Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stanford Struggles with UConn

Groan. It’s not that C and R can’t take a loss, it’s the way that the Stanford Women’s Basketball team lost to archrival UConn. They were embarrassed.

Here’s the thing, this is how C and R thought this season would go. Not that we want to be Negative Nellie’s but let’s look at last year. Pull up any box score from the 2011-2012 season and you’ll see Nneka Ogwumike high scorer and Chiney second-high scorer, and the sisters will have combined for half or more of Stanford’s total points. If the team were lucky, maybe a third person would break double figures or get to 10. And Chiney scored most by rebounding Nneka’s misses, or if they doubled Nneka, Chiney could knife inside, and make the other team pay. Take Nneka out of that equation, since she graduated, and you have one prolific scorer and not a whole lot of help. C and R predicted that all opponents would have to do is double Chiney and no one would step up.

And that is exactly what UConn did. Credit to them, they had a definite and exacting game plan and stuck to it, because frankly, Stanford could not or did not adjust. More on that later.

Chiney Ogwumike gets doubled teamed
Chiney Ogwumike is doubled-teamed by UConn - Sean Harvey / SF Chron
So what did UConn do? First, they took away Chiney. Big tall Stephanie Dolson, who is a true 6’5, guarded her. Then when Chiney touched the ball one or two more people came over on her. The result was she was off balanced and pushed out away for the basket more than normal.

But here’s the rub. When two and then three people are double teaming you, there should be other people open. But for Stanford, no one cut to the basket or got in a passing lane to give an option to Chiney. The other offensive players were just standing around, used to Chiney scoring. And when she did miss, and three defenders have effectively walled Chiney off from the rebound, no one else from Stanford rebounded. Although we did note Stanford’s two guards would back pedal on defense to limit UConn’s fast break chances, so they were just following orders. But where were the forwards? Joslyn Tinkle, who celebrated her birthday on game day, had just two points for the game. It was not good basketball.

So Stanford went to plan B. Amber Orrrrange, playing point, would drive down the middle, to meet Stephanie Dolson. Amber could not get a good shot off, sometimes eating the ball and looking to pass it back outside. She scored zero points for the game.

Rinse and repeat those two scenarios. To the tune of 13 first half points for Stanford and 31 for UConn. What was really frustrating was Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer, who is the master of the adjustment at the half, did not seem to adjust enough to try something different.

The third thing UConn did was press in the backcourt. Stanford is notorious for not being able to handle the press, but this was ridiculous. Either the ball would get stolen, and it was mostly Amber that was the victim of those steals or now the shot clock was eaten up and Stanford had to rush their shot selection. Stanford had 14 turnovers for the game that resulted in 15 points for UConn. And UConn is not the kind of team you want to fall behind.

But the worst thing is Stanford did not play smart. TVD said her team was doing things “out of character”. Some of it was little things, such as when Toni Kokenis’ defensive player fell down, she passed to a guarded player instead of taking a wide open shot. And some of it was big. In the second half, Stanford did adjust and figure out how to break the full court press. The guard bringing the ball up would throw to an open player at the half court line. And here is where all of Maples was flummoxed. That player would turn to the basket and there would be three white shirts against two navy shirts and instead of attacking the basket and taking advantage of the numbers, they would wait and hold the ball, letting UConn get all five players back on D and then start their rotation, shot clock ticking down. And this happened a lot. The Maples crowd at first exhorted their team to press it forward. Then the crowd booed. I have never, ever heard the Stanford fans boo their own team.

So Dolson is limiting Chiney and Stanford can’t go down the middle when she is in there. So when Dolson does go to the bench for long stretches, Stanford….stops attacking the middle and does not get it to Chiney? What? Instead they stuck to this very exacting rotation of players, who move one at a time. No cuts or quick movements without the ball. And when a Stanford player did catch the ball, they stood flatfooted, not in a triple threat or looking to shoot over their defender. Their body language said "I am waiting for the next rotation to pass and will not drive or shoot on you". That makes for easy defending.

Stanford did have a mini run when Bonnie Samuelson got two threes and Geno got T’ed up for hassling the refs. (If you call going from down 23 to down 15 a mini run). And guess what? Dolson was on the bench for that run. She came back in, scored a basket and that put the lid on anything, because, Stanford had still not altered their game plan.

The one time in the second half when Stanford pushed the ball against UConn’s press, Mikaela Ruef took the ball to the basket hard. Big Stephanie Dolson stepped up to defend and Ruef jumped up, and forward into Dolson. Their bodies met and although Ruef took a hard spill on the floor, Dolson was called with her third foul, as the refs will favor the offense in a meeting of the bodies. Smart. So, does Stanford even try that again? No. Do that one more time and Dolson has four fouls and would go to the bench and you can have some breathing room. But no, no one tries that. Chiney again catches the ball and jumps up and backwards to try to get away from Dolson’s arms and the result is another missed shot and another rebound scooped up by UConn. Not smart.

How ugly was this? Let’s quote some statistics. Well, the final score was 61-35. At one point in the first half, the score was 22-7. Stanford was 5-22 in the first half for a 15% completion rate, and a little better in the second, going 6-24 for 25%. That makes 19% for the game. That was Stanford’s lowest single-game shooting effort and fewest field goals made. Stanford was also uncharacteristically ineffective at the line, going 11-20. Ruef was 0-4, and scored zero points for the game .Oh, silver lining, it wasn’t Stanford’s worst home loss, that was a 1983 96-51 loss to Long Beach State before Tara’s time. And Chiney did score 18 points in this game. It just seemed like she missed all her shots. No one else for Stanford reached double figures.

UConn had a balanced offensive attack, with four players in double figures. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 19, and three players had ten, with an additional bench player with nine. How balanced is that?

As bad as Stanford was, why hasn’t the rest of this season’s games gone this way? Why did other Stanford players step up in those games and not here? How did Stanford get to be 11-0 before this game if a team can so easily exploit their weaknesses? The rest of the season will be interesting to watch.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stanford Women Beats Tennessee 73-60.

Congrats to the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team beating #10 Tennessee, at home, in a hostile orange-clad arena. Granted Tenn. was without Legendary Coach Pat Summit at the helm for the first time in, oh, 30 years or so, but still, it is hard to get a win there. I think this was their second win since 1996. C and R are starting to think they deserve this here number one ranking!

Another top 10 victory for Stanford, another game NOT shown Nationally. It is baffling. Usually number 1 vs. number 10, at a sold out arena in Tennessee, the Stanford vs. Tennessee rivalry, how is Tennessee doing in it’s first year without Pat Summit, so many story lines, this game is usually shown. Why the snub? We will never know, but I am guessing the answer is…because they’re women. Sigh.

Chiney Ogwumike
Chiney Ogwumike is high scorer over Tennessee - Wade Payne / AP Photo
Stanford never trailed this one, (yes they were tied 8-8 early in the first half), but Stanford made the first 4 points and never let up. But that’s the thing, though; C and R have no idea if it was great Stanford defense or bad Tennessee shooting. Tennessee at one point was shooting 23% from the field and 0-13 on threes way into the second half. It is so hard to get a sense of the game from the radio (Although bless KZSU for trying, and actually broadcasting something, are you listening ESPN and all your affiliate stations?).

And kudos to Tennessee for not giving up. They came back from double-digit deficits twice to pull with 8 or 9. But really, when you are in double-digit deficits, you are not really in the game.

Chiney Ogwumike grabbed a career high 19 rebounds and pounded in 21 points. She also had a career high 4 assists, so kudos for knowing when to pass and when to shoot. According to the Tennessee website, Chiney’s rebounds are the most by an opponent ever at Thompson-Boling Arena (with Pat Summit’s name on the hardwood floor). It’s Chiney’s eighth double-double of the season, we believe. She had her double-double just 14 minutes into the first half.

Which brings us to another point. Chiney was scoring early, but not much help from the starters or bench. Point Guard Amber Orrrrange did some nice drives to the hoop, but called twice for charges and had to sit in the second with 4 personal fouls. Bonnie Samuelson, coming off the bench, got two quick threes right before the end of the first half, with the KZSU announcer stating no one from Tennessee was even getting a hand in her face. Amber would finish with 14, Bonnie Stanford guard Toni Kokenis each had 11 apiece. Starter and big presence Jos Tinkle was notably absent for most of the game. She did managed to score 10, eight near the end of the second half. When Tennessee did start one of their comebacks early in the second half, Chiney had only one free throw point. It is hard to get a team win when the team goes as Chiney goes. If you look at the box score on the win against Baylor, everyone contributed big points.

Yes, five players were in double figures for Stanford by the end of the game, but three are on the low end, and Taylor Greenfield played just 8 minutes and missed one shot for 0 points. She took a hard fall on her chin a few games ago, so C and R wonder how she is doing. So, next game UConn, with a Stanford home-court streak on the line, and oh, wouldn’t UConn like to play streak-killer like Stanford has done to them in the past. Every player from Stanford will need to step up and score 15 or more if they want to out-score and out-last UConn.

Hope the Stanford Women’s Basketball players and coaches enjoy their time off with their families for the holidays. They deserve it.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stanford Survives South Carolina

The box score will say Stanford beat South Carolina 53-49, but the story of the game was turnovers. Stanford had 18, to SC’s seven. What the box score doesn’t show is how many were unforced. Couple that stat with six team assists, and you can see why Stanford did not score much. South Carolina must have seen that tape of Stanford beating Pacific, and the team passing it inside to Chiney Ogwumike, who went on to score 31 points. Although she score 21 tonight and got her eighth double-double (15 rebounds), she had to earn those points by herself. The passing game wasn’t working.

