Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stanford Flails Fresno State

Well, C and R, unable to make the road trip to Fresno, tried to enjoy the Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat up on Fresno State to the tune of 86-54 but it’s just not the same watching the game on a computer. A big shout out to the Mountain West network for carrying the game, although it was a little bit of a scramble to find the feed.

Stanford, feeling like all of us after Christmas, a little hung over from the excess everything, started out slow. They  gave Fresno State hope, letting them hang around for the first ten minutes with the score 22-18.  Then Stanford did want Stanford does best and boom, they had a 43-31 halftime lead. If you think that was impressive, listen to the second half stats. Stanford opened the second half with a 26-2 run in the first eight minutes, and the two points the bulldogs did score were from free throws.

Erica McCall
Stanford's Erica McCall wrestles the ball away from Fresno State (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
How did Stanford do it? Well, believe it or not, it was the three ball. Well, and a healthy douse of Chiney Ogwumike in the first half. Stanford hit a season-high 12 3-pointers, and Chiney scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half. And this time Chiney had scoring help, with three other Stanford players joining her in double figures.

Stanford guard Amber Orrrrange scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half. After halftime, she guarded Fresno State point guard Taylor Thompson, who had scored 11 points in the first half, and held her to just two points the rest of the game. Taylor Greenfield made her first start of the season Saturday and matched her career highs of 18 points and six rebounds. She also made a season-high four 3-pointers.

Chiney got into foul trouble late in the first half. Well, what we mean by foul trouble is getting in Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer dog house. Chiney went to the bench with two fouls in the first half, despite scoring 16 points. Also, Tara, wanting to give others a chance to play in the second, and sent her to the bench for good after opening the second half on that 26-2 run. Chiney scored her 20 points in just 23 minutes of action.

Doesn’t Tara know that in order to impress the Player of the Year voters back East Chiney needs to score 30 points a game? Heck, 20 points, while for most players is great, is below Chiney’s average. But Tara has never been about the records or milestones

Let’s list the records and milestones:

Chiney scored 20 and finished with 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season.
Chiney’s 20 points giver her 2,079 for her career, moving her past Nicole Powell (2,062) and Val Whiting (2,077) into fifth place on Stanford’s all-time scoring list. And Chiney is now 46 points back of Jayne Appel (2,125) for fourth place. Chiney’s  10 boards gives her a career rebounding total of 1,257, moving to just six behind Jayne Appel (1,263) for second on Stanford’s all-time list. She is just nine behind Kayla Pedersen’s Pac-12 and Stanford record of 1,266 with half a season to go.

Amber Orrange scored 15 points (on 6-for-10 shooting) with six assists and three steals. Bonnie Samuelson came off the bench and scored 14 points in 16 minutes and set season highs in field goals (five), 3-pointers made (four) and rebounds (four). Mikaela Ruef set a career high with eight assists.

Greenfield and Samuelson each hit four triples while Orrange nailed three, and Mikaela Ruef added one as the Cardinal went 8-for-15 from behind the arc in the second half. During that stretch of 26-2, Stanford would hit six 3-pointers, three from Greenfield, to balloon a 12-point halftime edge into a 36-point lead at 69-33.

The lopsided score, and Chiney sitting, means bench players Bonnie Samuleson, Erica McCall, Jasmine Camp, and broken-nosed Kailee Johnnson all got in double digits in minutes. “It was good to have different people playing and in the game getting experience,” said Tara VanDerveer.

Next up for Stanford is Pac-12 play

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ogwumike, Stanford beat Tennessee

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team gave their fans an awesome Christmas present, a 76-70 win over Tennessee. The majority of the game was not as close as the score suggests, with Stanford’s lead a comfortable nine to ten points for most of the game. It wasn’t until the last minute that Tennessee made it interesting.

At the start, Stanford wanted to put Tennessee on notice that they were no longer “The Nice Girls From Stanford.” Stanford proceeded to bloody Tennessee’s nose, literally. During a lose ball scramble on of the Tennessee players got inadvertently hit in the face and had to leave the game (didn’t get her name or number). Another fan said after the Tenn player came to the bench she passed out near the tunnel, so not sure what happened.

Well, okay, Stanford didn’t mean to be THAT tough. But there was a fire and a passion in starting freshmen guard Lili Thompson that told Tennessee that Stanford was not backing down. Lili fought hard and made some key steals and scores, elbowing one Tennessee player to the ground during the steal and the subsequent score. Hard to get back up with 6,000 intense fans and one very large Rose-Bowl Bound football team screaming in your face with delight.

And then Lili was all up in their grill and jacked a three early on to put Stanford ahead 13-4! (Okay R just told me to stop trying to be “hip” using young person language). But man, that SWAGGER and that STARE she gave after that three said everything. Lili would make three 3-pointers in Tennessee’s face and had a season high 14 points.

While Lili had the swagger, the scoring and rebounding belonged to Stanford’s all-everything Chiney Ogwumike. After spotting Tennessee the first four points, Chiney singled handedly scored Stanford’s first ten points, and Lili’s afore-mentioned three gave Stanford 13 unanswered points in the first five minutes. Chiney would have a double-double by half time, 18 points and 11 boards. She would finish the game with 32 points and a season high 20 rebounds (credit big Sis Nneka Ogwumike with an assist, as she gave Chiney a long distance pep talk).

Although at times it looked like Stanford’s only play was to lob it into Chiney (And some uncharacteristic missed lobs by the passers), Chiney got some scoring help from Lili and bench player Taylor Greenfield. Taylor also connected with three 3-pointeres, one right before the half to give Stanford a  37-29 lead  going into the locker room. The  few times Tenn pushed Chiney off the low block, ala UConn, Chiney’s angle was wrong to the backboard and she would miss. Luckily Tenn didn’t do that very much and she could have her way around the glass.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said before the game whoever controls the boards wins the game (I don’t know, we might be paraphrasing, but you get the idea). And Tennessee wasn’t ranked #3 and undefeated going into this game for nothing. They could rebound, too. When Tenn did get an offensive rebound, it was usually a score. Tennessee was ahead in rebounds (I think) in the first half, yet Stanford clamped down better in the second half and outrebounded them 46-40 for the game, Chiney accounting for nearly half of those.
Stanford and Tennessee come together in sisterhood after the game. Photo courtesy of C and R 's shaky smart phone
Hats off to Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons, a senior, who tried her hardest in the second half to will Tenn back to life. She drove hard and quick to the basket to convert or get the foul. She ended up with 15 points, and if she could have sustained that intensity the whole game, who knows. Although not much of a team play to take the ball and shoot every time the ball is in your hands, whether you are open or not. Maybe that is why she was on the bench when Tenn made their run with about three minutes left in the game.

Tennessee came within two with a 1:03 on the clock. Time to cue Amber Orrrrange. The quiet point guard drove the lane, was fouled yet still banked it off the glass. She made the extra point to put Stanford up by five, Mikaela Ruef got a key rebound after that, was fouled, and sank her two as well. Amber Orrange had nine points and five assist and Ruef had a solid eight points and eight boards for the game.

Speaking of free throws, Stanford was 13-21 from the line. You can’t leave eight easy points on the table when you are playing top-ranked teams. C and R know what Stanford will need to practice in their week break before they next play…

Still great win for Stanford; POY candidate Chiney Ogwumike lookin’ good, yet glad to see some others are finding ways to score. Looks like Tara VanDerveer might be set on her 8-9 player rotation for the year.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Stanford Beats New Mexico, Ogwumike Joins Elite Club

Well that was a fun night. The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team got a little work out against New Mexico before they play #3 Tennessee on Saturday.

Chiney Ogwumike
Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)
The game opened with senior Chiney Ogwumike getting the ball one-on-one in the low post and scoring. And what do we say to teams that leave her one-on-one in the low post? Chiney all day. Rinse and repeat to the tune of her scoring Stanford’s first 10 points and 23 of Stanford’s 25 before head coach Tara VanDerveer took pity on New Mexico and took her out with 9:52 left in the first. She went back in briefly and ended up with 24 points to 21 for New Mexico at the half. Stanford as a team had 40.

With her fifth point, Chiney became the fifth member of Stanford's 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club, which includes older sister Nneka Ogwumike, Jayne Appel, Nicole Powell and Val Whiting.Great company indeed. Chiney also had seven rebounds for the game to pass her sister Nneka for third place on the school’s all-time rebounding list with 1,227. Jayne Appel is second with 1,263 and Kayla Pedersen is first with 1,266, also the Pac-12 record.

Chiney only played 23 minutes and finished with 32 points, four shy of her career-high set earlier this season, and the third time she’s scored 30 or more this season. She sat the final 10:30. Stanford overwhelmed New Mexico to the tune of 75-41.

