. Frustration for C’s spell checker that hates those fragmented and run on sentences. Let’s recap our experience and the game, if you are not too bummed out already.
  • First, C sets DVD to record ESPNU. Then drives to work.
  • R calls and says we don’t get ESPNU on our crappy cable plan.
  • C says she wouldn’t be able to set the DVR to record if we don’t get the channel, because a day without C and R arguing is a day without sunshine, which it was this morning.
  • R says well, she just set her DVR to record even though she doesn’t get that channel, so there goes that logic. Sometimes C and R can be really dumb about technology.
  • C changes five lanes to avoid the 22 Eastridge bus, the same one that takes you to Stanford.
  • R says she is still coming over tonight to eat all of C’s homemade chili, even though they can’t get the game
  • C stews all day at work, then gets stuck a half hour later than planned, getting in car at 5:30 PM, game started 4:30 or something.
  • C calls R on hands free device to avoid ticket and be safe.
  • R reports Stanford losing at the half 32-26.
  • C stuck in traffic, R following Gametracker. Frustrating all around.
  • R then says why don’t you turn on your car radio as you can pick up the Stanford station?
  • For living in high tech Silicon Valley, sometimes C can be so really dumb about any technology.
  • C turns on radio just in time to hear Stanford scores 4 straight points to start the half. Then the foul calls come. The KSZU boys were pretty cute with their Stanford loyalty and lack of objectivity, so we were not sure if the fouls were truly earned or not.
  • C pulls into driveway and runs inside during another questionable foul call on Stanford and turns off KSZU on car radio and turns on live streaming of KSZU online. Sometimes C can be pretty smart about technology.  
Still, we can’t believe a game between the then current number 2 and 3 teams was not “National TV,” as promised. ESPNU is a niche channel, not on basic cable, and is one that you have to pay extra for. Bummer. We deserve better. The “we” being all of women’s basketball fandom.

Things we learned from listening:

  • Stanford couldn’t shoot the three.
  • Yet we controlled the inside.
  • Stanford had too many turnovers (16).
  • Stanford had the turnovers in the face of pressure, a very bad sign.
  • Nneka Ogwumike would score 22 points in 23 minutes, but they had no answer for UConn freshmen Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who is eerily Maya-Moore like, and scored 25.
  • Others need to step up and help Nneka score. Sister Chiney was cold with only 7 points on 3-12 shooting, and only hitting 1 of 3 free throws.
  • Two starters were so ice cold they got big doughnuts for points, Taylor Greenfield and Lindy La Rocque going scoreless.
  • Both teams either nervous, not used to big games, or played tough defense as Chiney Ogwumike would score the first points of the game for either team, a foul shot with 3 minutes and 18 seconds gone.
  • Foul calls perplexing
  • Refs called phantom fouls, at one point Stanford boys said UConn player swings an elbow, Nneka gets the foul. Nneka was limited to 23 minutes and you can’t score from the bench.
  • Stanford Women's Basketball Head Coach Tara VanDerveer trusts Nneka so much she not only lets her stay in when she fouls (take note, Chiney) but lets her play with 4 fouls, as she did for the last 8 minutes.
  • A Stanford freshman did stand out, and it wasn’t Amber Orrange, who went scoreless, it was Jasmine Camp, who scored 14.
  • It was not a blow out and Stanford didn’t get out-muscled, rebounds 46 for UConn to 45 for Stanford, and although the final score was 68-58, Stanford had the lead three separate times and tied the game 9 separate times.
Things we learned from Twitter:
  • Freshmen Alex Green ruptured her Achilles tendon in practice and did not make the trip. Bad news for the youngster coming off ACL surgery.
  • Former Stanford guard Ros-Gold Onwude gave her final thoughts “It’s early. More important who learns the most from this and improves the most come March.”
  • Amen
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stanford’s New Motto, Fear the Three

This should be an easy blog to write, or at least find a theme. The theme of the night for the Stanford Women’s Basketball team against Old Dominion was “shoot the three!”