Chiney Ogwumike
It's all up to Chiney - Rainier Ehrhardt / AP Photo
The second biggest story of the game was Stanford’s bench scoring just two points, It didn’t help that Stanford also was 0-4 from three point-land. The long ball is the specialty of Bonnie Samuelson and Taylor Greenfield, and the bench mates were 0-3. Contrast that with the Baylor game where Greenfield went 4-6 from behind the arc and added 16 points to the total. Low, or no, bench production makes for a low score. And it was strange to see senior Joslyn Tinkle score zero points as well, although she did have a career high seven blocks. Five in the first five minutes or so. Chiney, her twin, added 4 blocks to make 11 for the game. 

How does no bench scoring and a starter not scoring affect you as a team? The score at the half was 24-17, still close, and Stanford’s lowest point total at half for the season. Another starter, Mikaela Ruef would only add four total points, but she got her first basket of the second half with 54 seconds left and the game dead-locked at 45. It would keep Stanford ahead for good as Toni Kokenis provided six foul shots in the final 23 seconds to hold off a late desperation three-pointer and foul shot from South Carolina.

So another Stanford win, and another Stanford game NOT shown on TV in the Bay Area. This is getting ridiculous. Are you listening PAC-12 Channel? So we can’t be sure if South Carolina had a great defensive game or Stanford shot themselves in the foot, as when point guard Amber Orrrrange passed the ball to Chiney’s foot.

It was equally frustrating to listen to the game on KZSU and have the game cut out with technical problems. Did it have to happen right around the 2:34 mark when South Carolina took a two-point lead? Thank Goodness for Twitter providing updates, as the game was tied twice more in that short time period, and Toni icing it for Stanford. She would score 15, and Amber nine, the only starters in double digits besides Chiney.

Next up is a bus trip to the Mountain Top; I mean Rocky Top, and Tennessee. Have to shoot better in that one.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stanford Women's Basketball Team Wipes Out Pacific

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team finally got to see some court action after a long lay off for those pesky finals, which C and R are sure those Stanford kids blew away. Their latest victim was Pacific, and they blew them out 78-43.

And once again, C and R couldn’t be there due to their little girls having a game at the same time, and believe me, we know how Pacific feels ('nuf said). So we missed Chiney Ogwumike getting a career high 31 points and 13 boards (glad it wasn’t 12 and 12 and 12 assists or some other Mayan nonsense). Oh, she only played 28 minutes, so she averaged more than a point a minute she was on the floor.
Pacific even double teamed Chiney, and she would not be open on the first or even second pass, but maybe on the third or fourth pass, and she credits teammates for still looking for her deep into the shot clock. It’s hard to double-team a perpetual motion machine for most of 30 seconds. Even Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer stressed how Chiney had to keep re-posting and demanding the ball. Let that be a lesson to you young folk.

Chiney Ogwumike
Even tripled-teamed, Chiney Ogwumike scores vs Pacific. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

While Chiney is scoring the points, Mikaela Ruef continues to be a force that does the little things to ensure the victory. She added a career high 13 rebounds and dished out five assists. Joslyn Jingle Tinkle added 10 points. The only low point was when Taylor Greenfield fell on her chin and trainers evaluated her neck. She walked to the locker room under her own power, but no word yet on how she is doing.

Stanford won their 82nd consecutive home game at Maples, the longest active streak in the nation. The next two games are on the road (south Carolina and Tennessee), so the steak won’t be tested until December 29 when they play…UConn. To which we say, bring it on!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stanford Women’s Basketball Capsule

C and R apologize for the dearth of reporting on the Stanford’s Women’s Basketball team. One was on us, we couldn’t make the Long Beach State home game, as we had our little girl’s scrimmage. The others, well, they were away and not in any kinda TV, and although I think all of them were live streamed, it is just not the same. The low quality, herky-jerky motion makes it hard to watch let alone analyze the team. So with no fanfare, here is a capsule of the games since Stanford won the Rainbow Wahine Tournament  and upset Baylor in the process (that also wasn’t televised and nobody saw).

Long Beach State:
Stanford, playing there first game since being declared number 1 in the country, beat Long Beach State 77-41. Chiney Ogwumike had a double-double, but most notable, Joslyn Tinkle out scored her, 18 points to 16. Guard Amber Orrrrange added 13, and Taylor Greenfield came off the bench and scored 11, and it was great to see Chiney get offensive help from others.

UC Davis:
Most notable was the score, 87-38. That’s some good team defense. Chiney had a career high-tying 27 points and 13 points for another double-double. I think the only drama in this one was could Chiney single handedly outscored the UC Davis team in the first half? It was a tie, 19-19.

Again, not televised in our area. This one featured Stanford senior Joslyn Tinkle playing against her baby sister Elle, a Gonzaga freshmen. The last time these two were on a court together, there were on the same team. Jos was a senior in high school and Elle a freshmen and they won the Montana State Championship. Cool. Stanford fans have enjoyed the last two years witnessing the special relationship between the Ogwumike sisters, but it is hard to see family members go against each other. A few years back Stanford’s Hannah Donaghe played against her older sister, Haylee, who was on UC Davis’ team. That also resulted in a Stanford win. Against Gonzaga, Stanford prevailed 69-41.

Thanks to Wayne Tinkle for the Family Photo

In that game, Chiney had 21 points and 11 rebounds, another double-double. But the highlight was Taylor Greenfields’ career-high 18 points, hitting six, count ‘em, six three-pointers. She attempted eight three-point shots, giving her an out –of-this-world average of 75%. Gonzaga did not attempt a free throw in the first half, so either they were really bad at driving to the basket and getting contact, or Stanford played really disciplined defense. By the way, Jos added 16, and baby sis had just two, for those of you keeping score at home.

Now it’s time for finals and the next home game is against Pacific on December 15.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stanford Wins Rainbow Wahine Classic

Stanford Women’s Basketball scored the hat trick this weekend, winning three games in three days, to secure the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii. When you first win is over #1 Baylor, it really didn’t matter what happenes afterward, although Stanford remained focused and won two more games. C and R hope they got a trophy or something.

Chiney Ogwumike scored 25 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double in the final game against Tennessee Martin and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. It was heartening to see she got help in the scoring department, most notable from Joslyn Tinkle. Guard Amber Orrrrange was very consistent in averaging around 12-13 points per game.

Jos, Chiney’s self-proclaimed twin, is currently listed as having scored 27 points in this last game, but fans in the stands (all two of them) said she was mis-credited with a three point shot that should have gone to Bonnie Samuelson, so perhaps she had 24. Wait, now they are giving her 25 points, which would be her career high. No matter what the total, she is playing at a different level from last year, and that is great to see.

Both Chiney and Tinkle were named to the All-Tournament Team, and when you are rubbing elbows with Baylor’s Brittney Griner, that’s some pretty good company.

The final score of the final game is still being debated too, as we write this. We think it is Stanford 93, Tenn Martin 67, but they are a little laid-back there in Hawaii. It took Stanford a little longer to pull away in this game then the Hawaii game, as TM did bomb some threes in the first half. Plus, it was the third game in three days. That’s gotta be hard to do physically as well as emotionally.

Now the debate is on as to how the top ten of women’s college basketball should rearrange itself for this week. Aloha and Happy Early Thanksgiving.

Photo Courtesy of Stanford Athletics Facebook Page

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Stanford Handles Hawaii

Life goes on, and The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team still had a basketball game to play one day after knocking off Number 1 Baylor. They played host Hawaii, and Hawaii proved the good host by letting the guests win, 69-42.

Stanford got four of its starters in double figures, and the only drama was could Chiney Ogwumike break her single game rebounding record. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer even helped by letting her stay in for extended minutes deep in the second half, even though Stanford had the game in hand. Chiney would end up with 17 rebounds, 2 away from her record, and 15 points. The three other starters that contributed greatly were Joslyn Tinkle with 16, guard Amber Orrrrange with 13, and Toni Kokenis with 12. Amber Orrrrange has really stepped up her play, making nice penetrating moves and pull-up jumpers.

Now Stanford has to play its third game in three days when it finishes the Rainbow Wahine Classic with a game against Tennessee Martin (I think Pat Summit used to be a player there).

BTW, here is an account from our number one fan, who made the trek to Hawaii. (I know, hardship all around, but someone has to do it). Here are her unedited words:

--J and I made the journey to Honolulu for the tournament.   The flight was actually easier than finding the darn stadium parking lot while the GPS kept leading us through a tangle of tiny one-way cu de sacs to an employee only entrance.  Sigh.   Big stadium, with almost no fans.   The local paper reported over 1400 in attendance but maybe that was the total for all three games being played that night...   Anyway, there were maybe eighty Stanford fans and family scattered behind the bench.   About the same size Baylor crowd right next to us.   We were pretty wound up before the game and delighted to find that they serve beer (!!!) in the stadium.   The coaches came out in casual clothes (wow!  Who negotiated that??).   Brittany Griner was dunking in warm-ups.  Yikes!    We kept telling ourselves there was no downside to this game....   And then there was the interesting starting lineup.  I'm a big Mikaela Ruef fan so I was excited to see her in the lineup.  The players all looked so serious and we could see their game faces.   First half super fun.   We are pinching ourselves and all of us reminding ourselves and each other that it's a long game...   Hands sore from clapping so hard, then the second half the fans are working as hard as they can to cheer every play and shout every break.   Whew.  It was amazing.  I was sure I was going to burst into tears at the end. Just so proud of those girls.  And those coaches!    Kim Mulkey looked each Stanford player in the eye and told them "Good game!".  Yowza.   Totally bummed it was not on TV and so glad we were here.  Truly amazing and a real team effort.--

Another BTW, has any school had a more amazing sports weekend then Stanford? First Stanford Women’s Basketball team knocked off number 1 Baylor. Then Men’s Football knocked off number 1 Oregon. Number one Stanford Women’s Volleyball Team clinched the Pac-12 Title with a win over UCLA. Lastly, number one Stanford Women’s Soccer beat a tough Santa Clara team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament. Whew. It’s either be number one, or beat number one. Dang!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stanford Beats Baylor

STANFORD WINS THE PENNANT! Stanford wins the pennant! Well, not the pennant, that being our little pun about the Giants, and The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team did not win a national championship or even any championship, but they just beat Baylor in the regular season, something nobody, least of all C and R, expected them to do. And it sure feels like a championship of some sort. Even the media was calling it an “upset” even though Stanford is ranked #4 to Baylor’s #1.