Notables bench players were Erica (Bird) McCall with a season-high eight rebounds and six points. Taylor Greenfield scored a season-high eight points (and made two 3-pointers) and Bonnie Samuelson also made a three and had eight points.

The team also recorded a season high 12 blocks (Chiney had four of them), and held New Mexico to 41 points, a new season low for opponents. Stanford’s defense has now held three opponents to less than 50 points this year.

As fun as it was to watch Chiney score, and so many by half time, the other four starters had zero points at the half. Yes, not a typo, zero. At the end of regulation, starter Chiney had the 32, guard Amber Orrrrange had six and Mikaela Ruef had two points. That won’t cut it with Tennessee (although Ruefie grabbed 10 rebounds).

Coach Tara VanDerveer says she wants to trim the line-up to about eight players. We will see who she plays against Tennessee (which Stanford has beat twice in a row now).

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stanford Beats Gonzaga, Honors Coach

Sorry this blog posting is so late, but C and R had an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” to attend last night after the Stanford vs. Gonzaga game. And boy, it’s harder to find an ugly Christmas sweater than you think. C and R spent all of Friday night in stores searching until we saw a red reindeer fleece bathrobe. C reasoned even though not a sweater, she would get to attend a party in her bathrobe and how many times can you do that? But when she found some Homer Simpson Christmas pants, with Homer saying “D’oh-ho-ho” the die was cast…or set, or whatever. Pajamas it is. And it was a good thing they were fleece as C and R spent most of the night outside in the bocce ball court. C was winning until R got all four balls next to the white one for a four point sweep to win the game, set and match (speaking of which, sorry to hear Stanford Women’s Volleyball lost to #1 Penn State in the Elite Eight).

Anyway, back to basketball. As C and R were shopping for the afore mentioned sweaters Friday, we were worried Gonzaga, ranked 23 rd would give #4 or 6 Stanford Women’s Basketball team (gotta get those keywords in there) a good game. We needn’t have. Stanford won handily, 73-45. (Oops, spoiler alert).

Let’s go back to the action. First of all, Stanford great Nicole Powell was in the house! Except she was coaching for Gonzaga. Stanford made a classy move by acknowledging her right before introducing the players and showed a video with her highlights from her days playing at Stanford, listing her accomplishments (Did you know she owns four of Stanford’s six triple double?).

Amazingly, her own players didn’t really know her back-story. Gonzaga forward Sunny Greinacher said. "I didn't know all her success. I knew she was a great player in the WNBA and overseas. To watch what she did at Stanford was amazing." *Sigh* Youth, wasted on the young.

The game started out like a typical Stanford game. Throw the ball to Chiney Ogwumike in the low post, and no one can stop her. She scored the first six points in a minute and a half. Oh yeah, C and R nodded at each other, what were we worried about?
But Gonzaga is a good team, and clamped down on her. And here is the rub on Stanford; can someone else step up when Chiney is stopped? Chiney had two long stretches without scoring. The answer, it wasn’t one person, but a lot of people chipping away. Eleven of the 13 Stanford players that played scored. Stanford went on a 12-0 run early on to go from a small 9-8 lead to a big 21-8 lead, extending that to a 33-19 halftime lead and never looked back.

Freshie Kailee Johnson scored the last five in that run of 12. KJ set season highs with 11 points and eight rebounds, including two 3-pointers in the game. Jasmine Camp scored a season-high six points and hit two 3-pointers. Guard Amber Orrrrange added 10 points for Stanford.

Taylor Greenfield and Erica Payne played for the first time this season, each returning from injury. Although Epayne, with her fluffy hair all bundled up on top of her head making her almost unrecognizable, only played 2 minutes and was one of the players who did not score. Tess Picknell was the other player not to score, but she also saw limited minutes (four), and has a mind-set to set picks to help others to score instead of her.

Stanford can play some pretty good defense themselves, so while Chiney was struggling, The Zags missed all nine of their first-half 3-point tries and all 14 overall and shot 34 percent for the game. The last time Stanford held an opponent without a 3-point field goal was on Jan. 18, 2013 against UCLA. The Bruins went 0-for-2 from the 3-point line in that contest. Gonzaga’s total of 45 points is the lowest by a Stanford opponent this season. The previous low was 48 by UC Davis on Nov. 17.

Back to Chiney, her career rebounding total is 1,220, six behind older sister Nneka Ogwumike's third-place figure of 1,226. Chiney is also 46 behind Kayla Pedersen's Pac-12 and Stanford record of 1,266. AND, Chiney is also five points away from becoming the fifth member of Stanford’s 2,000-Point1,000 Rebound Club. Whew, makes me tired just thinking about it.

Tara and Chiney celebrate 900
Tara VanDerveer and Chiney Ogwumike celebrate #900. (Photo The Associated Press)
After the game, Stanford honored their Hall of Fame Coach Tara VanDerveer for winning 900 career games while at a tourney in Mexico. (With the Gonzaga win today, she is at 902). The school gave her a jersey with the number 900 on it. 

"It's a little hard for me to wrap my head around 900," VanDerveer said to the crowd that stayed. "This is the only way I could get a Stanford jersey, as a coach. ... Let's get some more!" Chiney Ogwumike also spoke for the team and said, “Here’s to another 900!”

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stanford Beats South Dakota, Wins Hardwood Tournament

Well, number 901 is in the books. Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer didn’t allow her team to have a let down after her career coaching milestone of 900 victories, and the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team won handily against South Dakota State 80-60. The victory, third in a series of three, also won them the 2013 Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Mexico.

Stanford Wins the Hardwood Tourney
Stanford Wins the Hardwood Tourney. Photo Stanford Athletics

Just the facts, Ma'am
If you are like C and R and suffering from too much food, shopping and football, we will get right to the facts. Plus, since the game was not televised (again) we really don’t have much to say about it (not that that ever stops us). 

Super Senior Chiney Ogwumike scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, for her sixth double-double of the year. She earned tournament MVP honors after averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds in the three games. She also shot an incredible 78% from the field.

With all those awesome stats, it was a little disconcerting to see Stanford was losing 10-8 with about seven minutes gone in the contest. With “Have no fear, Chiney is here” as their rallying cry, Stanford went on a 32-9 run to take a 40-19 lead at the half. None of those numbers are a typo. Chiney scored 13 of the points, including the first seven of the run.

What about the Freshies?
The four active freshmen combined to score 30 points. Kailee Johnson had a season-high 10 points, and sank two three-pointers. Erica McCall scored nine to go with seven rebounds trying hard to be a baby Chiney and get a double-double. Karlie Samuelson had eight points and a made three and Lili Thompson scored three points in 12 minutes.

Stanford out-rebounding South Dakota 41-27 with Chiney and Mikaela Ruef leading the way with 12 each. Ruef, while only scoring one point, contributed other ways with the aforementioned rebounding and seven assists. She matched her career high with those seven as the Cardinal had 23 assists as a team.

Defense Wins Championships and Stanford is no exception.
Stanford recorded 22 turnovers and made a season-high 14 steals, led by a career-high-matching five from Amber Orrrrange. She went 5-for-6 from the field for 13 points on the offense.

Now the players, who are true student athletes, get a little time off at Thanksgiving to see their families and their own bedrooms, before heading back to Stanford to take finals. Then Gonzaga comes to Maples and the celebration of Tara VanDerveer’s 900th win as Stanford goes for number 902.

Gonzaga always gives a good game and can be dangerous, and isn’t former Stanford alum and standout Nicole Powell on the coaching staff for the Zags? (The answer is yes). Will she have any insider info on how Tara coaches to help the Zags win? Or does she know she is already out-prepared by the Hall of Fame of coach? Either way, pencil it in on your calendars and punch it in to your Iphones.

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. .

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Victory Puts VanDerveer in Elite 900 Club

Congratulations to Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, who got her career 900th win, beating Florida Gulf Coast, and she did it her way. Away from the sports crazed Bay Area, and surrounded by a small group of friends, hardcore fans and her staff and players.

What’s so special about 900? Well, it must be hard because she is just the fifth women’s basketball coach to do it. She joins Pat Summitt (1,098), Sylvia Hatchell (908), C. Vivian Stringer (905) and Jody Conradt (900).  And 748 of those victories are with Stanford.

For seniors Sara James, Chiney Ogwumike and Mikaela Ruef it was a special moment as well, as the trio was also with the teamfor VanDerveer’s 800th-career win back on Dec. 22, 2010. (Remember that, when she beat her former star player, Jennifer Azzi at San Francisco?).

The game itself wasn’t much of contest, Stanford winning 83-59. Stanford had two players with double-doubles, as Chiney Ogwumike scored 27 points with 13 rebounds, and Mikaela Ruef scored a career-high 14 points and 12 rebounds. For Ogwumike it was her fifth double-double of the year and for Ruef her second. Chiney had a bit of a milestone herself, totaling a career 1,947 points, passing Kayla Pedersen (1,941) for eighth place on the Stanford list

Stanford set season highs with 10 three-pointers made and 26 three-point attempts, as well as 25 assists (on 31 field goals). Freshman guard Lili Thompson set season highs with 12 points, three three-pointers made, five assists and five rebounds. Alex Green set career highs with eight points, two three-pointers and three assists.

