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.

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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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