Saturday, May 24, 2014

Looking Back at Stanford’s Season

Even though summer is just starting, C and R would be remiss if we did not have a recap of The Stanford Women’s Basketball 2013-14 season (more from the official Stanford site). And 2013 started out the year of “13.” Or say we say the year of Chiney Ogwumike. Chiney Ogwumike took the team on her back and propelled them to the Final Four, their sixth appearance in seven years. Unfortunately they had a date with UConn and lost in the semis, but it was a great ride.

Stanford’s overall record was 33-4. Notable wins included Tennessee (for the third straight season) and both times against Cal in a week. They won the Pac-12 regular-season title, for the 14th time in a row. They did lose in the semis of the Pac-12 tourney to eventual winner USC, thus earning them a number 2 seed in the NCAA tourney. You can read a year in review for the Pac-12.

Chiney Ogwumike had some help. A pleasant surprise was freshmen guard Lili Thompson. Her aggressiveness and confidence also rubbed off on junior guard Amber Orrrrange and she upped her game as well. Another pleasant surprise of the season was the return of fifth year veteran Mikalea Ruef. She has her best year and peaked during the NCAA regional finals, ultimately being named the MVP of the region over buddy Chiney.

And what can we say about Chiney? Well, a lot actually, so here goes:
She led Stanford to three Final Fours during four year career. Her senior season, she was unanimous All-American, named the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year, (the nation’s top academic honor and first from Stanford) was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team for the second straight year  annnnnnnddddddd….was awarded the  John R. Wooden Award winner as the national player of the year,  She became the first Stanford and Pac-12 women’s basketball player to claim the John R. Wooden Award.

As for the Pac-12 conference Awards, she leaves as one of the most decorated players in the history of the Pac-12. She now holds the Pac-12 all-time scoring and rebounding record, while claiming eight single-season or career records including tying the scoring average record, a mark set in 1989. She scored 2,737 points, besting fellow alum Candice Wiggins and grabbed 1,567 rebounds, besting fellow alum Kayla Pedersen, in addition to setting the single-season conference record for points scored at 967, passing fellow alum and her sister, Nneka Ogwumike. She swept the Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the second straight season, with the defensive honor being her third in a row. That makes her a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, three-time Defensive Player of the Year and four-time all-Conference. No one, man or woman has ever won the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive player of the year award, and she has done it twice! Lastly, she set a record for being named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the ninth time this season and the 18th time in her career.

She finished the season as the only player to rank in the national top 10 in scoring (26.1 ppg - fourth), rebounding (12.1 rpg - ninth), field-goal percentage (60.1 - fourth), and double-doubles (27 - third).
After being named to every major award’s preseason watch list as well as to every preseason All-America Team, Ogwumike went on to a season in which she averaged 26.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game while shooting 60.1 percent from the field. Those numbers helped Ogwumike earn her second straight selections to the ESPN, USBWA, John R. Wooden Award, and Associated Press First Teams, with the AP nod being her third overall after being named to the second team in 2012.  Additionally, Ogwumike was honored at the Final Four in Nashville by being named to the WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team for the third straight season, joining Candice Wiggins (2005-08), Nneka Ogwumike (2010-12) and Nicole Powell (2002-04) as Stanford’s only three-time WBCA All-Americans. She was honored by the Stanford Alumni Association as one of two graduating seniors to receive the 2014 J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for outstanding service to Stanford.

She also had wrote the lyrics to this song:

Coach Tara Vanderveer got her 900th career victory this season, and in her understated style, no one got to see it, which was fine by her. The win came at the Puerto Vallarta gave tourney that clearly was not ready for prime time. No televised games, or even videotaped for later. Official score keepers and statistician  had to be borrowed from the teams. She now stands alongside legends Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer and Jody Conradt in the exclusive 900 club.

The pinnacle of the season was Stanford clinching their trip to the final four at Maples Pavilion and getting to see their inspiring win in person. C and R are still smiling. What will next year hold?

Season tickets are now on sale!

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Look Back at Stanford Draft Day

Hey hey, two Stanford, basketball players, or should we say former players were drafted by the WNBA. It was not surprise that Chiney Ogwumike was drafted number one by the, dare we say it, Connecticut Sun. She and sister Nneka join Peyton and Eli Manning as the only two siblings in pro sports to be drafted #1. Cool. Hope Chiney does as well as Nneka, who won rookie of the year her first year. Although it will be the first time they have ever played on opposing teams.

Chiney Ogwumike, Mikaela Ruef
Chiney Ogwumike, front right, hugs forward Mikaela Ruef after Stanford defeated Nortth Carolina in a regional final of the NCAA's (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The other former Stanford player drafted was Mikaela Ruef. The fifth year senior wasn’t even sure she was coming back or if there would be a scholarship for her, but there was and she grew as the season went on. He career was capped with getting nabbed as the most outstanding player in the regional NCAA’s. Everyone assumes it would be all everything Chiney Ogwumike. That helped her stock and Ruefie as drafted 31st by the Seattle Storm. Good news for her, she is reunited with bestie and former Stanford alum Joslyn Tinkle (remember tinkle bells?) Going to a team with a friendly face was a good thing because she has a million questions about how to be a pro.

To quote the Stanford official site: Ruef is the 23rd Stanford player to be selected in the WNBA Draft (Chiney was 22nd). Ruef’s and Ogwumike’s selections give Stanford multiple picks in a single WNBA Draft for the seventh time (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2014), and the first since Kayla Pedersen (seventh, Tulsa Shock) and Jeanette Pohlen (ninth, Indiana Fever) both went in the 2011 first round.

Looking forward to following the summer!