FGC lived (and died) by the three ball, shooting 44 and making 14. They did heat up and came within 12 with a minute left in the first half. But Stanford likes to match the other team, and six different Cardinal players hit from behind the arc. Stanford also used its size to out-rebound FGCU 47-33.

Stanford Coach Getting 900
Stanford Coach Getting 900
Coach Tara VanDerveer and her Team on 900
Coach Tara VanDerveer and her Team celebrating 900
Stanford Coach Closing in on 900
"How did this happen? I’m not that old."
Stanford Coach Closing in on 900
Just Desserts for Coach

After the game, Tara was her usual deferential self. Here she is from the Stanford Official site write up:
“I don’t like to be the center of attention,” said VanDerveer. “I’m just fine being the person behind the scenes. It is not about me. I have such terrific help around me. And we have great players. I know it’s a big number and I’m kind of like, how did this happen? I’m not that old.”

Age, like 900, is just a number. Her legacy will be her ability to get more out of a player then thought possible, as well as her ability to teach and prepare her players. It’s no wonder many of them go on to become successful coaches in their own right.

If you still need to celebrate with Tara, I read Stanford will commemorate her at the Gonzaga game Dec 14.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stanford Beats Purdue, Tara VanDerveer on Verge of Career Win 900

Well, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer earned her 899th career victory as the Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat 16th-ranked Purdue 86-69 in the 2013 Hardwood Tournament of Hope at the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center. Wow, try saying that five times fast.

First, Just the Facts, Ma’am

Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike (who the program has relied on heavily to score and rebound the last two years) got in early foul trouble, playing only nine minutes in the first half. Stanford led just 40-35 at the break before the she got going in the second (like last game). Chiney had 22 points and eight rebounds, almost a double-double. But the bigger news was four other Stanford players got in double digits, and freshie Erica McCall almost joined the party with nine points and eight rebounds.

Veterans Sara James and Amber Orrrrange scored 12 each, Mikaela Ruef added 10, and freshie Lili Thompson scored 11 with the afore-mentioned freshie Erica McCall scoring a season-high nine points to go with her season-best eight rebounds. Stanford shot 62 percent for the game.

Maybe having Chiney on the bench forced others to step up, but five, nearly six players in double-digits is a great sign of things to come from the Cardinal. Also from reading Twitter, it sounded like Purdue fouled a lot and Stanford’s defense forced them outside where they shot an uncomfortable 4-23 from beyond the arc. Stanford’s defense is always underrated, but Chiney didn’t win the Pac-12 Player of the Year AND the Pac-12 Defensive player of the Year award for nothing (something no one had done previously).

So with the next win, the Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medallist will become just the fifth women's basketball coach to reach 900, joining Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt.

Stanford Coach Closing in on 900
Stanford celebrates win #899 for Coach Tar VanDerveer
And due to this tournament not being televised or even heavily covered, no one will really get to see it live. Sure, sure, it will be announced at Maples next home game, the crowd will clap warmly, and Tara will wave, but it’s not the same. Especially since it seems like yesterday the whole Bay Area took a pilgrimage to San Francisco to witness Tara get number 800 at the cost of her former player Jennifer Azzi. But shouldn’t the Hall of Famer get more respect than that? Here is a picture from either Chiney or Lili’s social media account with the players crowded around a hand made sign saying 899. Perhaps it is more heartfelt than a gaudy banner. 

However, lest we cry foul, this is probably how Tara VanDerveer would want it. In Michelle Smith’s article for ESPNW she writes and quotes:

It is fitting that this milestone will very likely take place in a gym in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this week in front of what is equally likely to be an intimate crowd of her players' families, a few Stanford die-hards and some friends. Low-profile is fine by her. "I don’t like to be the center of attention," VanDerveer said. "I'm fine just kind of being the person behind the scenes. "

So, in retrospect, C and R (and other Stanford fans) selfishly want to share in her victory. Tara wants to treat it like any other game, which means it will probably end in a win due to her preparation. See ya tomorrow.

Follow C and R for #900 on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stanford Survives Texas

Subtitled: Don’t Mess with Texas, Just Beat ‘em

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team played Texas, and it was a home coming of sorts with four former Texas players for Stanford, three on the starting roster.

Texas had some interesting players, too. One was a Nneka, Nneka Enemkpali, who shares the unique name with Nneka Ogwumike, who had a stellar career for Stanford and graduated two years ago and is sister to current Stanford starter Chiney Ogwumike. And it was Chiney vs. Nneka as they took turns guarding each other. C and R have never cheered against a Nneka so it was new territory for all of us.

Texas also has Imani McGee-Stafford, who is 6 foot 7 inches. It’s like playing another Brittney Griner. Her mother is basketball standout Pam McGee, who played in the WNBA, won two national championships at Southern California and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, and her brother is JaVale McGee currently plays for the Denver Nuggets. Wowza!

The game opened with Stanford in their black uniforms that C loves. Freshmen Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson (now nick named KSam to differentiate her from her sister, Bonnie, BSam) got the start, to compliment veterans Amber Orrrrange, Mikalea Ruef and all-everything Chiney Ogwumike. (Ogwumike, Thompson and Orrrrange are the three from Texas).

Then 6’7 (sorry, takes too long to type her name) is blocking and shooting threes. Which brings an interesting point, why is she at the high high post at the three point line? C and R see she is setting screens out there but then she is so out of place for rebounds. Good thing she missed a lot of open shots close to the basket when she did move inside, going 4-14 for the game.

On one play 6-7 split two Stanford defenders and went straight to the basket and no one in a black uniform could stop her. Her lay in is practically a dunk. Good thing she did not do a lot of that and good thing her jump shot is suspect, because when she did shoot, she missed. She also traveled a lot when she put the ball on the floor. As we have said about Brittney Griner in the past, just have her stand on the low block and throw her the ball to her outstretched hands. No one can stop that without fouling. Good thing this was not in the game plan for Texas. And when she did screen, she shifted and stuck out elbows. Stanford finally got a call when she elbowed Lili, who at 5’7 gives up a foot off height to her.

Early in the first half, it was Mikaela Ruef stepping up and scoring. Ruef was guarded by 6-7, and when the Texas center stayed in the paint to help against Chiney, Ruef was left open. Ruefie was the lone bright spot in first half with 10 points.

Texas also got to the free throw line a lot more than Stanford in the first. It was 16 free throw attempts for Texas vs. three for Stanford, with Texas getting 10 points off of the FTs. Stanford did not go to the free throw line in the first 17 minutes.

In the first half, Stanford was missing rebounds. The announcers did point out at the top of the show that Texas is also a good rebounding team, and dang they were. Texas dominated the offensive glass, getting 10 points off of second chances. Texas was beating Stanford at its own game with offensive rebounds, and the first half stats were 28 rebounds for Texas, 17 for Stanford. The second half wasn’t better, Stanford getting out-rebounded 55-40.

So that brings us to Chiney. First of all, through no fault of her own, Chiney couldn’t get her usual traction around the basket due to 6’7.  UConn proved in two games in two years that if you push Chiney off the low block, she doesn’t do well. Texas saw this tape and kept Chiney out of the paint. Stanford would have NO points in the paint in the first half. That’s right, not a typo, no points in the paint in the first.

Chiney said she is working on her outside game, just as her sister Nneka before her. So this was as good as time as any to use it. Except, it wasn’t quite ready for prime time, at least not in the first half. Chiney shot a long two, not even close, air balled a three, and consistently hit the front of the rim on her long shots. In Stanford’s final possession, she had to throw up a quick three with time running down, her second air ball of the half, much to the amusement of the Texas student body.

Lest you think C and R are picking on our Chiney, here is her post game quote: “This game forced me to be outside, and it was a little uncomfortable at times,” Ogwumike said.

Chiney was held to just four first half points.

To be sure, Stanford was lucky to “only” be down 37-30.

But we would be remiss to point out that Chiney still contributed in the first. She set up a screen to free up KSam that allowed her to knock down a three. Had a block. And then after (we are sure) a verbal tongue lashing from Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer in the locker room at half, (we’ve been inside those lockers a half, we know), came the second half.

The second half started and here comes Chiney, or “You can’t keep an Ogwumike down” (for long). Chiney opened the second half with another perimeter shot and missedThen the next time she touched the ball she drove in, pump faked and got the basket over 6’7, like old times. Then back to the outside jump shot and a miss. Ugh. She was 3-13 from the field after 23 minutes. Settling for jumpers instead of attacking the rim.