This blog is a day late because C was hung over from eating humble pie all night long. Yes, both C and R, who are arguably the biggest Stanford fans when it comes to arguing women’s basketball, had been saying all preseason and through the short regular season, “we’re going to get killed by Baylor!”

Well come on, let’s look at the evidence. Stanford is a young team. They have eight freshmen and sophomores out of 15 players. They also have three players who hardly played last year due to injury; Mikaela Ruef, Jasmine Camp and Alex Green (who still is not ready to play). Plus a veteran who has been injured to start the year (Toni Kokenis, rhymes with tennis). The Stanford exhibition games were a little shaky for the level of competition, getting out rebounded by a much smaller Vanguard University. Add to the fact that #1 Baylor, undefeated defending national champs riding a 42 game win streak, thrashed then #5 Kentucky earlier in the week. Stanford was ranked #4, even though they lost their top scorer, rebounder and heart and soul in senior Nneka Ogwumike. It just didn’t seem possible.

First of all, this incredible game was not televised anywhere. The twitter-sphere was aghast and complained mightily, but all our tweets go to other women’s basketball fans and to no one who has any real power to actually make this happen. (We gotta figure that one out.) The Pac-12 did throw up a feed at the last second, so hats off to them. On our computer, though it was a little jerky, and there was no audio. We streamed KZSU over the Internet, so we would hear what happened and see the compressed action a few seconds afterward. Taylor Greenfield hits a three, now we see it. Joslyn Tinkle gets a rebound and a put back, there it is.

The worst thing about not having the game televised was we couldn’t see Baylor coach Kim Mulkey’s outfit, although photos showed it was subdued athletic clothes. The real surprise was the photos afterward that proved Tara VanDerveer cut loose and wore her Hawaii tourist clothes!

The first half opened when most of us were at work, and imagine our surprise when Stanford went up by seven, nine, twelve….FOURTEEN points over Baylor in the first half. Granted, Baylor did lose their excellent point guard and defender in Odyssey Simms, when she went down just four minutes into the contest with a hamstring injury and did not return. But every team has to deal with injuries or a good player on the bench with foul trouble…or a contact lens issue.

Baylor did come back, thanks to a Baylor’s Jordan Madden, stepping up for 13 first half points. National Player of the Year last year, 6’8 Brittney Griner, was held to just four at the break, due to Stanford’s excellent double team of her. By contrast, Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike had nine in the first, taking it to BG early and often. Chiney Ogwumike even hit her first three! She had a second, but it was called back for a long two.

At the half the score was 31-29, Stanford holding on to a two-point lead. Stanford was buoyed by defensive play from Mikaela Ruef with 12 big rebounds, eight of them defensively. Taylor Greenfield ended up with 16 total points, making four from three-point land. Baylor’s coach was exhorting her team in the first half to show some energy and intensity, like Stanford was. Mulkey would later say after the game that during their streak, they were not tested and didn’t know how to react to a close game. Also, I believe Baylor was 1-13 from three-point range at the half. By contrast, Stanford would shot 7-14 from the three-point line for the game.

The second half, well it was all a blur, what with rushing home through traffic, trying to coordinate when to dash inside from the car with the KSZU radio on and get the computer fired up to see and hear over the Internet. Just when we were believing Stanford could do this, imagine our surprise, again, when Baylor took the lead with 7:11 left to play. Brittney Griner got unleashed and showed some of her moves and scored 18 more points in the second to have 22 for the game.

After trading leads, none other than Chiney Ogwumike does a reverse lay up over Brittney to put Stanford up by four with 22 seconds left. Chiney would end up with 18 points for the game. Of course we could really couldn’t see this, so we just took the KZSU guy’s word for it. After Destiny Williams hit her first three of the year, and just second three-pointer of the game for Baylor, to draw within one, Toni Kokenis would hit one of two free throws, making the score 71-69, Stanford. Baylor had the ball with four seconds, down by two, and Stanford knew the ball was going to Brittney for the last shot. It did, she shot, she missed and Stanford wins…the…the…Best Women’s Basketball Game nobody saw.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stanford at Santa Clara

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team traveled down El Camino Real to Mission Santa Clara to play the Broncos. C and R rode their bikes approximately one mile and saw the original Mission Wall and their stunningly clean campus on a clear and crisp fall day. That, coupled with a 92-57 Stanford win and promise of free burritos, made it a great day.

C and R have always had a soft spot for Santa Clara sports, what with it being in the city where we live and all. C remembers taking her girl’s soccer team to many Santa Clara soccer games, especially when they had that one player who would do a complete flip when she did a throw in. She also took her Girl Scout troop to a couple of SCU basketball games, too. In one memorable game, the player's program said if Santa Clara hit a three and spelled out ”Santa Clara, ” everyone would get a free burrito. Now, ten three-pointers in a game are hard to make. Those girls cheered and cheered, most not understanding the intricacies of the game or the rules, but they knew what a three pointer was and what free food was. In the closing seconds, Santa Clara hit the 10th three, won the game and endeared their team to our troop. As fate would have it, the troop was visiting the Fire Station right down the block from Mondo Burrito the next day, and we got our free burritos.

Fast forward to present day, and we see on Santa Clara’s jumbo jumbo-tron if Santa Clara hits threes and spells out “Mondo, ” everyone wins free burritos. Now five three-pointers are much more manageable. So, although we were rooting for the Stanford win, we wanted those five threes. The Broncos obliged once again. Unfortunately, Mondo Burrito is closed on Sundays, a fact C and R did not discover until we rode our bikes there in the early afternoon. So R will have to go Monday to pick up some yummy burritos. Keep in mind, in the past, there were just plain bean and cheese burritos, nothing on them, so you might have to spring for the full size thing to get the whole Mondo effect.

It was a festive day for the Stanford team as well. They had a new line-up with Erica Payne and Jasmine Camp added to Chiney Ogwumike, Joslyn Tinkle and Amber Orrrrange. The extra energy was a tonic for a lackluster outing just two days ago against Fresno State. Stanford worked it early and often inside to Preseason All-American Chiney, and Amber Orrrrange drove and penetrated and pulled up.

In fact, Amber lead all scorers for most of the game, and C and R were thinking this might be the first time in more than a year that someone other than an Ogwumike might be high-scorer. But Chiney wouldn’t have any of that, and took over late in the game, driving inside and putting the ball up strong. Her strength is clearly around the basket, although she did hit a jumper at the free-throw line. Chiney would lead all scorers with 22, and become the 33rd Stanford player to score 1,000 points.

Back to the first 5 minutes of the game: Stanford went up 15-5. Then Chiney went to the bench. And Stanford looked flat. And Santa Clara almost caught up, 19-14. Granted, head coach Tara VanDerveer was subbing people in and out to try to give everyone a tryout again, and that might be disconcerting, but it is a bad omen when Chiney is on the bench, Stanford becomes ordinary and teams gain confidence to score.

With Chiney in the game, she got help from Tinkle with 19 points and Amber’s 18. Glad to see this triangle doing well. However, it is a huge drop off from there. Stanford as a whole also shot the three better, making 5-12, for 41%. Stanford also out-rebounded Santa Clara 37-25, a better job than last game against Fresno State. Still, it is not clear who the fourth and fifth starter will be. Stanford better figure it out quickly, as the next game is Baylor in balmy Hawaii.

It was kinda ironic that C and R were sitting right next to the Santa Clara guys with the Vuvuzelas. Remember those horns from the World Cup, when blown make that deep, obnoxious noise? They had a version of that. We are all for fan fun and games. I mean, we did start the Tinkle Bell tradition. We now know that you can’t bring any artificial noisemaker to a basketball game. However, we never rang the Tinkle Bells during anyone shooting a free throw, as these guys did. There has to be some sportsmanship! They gave a sharp blast when a Stanford player shot a free throw. The second time, the ref caught him and made an official go over and confiscate the horns.

Does anyone know if the Baylor-Stanford game November 16th will be on TV or online anywhere? Right now we don’t see it scheduled. Let us know.

Follow C and R for more bike rides and Stanford games on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Stanford Beats Fresno State, Keeps Home Winning Steak Alive

Just a short blog tonight, as C and R have ot prepare for tomorrow’s road trip at …Santa Clara…a mile from R’s house. We are going to attempt to ride our bikes to The Leavey Center, although we heard it will be cold. That’s okay, we are making a pit stop at Mondo Burrito. That salsa should warm us up.

So how did the Stanford Women’s Basketball team do in their season and home opener against scrappy Fresno State? It’s funny, after the fact, and on paper, Stanford looks good. They won 72-61 yet struggled mightily in the first half against a team that is not in the top 25. Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said she wanted to run and shoot the three. Well, Stanford can shoot the three alright, they shot 16 of them. I guess Tara needed to specify they had to make them, too. Stanford only made 1 of 16, for a 6% three point success rate. Ouch. Fresno State was 6-25, for 25% success rate, by comparison.

Chiney Ogwumike scored 23 points and grabbed 17 boards. She was phenomenal under the basket. That really is her strength, getting the ball and worming it back up to score points. The bad news is Stanford gave up 25 offensive rebounds. In one ridiculous play, Fresno State must have grabbed five, six rebounds in one possession. Granted they kept missing, but Stanford seemed allergic to the ball.
In the first half, Stanford shot a lot of three and missed a lot of threes, and did not rebound well. When Fresno’s 5-5 guard gets 10 rebounds, you know the other team was clearly out hustling Stanford.  In the second half, Stanny worked it to Chiney down low, and although there were some bad passes and forced mistakes, when they did get it to her, Chiney did her best Nneka impression and would not give up until the ball went in. Chiney saw limited time in the two exhibition games, yet turned it up a notch tonight. And played the whole game.

