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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