Then the announcers decided to interview Jody Conradt, the long time University of Texas coach who has 900 wins. They let her talk while the action was going on. In fact, the more she talked, the better Stanford seemed to do.  Stanford got the lead for the first time in 10 minutes with a wild back and forth fast breaking and stealing and stealing back and Amber finishes for the 41-40 lead. Then Chiney gets a steal and a lay up. Then she hit one from outside, and she could do no wrong.

In fact, Stanford went on a 15-0 run to go up 47-40 as Jody is talking. Chiney scored 10, had 2 steals and a block in the seven and a half minute stretch. Amber Orrange provided five of the 15 during that run. Amber would have 13 points and eight rebounds for the game, including five in the final 60 seconds of the contest.

Stanford held Texas without a field goal for the opening 9:20 of the second half, and to just five field goals and 17 points in the final 20 minutes. The five field goals were a season-low for any half this season by a Cardinal opponent.

Chills when Chiney fouls out with 2 minutes to play and Stanford leading 56-47. Hang on Stanford! (Their Nneka fouls out with 33 seconds to play.). Chiney would leave the game with 18 points, 14 in the second half.

Amber Orrange
Stanford guard Amber Orrange to the rescue (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)
But Amber Orrange to the rescue with Chiney on the bench,. Amber had a big steal, two big rebounds and shoot six big (everything’s bigger in Texas) free throws, making five in those final two minutes. Stanford would hang on to win 63-54. 

Other notables: Mikaela Ruef played a team-high 36 minutes, posting her first double-double of the season with a season-high 11 points and 10 rebounds. Curious, as good as Chiney was in the second half, Ruefie scored all of her points in the first. Need those two to score in tandem.

Sara James played a season-high 18 minutes Saturday, scoring six points (She is coming off double compartment syndrome surgery to her  lower legs).  Stanford matched its season high with six three-pointers, led by two apiece from Sara and Lili Thompson.

Coach Tara VanDerveer earned career victory No. 898, moving her closer to being just the fifth women's coach to reach 900, like Jody Conradt. Unfortunately, TVD will probably get it at the tournament in Mexico that will not be televised or seen by local fans. What a shame.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stanford Defeats Davis

One thing we know for sure, UC Davis is better than Cal Poly. The Stanford Women’s Basketball team beat Davis today by 18, the final score 66-48. They beat Cal Poly by 35 two days ago.

UC Davis always gives Stanford a good game. They usually are speedy and they had some good shooters today. This game stated out fast and UC Davis was aggressive. So Stanford was fast and aggressive right back. That's how it’s been with Sanford in the last few years; they always play up (or down) to their opponent. The other opponent is a run and gun team, Stanford is running and gunning faster. The other team has a slow offense, Stanford has a sluggish offense. The game this season with UConn saw both teams stay stuck at two points for five minutes.

This UC Davis game was also very physical. The refs are supposed to be calling the games tighter and not allowing much contact. Today there was lots o’ contact, and lots o’ not called. On one play, three separate Stanford players went flying to the ground, no fouls called. And that was just on defense.

Karlie Samuelson
Stanford guard Karlie Samuelson and forward Chiney Ogwumike (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Today two freshmen got the start. Lili (Lee-Lee) Thompson, who started last game, was the first. The second was a surprise in Erica (Bird) McCall. She started in place of freshmen Kailee (KJ) Johnson, who made her way into the game for 13 minutes. Fourth freshmen Karlie (needs to get red shoes) Samuelson got extended minutes (33 to be exact) and played some really good defense, although she was on the floor a lot. Literally, was knocked to the floor a lot, and took at least one charging call, if not two. Fifth freshmen Briana (nickname pending) Roberson did not play, injuries.

The stat line for the freshies: Karlie Samuelson had career highs of eight points (made two three-pointers), six assists, four rebounds and 33 minutes. Bird scored five points with six rebounds. Lili just had two points, with several shots rimming out, but plenty of intensity and drive, calling for the ball, and pushing the tempo up court.

So what about the veterans? Senior Chiney (All-Everything) Ogwumike got her fourth double-double in as many games for the 62 nd of her career. UC Davis could not stop her in the low post, even when they knew it was coming. In 33 minutes, Chiney scored 28 points and had 15 rebounds and three blocks, two on the same possession. Fifth year senior Mikaela (sprained her ankle, got it taped, went back in, what a trooper) Ruef scored eight and grabbed eight boards. Junior Amber Orr(rr)ange scored 10 and had four assists. She is best on the dribble-drive, and had some beauties today.

Head coach Tara (TVD) VanDerveer, even the perfectionist, was not totally happy with the win.  “We’ve been spoiled with Chiney,” VanDerveer said. “We need more help and more people doing it. We need to see what we can do to help her.”

Of course, she does have a point. But the good news is this freshmen class has a lot of potential. TVD is giving them good experience by letting them play many minutes. Check back in with these freshmen by February, and they should be contributing a lot more. How exciting.

Next game for Stanford is at Texas, then off to Mexico for some fun and sun and run and gun in a three-day tournament for Thanksgiving.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Stanford Crushes Cal Poly

Nothin’ like home cooking. The Sanford Women's Basketball team played their first regular season game at home and beat Cal Poly by a score of 86-51. A perfect tonic for getting beat by UConn less then a week ago.

Hopefully this blog will be short but sweet since it is late, although R will be mad at me because she won’t get a chance to proof read this and check for typos. We could make it a drinking game, find the typos, take a drink, but then our readers would be sauced by the third paragraph. So here goes.

Back to Stanford. It was a double-dose tonight, because at the same time as the Stanford basketball game, the Stanford Women’s soccer was opening their first round of the NCAA tournament at home. It was fun to get updates from that game on Twitter, Stanford prevailing 1-0 over Cal Fullerton and advancing.

Back to Basketball, on the way to the game, C and R saw #10 Cal lost to unranked George Washigton. Good news on the Pac-12 front. Yet, there but for the grace of… we didn’t want to crow too much, lest Stanford suffer the same fate. And then the Stanford game started out. And Stanford started out slow, made some turnovers…commited some fouls...... Cal Poly leading for the first seven minutes....oh boy. Then Chiney took over, and Stanford finished the half on a 30-12 run, lhalf time score 41-25. Smooth sailing.

Chiney Ogwumike scored a career-high 36 points (and almost single-handedly outscored all of Cal Poly before she got to take a rest), and grabbed 11 rebounds for her third double-double in three games and the 61st of her career. Mikaela Ruef grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and finished with nine points, although the crowd was cheering for her to get her own double-double. No one else got in double figures, and Stanford is still searching for others to score. Point Guard Amber Orrrrange (no, that spelling is intentional to give her some extra love, so no drinking) who had a career high 22 points vs. UConn, had a quiet night six points but four assists.

Chiney Ogwumike double teamed
Stanford's Lili Thompson (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
How did the freshmen do? Kailee Johnson (KJ) got her third start in three games and scored seven, but a surprise was seeing freshmen Lili (Lee-Lee) Thompson join her. Lili had a couple of turnovers in the first few minutes and head coach Tara Vanderveer does not tolerate rookie mistakes well, and subbed her out (also to try other combos). Then Lili came back in and played really well. She has an aggressiveness, a passion that is sometimes missing from Stanford as a whole. When little ol’ Lili, who stands 5’7, swatted at the ball above 6’5 Molly Schlemwer’s head, you know this is a kid that won’t back down.

Lili scored six and had five assists, one a fantastic lob pass to Chiney under the basket which was really an alley-oop, so Chiney did just that, caught the ball and shot it in the air without landing. And made the basket. Not very many women basketball players can do that. (We call that shot a “Nneka” because just about the only other women’s college player not named Brittney Griner who could do that last year was Chiney’s sister, Nneka Ogwumike).

The Samuleson’s were three of nine on three-point shots. Older sister Bonnie made two and freshie Karlie made one. Last playable freshmen was Erica McCall and she scored eight. We like the way she posts up under the basket. The freshies combined for 27 points. Not bad. Rounding out the five freshman is Briana Roberson, who is still injured and did not play.

Then after the game, who did we meet? None other than Lili Thompson’s parents. They were super sweet and surrounded by Lili’s sibling’s and their grandkids. They were so adorable, C even gave her victory ball to one of them. You know they must be special kids for her to give that up. Glad to have them around and C and R say welcome to California! Here’s to many more victories!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Stanford Loses to UConn

Well, it comes as no surprise that the Stanford Women's Basketball Team lost to UConn tonight by a score of 76-57. Since Stanford "only" lost by 19, it was a moral victory of sorts after getting blown out at home last year.

Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said some insightful things, saying now her young team (Five Freshmen) now know “what the best team plays like”. And "I think this kind of let our team know we're 20 points away."

