Sunday, December 20, 2015

Stanford Crushed Cornell

Well, that was fun. It was billed as the battle of the brains, as the Stanford Women’s Basketball team took on Connell for the first time ever, and killed them 53-13… the first half. The final score was 93-38. The only real dram was would the Stanford B and C teams get us to 100.

Cornell learned it’s not enough to be smart, you also need to have fundamentals. I don’t know what their coach does in practice, but accurate shooting motion, boxing out and hitting free throws are not one of them, from where C and R stood. It was embarrassing for them. And we had to check, yes they are division 1. Wow. No wonder women’s basketball gets a bad rap.

Erica McCall (24) goes for a rebound .
(Photo by Bob Drebin/
The neat thing about this, as we mentioned we got to see a lot of the bench players. All 14 played and 12 Stanford players scored, although all 14 grabbed at least one rebound! Five of those players were in double figures. Alanna Smith, a freshman forward from Australia, and Erica McCall scored 12 points each to lead Stanford. Karlie Samuelson and Lili Thompson added 11 points each and Kaylee Johnson had 10 points and 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Glad to see her point total up. She lost her starting spot and needs to step it up in both points and rebounds if she is to get it back.

C and R was intrigued by senior walk on Kiran Lakhian. She hit three 3-pointers on four attempts and finished with nine points. Where did she come from? A senior walk on? The mystery was solved via an SF Chron article:

Kiran Lakhian is a senior walk-on who until this year hadn’t played since her freshman season. There wasn’t room on the roster for her the previous two seasons, but this year there was, Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said.

Lakhian said she played a little rec ball in the interim, “but after playing at the college level, it wasn’t the same,’’ she said. So she played pickup ball against the varsity players in the fall, and VanDerveer invited her to stay.

Next game is this Tuesday at 2PM, against Baskersfiled, and before your scratch your head, guess who coaches the team? Greg McCall, Erica McCalls’ father. Erica calls him her single biggest influence when it comes to basketball. Stanford waited for Tuesday's game to honor McCall for helping the United States win the gold medal at last summer's World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. Her father will make the presentation during a brief pre-game ceremony. Now you have to play hooky from work and go.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Stanford Tops Tennessee

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team came out of the gate aggressive and focused, and walloped Tennessee 69-55. (C and R are boycotting the “lady” team name). This was a VERY different team we saw that lost to #5 Texas and unranked Santa Clara.

What changed? Well, for one thing, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer can learn new tricks. Stanford’s player to player (wow, aren’t’ we being politically correct tonight?) defense was NOT working in past games. They could not help out when a faster player was able to beat the first defender. So Tara changed them to a zone, and boy did they help each other out, sometimes double and triple teaming the orange jersey with the ball.

Stanford Tops Tennessee
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The fun started early when NC transfer Diamond Deshields shot an air ball. The Rose Bowl-bound Stanford football team, who was in attendance to be honored at half time, started chanting “Airball.” Except they kept remembering to chant it EVERY time she touched the ball on offense! The second time they chanted it, she scored on a drive and gestured to the whole team, “Bring it!” Yikes. You don’t gesture to a whole section of 250 pound big boys all dressed in black on the road. Who is going to back you up? The water girl? The football team kept up the chanting the whole half! Six man assist to them. Diamond was held to 12 points in the game (and also shot an airball in the second half!).

As C and R said, Stanford was more aggressive on the boards, outrebounding 42-31. Still was a little distressing Stanford only had two offensive rebounds in the first half. But the zone enabled them to box out better. Plus Tenn was not making any threes (sadly, neither could the Cardinal, both teams going 0-5 in the first half).

Defense was excellent. Stanford limited Tenn to the second-lowest point total in the series between the two teams. Stanford held Tenn to 25% FG shooting in the first quarter and nine points in the third quarter. Nine.

So we love the new aggressiveness. C and R know Tennessee plays in the rougher SEC, but they showed little body control when Stanford was in the air on offense. Even thought they were taller and more athletic, they never went straight up for the block, always reaching across and fouling. Strangely, Stanford did not take great advantage of that. When they got the ball and started a drive, it seemed as if they were afraid to take it inside on 6’6 Mercedes Russell.  However, when they did, they drew contact almost every time.  Tenn had 25 total fouls for the game. BTW, Stanford led the block party 4-2, so who’s afraid of 6’6 now?