But let’s start at the beginning: the game was over before it even started. Okay, not really, but Old Dominion was losing 2-0 before the game started. Stanford was awarded a two-shot technical foul, against OD before the game. We have only seen that one other time, and the reason given was the scorecard was messed up, so OD must have had some administrative error that cost them. Head Coach Tara VanDerveer gave Toni Kokenis the honor of shooting, and she made both. Stanford up 2-0 and there’s nothing you can do about it. That must be a little demoralizing for a team. Then the game started.

And how it started. Nneka Ogwumike is our jumper of the jump ball, and C and R usually place bets with each other over who will win the jump ball. We both bet on Nneka so it’s not really much of a bet. Bit wait, let’s back up even more so…

Thanks to the Internet, C and R culled video footage of the last season the Ogwumike sisters played with each other in high school. It was the high school championship game. Nneka went up for the tip, totally out-leaped the other person and did a volleyball spike of the ball towards her basket. At the same time, Chiney broke from the jump ball circle and was at the three point line when the slam came, corralled it, dribble two long strides and laid it in. It happened so fast, the other team didn’t know what hit then. When they realized they had to go inbound the ball and were down 2-0, you just knew the fight was out of them and they were going to lose. They did. Nneka and Chiney won the State Title.

So, back to present time, Nneka jumps, hits the ball, not quite so hard as the spike in high school but gets a good hit and Chiney is already moving off the circle, grabs it, dribble 3 or 4 times and lays it in. Now Stanford is up 4-0 with about 2 seconds gone. Talk about double demoralized.

And then guess what happened, Stanford fans? Well, if you saw the other 2 regular season games, you saw Chiney would foul before two minutes were gone and get yanked by Tara. Chiney fouled with a minute 10 seconds gone and took a seat. But it’s okay, Stanford was up 10-4 before she sat down, thanks to 2 made three-point shots by the starting freshmen Taylor Greenfield.

Stanford would shoot 9-15 from beyond the arc in the first half. Stanford brainiacs all over the Twitter world and scoreboard computed that the made percentage of three’s equaled 60%, and that the made percentage of 2s equaled 51%. When do you ever see that? And too bad Stanford discontinued the habit of throwing T-shirts every time a three was scored. C and R would have twenty on right now.

Lindy Larocque would have 5 three-pointers in the first half, and end up with 15 points, a career night. Sara James and Toni Kokenis would each have one as well in the first. Freshmen Jasmine Camp would get one in the second half, along with 2 more from Sara James, for a game total of 12-22, or 54.5%. Half time score would be Stanford 56, OD 24.

C and R are getting the picture after the Gonzaga game where the Ogwumike sisters scored everything and team was a zero for dismal (really 3-13) from three-point land that they needed to shoot and other people needed to be scorers. We are sure Tara might have mentioned this a time or two in practice. It worked. In fact, we are thinking this might be the game plan for the UConn game (Shhh, don’t tell them, let it be a surprise).

Oh don’t get C and R wrong. Nneka and Chiney still worked it inside and scored, especially in the opening of the second half. Nneka and Chiney each played 16 minutes, yet they scored 14 and 13 respectively. Nneka could still elevate and score, as evidenced by a steal and an open court fast break with the crowd hoping for a dunk. She laid it in, but her hand hit the backboard. And Chiney could still get the offensive rebound and put it back. She would have 9 boards, 5 on offense alone. And Chiney did a Nneka, twice. A Nneka is where you grab the ball and shoot without hitting the ground. R pointed out that Chiney gets a 2-for-1 when shooting a Nneka, a rebound and a basket.

With the veterans firmly taking a seat, Tara is still auditioning the freshmen, giving them ample playing time. At one point she had four freshmen and Sarah Boothe. C and R love freshman Erica Payne. She is scrappy, hustles and makes steals. We think of her as a Jillian Harmon type player, who played for Stanford a few years back. Freshie Amber Orrange not a typo had a smart block, smart considering she’s 5’7. An OD player went up and Amber jumped up, the OD player hesitated in the air, so Amber hesitated, keeping her arms in and when the OD player raised the ball, Amber moved her hands into the ball and blocked all ball, no foul. If she would have gone up high waiting for the block, with her smaller height, she surely would have fouled. Very smart, and quick hands and thought process.