We could concentrate on what Stanford did wrong, but we hate to kick a player when they are down. So instead let’s focus on what UConn did right. Oh wait, let’s let Coach Tara tell the players what they did wrong, "We gave up too many `O' boards for baskets. We sent them to the free throw line for no reason. We need to do little things correctly and focus on that for the rest of the season."

Chiney Ogwumike double teamed
Chiney Ogwumike double teamed again -(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Getting back to UConn, they played smothering defense at the three-point line and also did not let Stanford get the ball inside (that’s tough to do). Coach kept putting in three-point specialist Bonnie Samuelson and occasionally her freshmen sister, but there were no open looks to be found there. Bonnie was 0-2 behind the line and Karlie did not get a shot off. And Stanford could not get it inside to their star, Chiney Ogwumike. When they did, she was pushed outside the paint and outside her comfort zone (like last year). Chiney took her obligatory one-shot-a-game-outside-the-paint and made it, but when she is limited inside, as UConn showed, she has a hard time scoring.

Both teams started out cold, staying stuck at 2-2 for about five minutes. UConn had one of their stars, Breanna Stewart go to the bench with two early fouls (and the new, tougher foul-calling did seem to favor Stanford), but their bench is deep. Very deep.

Let’s list some things Stanford did right. Amber Orrrrange. Stanford did Amber Orrange right, or rather Amber Orrange did Stanford right. She scored from just about anywhere and really kept Stanford in the game. She set a new career-high with 22 points, Chiney, while limited by long tall bodies such as UConn’s Stephanie Dolson and then Kiah Stokes, still posted a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards. That was her 60th-career double-double, and second of the season. Mikaela Ruef played well, especially in the first 10 minutes or so, and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshmen guard Lili Thompson was also a bright spot. She scored six, but when she first went in she showed plenty of fire and energy, something a typical Stanford player needs more of. She called for the ball and aggressively drove to the basket when UConn was trying to limit that. And she popped two threes with authority, getting her first collegiate three (collegiate, that’s the biggest word C and R know!).

Chiney Ogwumike and Amber Orrrrange combined for 38 of Stanford’s 57 points, although we are not so sure that is a good thing. And that in a nutshell is how Stanford’s season went last year, and how this year is starting off. Chiney, Amber and ???? It showed tonight. The good news is there is a whole season for someone to emerge.

Scary moment when Chiney went down (yes, she lost a contact earlier, about the 60th time in her career, too, but this was different). Chiney was on the ground during an offensive rebound and UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis inadvertently tripped over her, landing hard on her elbow. She shrieked in pain while a completely silent arena of 10,000 plus people held their breath. She was taken to the locker room and did not return, and it looked at least dislocated. Chiney is pals with her from USA basketball and we could see on the replays she looked very disheartened when Kaleena went down. Basketball fans everywhere hope she will heal quickly.

Well, Tara took the couches out of the players’ locker room and replaced them with cardio machines. Now they know they need another 20 points to be in the hunt for at least the final four. What else can Tara do?

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Stanford Beats Boston College

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team opened their season with a win over Boston College (oops, spoiler alert!). Unfortunately, the game was not televised anywhere, although I was told later the Boston website gave live access. They probably regretted it. Although the final score was 83-71, it sounds like the Stanford starters whipped up on them late in the first half.

So C and R were golfing at the same time as the game since there was no reason to waste a perfectly good warm, sunny Northern California day inside. When we finally (rudely) pulled out our smarter-than-us-phone to take a peekie weekie at the score, Twitter said Stanford was losing 18-13 early on. We kept checking Twitter, and we think Twitter must be stuck or something because BC keeps staying at 18. But wait a minute; Stanford’s score is going up (C and R are a bit slow). Now Stanford is wining 18-20, now 18-26, then 18-30, then 18-37, then EIGHTEEN TO FORTY-ONE! Stanford had just gone on a 28-0 run, and held BC scoreless for 11 minutes and 25 seconds. Wow! Boston College finally scored again with a minute left in the first half.

Half time score was 44-24 Stanford.

Stanford Freshmen
Jail Break for the Stanford Women's Basketball Team
Courtesy AP Photo/Winslow Townson

With a comfortable 20 point lead, we put the phone away for awhile, (and shank one left) and when we turn it back on we see Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike has scored 30 points and grabbed 14 boards, for her first double-double of the year. (She even made one outside the paint, a 22-footer!). The official Stanford Women’s Basketball Twitter account tells us she lead the nation last year with 28 of ‘em. Only 27 more double-doubles to go...

So last year, Stanford knew they had a great player in Chiney, but at times others would stand and watch her score and rebound, so much that Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer sarcastically dubbed them Chiney and the Chinettees. (Hey, we like that, gotta put that on a T-Shirt). So it was great to also see from Twitter that Junior Point Guard Amber Orrrange (not a typo, well okay a typo, her name is really spelled with two “R”s –Orrange- but we like to give her a little extra lovin’) was one rebound shy of a triple double, something that hasn’t happened for a Stanford player since, oh, 2002. Her stat line was 19 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. She also stands five foot seven. And when your five foot seven point guard is getting rebounds, then you know you won the rebounding battle, as Stanford did 44-26.

Three-point specialist junior Bonnie Samuelson, who has been injured this preseason, added 15 points to the cause, making three out of seven three-pointers. Freshmen sister Karlie made a three on four three-point attempts. Other Senior Sara James, who has also been hurt, saw limited action with 12 minutes and no points. Fifth year Senior Mikaela Ruef scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds, almost a double-double.

Speaking of freshmen, how did the Fab Five do? Briana Roberson is hurt and DNP (Did-not-play for those of you not with the lingo). Karlie S. as we mentioned scored a three. Guard Lili (Lee-Lee) Thompson got her first collegiate points, scoring a basket and missing a free throw. Possibly a three-point play? Erica McCall also scored a basket and made a free throw, so also a three-point play? She made her FT shot (Lili!). But we don’t know because the game wasn’t televised!!! Kailee Johnson started but not score any points in 14 minutes of action, and no, we can’t tell you why because the game was not televised. Did we mention how saddened we were the game was not televised?

So great win, pat on the back, now off to the frozen tundra of…(cue ominous music) dunt dunt dunnnnnt…UConn!

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stanford’s Victory over Vanguard

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team opened their one game exhibition season with a win over lightly regarded Vanguard. As expected, the fans were treated to a view of the Five Fab Freshmen, well, make that Four Fab Freshmen, as freshie Briana Robison was injured (we believe) and did not play.

First of all, a big Shout out to all our Stanford friends (and even one CAL friend who came down for the day) who we saw at the game. It was an excited energy we felt at Maples.
Second of all, the final score was no surprise, a lop-sided Stanford win of 79-47. Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike continued her double-double ways with 27 points and 15 rebounds in 21 minutes. At one point it was Vanguard 27, Chiney 27!

Stanford Freshmen
Stanford Women's Basketball Freshmen -Courtesy
Third thing third, betcha all want to know about the four freshmen. Well, with injuries to some juniors, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer had to start one of them, Kailee Johnson, who we have now nick-named KJ. She scored 13 and got nine boards, almost a double-double. Great job, KJ! 

She was joined in double figures by fellow freshie Erica McCall, who goes by the nickname Bird, and Bird is the Word. She looks good, another great rebounding body to help Chiney and good instincts posting up around the basket. She scored 14 points coming off the bench. Speaking of Bird, someone on Twitter said they saw the bench hop on one foot and flap their wings after one of Erica’ scores, but we didn’t see it. That could be a fun tradition next to one person running down the bench slapping hands after a made three.

Freshmen Guard Lili Thompson, which we found out through the PA system is pronounced Lee-Lee, we have been pronouncing it Lily all summer long. She looked good as a point guard.. She constantly had her eyes down court and gave two great long passes to Chiney Ogwumike for lay ups. On one play, she smiled so broadly seeing a sprinting Chiney and then threw the long pass that it was almost intercepted. Rookie Mistake! Next time the freshman will fire first and smile after Chiney makes the basket.  Hope to see more of her at PG.

Karlie Samuelson, sister of three-point specialist (and injured) Bonnie, said in a video on the scoreboard that TVD told her to find her shot, find her shot, find her shot. She also got extensive playing time and shot the three, making one. Unfortunately it was out of nine tries. And some of her threes were four feet behind the arc. Someone needs to tell her she can step all the way up to the line! Hope she can find her range.

Tare VanDerveer at first had three freshies and a time with two veterans such as Chiney or Mikaela Ruef, who should know the Stanford system by now, as she is in her fifth year. Then in the second half TVD played with the line up of Erica McCall. KJ, Karlie Samuelson, and red shirt sophomores Jasmine Camp and Alex Green. Tara really wanted to get a good look because the next game counts for real, is on the road, and is one game away from defending champs UConn, at their house.