Good to see. Toni Kokenis saw limited action this game as well, coming off an injury, and when she was inserted in the second half about the time the game was tied at 42 all, her two quick steals for lay ups opened up some breathing room for Stanford. Guard Amber Orrrrange made some nice drives and ended up with 14 points.

Defensively, Chiney had four blocks and Tinkle had three. The team had nine total, although it seemed like more. They were fun to watch, but not so fun to see Fresno State driving to the basket, setting crisp picks and hitting them hard and scoring. It wasn’t until Stanford switched out of their man-to-man to a zone that they were able to limit Fresno State’s scoring chances.

Jos Tinkle was also relentless around the offensive basket. She had some nice boards and put backs and ended up with 20 points and 8 rebounds. An article in the paper stated Stanford needs to see more from the “twins” of Chiney and Tinkle, and C and R want to be the first to coin the phrase “TinkleTwins” (copyright pending).

However, Stanford needs to be more than the Chiney and Tinkle show. Last year it was the Nneka and Chiney show, but Stanford needs some diversity. Fresno State just sat in 3-2 zone on defense, resting and waiting to steal and score a quick lay up or on a drive to the basket. They didn’t need to guard the three-point line, obviously, and could stack up Chiney. Other teams will follow that template if there is not more creative scoring from others. And don't even get C and R started on Stanford trying to break a press (Chiney dribbling...gets it stolen for a layup the other way...)

Stanford is still a work in progress. A couple of bench players made some brief appearances, but if you don’t’ show Tara something, or worse, show her some mistakes, it’s right back to the bench for you. Why does this matter? One more game tomorrow, then it’s off to Hawaii, and a date with number 1 Baylor.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stanford Vanquishes Vanguard

So the Stanford Women’s Basketball team played their second exhibition game of the new season, and they had a better opponent than last game (See last blog). Vanguard University, the little insurance company that could…sorry, little inside joke as C and R can’t help but think of mutual finds and financial plans whenever we hear of Vanguard. Looking them up on the web, they also are NAIA, which the web tells us is lower than DIII. Sigh, C and R know that was exhibition, but the next two regular season games are Fresno and Santa Clara, both NOT in the top 25. Why does that matter? Because the THIRD game is BAYLOR, in Hawaii, who is the top 25, number one since last year, to be exact.

So how did Stanford do today? C and R were impressed with Joslyn Tinkle and Sara James in their all-around play. Amber Orrrrange had some good drives to the basket. Tinkle was an especially strong rebounder. Stanford also showed great man-to-man defense and certainly know how to neutralize screens and the pick and roll.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer told the media she wants her team to work on their three point shooting this year. And when Tara wants you to concentrate on something, boy does the team concentrate. They bombed the air with threes in the first half. Bonnie Samuelson would make four in the first half, the last one with one second left. Yet there was a stretch of about four or five minutes near the end of the first half where the ball would not fall. Bonnie did make five, but took 12 three-point shots. Overall, the team was 13-35 from three-point land, and if you are going to depend on the three….

C and R wonder if Tara told the tam to work on blocks, too, because Chiney Ogwumike had three in three minutes, one sent to the third row of the stands. She would end up with five for the game. Tinkle also got in the act and had two blocks for the game, but it seemed like more. The team ended up with 12 blocks, and you have to wonder what the record is?

The second half was a different story. Tara told everyone to work it inside offensively, and they did come hell or bad passes. It’s one thing to work it inside and another to force it, to the detriment of threes. Poor Bonnie passes up several open looks to get it inside to a covered player. And they were mostly forcing it to Chiney Ogwumike, who is not a natural center. Stanford is thin at the center, to put it mildly. Freshmen Tess Picknell, at 6’5 is still a work in progress. It was hard to get a feel for Chiney’s play as she only saw 21 minutes. She did score 11 points and had 8 rebounds.

The funny thing is we’re not as strong inside as we should be. At times the Stanford line up would have four players over six feet tall, yet they could not score down low. And with the generous subbing, it was hard to tell who was playing point. Taylor Greenfield ended up with point guard duties for a stretch. Perhaps when the regular season starts there won’t be as many subs and less confusion.

Overall a C plus / B minus but Stanford has to have an “A” game if they are going to beat Baylor. Next game Friday Nov. 9 at home and then Sat Nov. 10 at Santa Clara, also in the Bay Area and about one mile from R’s house. Y’all should be able to make that road trip!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stanford Destroys Corban University in Exhibition Play

So Stanford Women’s Basketball opened their season with an exhibition match against Corban University. C and R were not able to make the game as we had basketball practice for the girls we coach. When I got in the car and turn on the radio to KSZU, I was shocked to discover it was 63 to 10 at half time (Yes, Stanford was winning). I think Bonnie Samuelson had something like 4 three's in the frist half alone. She would end up making 9 threes for 27 points in the game. Sara James had 24 points and six Stanford players scored in double figures. The final score would be 117-33! The only suspense was to see if Corban could out-score Bonnie.

The KSZU boys were trying to put a happy face on this at half time, saying that hopefully the bench players will get to play a lot the second half. He got his wish as all Stanford players played and only one player did not get a point. Chiney Ogwumike scored 12 points in just 15 minutes of play. One of the Corban players tweeted to her, “Thank you for not playing the entire game.” Chiney later praised the Corban team on twitter and even posed for photos with them, Corban looking as if they were star-struck freshmen, which they probably are.

Photo courtesy of Chiney Ogwumike's Twitter Account.

C looked up Corban, thinking they must be Division III. Nope, they are NAIA, which the web informed her is lower than DIII. Well, you always want to play someone better than yourself if you want to improve.

Next game is Saturday vs. Vanguard at 2PM Stanford time. Check the schedule closely, C was told there were some changes.

Follow C and R;s exhibition season on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friday Frenzy

Hey, what are you doing this Friday? Nothing? You are like C and R and have no social life?  Then come on down to Maples Pavilion for a sneak peek at the Stanford Women’s and Men’s basketball teams.

First of all, some background. College sports are given an “official” first day of practice, and basketball is no exception. Some coaches in the past had started practice at 12:01 AM the first day of practice to get a jump on the competition, hence the alliterative moniker, Midnight Madness. Over the years, it has evolved into a formal school event with entertainment acts, T-Shirt giveaways, dunk contests and intersquad scrimmages. Wikipedia calls it a form of “boosterism and recruiting.” It is a great way to promote your school’s team, get the student body involved and some schools have even used it as a fund raiser.

When I was growing up in the Midwest, it most definitely was all about the men’s teams. And “Midnight Madness” meant men’s basketball. Some schools celebrate both their men and women’s teams, and I am proud to say Stanford is one of those schools. It’s funny, because it seems the schools that have women’s teams equal or surpassing the men’s teams are the ones that include the women’s program, even though women’s basketball traditionally starts their first day of practice about two weeks before the men’s. Couldn’t all schools celebrate both of their programs?

Anyway, since the first day of men’s basketball practice was October 12th, and the women have been practicing for two weeks already, Stanford is hosting a  “Friday Frenzy” this Friday, October 19th, and as C and R mentioned, featuring both programs.

The details from Stanford Friday Frenzy site:

Schedule of Events

5:30 PM-Doors Open
5:30-6:00 PM-Fan Activities in the outer concourse and women's basketball open practice viewing on the court
6:00-7:00 PM-Friday Frenzy Join the Cardinal in kicking off the season with fan contests featuring members of both the men's and women's teams, prizes including Stanford swag and a chance to win a trip to watch the men's team compete in the Battle for Atlantis in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving, a men's basketball dunk contest (if Nneka were still here, she could enter this!), and a women's basketball showcase.
7:00-8:00 PM-Men's Basketball Cardinal & White Game Come see the 2012-13 Cardinal for the first time this season as they take the hardwood for their annual intersquad scrimmage.
Win a FREE trip to the Bahamas!  Fans who arrive by 6 p.m. will have the chance to enter their name in a drawing to win an all-expense paid trip for two to watch the Cardinal compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving*.  Prize includes flight, lodging, transportation and tickets to the games (Estimated Value of over $3,000).  Winner must be present for the duration of the event to win and will participate in on-court contests at half-time of the scrimmage. 

Best of all, the Friday Frenzy is free. No, check that, best of all, they will be offering prizes! Hope to see you there!

Go Card!

Follow  the Frenzy with C and R on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Day of Practice

October 1 marked the first day that collegiate women could officially practice basketball with their coaches. Stanford Junior Chiney Ogwumike tweeted it was like “being home.” Stanford welcomed 3 freshmen to the mix, and the team is ranked 1number 0 in the preseason polls.

But Monday also revealed some holes in the boat for Stanford. Top recruit Aly Beebe is already out with a torn ACL, although she tore it in May before she was officially at Stanford, she won’t be playing this season. Jake Curtis of the SF Examiner reported that red shirt freshmen guard Alex Green still has not been cleared to play and her status remains in question. She missed all of last season with an Achilles injury. Those are tough to rehab, we have heard, just ask Candice Wiggins, who missed a full year of the WNBA when she ruptured hers. Both Mikaela Ruef and Jasmine Camp, who both saw limited playing time last year due to injuries, are both back at full strength.

As well as attend practices, players also have to attend classes. website caught up with 2 of the freshmen, Tess Picknell and Kiran Lakhian, and asked them questions about the first day of class. They are cute as a bug on a rug. And why does it seem the freshmen get younger every year?