Final score would be 97-48, and the only drama was could they reach 100? They didn’t, but the scoring was shared, mission accomplished.

Well, next game is UConn. It will be a question mark as to how that game will unfold. Will it be the Nneka and Chiney show or bombs away from three point land. Tara is probably hoping for a little of both. It will be different from last year, that’s for sure, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Candice Wiggins, Coach

WNBA Champion Candice Wiggins surprised the heck out of everyone (well, C and R anyway) by not going overseas to play ball. Instead, she added “assistant coach” to her resume. Candice joined Occidental College as assistant coach. Her responsibilities will be grooming the guards. Did C and R mention that Candice was a four-time All-American guard at Stanford before playing in the WNBA? Oh, you knew that already.

Before you say “Occidental who?” or “isn’t that a life insurance policy?” know that Occidental is a small liberal arts college down south in LA that plays in Division III and is coached by a woman named Heidi. As in VanDerveer. Tara Vanderveer’s sister. Heidi VanDerveer is Stanford Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tara Vanderveer’s sister (say that five times fast!).

What a perfect match. Candice was a favorite of Tara VanDerveer during her four years at Stanford and we are sure Heidi likes her equally as much, if not more, because, well, she’s Candice Wiggins. Who wouldn’t like her? Going through four years of a Stanford program helmed by master minded Tara VanDerveer gives anyone an advanced degree in basketball smarts. Having the exuberance and outgoing good energy that motives a player to do better than their best is priceless. Ice should make an excellent assistant coach, and we wish her and Occidental college the best of luck.

Other Stanford Stuff:
What are you doing this Friday? Come on down to Maples, but not for Basketball. Come for Volleyball. The National Anthem will be sung by Stanford players, but not for Volleyball. For basketball. Say what? Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, Jasmine Camp, and Natasha von Kaeppler will be singing the anthem around 6:45 before the Stanford vball game vs Pac-12 foe Oregon. They’ve been practicing!

Heads up for December 3rd: Meet the Team at Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, for autographs, pictures and prizes! Fun starts at 1 and goes until 2 PM.

Lastly, this Thursday, against Old Dominion,.bring  a canned good, get a general admission ticket. Or just bring a canned good, no perishables, for the Big Can Drive.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

All Ogwumike, All the Time

C and R step into a well-warmed Maples to get a look at their beloved Stanford Women’s Basketball team in person, playing their first game at home, second of the season. It will also be the first regular season game for All-America Nneka Ogwumike, who was held out of their first game with an “unspecified upper body injury.”

We see the team warming up and an extra Cardinal Red pad on Nneka’s right elbow, so perhaps that is the source of the mystery injury. We are looking forward to seeing sisters Nneka and Chiney play together for the first time in the regular season this year. We also see Gonzaga warming up, for the first time with out standout guard Courtney Vandersloot, who graduated to the WNBA. We will see if there will be a drop off in scoring.

The game starts and Gonzaga is the impressive one in the opening minutes. They have such strong fundamentals and are quick, and push the ball in transition. Also, it doesn’t help that Nneka is flat and missing shots. And it doesn’t help matters even more when a minute and a half into the game Chiney Ogwumike picks up her first foul and gets VanDerveered (benched by head coach Tara VanDerveer).

Around the 16-minute mark, during an official timeout, Stanford brings out on the court Trisha Stevens, who played on the 1992 National Championship team and was just recently inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame. The video montage of her stats is mind-blowing. Around the same time, freshmen Amber Orrange (not a typo) makes her first appearance in front of the home crowd.

Then the sisters get busy. As R notes, the sisters own the floor, they own the paint and they own the rebounds. At one point, Nneka is thrown an alley-oop pass and she catches and shoots it before hitting the ground. Not a lot of women’s players can pull off that feat (did anyone clock her hang time?). However, the sister’s scoring and rebounding ability, and Nneka’s jaw-dropping plays are tempered by rookie mistakes. Some of them by the freshmen. Guard Toni Kokenis, a sophomore with a lot of playing time last year under her belt is also passing it away. To be fair, Gonzaga is quick, smart and anticipating where Stanford is going to go with the ball. Whatever the cause, Stanford will end up with 16 turnovers for the game, 10 in the first half alone.