So here is Standard enjoying this 21 point lead in the third quarter, shooting 60% or so, and feeling some new-found confidence when the second half started and Tenn pulled out the ol’ full court press. We. Cannot. Handle. Pressure. Period.

Several steals and lay ups and a rattled Cardinal found themselves only leading by 7 late in the second half. Twice. However, Stanford showed some poise. And Freshman Marta Sniezek (pronounced Sneeze-ix by the announcer, it sounded like) showed great poise and ball handling skills. Once they got it across mid-court a few times without turning it over, they settled down and then Tenn had to play the foul game. Eight FT attempts in the last minute. Card cruises to the win.

Shout outs:
Lili Thompson scored 19 points, including seven during a crucial stretch
McCall had 14 points and 10 rebounds (another double-double, we might add)
Kaylee Johnson added 10 points. Good for her after she lost her starting job
Marta almost joined the double digit club, scoring nine

Awesome! Keep it up!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Texas Turns back Stanford

What’s the difference between a top 5 team and a top 14 team? About nine points. Also rebounding. The Stanford Women’s Basketball team lost to #5 Texas 77-69. There was not much suspense in this as C and R said, Texas kept that 9 point lead and out rebounded them practically 2-1 in the first half.

Brittany McPhee
Brittany McPhee (AP Photo Michael Thomas)
How bad was it on the rebounding side? Stanford did not have an offensive rebound in the first half! In fact they go there first O-board with 3 minutes left in the third. And no, it wasn’t that Stanford was making all their shots, they were 3-11 from the 3-point line in the first before hitting 50% in the second (live by the three…). And also it wasn’t so much that Texas boxed out or out hustled them. It was mostly due to the Stanford game plan of having the post player set a high screen at the three point line. If the Stanford guard pulled the trigger quickly on the three after the screen, the post player was out of position for a rebound. Many times three Texas players would surround the ball with no black jersey in sight (love the black road jerseys, though!). The final tally of boards was 44-29, Texas.

A word about defense. Help. In that when Stanford plays man to man (or politically correct player to player) they have a very hard time helping if the opposing player gets past them. Which Texas did. Funny thing was Texas had the same problem, playing man to man and not helping if their player got past them. The only problem was not very many Stanford players did that. Our freshie guard Marta did the first few minutes she had the ball when she did enter the game, then got regulated back to the bench. Would have liked to see more of her.

Love how Lili Thompson looks for Erica McCall, and she made some nifty passes to her. However, she needs to make sure she is looking for others as well. Or one could argue that the other Stanford players are not getting open, a fair argument. A few times it looked like Lili was pressing, trying to do too much, driving even though the defense was there. However, again, it might be that other players were not working to get open.

Stanford did make a game of it going on a 9-0 run in the fourth and got within 4, thanks in large part to Mritanny McPhee’s back-to-back threes! However, Texas always seemed to have an answer, especially Empress Davenport who a career-high 23. And then Stanford had to play foul game and Texas, to their credit, made them. Twelve of 16 of them.

C and R noticed Kaylee Johnson did not start and in her place was Kailee Johnson (yes, it gives us headaches, too). However, the ESPN analysts (yes, they were on ESPN!) reported Stanford started four juniors and a sophomore, their first time without a senior in the starting lineup since 2002-03. Curious.

Shout out to those in Double figures:
-Erica had another double double (14 points and 13 boards) but fouled out in the closing minutes
-Lili Thompson led Stanford with 21 points and has now reached double figures in all eight games this season.
-Brittany McPhee had 12 points, a season high, and she was 4-4 from the 3-point line.