Looking forward to the season!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brandi’s Game

When soccer legend Brandi Chastain was near the end of her soccer career, two local teams, in leagues that have since disbanded, unceremoniously let her go. Brandi, rather than cry in her beer, threw herself one heck of a retirement party. She invited some of her closest friends, you know, all the World Cup and Gold Medallists she has played with over the years, and some stars of other sports and then did what she loved: played a soccer game. (She got to play on both sides so she could play with everyone on the field). Oh, she also invented a new charity just in time to give the proceeds of the game to said charity. How cool is that?

Well, Brandi is at it again, hosting a second game for her charity, the ReachUP Foundation. She’s not calling it a second retirement party, however most of the same people are coming, along with some news faces. Most notably for C and R, she is making some of the local women’s college coaches actually play the game. Being a coach over the years and asking player sot make plays, you forget, it’s always harder than you think!

Brandi recently wrote a blog for the Huffington Post entitled “The Importance of Determination.” In the article, she explains that her charity helps girls realize their dreams. The Reachup! Foundation was created to provide a community where young girls can be inspired, empowered and challenged to reach beyond what they feel their limitations may be. They produce content and programs that encourage girls to develop the skills necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices, become true champions and challenge young girls to reach for their dreams, from the website.  Brandi says in the Huffington article; “it's vital for young girls to have strong, positive role models and to see the game they love played at a high level. Sport does this for girls and provides them with empowerment and positive body image.” Brandi also talks about not having strong female role models growing up, especially women’s soccer. And what a shame today girls today still don’t. Shame indeed.

If you are around Saturday, September 22, and find yourself near the San Jose Municipal Stadium, come out and see a game played with great passion and joy. And celebrate a great, cause, too. Then stay for the free Radio Disney Concert. It features some young things your younger kids have heard about. Friends scheduled to appear and play soccer are numerous: Friends scheduled to appear and play soccer are numerous.

Here is a more detailed timeline:
Ultimate Field Day is run by Disney. Noon to 4 PM, for everyone
Soccer Clinic with Brandi and friends 2-3 PM, and requires special ticket
The Parade of Teams is at 4 PM (youth teams and organizations like Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, Girls For a Change, etc, to wear their uniforms/a shirt from their group and welcome the celebrity athletes onto the field).
The game kicks off right after that, at around 4:15.
The Disney stars will take the stage at 6:30
Click here for Tickets

Follow C and R on Facebook and Twitter, as they will live tweet from the Brandi event!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reachup With Brandi Chastain in Celebrity Soccer Game in San Jose

Hey Bay Area Women’s Soccer fans, mark your calendars for September 22, 2012, for Soccer Legend Brandi Chastain’s All-Star Celebrity Soccer match for charity and post game Radio Disney Concert at San Jose Municipal Stadium (home of the minor league baseball team the San Jose Giants) in San Jose. Akin to the retirement party Brandi threw for herself in the fall of 2010, Brandi has asked her friends to come play soccer and raise some money for her Reachup! Foundation.

And what friends Brandi has. Scheduled to come are Soccer legends Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, Tisha Venturini Hoch and Leslie Osborne. Other non-soccer players scheduled to attend are Kristi Yamaguchi and her husband, some guy named Bret Hadican. Think he skates or somethin’ (just teasing you Bret and Kristi, Bret Hedican played over 100 games in the NHL for various teams and is now does NHL analyst for the San Jose Sharks).

Also scheduled to come are: Joe Nedney (San Francisco 49ers kicker), Kristy Leskinen (skier), Leanne Pelosi (snowboarding) Mike Ricci (also NHL hockey) and a former Stanford volleyball player and Olympian by the name of Ogonna Nneka Nnamani, currently studying to be a doctor, and you know we love anyone named Nneka!

Other soccer women include: Sissi (Brazil soccer superstar, must be if she has one name), Meagan McCray (soccer), Meghan Maiwald (deaf soccer goalie), Veronica Zepada Cashman (soccer), Carrie Dew (soccer), and Lisa Nanez (soccer and Middle School Directory, so if anyone can order you around, it will be her).

And you can’t have great soccer players without some coaches, although these guys get to put their money where their mouths are, as they have to play. Scheduled to appear are Paul Ratciliffe, (Stanford Women’s Soccer Head Coach and defending National Champs, and I know his mom, so if her gets out of line, I’m tellin’), Jeff Leightman, (San Jose State Women’s head soccer coach) and Neil McGuire (Cal Berkeley Women’s head soccer coach). Sissi also coaches, but C and R still think of her as the great player she was.

You can find more info and bios on these great people here: Although the link worked on my newer laptop, it would not on my older desk top, so good luck.

About Brandi Chastaisn Reach up Foundatoin, formed with business partner Joan Oloof, from the press release:
“What Dr. Oloff and I have come to realize is how young girls continue to crave inspiration and connections with mentors. The ReachuP! Foundation was created to provide a community where young girls can be inspired, empowered and challenged to reach beyond what they feel their limitations may be,” said Chastain. Proceeds from the all star match will support the ReachuP! Foundation. We produce content and programs that encourage girls to develop the skills necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices, become true champions and challenge young girls to reach for their dreams. The all star match will also support like-minded organizations in the local community.

A new wrinkle will be an after game concert, hosted by Radio Disney. From the press release:
Radio Disney AM 1310 will be on-site with interactive entertainment and Radio Disney’s Ultimate Field Day activities encouraging kids and families to be active through a variety of organized, recreational activities including Soccer Goal Kick Stations, Miniature Golf Put-Put Holes, Jump Rope Village and more. Radio Disney AM 1310 will culminate the day of fun starting at 5:45 p.m. with on-stage entertainment from the Radio Disney AM 1310 Road Crew. Then, at 6:45 p.m., popular Radio Disney artists will take the stage for performances and Q&A sessions. Damian Otchere from the popular musical talent competition “N.B.T.” (Next BIG Thing) will take the stage first followed by a headline performance by singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and star of Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie.” Shane Harper. (And what are they going to do when that baby starts getting older in "Good Luck Charlie"?).

The timeline goes something like this (Still a little unclear):
Noon to 2 PM, free on Ultimate field events (the Disney thing?)
Brandi Chastain will host a soccer clinic-taking place at the stadium from 2:00 – 3:00 PM.  Participation in the clinic requires separate tickets which cost $50, and can be purchased at
Then soccer game at 4 PM (Time is a little unclear).
5:45 PM starts on-stage entertainment from the Radio Disney AM 1310 Road Crew.
6:45 PM, popular Radio Disney artists will take the stage for performances and Q & A.
Will pass on more info as we find out. If you are in the Bay Area, come on out.

Get more up-to-date info about Brandi's game with C and R on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Olympic Hang Over

Now that the Olympics are over and there’s been some time to digest, I feel a little disappointed about the Olympics. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be proud of if you follow American women sports.

What has C and R so rankled was NBC and their coverage. Their choice to not show events live really dampened the experience that we were all watching together. Isn’t the Olympics supposed to be a global experience? When we started watching previous Olympics years before the Internet, the events were not broadcast live, but we didn’t have any outlet to get advanced results. Now with the Internet and social media in particular, you could know the results before they happened. Yes, one could stay off the Internet, but the fact they showed the East Coast the events first and then the West Coast later made it really maddening. Couldn’t the USA at least share in the experience like Monday night Football shown in all time zones at once? Plus the “Prime Time” viewing of 8 PM to 12 Midnight made for bleary-eyed hours the next day at work. Couldn’t NBC have cut their crappy syndicated reruns at 7 PM and let us go to bed at 11? And…and, the coverage was so scant for most events. Pole vaulting and long jump maybe got 10 minutes each. Plus, each extended moment was sliced and packaged with commercials at just the right spot to draw out the “drama”, that it made us sick. Sports do not need any more help with drama from you, NBC, thank you very much. Let them run as they unfold.

Don’t get us wrong and paint us as a Gloomy Gus, there was a lot to cheer about, such as:

American women outnumber their male counterparts for the first time in like, forever, and out-medalled them, too, winning 59 medals, 29 of them gold to US men’s 45 overall, 17 Golds. If the America women were their own country they would have come in third on Gold globally, and fifth overall for medals.

And it is not just the statistics, it’s the way they dominated. Women’s gymnasts, track and field, and swimmers were outstanding. Women’s Soccer gave us thrilling come-from-behind wins and avengied their World Cup loss to Japan. US Women won a water polo Gold for the first time ever, behind a 19 year old who has yet to play in college!! (Maggie Steffans, and yeah, she’s going to Stanford!). Women’s basketball won a record fifth-straight Gold Medal, something never before accomplished by any women team sports in the Olympics. Women’s beach volleyball, a team of two, and the same two, Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh, won three Golds in a row. Do you know how hard that is to stay on top for 12 years?

Women got to participate in the sport of Boxing for the first time in the Olympics, yay! C and R hate boxing as a sport as the winner is the one who inflicts more physical punishing and bruising of their opponent. What other sport can claim that? Boo. Plus the building evidence that it greatly contributes to later brain damage of the participating athletes men or women, further makes us not be able to get behind the sport.

At first it was announced that for the first time ever, all attending nations were sending women athletes. Then it turns out after the Olympics that tiny Nauru did not, so much for that hyperbole. But, everyone else will point out, international pressure got Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei to send women for the first time. Yay! They had to wear heavy attire that covered their whole bodies and heads, could not walk unescorted without a male escort and could not talk to other men. This is progress? By “allowing” these women athletes, these countries want you to forget that women back home are heavily oppressed, and in Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive, walk freely, or legally exercise, let alone play on sports teams. Boo. Think about that as you grab your ball and water bottle and head out in your shorts and tank top to go do your sport.