When Nneka takes a well-deserved break around the 7 and a half mark, she has 13 points and Gonzaga has 13 points. The score is 22-13, mostly from Chiney and Toni scoring when Nneka doesn’t. Nneka would have a double-double by half time. One notable score was Jos Tinkle (Bells) scoring on a nifty spin move near the basket on a fast break, breaking ankles and showing us some Show Time. Alas, that would be the only points she scores for the game.

Before the half, though, it is Gonzaga that makes its run. In the last 6 minutes, Gonzaga scores 18 while Stanford can only muster 6 points. Gonzaga would tie the score at 29 with 2 minutes left.

Stanford tries to go for one last shot with 30 seconds left and loses the ball out of bounds with 12 seconds left. Quick minded Tara VanDerveer inserts quick-hands Amber Orrange into the lineup for defense. The freshmen promptly fouls and Gonzaga sinks both shots to go up 32-31 at the half. Tara VanDerveer is going to go bald pulling hair while dealing with these freshmen! Media sources on Twitter not related to Stanford are drooling, hoping for the upset.

At the half, Stanford brings out Trisha Stevens again, plus her teammates from the 1992 National Championship to be honored. The video board shows they played at a high level even back then.

At the start of the second half, Stanford comes out with much more intensity, hustling and diving for loose balls. C and R are sure a “pep time talk” by Tara helped spark that. Many hitting the deck, most notably Toni and Lindy LaRocque.

Then it becomes the Nneka and Chiney show. Really, it wasn’t until Toni Kokenis hit a 3 pointer at the 13-minute mark that any other Stanford player scored not named Ogwumike in the second half. They could not stop Chiney inside. Nneka was even falling to the ground on a hard foul, threw the ball up and it went in. The second jaw-dropping play occurred when Nneka picked the pocket of a Zag guard and raced for the lay up, nearly stumbling for running so hard. As she neared the basket on the left, she faked a hard pass to her right. The Zag guard totally turned around to harass the streaking Stanford player on the right, who DIDN’T have the ball. Nneka had kept it and went up for an uncontested lay-up. Brought Maples to their feet.

The sisters would have had more points, but twice Nneka passed up a basket to try to hit Chiney. Gonzaga tried to double-team at least one of them, but really, they should have put all five on the two. No one for Stanford looked like a scoring threat, which, after basking in glee at their scoring, is really, really troubling for Stanford. Three point shooting was a non-existent threat, the team just 3-13 for the game.

Oh wait, was that Candice Wiggins who just walked by? Candice Wiggins in the house! Our section yelled great things to her and she acknowledged us all! She couldn’t get her championship here, but finally got one in the WNBA. She is well loved here at Stanford.

When Nneka finally came out of the game for good at the four and a half minute mark, the score was 69-51. Nneka would take a seat with 33 points and 18 rebounds.

As Stanford was pulling away, Tara put in four freshmen with center Sarah Boothe. With one minute left, Tara calls a time out and yells at her freshmen to “Get over here,” her face red. She was mad. We tell ya, those freshmen will be the death of her yet!

Hats off to Gonzaga, they didn’t quit and they didn’t back down when Stanford made a basket. Final score was 76-61.

Chiney had 19 points and 6 rebounds. Adding Nneka and Chiney’s points together, and you get 52 of Stanford’s 76. Chip in starting sophomore Toni Kokenis’ 14 and other teams are going to figure out who NOT to guard, which is everyone else on Stanford’s team. Troublesome indeed.

Still, it is hard not to be happy about the remarkable performance Nneka had, coupled with Chiney’s rebounding and scoring on the weak side. Now, if Stanford can just get a few more players involved.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stanford VS Texas

Friday Night:
So here we are in front of three, count ‘em three computers to watch our beloved Stanford Women’s Basketball Team. And what online site did we tune in? The Texas Longhorn Network! Blasphemy, or just really glad the content is available online and free? You decide.