Next up is Tennessee.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stanford Wins Gulf Coast Showcase

Round 1

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team opened the Gulf Coast Showcase playing Missouri State. Stanford, coming off their worst loss in a long, long time (well, C and R don’t know if it statistically was their worst loss, but the team looked really bad in the 61-58 loss to Santa Clara). This game Stanford was rebounding and out hustling Missouri State, a welcome change from the lost. The story of this game, though, was the threes; more specifically, the 15 made threes on 33 tries. Stanford won 82-65, although it was troubling the way the other team could drive all the way to the basket for lay ups. Stanford needs more help defense.

Round 2

Stanford played Dayton, Shannon Coffee’s and my hometown. This game was saved by our Aussie, Stanford’s first international recruit, Alanna Smith. She finished the game with 22 points, including 6-8 from behind the line, doing her best Bonnie Samuelson imitation. Lili Thompson scored 15 of her 19 in the second half, after Stanford got behind by 12 in the first half. Stanford went on an 18-5 run in the third quarter and held off Dayton 74-66.

Round 3

Stanford made it to the championship game of the Gulf Cost Tournament versus Purdue, and just what is a boiler maker? At least they weren’t lady boiler makers, and we did like the Purdue announcing saying “Boiler up!”

The game was pretty even at the half, with Stanford enjoying a 26-21 lead. About the only difference was Stanford was 3-10 from three point land and Purdue only made one, on seven tries, in the final seconds. Purdue took the lead in the third quarter and both teams traded kept trading the lead. And yes, this time Purdue was hitting their threes. The third quarter ended with Purdue enjoying a 45-44 lead. More see-saw lead changes and we had ourselves a tie game at the end of regulation, 59-59. Bri Roberson also hit her threes, going 5-6 from behind the arc and led all scorers with 26. Lil Thompson added 17, including 9-9 in free throws. Stanford hung on to win the championship 71-65.

BTW, the 2015 Gulf Coast Showcase MVP was Lili Thompson. Miss Dependable averaged 21 ppg and 6 apg. Glad to see her stepping up!

Champs! Photo Courtesy of Stanford Women's Basketball

C and R are, as always, thankful.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stanford Gets First Win of the Season

Well, welcome back women’s basketball fans, after a long hiatus, C and R are back! And so is Stanford! After a very short (one game) exhibition season, which resulted in a win over The SF Academy of Art (Hey don’t make fun of artists who like sports, all of my degrees are in art!), the Stanford Women’s Basketball team opened their season on the road vs. UC Davis.

Anyhoo, hats off to IUC Davis for providing a free live stream of the game, which started 40 minutes late. Only complaint is there was no sound, and the view never showed a scoreboard. Other than that, it was great to see the game.

photo Courtesy of Stanford Basketball
Notable observations from a small, soundless, scoreless screen:

Junior guard Lili Thompson didn’t start, although she was second highest scorer last year.

Starters were freshmen Marta Sniezek at point, Bri Roberson the off guard, Karlie Samuelson (KSam), Kaylee Johnson, who lead the team in rebounds last year, and Erica McCall as the bigs.

Stanford looked faster than UC Davis and loved the quick step of guards and forwards as soon as they touched the ball, all ready to explode to the basket, instead of being flat footed.

Really love this Marta kid, tough strong, and for a point guard, decisive. Not afraid to drive it to the hoop, and on one play, took the pass off of a defensive rebound and went all the way to the hoop. Hey, if the defense doesn’t stop you…. Very crisp passer, too.

Have to change our drinking game from “when an Ogwumike loses a contact” to “when a Stanford player needs to tie a shoe.” Seriously, ever hear of double or triple knots? One of my son’s soccer coaches used duct tape on wayward laces.

Love the full court press. Except when it didn’t work.

Did not love the post player giving the guard that high screen at the three point line, as last year. They are so out of position if the guard does drive by and lays it up. Plus the opposing player can see it coming a mile away.

The game had four quarters instead of two halves, per the new rules. There are a whole bunch more new rules, but we can’t remember them and are too lazy to look them up.

So many shots rimmed out for Stanford. Someone should check those rims at UC Davis.  C and R thought they were watching a crooked carnival game.

We have no help on “D” when we play player to player (formerly man to man), which we did all night. If UC Davis blew by their defender, they blew by their defender and had a clear path to the basket.