Saudi Arabia in particular did not support, nor want, or even acknowledge their two women athletes, one who was an American college track athlete, Sarah Attar. Attar runs track for Pepperdine University in California. It really galls C and R that when Saudi Arabia announced Sarah Attar as one of their athletes, at the same time the International Olympic Committee pressured Pepperdine to take photos of Attar competing in shorts and tank top off of their school website. Why did they give in? This is America, not Saudi Arabia? It’s okay to show your skin here.

It was reported the Saudi Arabian women received death threats from their own countrymen, and a twitter hashtag described the two athletes as “Prostitutes of the Olympics.” Other Internet articles stated that the hard-line clerics of that country are more resolved than ever to keep women from participating in sports, and have effectively made things worse (don’t know how much worse it can get). Still, the flip side of the coin is "every step forward counts,” says one Saudi journalist.

So it was a bit of a mixed bag for C and R to “watch” heavily edited, taped-delayed, prepackaged, heavily commercialized, pro-American Olympic events, even if it usually resulted in an American woman getting a medal draped around her neck.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twitter Olympics

Welcome to the Twitter-lympics. Wish C and R could say they coined the word, but a quick Google search shows a lot of other people are picking up that the most important story about the 2012 Olympics is the social micro-blogging site, Twitter.

First, we had the American broadcaster responsible for showing the games on TV, NBC, make the boneheaded decision to not show the opening ceremony live. Then when they did show it on the East coast hours later, they further fractured the US by delaying it to start in prime time in each time zone. Poor Hawaii was still watching it when competitions began the next day.

Worse, NBC responded to the resulting criticism for the opening ceremony delays by saying they needed to edit it to provide context. The inane chatter from Bob Costas and Matt “Rwanda seems to have put that genocide behind them” Lauer had to hurt their case more than help. That and 200 commercial breaks right at peak times further hurt their position.

Many complained that day, on Twitter of course. All of us did, but one got singled out.
One journalist, Guy Adams, complained so hard about NBC that Twitter suspended his account. To be fair to Twitter, they said Adams posted the email address of an NBC executive, and private info is not allowed to be tweeted. Adams said he came up with the corporate email address by using Google and figuring out the complicated pattern of using first name, a period, then the last name, and “”. Then twitter unsuspended him. Conspiracy theorists have a field day saying NBC “forced” Twitter to censor him. Someone on Twitter gets the last laugh by creating “NBC Live Fail” and gets 1,000 followers in about an hour. They don’t get suspended.

Meanwhile, Twitter keeps giving out real time results and NBC keeps pretending you don’t know. NBC asks, “What will happen next?” and “Will the United States win a medal?” and “Can we set a record for how many times we mention Michael Phelps in one breath?”

So many people were using Twitter during an Olympic bicycle race that media officials couldn’t get the GPS signals of where the bikes were, and hence had scant coverage. Bet they could have just sent a Twitter post and asked everyone on Twitter where the leaders were.

Twitter even got at least two athletes (at this writing) banned from the Olympics. Granted they were making racists remarks about other countries on Twitter, but still. The Greek Track and Field woman’s comments were just downright bigoted to Africans and perhaps should have been used as a teachable moment instead of being kicked out of the games. But the Swiss soccer player tended to incited violence by saying he wanted to “beat up” South Koreans and that they should “burn.” Yeah, maybe he shouldn’t be in the Olympic Village.

And what about US athletes, who have the whole freedom of speech to fall back on? Well, of course America wouldn’t be America without a Twitter controversy. US Women’s Soccer Goalie Hope Solo tweeted some downright rude comments to “national treasure” Brandi Chastain, because Brandi as a commentator made disparaging remarks about the defense, in particular Rachel Bueler. Brandi did have a point about Team USA’s defense, and said it was her job as commentator to comment. Hope Solo was a might sensitive and went a little nutso on Twitter. Mainstream Media, who follows Hope Solo not so much for her athletic performance but because she is so darn attractive, took great notice. Within 3 hours there were 20 articles about the feud. Eventually, the Women’s Coach pulled Hope in and gave her a slap on the wrist and no punishment. By the way, Australian Basketball Star Lauren Jackson, who plays in the WNBA, took umbrage to commentator Lisa Leslie’s comments during a game and some Twitter comments flew back and forth. No one in the mainstream media noticed, as no one was named Hope Solo or has those smoldering eyes. (Poor women’s basketball, always a distant second). --And just Google the women to find out what they said.

But for all the other American athletes not named Hope Solo, they are super burned by the so-called “Rule 40”. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) bans any Olympic Athlete from using their names or likenesses for advertising during the games. The rule is in effect from July 18 to Aug 15, three days after the closing ceremonies. They even amended the rule to say you can’t mention any sponsor of yours on Twitter. However, official sponsors that give money to the Olympics may be mentioned and are encouraged to be mentioned on Twitter. So you can mention sponsors, but only the official ones. So no saying thanks to the organizations that actually got you to the Olympics. Many America athletes have taken to, yes, Twitter to protest, with the hastags “WeDemandChange2012” and “Rule40.”

Twitter continues to be the place where C and R get their results. Why? Because Twitter talks back to us. We can ask, “What time is the Women’s Soccer game being broadcast on TV?” And Twitter buddies will be quick with the answer. Or we can ask, “What is wrong with the whole first string of the US Women’s Basketball team that Geno substitutes all 5 out at once and the ‘scrubs’ have to save the day?” Then a lively discussion ensues. Using a static website like NBC Live just tells you when something is about to happen or implores you to “look at our latest pictures.” Twitter gets results and lets you have conversations. And we can find things out in real time.

Go Team Twitter

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Next Next Season

I know Stanford Women’s Basketball Fans the world over are looking forward to the upcoming 2012 Fall/Winter season, but while you were sleeping, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer and staff are already thinking about next next season.

Word came the other day from High School Blogs that Khaliyah “Lili” Thompson, has committed to Stanford for 2013.

C and R received this email came from Greg Thompson to confirm that his daughter, Lili Thompson has committed to Stanford. Read from the proud papa.

The Sporting News Honorable Mention All-American transferred from Punahou High School in Hawaii, and led her Texas high school team to the state playoffs two years in a row.
Despite going largely unnoticed by national recruiting services due to a sprained ankle that forced her to miss last year’s summer season, Thompson was ranked #2 in the state, and #9 nationally by Premier Basketball Report and led the Timberview Lady Wolves (2009-2010, 5-4A State Champions) in points, assists, and steals.

The Texas Girls’ Coaches Association All-State Team unanimous pick, and TABC All-Region team member was also a First Team All-District select and earned All-District Academic honors. Thompson is the only high school athlete to be selected as an instructor at Point Guard College.

With a mid-range game not often seen in high school players, Thompson caught the eyes of many top-level D-1 programs. She was highly recruited by schools in the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Conference USA and the PAC 12.  She captured the attention of Stanford coaches with her slashing abilities, agility, court leadership, and lock-down defense.

Thompson also considered Georgia, Rice, Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin, Princeton, Tulane, and the University of Texas at Arlington. She played AAU ball with the Nike-sponsored elite teams Michigan Crossover, DFW Elite T-Jack, and Cy-Fair Shock.

And if you don’t believe Dad, just take a gander at Lili’s highlights


Wow! She has speed, drives to the hoop AND blocks shots!?! Just Awesome! While C and R are looking forward to next season (and the Olympics for the next few weeks). We also can’t wait for next next basketball season!

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Monday, July 9, 2012

WNBA Weekend

This weekend was the Nneka Ogwumike Weekend in LA, to watch her play in the pros, arranged by the Stanford Fast Break booster club.

First we would like to thank the Stanford Fast Break Club and Otis Watson in particular for their efforts to arrange the trip. Several LA Sparks officials spoke to our gathering and person after person said what a wonderful, charming, mature, smart person Nneka, the Stanford Women’s Basketball Alum, was. It’s nice to see they discovered in a few short months what we had for four years. They also said they don’t remember a booster club making an effort to support a player out of college like this, traveling en masse and arranging events, so that was kinda neat. Also, C was one number, one number away from winning Nneka’s autographed jersey! Thanks for arranging the prizes, too.

So C and R are sitting there in the private suite eating dinner with other Fast Break Club Supporters, minding their own business when this handsome gentleman asks if he can join us. C and R being ever so hospitable, say sure. R asks if he is from the Stanford area and he answers no. He’s Nneka’s agent. Oh darn! Turns out he is Orlando Castano, Jr. of 4Front Sports. C pumps him full of questions for the next 25 minutes, questions we had for Nneka anyway, such as what endorsement deals does she have in the works?

He said Nneka is Team Nike, which we are glad to hear because they are high profile and seem to take an active interest in promoting women athletes. She has a shoe contract. Also she has a yogurt deal and two trading cards deals. He said the first trading card deal is automatically given to the first four women of the draft. The second one he worked out of Leaf trading card and they normally don’t deal with women. Also he got the same monetary deal as the men pro athletes get, and we thought that was terrific. Much scouring of the Internet and the Leaf site brought us this announcement about Nneka Ogwumike's card, so if Leaf Cards they are serious about selling Nneka, they need to do a better job promoting it.

We also asked Orlando about the recent report about Nneka going to Poland in the off  season. Last we had heard Nneka wanted to go back to Stanford and get her MBA. Stanford even gave her a postgraduate scholarship. Now we read she will try to take correspondence courses while overseas. He said he worked out a good deal for Poland and then the next few years overseas as well. It was here we revealed we were bloggers and were going to print just about everything we talked about (everything you say can and will be used against you!) and let him take back anything he didn’t want to see in print, because our little blog is so high profile. He said maybe not sure the exact next- few-years plans. So if you really want to know what’s in the works for Nneka in the next few years come up to C and R on the sly and whisper out of the side of your mouth you want to know what insider information we have. Then we will have to kill you! Just kidding, but we feel so special! LOL!