Friday Afternoon:
Thanks to social media, C and R found out Nneka Ogwumike was not going to play in the Texas game. After C got over her heart palpitations, and R helped her off the floor, we quickly retweeted it. And worried. The tweet said “Upper Body Injury.” What the heck does that mean? After an exhaustive search of the Internet, we found out she got the unspecified “upper body” injury in practice this week and should be back for the home opener this Sunday vs Gonzaga. Still not very helpful on the “what” but we are glad it is not serious to Nneka and she can still play.

Back to Friday Night:
After getting all the computers fired up, we tuned in just in time for the starting lineup to be announced without Nneka. Starters were little sis Chiney, of course, plus vets Lindy LaRocque and Toni Kokenis at guards, Joslyn Tinkle and a surprising freshman pick, Taylor Greenfield at the center and forward spots. Stanford was also were wearing their black uniforms, the ones C personally likes, and thinks of as good luck charms, something she thinks they are going to need, without Nneka and a lot of untested and inexperienced guards.

Friday Game Time:
Okay, Stanford has Chiney, who has been a rebounding beast in exhibition and can score inside, we should be okay and then a whistle 30 seconds into the game and Chiney has her first foul. Any astute Stanford fan knows what that means, you foul, you take a seat. Stanford head coach Tara VnaDerveer wouldn’t take her best scoring and rebounding weapon out early, with the second best option on the bench, would she? Yes, take a seat Chiney, next to Nneka not in uniform. Now our two best scorers and rebounders are on the bench.

Stanford doesn’t panic and although we are not scoring early and often, as we do when Nneka and Chiney are in, we are not letting Texas getting many scoring chances.

Friday Night, three minutes into the game:
Three minutes into the game and another freshmen Amber Orrange (not typo and pronounced Or-rahn-jah, with the r sound rolling off the back of your throat.) enters the game. She uses her quickness to quickly get a steal. Then just as quickly makes a freshmen mistake, turning over the ball. She, and all the freshmen, will be a work on progress this season, that’s for sure.

So, we know Nneka is not playing, then we keep hearing the announcers say, “Nneka dribbles, Nneka passes”. It’s not our Nneka but it turns out they have a Nneka, too. Texas has a player named Nneka Enemkpali, who also played her high school ball in Texas, like Stanford’s Nneka. And here we though Nneka was such a unique name. Small world.

Friday Half Time:
Score at the half 35-30, Stanford holding on to the five point lead. Unbelievably, when Chiney picked up her second foul in the 1st half she was limited to 6 minutes playing time. Yet she collected 4 rebounds. Although with Chiney out, Texas caught up on rebounds in the stat column.

Almost all the freshmen got to touch the floor in the first half. Bonnie Samuelson and Erica Payne made it in. Bonnie got a three-point shot off with an incredibly quick release, but it seemed more rushed than spot on and missed its mark. (However the official score says Bonnie did not shoot, so maybe C and R are imagining things) Yet it was freshie Amber Orrange who impressed. She had 12 first half points, and scored when Chiney was on the bench. Texas Coach Gail Goestenkors was grabbed at the half for a recap and she told the announcer, “we wanted to limit Stanford’s threes (they did, Stanford only made one in the first half). And we need to guard Orrange and her left hand. Everything is left, and everything is a lay up.” Memo to Tar VanDerveer, teach Amber to go right sometimes. Amber only had two points in the second half for a total of 14 points. Maybe Texas was on to her.

Friday Start of Second Half:
Second half opens and Stanford has better ball movement, nice crisp passes, and scores five quick points in two and a half minutes to go up by ten before Texas takes a timeout to discuss why they have no points the second half. Freshie Taylor Greenfield had a nice pull up jumper and looked calm and poised. She would end up with nine total points.

The second half would see short runs by both teams, but Texas was plagued by poor shooting and could never manage to come close to taking the lead. Stanford also got a lot warmer, shooting wise. Toni Kokenis had two first half points, then ten for the game. Chiney would end up with 16. Tinkle had four 1st half points and ten in the second for 14 total. Several media sources say she looked more comfortable playing with her back to the basket as a true center tonight than as a forward, as she has been asked to do the last two years.