Even though she is now a sophomore, still love this Brittany McPhee kid!

UC Davis can miss shots, too. Both teams were hovering around 30% shooting from the floor at the half way point. Stanford had a slight lead, 29-24.

Sometimes we make one too many passes. Sometimes you need to be a ball hog and just take it to the rack.

Loved the third quarter surge; five minutes into the third quarter Stanford had 17 (and went 3-4 from three-point land) and UC Davis just two points. (Head coach Tara VanDerveer is the master of half time adjustments). Remember the first half where they shoot 30% and scored 29 points? They shot 55% in the third and scored 31 points.

Really, really love the Aussie Alanna Smith. She sure knows how to move to the basket and score!
Loved Kaylee Johnson’s blocks (however she needs to score more, a problem last year, too). She had zero points.

Loved seeing my cup o’ coffee (freshie Shannon Coffee). Full disclosure, although I have never met her, she grew up in the same home town as C, which is Dayton Ohio, (except different eras) and us Ohioans got to stick together. I bet she knows about Mikela Ruef’s beaver call. She scored five points in her debut.

Loved Erica McCall’s double double, and four players being in double figures for points. Erica had 10, Bri 15, Alanna 13 and Lili 10.

Final score 74-45.

Great win, one more road game at Gonzaga, and then we get to see Stanford in person!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stanford Players in the WNBA at the All-star Break

The end of July marks the half way point for the WNBA, and that means the All-star game. Hats off to former Stanford Women’s Basketball player Nneka Ogwumike for making her third straight All-star appearance for the West in four years in the league. She was named as a reserve, mostly due to her slow start this season because of injuries.

Team Ogwumike
photo Courtesy of Chiney Ogwumike
The other former Stanford players didn’t fare nearly as well. Little sis Chiney Ogwumike, who was drafted number one last year (same spot as Nneka in 2012) and won Rookie of the Year (same as Nneka in 2012), suffered a knee injury while playing overseas (and trying to make more money). She had knee surgery and will sit out this WNBA season. Drat, we really wanted to see her growth from rookie to seasoned vet. She has, however, found ways to occupy her time, making many appearances on TV, including a half time stint at the All-star game (It was on her home court of the Connecticut Sun, and she was photo-bombed by big sis Nneka. We saw you steal a sip of her water, sisters have no boundaries!).

What about other Stanford alum in the WNBA? Jayne Appel, playing for San Antonio started the season injured, and just found her way back into games. Kayla Pederson remains with former teammate Chiney Ogwumike in Connecticut. Nicole Powell retired before the season started, but has landed on her feet coaching for the Oregon Ducks, a Pac-12 foe for Stanford!

Jeanette Pohlen returns to Indianapolis after missing the 2014 season due to a torn left Achilles tendon. She won a WNBA title in 2012 with the Fever, but it was bittersweet as she was injured in the playoffs and did not play in the championship game. Candice Wiggins, also a WNBA champion with the Lync in 2011, started her eighth season in the WNBA (my, how time flies!). It is her first season with the New York Liberty (if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere). Wiggins was the 2008 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, and has averaged 9.6 points in her career while playing for Minnesota, Tulsa and Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, Amber Orrange, drafted by the Liberty with the 23rd overall pick in April of this year, was waived by the team in May.

Overall Stanford has had 27 players play in a regular-season WNBA game since the league's inception in 1997. Tara VanDerveer’s program boasts 11 first-round draft picks and has had six players win a total of seven WNBA titles.

Oh, the West side (the best side) won, 117-112.

Looking forward to seeing basketball in the Fall and Winter.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pitching Our Way Back into the Olympics

Today's blog is a guest post from high school student Lydia Dunbar. She had a high school assignment to write about something important to her. She chose softball, specifically why it should be brought back to the Olympics. And unlike C and R, she even provides the links at the end where she got stuff. And unlike C and R again, she actually edited it carefully and there are NO typos! Such a change of pace! And really unlike C and R, she listens to All Things Considered on low volume instead of watching reality TV.

Okay, here's more from Lydia.