Nneka’s agent also said he was trying to work out a deal to make Nneka the face of the Girl Scouts. It was Girl Scout night for the Sparks, Laurel Richie, current WNBA president, was the former head of the Girl Scouts, Nneka was a girl scout, a perfect marketing storm, and just goes to show you there are no coincidences in sports or marketing. By the way, anyone know the CEO of Chipolte? Nneka’s agent would love to talk to him/her.
Another thing he shared was if she averages a certain amount of points and rebounds by the end of the season, she gets a bonus from Nike. Talk about pressure. We were nervous for her all game to make her numbers. Wonder if other WNBA stars have that kind of deal?

Nneka’s Mom
As a special guest, Nneka’s mother, Ify Ogwumike flew in for the weekend. We said hi to her, having met several times at Stanford. We said we blog about Nneka. She said it was nice to put a name to the face but we are sure she was just being polite. We shared this on twitter at the time, but the apple sure doesn’t fall from the tree. Mama Ogwumike is just as warm and personable as we find Nneka. And so intelligent, just a pleasure to talk to. You just want to be in their orbit. We asked can you believe how far Nneka has gone from dribbling in the driveway to college awards to a number one pick in the pros, and she said no she still can’t believe it, especially from parents that had no idea that talent in sports could lead to anything.

We also talked about younger sister Chiney, still back at Stanford…ah Chiney, Mama Ogwumike says Chiney is the wind for Nneka and Nneka herself has said Chiney has given her the confidence. Then all three of us said laughed and said Chiney has all the confidence she needs. Now Stanford fans, C and R included, are worried about this upcoming Stanford season without superstar Nneka. Secretly C looked up Chiney’s high school record to see how she did in the 2 years without Nneka. Sure enough, she won a championship without Nneka. So when R asked about the upcoming season Mama Ogwumike said don’t worry about Chiney. When Nneka is around she defers to her, when she is by herself the real Chiney will come out. She also said we ain’t seen what Chiney can do. So Stanford fans, you heard it straight from the proverbially horse’s mouth we are in for some awesome Chiney talent.

Rebecca Lobo
ESPN announcer Holly Rowe was supposed to come and speak to the group, but had a previous engagement. So they got the ESPN announcer who was calling the game that night: Rebecca Lobo.

For those of you not in the basketball know, Rebecca was a star for UConn (although she did win a gold medal with Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer as coach) and Rebecca is still very close to UConn head coach Geno Auriemma. She said when she was told of the gig, she said, "let me get this straight, you want me to go to a Stanford booster club and speak to them about Nneka?" We all laughed at the irony of it all.

Rebecca Lobo spoke of Nneka being a class act and wonderful young person. Her only one bad decision was in where she went to college…Rebecca said to Geno, “there’s two more of them ya know,” referring to Nneka’s younger sisters still at home. And Geno said, “there’s two more of them?” We could just imagine that in our heads, him saying that. Rebecca said, “yes, so you better get on that.” Geno said, “I think that door is closed.”

WNBA Prez Laurel Ritchie
Okay, first of all, every time I think of Laurel Ritchie my head wants to say Lionel Ritchie so I was cracking myself up when she was speaking. She was very accommodating and a good speaker and had a good sense of humor about herself. I can see why she was picked, even though she NEVER saw a WNBA game or even played the sport, which she was the first to admit. C got to ask her nosy question, which was you have this great resource in NBA TV and why aren’t more WNBA games on it. She basically said I’m working on it. But that didn’t answer my question. Yes, she better be working on it, she’s the WNBA president after all, but I asked wanted to know is it the NBA forces that be that keep the WNBA off the airways? Do they consider it an inferior product to put on their channel? Do they think they will lose ratings putting on WNBA games versus the what they currently have? Inquiring minds want to know.

Lionel Ritchie, I mean Laurel, also said she thought Nneka was just wonderful and special but found herself wanting to pull her aside during a game when she was guarding Tina Thompson. She was thinking, Nneka, don’t you know who that is? That is Tina Thompson, one of the founding members of the WNBA. She should be treated like a treasured (and fragile) commodity. But there was Nneka playing her as hard as can be. It was a cute story that got chuckles from the audience. However the story turned dangerously prophetic.

The Game
As we were making our way to our seats, there’s Nneka’s face up on the Jumbo-tron, plus pictures when she was 2 and 7. She is doing a public service announcement for the Girl Scouts (a little foreshadowing by Orlando, so we were not surprised). Nneka on the Jumbo-tron said she was once a girl scout and how it helped her stay on track. We gave it thumbs up and hope she will be able to do more.

The game started and we waved our yellow “We love Nneka” signs printed by the Fast Break Club. You could tell Nneka was feeling us as she was “up” for this game. And we mean hyped up. Her exuberance was getting in the way of her playing in a controlled manner. She got a charging call on offense trying to dribble through the opposing players. She jumped high for a block but was faked out and got burned. She hustled so hard on defense. She went to the ground several times. She drove to the basket but was pushed under and tried hard to reach around and shoot only to have the ball hit the bottom of the backboard. She was also knocked to the ground on that play with no foul call.

We wondered if she felt the pressure to make her points to get her Nike bonus at the end of the year. We sure did knowing that just sitting in the stands. She did get a double double for the game, as did all the starting Sparks, so everyone could relax.

It was interesting to see her trying so hard. Those elongated steps to the basket, jumping high in the air for rebounds. Back in her college days, when she did that, it meant she was taking over the Pac 10/12 game and was getting ready to score a plethora of points. But here in the WNBA where everyone is a superstar in their own right, it didn’t work. She was out rebounded, she was blocked, foiled or stymied on her drives to the basket. She couldn’t take over the game at will, but she never, ever gave up. She worked hard on every play and that is the sign of a champion (Nneka would say after the game about her WNBA opposition, that maybe not everyone is fast, but everyone is talented).

Remember when Laurel Ritchie told the story that Nneka needs to treat founding veteran Tina Thompson as a rare and fragile commodity? Nneka was trying so hard in this game and would hit the deck on several lose balls. One lose ball Nneka dove headfirst and her head hit Tina Thompson (yes, the fragile founding member) on her knee and ankle and Tina bent awkwardly back in pain. Nneka disengaged her self from Tina and Tina was screaming in obvious agony. Laurel Ritchie must have been cringing in her luxury seat. Tina was helped up but did not put any weight on he injured leg. We thought for sure ACL, but found out the next morning knee sprain, but Tina did not travel back with the team to Seattle.

We also met up with Sue Favor who writes for her blog Hoopism and Basketball Ways, as well as for Hoopfeed. She covers the Sparks and gets to sit on press row. C and R were jealous until we remembered you can’t get free t-shirts while on press row. Here is her article about us Nneka supporters.

So instead C and R sat behind three adorable young boys who were cheering on the Sparks. Seattle scored a basket, probably getting by Nneka because C said “darn it” (yes she did, she is very mindful of little kids and their ears) and one of the little boys turned and said, it’s okay, we’re still winning.” Then for the rest of the game, he announced the deficit. When it got to 24 points more for the Sparks over the Seattle Storm, even jaded C and R were impressed. The boys cheered every Sparks’ basket and especially cheered for Nneka. We asked Dad if they were big fans and came to all the games because they were so knowledgeable and so into it. He said no, this was their first WNBA game ever. He was supposed to take his 3 nieces but they couldn’t make it so he brought the boys. They really had a great time and goes to show you the WNBA is not just for women spectators. They even got caught up in catching a t-shirt just like C and R and we showed them how to stand on the chair arms to elevate their position. Then C fell over a row trying so hard to catch a t-shirt thrown by none-other-than Nneka Ogwumike after the game. Oh yeah, Sparks won 83-59.

Big shout out to the Staples center for having the best popcorn, forger hot dog or soft pretzel. The popcorn was salty, crunchy, slightly buttery but not too oily. You didn’t feel like wiping your hand after every handful. Kudos.

After the Game
Nneka came up to our private suite in her uniform, muscles rippling and looking incredible fit and athletic. She said hi to everyone and someone asked if she heard us cheering and saw all the signs and she said absolutely, which surprised me, she seemed so focused on the game. Then she laughed her wonderfully warm, infectious laugh and you just instantly fall in love with her. That laugh makes you feel young again. That laugh says she is your best friend.

Clarification on classes
Nneka said the WNBA will pay for grad school! They will give $5000 a year to anyone who wants to go back to school. Plus she has the free post graduate scholarship awarded to her by Stanford. As we mentioned, she is trying to work out with Stanford to do some work online while playing in Poland to get her MBA. So in addition to learning her team’s new system, make her numbers and win rookie of the year, she is studying to take the GMAT (graduate Business school test) in July, so that must be coming up soon. This young woman doesn’t fool around nor waste her time playing video games like other young people.

What was it like playing against your old Stanford teammates, she was asked? She said it WAS weird. She said so many times he wanted to high five Jayne Appel or Jeanette Pohlen as they ran down the court because she was so used to being aware and rooting for them. At one point she was guarding Kayla Pedersen who plays for the Tulsa Shock and she got knocked down and Kayla said, “Nneka are you okay?” with genuine concern and reached down and helped her up. Opposing players don’t usually do that. She also said the scouting report was easy on Kayla because she played against her for 3 years.

That brought up a series of questions about preparation for opponents, comparing the pros to collage. We were surprised by Nneka’s answer saying wins and losses meant more in college, that more seemed to be at stake. Not that they didn’t take it seriously in the pros, mind you. She also said Tara VanDerveer prepared her well for the pros. She went on to say with Tara, it was about the system and finding the best shot. Here in LA, her coach says if you are open, shoot. So she feels like she has more license to be creative and shoot, and was told,  “do what you do best.” Coach Ross gives everyone free reign to do what they do best and find a way to score. Interesting, since we heard from Sue Favor who writes for Hoopfeed among other blogs as we mentioned, that when the Sparks get behind they play selfishly instead of team ball and fall apart. Maybe some more discipline ala Tara VanDerveer would be beneficial. Both systems seem to have their pros and cons.