Texas was limited by only dressing eight. Several were out for medical reasons and one for team violations. Texas also hurt themselves by not making a three pointer in the first half. The Texas starting center, Ashley Gayle, was held to zero points. The announcers mentioned several times that certain Texas players were not in “game shape” some due to injuries limited training, but really, this is college basketball, you need to be in game shape the day of the game.

One thing we didn’t imagine hearing this game: “Amber Orrange with the block!” Oh yes she did. She made a block, gathered the ball, and raced for an uncontested lay up. Boy, they weren’t kidding when they said Stanford is a different team this year.

Friday End of Game:
Stanford went on to hold the lead and increase it, winning 72-59, and Texas didn’t help themselves by shooting 34% for the game. Amber was the most impressive freshman, with 14 points and six rebounds. However, she did have five turnovers, and they were mostly rookie mistakes, trying to force a ball in to traffic, a pass that might have worked in high school. Hopefully experience will weed that out. A little startling was Chiney’s free throw shooting. She was 2-7 for the game. Stanford can’t afford to leave points on the board like that.

Friday Evening:
Out for a night on the town with friends

Saturday Afternoon:
Finally get around to writing this blog

It is always good to have that first game under your belt. Game two is Sunday vs. Gonzaga, who won their opener 101-88 over Hofstra. Hopefully Nneka will be back in the lineup. See ya then.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Watching Stanford Play Texas

So here we are, us Stanford Women’s Basketball fans, our appetites whetted from the two exhibition games sprinkled with healthy doses of freshmen and Stanford getting ready to start the season against a ranked opponent, and WE CAN’T WATCH THE GAME! Well, not unless we fly to Texas. It’s like pulling the rug out from under us while meeting the queen, which Liz Cambage did recently (sorry, getting off topic)! C and R thought the Pac-12 deal meant we would see more Pac-12 stuff on TV, including women’s sports?

But thanks to a tip from a Texas fan, of all people, there is a way (and it doesn’t involve Gametracker). The game is being carried on the Longhorn Network, (something we are hoping to see from the Cardinal Network one of these days). Normally, out West, we wouldn’t get this, but it just so happens the Longhorns are offering a free weekend, starting Friday, just in time for the Stanford-Texas game. Caution, this is still the Longhorn Network dot com, so you are watching on the internet, but still, it should be a TV feed, right? Anyway, just go to the Longhorn Network website at game time to watch live. Now we just need to figure out what time zone. ESPN says 8PM Eastern Time, yet Austin is in Central time, which would mean, let’s see, carry the one, game time 5 PM Stanford time? You do the math, you’re so smart.

(Special thanks to Texas Fan Babhorn for alerting us. Read his preview of the game from the Texas side, followed by Stanford’s side).

In other Stanford Women’s Basketball news, when the Stanford faithful DO get to see their team back at Maples, (Sunday Nov 13th against Gonzaga) there will be a half time celebration of the 1992 Stanford National Champs. Also honored will be Trisha Stevens’ Stanford Hall of Fame induction and Tara VanDerveer’s National BB HOF induction. Don’t miss it.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stanford vs Vanguard

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team used their second and last exhibition game of the season to further test drive their freshmen. C and R were surprised to see two freshmen starters in the announced lineup Saturday afternoon. Granted, Stanford was playing Vanguard, but still, how long have the freshmen been playing Stanford ball? Granted, one of the freshmen starting might have had to do with sophomore guard Toni Kokenis resting her wrist as a precaution and not playing at all.

Well, you’re asking C and R, how did they do? Well, freshie Amber Orrange (not a typo) handled point guard duties first, and she definitely brings speed and confidence to the position. Is she point guard ready? Well, she moves fast but she goes so fast that it is almost as if she says, “I don’t see someone open so I’ll just drive to the basket full steam ahead.” R says she needs to slow down and direct the traffic more, be a decision maker and play maker.

Taylor Greenfield was the second freshmen that got the start, and C and R know she can shoot the three, but we must admit, we didn’t see much from her in the first half. She did hit a three and then when she shot again, had a nifty move back inside when they came out to contest her three, so maybe she can add more to that.