"The reason I wrote an article about softball in the Olympics and why it should be reinstated is because softball is a topic that is very important to me. I have been playing since I was six years old (I am seventeen now) and I remember how exciting it was to watch the USA Olympic team execute perfect plays in the infield and make spectacular throws from the outfield. I just think that Olympic softball players provide an inspiration for younger girls to become better softball players. Jennie Finch, the starting Olympic pitcher, is a phenomenal player and I remember when I was growing up I really wanted to pitch like her. I don't pitch anymore, but I still love watching how fast she throws the ball."

After removing all her nice MLA formatting, here is her article in its entirety:

Pitching Our Way Back into the Olympics

Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman are two of the best pitchers on the United States Olympic softball team. Of course that was not always the case. Like many other celebrities, they grew into fame by becoming increasingly better athletes. These two women inspire many people by their admirable dedication to the sport of softball and how they represented their country when softball was an Olympic sport. For that reason, softball should be reinstated back into the Olympics because it provides opportunities for females, life lessons, and an occasion for equality in the Olympics.

Softball, which was an Olympic sport from 1996 to 2008, was full of the best athletes during its time in the Olympics. The US team for example, won the Gold Medal every year except when Japan won Gold in the 2008 Olympics. The dedication these women put into the sport is admired by many young girls who dream of playing the sport as well. It gives girls and women opportunities to participate in a sport they love and want to compete professionally. In some countries such as Afghanistan where female inclusion is less common, softball “has been instrumental in allowing women and girls to play a sport in some of the most restricted countries” (Zinser). Without softball in the Olympics, there is less inspiration spreading to younger generations of girls who dream of playing professionally. Softball in the Olympics has been proven to be motivation for thousands of girls to participate in the sport, therefore it should be returned to the Olympics.

Like any other sport, softball requires good sportsmanship, teamwork, and dedication. The US Olympic softball team is full of athletes who exemplify these qualities. The coach of the US Olympic softball team drilled into the athletes’ heads that they were going to dominate. “That’s all we were going to do is dominate. And that’s what we did” Crystal Bustos says in an interview on All Things Considered. The fact that the US team had the determination to win the Gold every year from 1996 to 2008 is admirable, and lots of girls and women look up to the “dream team” of the Olympic Sport. Softball is an inspirational sport for many athletes determined to play for their country.

Softball and baseball are two very similar sports with just a few differences. Both were in the Olympics at some point in time, which offered an opportunity for minor league athletes of both genders to play in a world event. If for instance the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to put only one of the two sports back into the games, that would draw back from gender equality, which is one of the focuses of the IOC, according to Kelly Whiteside in her  article Why 3 Key Sports Will (or Won’t) Make Games. By having one sport, baseball or softball, reinstated back into the Olympics, that would draw attention to the lack of the other one. If that is the case, the IOC should strive to reestablish both sports to the 2020 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games consist of sports that do not seem as popular as the American past time. There is synchronized swimming which does not seem nearly as well-liked as Softball. Other female sports, such as tennis, gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, and more are a big deal for girls and teenagers who dream of representing their country. People love watching these sports because they are a competition of the best female athletes. Whether it is a team sport or individual, it is still an exciting event, therefore softball, a team sport, should be put back into the Olympics because it is another one of those sports that is exciting to watch and aspire to be.

In conclusion, softball should be added back into the Olympics because it is inspiration for athletes to try to play and represent their country in a world event. Softball is a sport that motivates women and girls to participate in extracurricular activities, and it strives for gender equality and teaches people life lessons. One way for the IOC to see the impact of such sport in the Olympics is provide programs for children to work on their skills and encourage them to continue to their best of ability.

-Lydia Dunbar

My name is Lydia Dunbar, I am a high school junior. I am currently enrolled in AP English 11 which focuses on the English language. I do enjoy English very much, but my favorite class is science. I enjoyed writing this article because it is a topic very close to my heart. When I was younger, I wanted to be an Olympic softball player and I always admired Jennie Finch, the starting pitcher for the United States Olympic team. I hope people are inspired by my article to see the importance of reinstating softball back into the Olympics.