Stanford opened the game playing their typical man-to-man (player to player?) defense, but for a twist the players picked up their wo-man full court. Stanford even did some trapping and forced Vanguard into a ten-second backcourt violation, new to women’s college basketball this year. Let’s hope that is the first of many.

Tess, (who puts the Pick in) Picknell is back for her second season and C and R were anxious to see her improvement from last year. It appears she has it in her head to contribute by setting picks and helping others to score. A great team mentality, especially when you have a Chiney Ogwumike, but she gives up the scoring-first mentality. Once she caught the ball on the low blocks, and could have easily turned and scored a lay up (she is 6’5), but kicked it back out. Hope to see her score more in the future.

Speaking of Ms. Chiney, our inside and rebounding specialist, she said she is working on her outside shot (like her sister Nneka before her) and took one long jumper and made it. So far, she is 100% outside the key. Also saw Chiney and Ruef do a Nneka (catch the ball in the air, shoot the ball while still in the air without landing and make the basket), and Ruef gave a wonderful touch pass in the air back to Chiney for the score. That’s why we see them play live and in person!

After the game, Coach Tara introduced the players and coaches. Someone asked about the new rules, in particular the ten second back court rule (Stanford forced one on Vanguard) and the hand checking. A defensive player is allowed to hand check an offensive player once, but if she touches her again, leans in with her forearm and makes contact, that is a foul. There were a lot of tight calls in this game; Jasmine Camp got called for two small contact ones. Coach added, she wondered how long the refs will continue to call the games that tightly.

And do they call it that tightly back East? We shall see in Boston and UConn. Carry on…and cheer for Stanford Women’s Basketball.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Stanford Preseason V. Vanguard

Oh Boy, Stanford Women’s Basketball is almost here. Sunday they open their exhibition season against little ol’ Vanguard, the insurance college that could (just kidding, they are a real school, who are not in Divisions I, II, or III, but is NAIA. Vanguard plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. You know, the league before the NCAA was invented. Someone at Vanguard must be tight friends with Stanford head Coach Tara VanDerveer, because they play each other every year in exhibition. Game starts at 2PM.

Chiney Ogwumike Tripled-Teamed -Courtesy
This game will be a good intro to the Fab Five Freshmen. C and R expect to see them a lot in this game to get a taste of what college ball is like (gee, EVERYone is fast!). Stay tuned after the game for a chalk talk and introduction of the freshies.

We may have lost older sister Nneka Ogwumike two years ago, but we get a Samuelson sister. Karlie Samuelson is the younger sister of Bonnie. We have heard some noise about Forward Erica McCall, a multiple-time gold medal-winner with USA Basketball youth teams and Kailee Johnson, a 2013 McDonald’s All-American and Oregon Player of the Year. We also added guards Lili Thompson and Briana Roberson. Which is good as guard Toni Kokenis retired due to concussions. Aly Beebi also retired after her third ACL surgery. Not a great start to the season.

Tara Vanderveer should get her 900th win. Ah, C and R remember number 800 in Jennifer Azzi’s house in SF like it was yesterday. TVD is six away from the 900 milestone.

So what will this year bring? See the Official site to get some insight. Some big expectations here, Final Four aspirations, Senior Chiney Ogwumike says she is eyeing the National Championship, but can Stanford do it? That’s what this season will be about! They lost a big Senior in Joslyn Tinkle (may tinkle bells forever ring), with her 10 point average, and although they have four returning starters, only Chiney (22 ppg) and guard Amber Orrrrange (10 ppg) average double figures. Last year the lament was no one stepped up to help Chiney with the scoring load. Will it be the same this year? Will a young freshman play Final Four caliber ball against UConn in ten days time?

And let’s take a peekie-weekie at the Coaches preseason poll. They have Stanford as third, ahead of Cal, who went to the Final Four when Stanford washed out at the Sweet Sixteen. Stanford will have to prove they deserve that high a ranking.

Speaking of Chiney, who was All-American, All-Pac-12, All-everything last year, can she keep up the pace? She says she is working hard to develop her outside game, just as her sister did in her senior year, with great results, so C and R are crossing their fingers. Chiney O has also been nominated for the Lowe’s Senior Class award, also won by her sisters, so crossing toes now. Don’t forget to vote when voting opens. C and R willremind you. Again and Again.

Hope to see you there on Sunday! Go Stanford.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

More Bad News for Stanford Women’s Basketball

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team announced via Twitter that red-shirt freshmen Aly Beebe will medically retire. The Twitter announcement was short, and there was no accompanying article on the Stanford Women’s Basketball website. But both the San Jose Mercury and San Fran Chron had a short blurb. Yes, it was knee related.

Aly Beebe
Aly Beebe - her Stanford Roster Picture has since been taken down.
Aly Beebe had an ACL injury in July of this year during Stanford summer practice that would force her to miss the upcoming 2013-14 season. She already sat out her freshmen year at Stanford due to a torn ACL she received in high school. She has previously torn her ACL once before. So with three knee surgeries for one so young, and she has retired from basketball. 

Aly was a champion high jumper in high school and it would have been great to see her leap like the Ogwumikes and compliment the rebounding role with the remaining Chiney. But what-ifs are hard on everybody. At least she has her education to fall back on and help her start her next chapter in life. We wish her well.

In other news, Team USA invited a select group of women basketball players to a training camp in October. Stanford alums Jayne Appel and Nneka Ogwumike, already pros in the WNBA, were invited. A few college players were also invited, current Stanford player Chiney Ogwumike among them. Stanford Women’s Basketball reported, again via Twitter, that she respectfully declined to concentrate on her upcoming Stanford season. Love Chiney’s dedication to Stanford. Hmmm, Olympics in 2016 with the Ogwmikes? Would be cool!

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stanford Women’s Basketball Team Tours Italy

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team started their season early with a trip to Italy for sight seeing and some basketball. The nice thing for the program was the ability to start practice earlier in the season. The nice thing for the students is they get to tour Italy and soak up some different culture and taste some wonderful food.

All this is evidenced in a great video edited by Stanford player Sara James. She has a future in video any time she wants it.

Her description:
Stanford women's basketball took a trip to Italy before their 2013-14 season. They visited four cities, including Rome, Siena, Florence, and Venice. They played three games against European teams. The trip began on August 27th 2013 and ended on September 5th 2013. Go card!

Stanford has taken advantage of these NCAA sanctioned trips in the past, as it always them to get in some extra practice before the fall season. Others teams did as well, as Cal went to China this year (photos from the Great Wall were cute!). This year the early play might not be as impactful due to a new NCAA rule that a coach can workout with their players eight hours a week, two on the court, if the athletes are enrolled in summer school or have met certain academic benchmarks. Either way, glad to see Stanford back at it.

Looking forward to the upcoming season!

More Stanford Video at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stanford Season off to a Bad Start

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team got off to a rocky start with two pieces of bad news. One C and R guessed: Stanford Guard Toni Kokenis is medically retiring due to concussions and will miss her senior year of basketball. The second was not expected or welcomed. Second year forward Aly Beebe tore her ACL during the summer and will miss the 2013-14 season.

Aly has yet to appear in a Stanford uniform. The sophomore missed her freshmen year while rehabbing from a torn ACL as well. C and R were hoping Aly’s mad leaping skills would compliment senior Chiney Ogwumike’s rebounding, much like Chiney did for her older sister Nneka in Nneka’s senior year.

Toni first sustained a concussion in spring workouts in 2012, reported Palo Alto Online, and sustained a second one vs. the Oregon State game in February, and she missed the remainder of the season.
Toni Kokenis
Toni Kokenis - Photo by Bob Drebin.
Palo Alto Online also talked to Stanford track star Kori Carter, Toni’s good friend and reported that she said, “Toni had to stay in her room due to headaches but that she also had her good days.” Wow, that sounds rough. We wish her all the best. She will stay with the team to help out as she works on her human biology degree. We hope her concussion symptoms remain dormant.

Oddly, this is not the first Stanford Women’s Basketball star to be forced out of Stanford basketball by concussions. Jamie Caery was told in 2000 she would not be cleared by the Stanford medical staff to play basketball because she had sustained multiple concussions, and getting another one could cause even more harm. That “could” stuck in her craw and she did not want to be done playing the sport she loved. She left Stanford to go play at Texas. Apparently that school was okay with the possibility she might sustain brain damage. Carey finished her college basketball career there and went on to play in the WNBA, and as far as we know, did not get another concussion. She currently coaches basketball. I wonder if Toni will feel that pull to play even though there is now a greater risk for her?