Jasmine Camp was the third freshie in and the second to handle point guard duties. She also showed speed and good ball and body control. She had pretty much the same speed as Orrange but seemed to look to pass or create for her teammates more. Both guards were super quick on defense, and played full court man-to-man, even denying the entry pass after a basket. And when was the last time we saw a Stanford guard steal the ball in the back court and get an easy lay-up? We saw it not once but twice in the first half by both speedy freshmen guards. It definitely gives Stanford a new look and something else for other teams to think about.

C and R were very impressed with three point specialist Bonnie Samuelson. She made five 3-pointers again this game. Many have commented on her shot, ugly, coming from the chest area, but heck it goes in. Nate of Swish Appeal even tweeted, “I have no clue how Stanford freshman Bonnie Samuelson's shot goes in with that shooting form...but it does. A lot.” A good friend commented it looks like Kate Starbird’s, and Tara shouldn’t try to fix Bonnie’s just as they eventually left Kate’s alone. But dang, C and R are worried quicker teams will be able to block or alter that shot. (We’re just sayin’). However, for someone so thin, she got rebounds and had a great spin move/put back on offense, showing she’s more than that 3-point shot!

Freshmen forward Erica Payne is in the mold of Jillian Harmon. All around good at everything, very athletic, nose for the ball and scrappy. Gets a rebound even though others are taller. Will get you a basket come heck or high water. We like her in with a taller, bigger Tinkle or Boothe. In fact, at one point, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer had four freshmen and Tinkle on the floor. Tara REALLY wants to see what the freshmen can do in a game situation.

Rounding out the freshmen was guard Alex Green, coming off ACL surgery. She also has speed and more ability to create shots for her teammates. C and R get so nervous when she is in there because we keep reading she is JUST coming off ACL surgery although she tore it in high school. It’s probably been awhile since the surgery, but we wince every time we see her drive up the floor.

C and R would be remiss if we didn’t mention the veterans. We mentioned Toni was resting her wrist and Mikaela Ruef is still resting her planter fasciitis. Nneka Ogwumike still looks head and shoulders above the rest, but the crowd was bummed she had very limited minutes (15 of them).

But let’s talk about Chiney for a moment (Sure she’s never heard that before!) Chiney Ogwumike looked more mature, calmer, and dished off unselfishly to her sister even though she was open. In that case, she knew how to assist her sister. She also rebounded, especially offensively. And for the second game, Chiney outscored Nneka 11 to 6, although it because Tara doesn’t need to see Nneka right now, she knows what she can do.

Big shout out to Joslyn Tinkle (did we hear Tinkle Bells? Oh, that was mostly us shaking them) for getting Stanford to 100. We were just betting our little girls team if they would do it or not and Tink sank two free throws with 2.1 seconds left. Whew, that was close. Final score, Stanford 100, Vanguard 54.

One of the great things about going out to the games instead of watching them on TV or following on electronic devices (Gawd awful Gametracker on the computer) is you get to see so many friends. Big shout out to old friends S and T. (When we golfin’ at Stanford?). Sorry we didn't sit with Twitter Buddy SC (were with little girls team and not enough seats!). We were supposed to meet up with Nate the Great from Swish Appeal, who was in the stands as a fan as opposed to working. He even called R’s cell phone, but we didn’t get the message until we were in the car (technology is hard for C and R). He said he saw us walking away but we missed him. Sorry Nate, please forgive us and let’s go out after the game next time! Also big shout out to Facebook Fan MC!

Well, Tara has almost a week to look at what she saw these last two games and come up with a starting lineup and game plan against Texas. Are we a 3-point shooting machine (14 made out of 35 attempts), or will we push an inside game (Ogwumike sisters) or will we use speed (freshmen guards) to blow past everyone? Or some of everything?
We’ll find out Friday. Follow C and R on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stanford's First Exhibition Game

Bonnie SamuelsonLast night against UC San Diego, C and R couldn’t wait to see what the six Stanford Women’s Basketball freshmen could do, and apparently, neither could head coach Tara VanDerveer. Tara wasted no time in inserting the freshmen into the lineup, usually at a pace of 3 freshmen to 2 veterans, which is the configuration she used on the court. What C and R took away from the game was the freshmen are talented and bring a different skill set to the team, some of which have been missing for awhile, but boy, are those rookies raw.