Then Nneka signed autographs for everyone and had to go “take an ice bath.” Sounds like she ices her whole body. The next day was a new opponent, The Atlanta Dream, and the Fast Break Club members were going to do it again, have speakers, see the game and have Nneka talk, but C and R had to get home to the kiddies and kitties.

Even though we went away prize-less, dare we say it, the trip was priceless. We even got in two rounds of golf, one in Santa Maria and one in Pismo Beach, and got to see a wonderful young lady do what she does best. Dazzle with that smile. What a great weekend.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Basketball

How appropriate on the eve of former Stanford player Nneka Ogwumike’s 22nd birthday we write a short blog post to tell everyone how excited we are to be heading to LA this weekend for a “Nneka Ogwumike Weekend.” Tell your friends, I am sure there are still seats left.

The Sparks are on a mini-3-game losing streak, but are sure they will right that for the Fourth of July weekend. Speaking of which, C and R snuck out to our local bike trail at night and made it all the way to Great America and the maybe 49ers stadium parking lot and saw some fireworks close up (Funny, no fireworks are scheduled for the actual 4th of July).

We have half a day to kill on Saturday. Any suggestions for what to do in LA?

In other news:
It has been great watching all these Olympic qualifiers on TV (and one right down the street at the Shark Tank in San Jose, the gymnastics qualifier). All are so athletic and inspiring. If you are not feeling Team USA you are probably dead.  BTW, Women’s Basketball just released their Olympic schedule. C and R already have their calendars marked. Also, women’s US National Soccer Team is looking good, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are scoring machines. Can’t wait for that!

Who said the summer is dead time for women’s basketball?

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Basketball

How’s your summer going? Usually C and R are going through women’s college basketball withdrawals right about now, but having the number one pick in the WNBA be a Stanford alum, and a fave a that, has made following the pros a fun treat this year.

So far the afore-mentioned Stanford alum Nneka Ogwumike has been tearing it up for the LA Sparks. She scored 22 and 25 points in a span of two games, was player of the week on week, hit the game wining basket with 2.2 seconds to win another game and gelled with all-star Candice Parker and her point guard Kristi Tolliver. In only the second game the Sparks lost all season, she was her team’s high scorer with 13. And the one game she DID miss, due to graduating from Stanford, LA came back from a huge deficit to force overtime, then run out of gas and lost again. Nneka never would have run out of gas due to the tough conditioning program she just got through from Stanford. She rejoins the team Monday.

So when the Stanford Fast Break Club offered a weekend celebration with Nneka Ogwumike in LA, C and R jumped at the chance. We are going to one or both games, we haven’t decided. Glad to see Nneka is doing so well so far in the WNBA, we have to see it in person. Come join us.

In Other Summer Basketball News:
San Jose City College all girls’ basketball camp for ages 8 to 14 will take place July 9-13. One of the sponsors is Fritzie Villegas at Fusion Training System, and all-around great basketball lplayer. Brochure with more info and to register.

Enjoy the summer. Summer Solstice is June 20th (longest day of the year), then it's all down hill as the days will get shorter! Bwahahaha

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Basketball Thoughts

Time has a way of slipping away when there is no schedule of women’s basketball games to follow. But since Stanford lost (again) in the Final Four to eventual National Championship Baylor, lots of basketball things have happened.

One, Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike was drafted number one by the LA Sparks. It was fun to follow her and her sister Chiney on twitter and practically get a blow by blow account of everything back stage that lead up to the draft. We knew when Nneka was shopping for her draft dress (she selected orange, because she heard orange pops on camera), we knew when she was traveling to ESPN studios (yes, she HAD seen bigger satellites on the run up one of Stanford’s hills to the “dish”) and where she was and how she felt (nervous, calm, excited). It added a special touch to the pride all Stanford fans felt (first time Stanford alum went number one) when her name was called, even though it was a little bit anti-climactic in the sterile studio.

On the other hand, all the articles leading up to the draft, literally said, “Nneka, then who?” They really insulted the rest of the draft prospects. Then ESPN cut away televised coverage after the allotted hour had been reached even though there were still names to be called not Ogwumike. No respect.

Andrew Luck, another former Stanford player was also drafted number one, this time in the NFL, and congratulations to him. Projected income for him is $20 Million over, say, 5 years. Nneka and the other top three draftess will make $48,000 this year. Number 5 and down will earn less. Sigh.

To make matters worse, if you were drafted in the second or third round of the WNBA, your chances of making the team are slim to none. UConn coach Geno Auriemma said it took a number of years, but finally the WNBA has youngish, seasoned veterans that are not retiring, and with 11 roster spots, teams could conceivable take zero rookies. Wish there was more teams out there for women who still want to play in the US.

Nneka has said since she is in California, she wants to go back to Stanford in the off season for her MBA instead of overseas to make more money. After reading between the lines for Jeanette Pohlen, Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen, it didn’t seem like they enjoyed their time overseas, anyway. With Nneka’s $48,000 salary, though, she might need to make more money to pay for grad school. Luckily, Lisa Leslie is a part Sparks owner and Nneka’s new mentor. Let’s hope she helps Nneka get endorsements, commercials and or modeling jobs to pay the bills.

In other news:
Legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summit, who was diagnosed last year with early onset dementia retired from UT. She preserves her dignity and win loss record, lets head coach Holly Warlick officially put her stamp on things, gets the cameras and focus off her condition, and allows her son to graduate and leave home to accept a women’s basketball assistant coaching position. Tennessee gave Pat a title (professor emerits) and a position to stay and help mentor players as long as she wants. Very cool of them.

C and R were rankled by a blogger posting a headline stating Pat Summit was “forced out” by Tennessee. We have seen no evidence of that in any other media. Irresponsible blogger publishing things without checking facts and just going on opinions (hey wait a min…no it wasn’t us, we checked).

We wish Pat well even though we have rooted against her orange-tinged team forever.
Well, WNBA starts in like, five days, summer Olympics are right around the corner, so plenty more women’s basketball and women’s sports to watch and be dazzled, captivated and pleased by. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stanford Falls in Final Four Semi Game

Making it to the Final Four is one big party, a parade of awards, a chance to play dress up, and get sized for rings. Pretty heady stuff. Too bad they still have to play the games. Stanford came up short in the semi-final game, losing to Baylor 59-47. Let’s face it, Stanford had the game plan, they just couldn’t execute on offense.

After much secrecy, ESPN reportors reported just before the tip off that Stanford would play a 54 defense against 6’8 Brittney Griner, who had won the Player of the Year Award the day before. To Stanford fans, this defense was not new, having seen it done to Cal and a couple other teams this year. It has five Stanford players surrounding the paint and the four better scorers and leave one Baylor player open. It worked for a half. Jordan Madden was the first victim to find herself surprisingly open. She missed a lot, going 2-8 for the half. Brittney Griner only had 7 points and went many minutes without touching the ball.

But Stanford could not hit on offense. They could not hit a three. Stanford’s standout player Nneka Ogwumike played away from the basket to pull Brittney Griner away from helping. When Stanford got some back door passes, it worked. When Nneka tried to shoot from out there, she missed. She also would have 7 points at the half. Freshmen three-point specialist Bonnie Samuelson was brought in off the bench and instantly hit a three. That would be her only one, although she popped a second one and the ref said she stepped out of bounds.

The half time score was 25-23 Baylor, and that was because Lindy LaRocque did not take care of the ball and it got stolen for a lay up. Stanford only had 4 turnovers against Baylor’s quick defense, but they lead to 8 points. That won’t win you games. When Stanford came out of the locker room at the half, they put Nneka back inside where she is most comfortable, which means she had to go right at Brittney Griner, and she did.

Nneka drove in and as she jumped, and Brittney jumped to block, Nneka flew in the air to the other side of the basket for a reverse lay up. Nneka went inside again and was fouled by Griner. Then the third time she attacked the basket and made a high bank shot. And like that she has 13 points. The fourth time she was blocked.

And then the wheels came off. No one else from Stanford was scoring. They stopped going back door. Stanford got it to 34-21 Baylor. Then Chiney got called for an illegal screen and her third foul. Nneka did a screen and SHE got called for an offensive foul.

Then Chiney got her fourth and then a short time later, her fifth at the 7:48 mark. Although, it wasn’t that big of a loss as she was ineffectual against Griner inside. She could hardly rebound, and she certainly didn’t get any put-back points. She would leave the game with just 4 points. But at that point, the game was not lost, if someone else could step up and make threes. Jos Tinkle, who has a steady hand the latter part of the season, only scored 2 points and missed all three of her three-point attempts.

Stanford was limiting Brittney Griner, but now Jordan Madden and a bench player by the name of Terran Condrey were making their shots. If you would have said to Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer that Brittney Griner would get one field goal in the second, half, and Nneka would lead all scores with 22, AND Stanford would win the block-battle with 5 team blocks to Brittney Griner's 2, she would have thought the game was in the bag.

But no one, not even Baylor counted on Madden scoring 9 and Condrey scoring 13. Baylor point guard Odessey Simms had a better second half, scoring 11 for the game. And Tara would not have liked Stanford going 2-17 from three-point land. And the fact everyone else not named Ogwumike combined for 21 points.

Like we said, the game plan was there, but the other players did not step up and score.  The second half ended 59-47, and like that, Stanford’s stellar season was done.

Yes, it was stellar season. That was only their second loss, going 39-2 for the year. They made it to the Final Four. Nneka was in the running for Player of the Year. She got to share this amazing journey with her sister Chiney. She sometimes single-handly put Stanford on her back and won games by herself. It was as much fun to watch as it must have been for Nneka and Chiney to share, and the other Stanford team members to experience.

Although they did not win a championship, we will always remember this season with joy. Congratulations to the coaching staff, players and support system of Stanford on a great year!

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