Still, Stanford will miss Toni’s stellar defense, and her speed coupled with her calm at ball handling. The second guard spot is still up for grabs. The rest of the Stanford team is currently practicing for their NCAA-sanctioned once every three-or-four years early Fall trip. It is Italy again, and how can you argue with that? Hope they get some good games in overseas.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Stanford Women's Basketball Season in Review

See the Stanford Women's Basketball 2012-2013 Year in Review. Stanford had 33 wins and its sixth straight 30-win season. Stanford also reached their 26th straight NCAA Tournament. In conference play, Stanford claimed its 13th straight Pac-12 regular seaosn title (although they had to share it with Cal), aend seventh straight Pac-12 title.

See ya next year!

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stanford Loses to Georgia 59-61

It was a game of runs. A game of one team scoring 7 or 8 points and the other team scoring 0. And it was a game that saw the Stanford Women’s Basketball team end their run of five straight Final Fours, trying to make a historic 6th.
Taylor Greenfield Injurys Hand
Taylor Greenfield leaves the court with a hand injury (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
Stanford opened their Sweet Sixteen game against Georgia with a 9-0 run, and all was right with the world. Then a 10-4 run by Georgia. Granted, it didn’t help matters that role player Taylor Greenfield left the game early when a kicked ball jammed her left thumb. (She looked like she was in a lot of pain, hope it is not broken). And after that Joslyn Tinkle went to the bench with two fouls early on in the first. Stanford is not known for their deep bench. But Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike saved the day again, at least for the first half. 

Chiney couldn’t be stopped in the first, she would have 18, most in the second part of the first half with Tinkle and Greenfield out. Georgia’s scorer Hassell went to the bench with an early foul, then comes back help Georgia on a run.  Georgia’s Griffin who made five three pointers all year hits two of them. There was no flow for either team. The half ended with Stanford holding a comfortable 7-point lead, 34-25.

Chiney Ogwumike scored
Chiney Ogwumike scored 26 and 12 boards (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Chiney got her usual double-double (26 points and 12 rebounds) for the game and when Georgia would try to go ahead (five lead changes) Amber Orrrrange would calmly hit a shot to keep Stanford right in it. She scored 17 for the game. Except for the final quarter. That final quarter everyone missed. Amber, Chiney…or wait no one else from Stanford was scoring. The closest was Mikaela Ruef, who had six points but missed crucial free throws at the end. 

And that in a nutshell is what has hurt Stanford all season, no one dependable in scoring besides Chiney. Chiney is amazing and Amber has stepped up but nobody else. When Chiney was double and tripled teamed, especially in the second half, no one from Stanford puts themselves in position for her to kick it out to them. And Georgia had players that stepped, up notable Hassell who scored six points in the final three minutes.

The final 1:20 seconds also was uncharacteristic for Stanford, in that they did not play smart. The score was tied and Chiney could not connect with Tinkle under the basket, a rare pass out of bounds. Then Georgia hit the backboard and the shot clock mistakenly reset, so Amber fouled to stop the clock (Okay, that part was smart). After the Georgia player made both shots to take a four point lead with 59 seconds left, Amber took forever to bring the ball up court, dribbling away from the basket, so much that Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer called a time out.

Then when Stanford inbounded, the ball with 23 seconds left Amber again dribbled away from the basket. The ball finally made its way to Tinkle’s hand, who made her first three of the game. However, there was just five seconds left on the game clock and Stanford was still down by one, 59-60. Georgia threw a leading football pass from their own end zone and a Georgia player ran under it. She was finally tackled by Stanford’s Sara James with .8 seconds left. (And all the games in the tourney have been football-like in the lack of non-calls).

The Georgia player missed the first shot but hit the second, when she should have done it the other way around. The made basket gave Stanford time to inbound and shoot. Ruef threw a baseball pass three quarters the length of the court but no one was there to corral it and Georgia was the one hugging themselves in victory, wining 59-61.

Well, hats off to Stanford for a great season. Tara VanDerveer made the most with what she had. The overachievers were 33-3, knocked off Baylor and beat Tennessee. With new talent coming in and redshirt players coming back, already looking forward to next year.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen

Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen in Spokane! Check out the match-up between Stanford and Georgia, from Stanford Official Site. 
Can’t get to Spokane? The game will be on ESPN2 at 6:04 PM Stanford Time. Not 6 PM mind you, 6:04. After Stanford wins, stick around for the Cal game. Let’s Go Stanford!
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stanford Mashes Michigan, Advances to Sweet 16

When The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team played Tulsa in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it was a tale of two halves. In that game, Stanford was tied at 24 at the half against a number 16 seed, and then Chiney Ogwumike and Amber Orrrrange poured it on to win by 16. Tonight in round two against number eight seed Michigan, Stanford was a whole different team.

No one does scouting reports like Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer, and this one said Michigan likes to hit threes. And little known to any one else, Stanford likes to take your game plan and hand it right back to you. Time and time again C and R will read a team likes to fast break and push the tempo, and then Stanford is the one that is fast breaking Laker’s style. So what does Stanford do tonight? You guessed it, they hit the threes. And shut down Michigan’s three point shooters in the process. Maybe because the team has to replicate the other teams game plan so much in practice, they subconsciously end up playing it?

Whatever, the reason, it worked. Stanford looked like a team that plays together instead of going through one person. Granted, that one person is All-Everything Chiney Ogwumike, and she has carried this team so far all season, and carried them well. Tonight, she made a conscious effort to pass up her drives to the basket to find others. And it worked, mostly The game tone was set early when Chiney took a rebound out of the air and volleyball spiked it to a wide open Joslyn Tinkle under the basket for the easy lay up.
Chiney and Tinkle
Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike, right, and Joslyn Tinkle embrace as coach Tara VanDerveer looks on (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Speaking of Tinkle, the Stanford senior was playing her last home game on Maples and she too made a conscious effort to get after it. She noticeably hustled, and shot early and often. She had eight points in the first five minutes. She made five out of five three-point attempts, a career high, and scored 21 points for the night. She has not looked so good in about half a season. Mostly due to Tinkle, Stanford was up 21-7 with twelve minutes left to play in the first and leading 41-16 at the half. It was total domination.

Stanford made a season best 12 three pointers. Guard Amber Orrrrange , who is really mastering the pull up jumper, hit a three when left open. She would have 11 points for the night. Starter Sara James made three of five from three-point land and bench player Bonnie Samuelson also made three from behind the line. Stanford would beat Michigan 73-40. Now that is some good ball.

Speaking of Sara James, she contributed nine points while limiting Michigan’s best three point shooter Kate Thompson, who air balled her first three and went 1-11 from the field for seven total points. Usually you get great defense from Sara, or maybe a double-digit game, but tonight she gave Stanford both. Well, nine total points is close enough. If Stanford can get everyone’s best defensive efforts and get four players in or near double figures, like tonight, then they have a legitimate shot at making a record sixth final four.

And speaking of Stanford’s defense, they shut down Michigan, threes or not. Michigan shot just 29% from the field and 18% from the three point line (so much for that three point shooting prowess). And Stanford played man-to-man defense all night, no zone or double-teaming, not even on Michigan’s Thompson. Sara James was left alone all night to shut her down, and she sure did. Sara’s coach and team trusted her and she delivered. Compare that to Michigan, and other teams that have to double and even triple team Chiney Ogwumike and she still scores.

Speaking of Chiney, she got a double-double, 12 points and 15 boards, and it is cool she got more boards than points. As we mentioned somewhere in this story, Chiney was consciously looking for her teammates. But at times it was detrimental to the flow of the game. The passes were telegraphed and picked off, and the player was not that open. Chiney usually takes one or two defends on near the basket and scores. She needs to find a better balance of passing to open players when doubled, and players need to move into position and be open when she is doubled. Why is Stanford figuring this out now in the tourney instead of throughout the year?

Nice moment after the game when Senior Tinkle was grabbed for the post-game interview. The Stanford team always huddles at midcourt then waves to their fans and heads to the locker room. As Tinkle was talking (and we think shedding a tear or two over her last game here), the team ran off the court. When the interview concluded, the team ran back on to the court and right at Jos. Chiney, her self-proclaimed twin, was the first to meet her and gave her a big ol’ embrace. Then the team, now complete, took a final lap around Maples, with Jos in the center, as it fittingly should be.
Next round is against Georgia, and Stanford has a couple of days to prepare. And no one prepares like a Tara VanDerveer. Best of luck in Spokane.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stanford, Shakes off Bad First Half, Takes Down Tulsa

It was a Tale of Two Halves. The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team opened the first round of the NCAA tournament (otherwise known as “The Big Dance,” or in Stanford’s case, “Quest for Six” – Final Fours, that is) against Tulsa and almost had their run end before they started.
Amber Orrange hits game winning shot
Chiney Ogwumike knows she needs to get her teammates invloved if Stanford is to advance (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Tulsa gave all the right pre-game quotes, “we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think we could win,” just like any other 16 seed, then visited the Golden Gate Bridge. And then the 16th seed is supposed to get crushed and all they get is a lousy T-Shirt they bought from the illegal vendors at the parking lot to the Golden Gate Bridge. Except this time the number 16 seed didn’t realize it was supposed to be smoke and mirrors and they actually believed the hype. So much so they came out swinging, and made four steals in three minutes and went up by six points in the first five minutes.