Freshmen guards Jasmine Camp and Amber Orrange (not a typo and pronounced O rahnge, not orange the fruit) both had blinding speed and were not afraid to drive to the basket, usually beating the defense, skills we haven’t had in a point guard since, well, Candice Wiggins. Tara also has some tall freshmen in the line up, but they were not brought in to bang around and play center, witness Bonnie Samuelson, who probably weights 98 pounds soaking wet. They were both brought in as 3-point specialist and Bonnie wasted no time going off. She made five, count ‘em, five 3-pointers, three in the space of two minutes. Very quick release, although C and R wish she shot the ball a little more from her shoulder, not her hip. She might be easy to block with a quicker team, but hey, you can’t argue her accuracy; she made her five out of seven shots, all taken from the 3-point range.

But there were rookie mistakes. A lot of rookie mistakes. Mostly in the form of ill advised passes.

Veterans shined early on, when they got to touch the floor. The first few minutes or so, it was the Nneka and Chiney show, not that Maples minded. The Ogwumike sisters scored 36 of the 105 points. (Oh, did we forget to mention that Stanford broke a hundred? They did, even with the freshmen getting ample playing time. Final score was 106-56. Well, Tennessee won their first exhibition game by 65 points, and we only won by 50, but who’s counting?). Senior Nneka scored 17 and sophomore Chiney got 19, one of the few times Chiney outscored Nneka. Chiney also gobbled up 14 rebounds, 12 of them defensively. Junior Joslyn Tinkle was third in scoring with 16 and grabbed 11 rebounds, eight of them defensively, although if you look at UC San Diego’s size, we don’t think they even tried to rebound on offense, instead using quick play to try and dislodge the ball whenever they could, even after Stanford might have secured the rebound. Tinkle also had two crowd-pleasing blocks, sending one ball well into the first row. Emboldened by the blocks, she took more chances on swiping on defense and then got called for two quick fouls. Coach won’t be happy with that.

Speaking of fouls, Sarah Boothe fouled out in just 12 minutes of play, scoring just two points, and oh, C and R wouldn’t like to be in Sarah’s shoes after Tara breaks down the game film (Oh yes we would, good or bad, to hear Tara impart her wisdom, even if dressing you down… priceless).
Mikaela Ruef was the only Stanford player not to see any action. She looked like she was limping a little. Hope her injury is minor.

One last thing, want to give a big shout out to the UC San Diego supporters who painted their stomachs with their former high school teammates names. Oh, did we forget to mention they were all young ladies. They had painted stomachs and sports bras and C and R aren’t sure if they lost some bet or just felt empowered and a little bit crazy. Usually the painting of stomachs at sporting events is displayed only by beer-bellied men, so hats off to them for showing their support in a festive way.

Second exhibition game Saturday, 2 PM vs. Vanguard. Bet we get to see even more of the freshmen.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stanford Season Starting

Hi everyone, it’s finally, finally November, and finally, finally time for women’s basketball! Stanford has an exhibition game, let’s check here, oh, tomorrow! They play UC San Diego at Maples at 7 PM. And we finally, finally get to see the six freshmen! C and R can’t wait.

And, C and R want to apologize for not writing more blogs in the off season, as we have been sucked up by Twitter, which we kindly tried to let you have access on our website. It’s just really easy when find an article on Stanford Women’s Basketball to post the link on Twitter, or a photo on Facebook, which then goes to Twitter. (Just as it was easier to post Stanford is 5th in preseason polls, Nneka is a preseason All American, Nneka and Chiney are preseason Wooden Favorites, and Stanford is favored to win the Pac-12, preseasonly). We have noticed Stanford’s official site has been leaning towards Facebook and Twitter, as well. But we will try to write more in depth on the blog in the future now that the season is actually here.

In fact, we had one fan write in to say Stanford’s site was lacking in content and C and R were lacking in coverage. Did you hear that? We have a fan! No seriously, we can we, (and Stanford say), the world seems to be transitioning to social media. It will be interesting to see how Stanford and other sites handle media output this season (and just as interesting to see how Stanford season’s going to go with the 6 freshmen).

That’s it for now, see you at the game and back here afterward.

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