Sunday, October 26, 2014

One Week to Stanford Basketball

So it is one week until we get a Stanford Women’s basketball preview. Stanford opens its exhibition season against Vanguard. Many, many questions are floating around this year’s team. This will be the first time in six years without an Ogwumike, so how will Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer adjust?

Much has been made by the surprise announcement that VanDerveer is scrapping her beloved triangle offense in favor of screens. She made her point with a classic “Tara-ism” telling anyone over 6’3 that “their new middle name is screen.” She says she wants to free up senior guard Amber Orrange and soph guard Lili (Lee-Lee) Thompson.

Still, the Pac-12 coaches picked Stanford to win the conference (which C and R thought for sure Cal would have a lock on the preseason vote). The coaches claimed they weren’t fooled by the “we don’t have an Ogwumike or a returning All-America” and “we are playing a whole new offense.”

Stanford also adds some talented freshmen. Two are guards, Taylor Rooks and Brittany McPhee and forward Kaylee Johnson. Not to be confused with now sophomore Kailee Johnson, or Karlee Samuelson for that matter. Don’t know much about them but will probably get a good look against little ol Vanguard.

Sue Favor of “They’re Playing Basketball gave a great in-depth preview of Stanford. Quoting:

“Whether or not the Cardinal will stay atop the conference depends upon who, if anyone, will step up. Orrange has shown quiet leadership since her freshman year, and Thompson is promising because of her youth. Samuelson will likely be made a starter with them. But all three will have to increase their production substantially, as teams who survive significant player losses do so when others fill in the gaps.”

See the full article here:

See some fun with the Stanford “Dunk” contest (on a small basket). Love the playfulness of the team already. Hope they can keep it up (and Stnaford winning ways) for the season.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stanford Basketball Alums in the News

Before the 2015 Stanford Women’s Basketball Season starts, (or as C and R call it, the era after the Ogwumikes), we wanted to highlight some notable accomplishments of Stanford basketball alums. Well, as it so happens, we wanted to honor two of them, both with the last name Ogwumike.

Okay, not that we want to exclude anyone, but older sister Nneka and younger Chiney have been on a rocket ship of a ride. And it’s funny, because younger sister Chiney has always followed in Nneka’s footsteps.

Chiney followed her to Stanford, where the sisters were an unstoppable dynamic duo who had court ESP and always knew where the other was, or were rebounding each other’s misses. They also took Stanford to two Final Fours together, and in Nneka’s case, two before Chiney and Chiney got one more after Nneka graduated.

In Nneka’s senior year, she worked on the transition to the WNBA, working on an outside shot and playing away from the basket. She was the number one pick in the WNBA and won rookie of the year honors.
Chiney also followed that blueprint, working on scoring away from the basket (although her jump shot is a little flat and not all there). Her hard work rewarded her with the number one pick in the WNBA, the first sisters to accomplish that in the WNBA, and the second pair of siblings since Peyton and Eli Manning did it in the NFL. Oh, they also were the first sisters to play in the same WNBA All Star game. And they ended up guarding each other!

So it is no surprise that Chiney also won Rookie of the Year honors. C and R just want to point out that…well, that is so hard to do! She was just a few weeks out of Stanford when she reported to the Connecticut Sun in the wake pf Tina Charles demanding a trade (Ciney had to get special permission to miss a game to attend the Stanford graduation ceremony.) In just four short months she was selected for the All-Star game and kept up against the best in the world to win Rookie of the Year barely six months removed from college. That is so tremendous.

So Nneka didn’t take the time after the WNBA. In fact, both Nneka and Chiney were invited to the Team USA training camp to try out for the World Championship team. Alas, only Nneka was chosen (Chiney’s day will come), and she helped Team USA win the Gold Medal in the Worlds that was held in Turkey.

Not a bad few months for these two Stanford alums.

Looking forward to 2014-15 season and seeing who will make history.

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