The Tulsa coaching staff must have been figuring the refs were not going to call as much in these games and so were very, very physical. They pushed around Bonnie Samuelson as if she were a paperweight and were holding, holding holding Stanford’s best player Chiney Ogwumike to try and stop her scoring.

But you can’t keep an Ogwumike down. Chiney scored two quick baskets to open the game and to say to herself and the basketball world at large that see, I just scored four points, one more than the three points I scored in the whole game in the Pac-12 finals against UCLA.

Tulsa drove a fast-paced game and attacked the basket early on. They also were very good shooters and since they were undersized, would pull up for jumpers. Most of them went in. Chieny could score almost at will to keep Stanford in it, and bench player Taylor Greenfield added six first-half points to help out. But not much else happened scoring-wise in the first for the Cardinal, and if they want to advance even more in the Big Dance, they will have to have others step up.

Tulsa couldn’t keep such a frenetic pace and was tiring in the first half when Stanford took a small lead. But with three and a half minutes left in the first, Chiney Ogwumike got her second foul and joined Joslyn Tinkle on the bench. If you saw the UCLA game, then you know Stanford does not do well with Chiney on the bench. Stanford’s Amber Orrrrange scored the last four points of the half for Stanford and the game was tied at 24 going into the locker room.

The  Twiterverse went a little gleeful at Stanford’s struggles, and of course brought up the only number one seed, men’s or women’s to be beat by a number 16 seed was of course the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team on their home court. They were hoping history would repeat itself. But although those that don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer lived through it and has not forgotten. And she is the mastermind of half time adjustments.

Tara VanDerveer at the half told her team that their season could be over in 20 minutes. Message received. Both teams came out for the second and Tulsa took a one-point lead at the 18 minute mark. Then Chiney, with a little help from Amber Orrrrange, got a 12 point Stanford lead just like that and now the number one seed started to look like their ranking. Also, Tulsa, who had success with mid range jumpers, started to drive on the much taller cardinal and Stanford’s wall o’ defense took away shots or made them air-ball their shots. Around the same time, the refs finally started calling fouls on Tulsa, even stuff they got away with in the first half.

Chiney, perhaps instinctually knowing she needs her teammates to step up, forgo drives to the basket, her bread and butter, to feed Joslyn Tinkle several times for easy lay ins. Chiney lead the team in assists with four, and Tinkle would finish with nine points, although she had just one point in the first half. Taylor Greenfield also had nine, and Amber’s drives and pull ups netted her 14 points.

Tulsa, to their credit, did not fold like a number 16 seed. They got it back to within 10 with four minutes left. Then three minutes later, Stanford held them scoreless and suddenly had a 20 point lead. Chiney went to the bench with one minute left having scored 29 points and grabbed eight boards. Stanford's back up center Tess Picknell got a basket and a block, and frankly, the block made her more excited than the basket.

Tara VanDerveer gave all the right quotes after the game, saying she would rather have a game like this (bad first half, terrific second half) then “play a great first half and stink it up the second half.” Yes, and it would be even better to play two great halves. The next rounds won’t let them get away with a bad half, or even a bad quarter. Stanford will play Michigan Tuesday at 6:30 in the second round.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stanford Women's Basketball, Round 1, Tulsa

Stanford Women’s Basketball Team takes on the Tulsa Hurricanes in round 1 action at Maples. Game time starts at 2:20. Be there and be square as nerd nation starts their quest for a record sixth straight final four, and to finally bring home that trophy. More insights of the match up at the Stanford Official Site

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stanford, Relying on Amber Orrange, Hangs On to Win Pac-12 Championship

Chiney Ogwumike scored the first basket for the Stanford Women’s Basketball team in the championship game over UCLA. Little did anyone know, or could guess, All-Everything Chiney Ogwumike would not score another basket in the game. After hitting a foul shot (And she missed three out of four free throws), she went 38 minutes without a another basket or point.

Yes, yes, Stanford went on an 8-0 run in the first five minutes and sent UCLA star Markel Walker to the bench with two fouls. UCLA scored their first point at the 12-minute mark. Come on, I mean, Chiney went scoreless in the first 11 minutes of the previous game vs. Colorado, but not her whole team. It was 11-2 Stanford over UCLA at the 11:52 mark. The casual Twitter fans of the Pac-12 called this game ugly and were ready to crown Stanford and turn the channel.

Then, something strange happened. Chiney got her second foul and went to the bench with 7:56 left in the first. Stanford was up 14-4. Flash back to last year, when Chiney would get two quick fouls and go to the bench for the rest of the first half, and her sister Nneka would have to score and rebound everything. It was a weird flash back, because we couldn’t remember Chiney going to the bench in the first half all year. The Pac-12 announcers confirmed she has not had two fouls (and therefore be forced to sit by Stanford head Coach Tara VanDerveer) all season long.

Only this time there was no Nneka Ogwumike to score. Who would step up and score for Stanford? And could the team survive without their leading scorer, rebounder and defender on the bench? The answer: No.

Stanford, without Chiney, looked stagnant on offense. That ten-point lead became nine, then eight. Stanford, without Chiney, could not stop UCLA from getting offensive rebounds and second and third chances to score.  Seven, Six. Stanford did foul UCLA as they were shooting their misses. UCLA also decided to play their star Markel Walker with two fouls and it paid off for them. The lead now three. Oh, three-point Bonnie Samuelson hits one. UCLA answers, Bonnie hits another three. UCLA answers, then they hit a shot with 27 seconds left in the first to go up by one and take that momentum into the locker room.

Granted, the second and third leading scores for Stanford in Amber Orrrrange and Mikaela Ruef were sitting right beside Chiney on the bench in that same time period. That certainly didn’t help matters. UCLA took advantage of Stanford bench players who normally don’t play in tense situations.
It’s okay. Keep calm and carry on… with Chiney Ogwumike. She can’t be stopped for long, can she? Oh yes she can. UCLA would push her and double and triple team her. Granted, the refs didn’t call much, and the frustration showed when Chiney was yet again tripled teamed and knocked around and got called for traveling. She slammed the ball to the floor in a rare display of temper. But C and R were worried all year that Stanford was one-dimensional and without Chiney to score, and would not have anyone step up. It never happened, until now, a championship game.

But Stanford guard Amber Orrrrange decided she would do whatever it took to score. And C and R were so impressed with her game we have decided to spell Amber's last name correctly for the rest of this blog. As we have mentioned, Orrange doesn’t get many assists per game (none in this one) but she can drive and she can pull up and hit a jumper. And she did. She scored a career high 20 points and was the only Stanford player in double figures. Bonnie would get a third three in the second half for nine total points, and Ruef scored eight, none bigger then a big, tough shot in traffic with 51 seconds left to put Stanford up by two, 49-47. Then Ruef fouled out.

Then something terrible happened.
My Twitter feed went down.

Amber Orrange tied the game, then put Stanford ahead with two free throws with three minutes left. And the first lead since the first half for Stanford. Amber Orrange tied it up again with a minute and a half left. Ruef hits that jumper to put Stanford up by two with 51 seconds than fouls out, and I can’t tweet about it! I am about to burst.

Amber Orrange hits game winning shot
Amber Orrange scores the final basket and wins the game. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Amber Orrange, knowing her team needs a basket, dribbles, drives, spins, draws the two taller UCLA superstars in Walker and Brewer and she splits them, double pumps and banks it home with eight seconds left. Stanford leads 51-49. UCLA still gets a shot off, in those eight seconds, misses, fights for the rebound and Chiney Ogwumike knocks it out of bounds as the horn sounds. Stanford players rush the court, but refs huddle, and put .2 seconds on the clock and it is UCLA’s ball. Not a typo, it is point two seconds left.

My twitter is still down, or else I would have informed the Twitterverse that UCLA have to catch and release it, cannot land on your feet. Of course, the Pac-12 announcers also inform the peoples, as that is their job. UCLA catches and shoots, not sure, but I think she landed so it would not have counted had it gone in, and it did not. NOW, Stanford can rush the court, final score 51-49.

Chiney Ogwumike hugged her point guard and cried tears of joy. It wasn’t the team that saved Chiney from her worst shooting game of her career (three points, but 10 boards), it was one person. Chiney still got the Tournament MVP, now called MOP (most outstanding player, and why they changed it I don’t know). Amber Orrange made all Pac12 Tournament and deservedly so. She has been the number two scorer all year long. And Stanford has claim to the bizarre-est trophy ever.

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team won its seventh straight Pac12 Tournament Title and 10th overall! I don’t know if any of them were this close, though.

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