Works Cited
"Baseball, Softball Still Taking Swings for 2020 Olympics." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

Baseball Softball Hopeful of Reinstatement to Olympics." FOX Sports. Web. 4 Feb. 2015.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

What’s in a Number? Turns out, Everything for Lauren Hill

Numbers are very important to athletes. You could say they are superstitious about them, even. It is on their back and sometimes the front. It is their identity.

Now starting, number 22…

Foul on number 10…

Hey 12, good game…

Oh, did you see what number 45 just did?

I’m coming for you number 7…

Number 22 was special for Lauren Hill. At the age of 18, she found out she was diagnosed with Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a nasty, inoperable brain tumor, shortly after declaring she would play college basketball at Mount St Josephs in Ohio.  She accepted the terminal diagnosis it as best she could.

However, Lauren, after going through all the stages of grief and make a wish trips, decided she really wanted to wear that number 22 one more time. To wear it on a bigger stage, to say her time was not done. She stated she wanted to hear the roar of crowd, the bouncing of the ball, and the squeaking of the shoes, to put on number 22 one more time. “…I just can't wait to be standing on this court in a basketball uniform, with the No. 22,” she said.

Sometimes you are dealt a bad hand in life, like Lauren. Or you can look at it that you got a tighter deadline than most. What will you do with it is up to you. Lauren decided to make the most of her short time on earth. She wanted to raise awareness for childhood cancer and be a voice for DIPG sufferers specifically. Usually small children are diagnosed with the fatal tumor and don’t even get half the years she got. Maybe they never get to wear a special number on their small backs. She wanted to be their voice, raise awareness, and raise necessary money to find a cure and end this suffering. And, maybe, wear number 22 one more time.

Lauren got her wish. Doctors sad she likely would not survive until December. The NCAA moved her team’s basketball game up earlier to November. More people heard. The game was moved to an arena that housed 10,000 people. The tickets sold out in minutes. She donned the jersey. She heard it announced, she felt through her feet the floor vibrate with the applause.

Lauren hill
She heard.

She felt.

She played.

We cheered.

We were inspired.

The other team was in on the special “layup for Lauren" play, a play that involved Lauren using her non-dominant left hand for a lay up because her right was too weak. She nailed it the first time out. The first basket of the season scored by number 22. She scored the closing basket in that game, too. By that time her plight and word of her courage had spread and she had raised just under a million dollars for the cure. She would go on to play in four games, finally wearing  number 22 on the home court of Mount St Joseph’s, the college she committed to on her 18th birthday. She scored 10 points for the season, but for once, that wasn’t the number that mattered.

It is always said when someone young dies. We mourn their loss and the loss of their future life,
family, memories, perhaps children. Lauren Hill passed away April 9th, 2015 at the age of 19. She lived longer than the doctors said she would. At this writing, she has raises over 2 million dollars and lived a memorable life. Her courage will not be forgotten.

Did you see what number 22 just did?

Turns out it was a lot.

Please donate to Lauren Hill’s cause, the Cure Starts Now Foundation.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stanford’s Season Ends in the Sweet Sixteen

So the Stanford’s Women’s Basketball Team lost to a very good Notre Dame team 81-60 in the Sweet Sixteen. Not every team can win a championship, and Stanford, Pac-12 Tournament Champions, sure showed those nay-sayers who did not even think they would get this far.

Oddly, it was the first time Stanford’s head coach Tara VanDerveer and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw have coached against each other in the post season. They are usually on opposite ends of the bracket with one of them running into the buzz saw that is UConn. Even more oddly, it was only the third time the two teams have met (Stanford won both in the 90’s).

Erica McCall
Stanford's Eric McCall went up against a tough and tall Notre Dame Defense (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
The lack of a strong post player who can bang around and score definitely hurt against Notre Dame, although hats off to Erica McCall for scoring 12 and grabbing 10 boards for a double double. Our freshie rebounding Phenom Kailee Johnson had a tougher time when she was in. She finished with zero points and one rebound. She would be wise to work on finishing around the basket for next year.

Also hurting us was when guard Lili Thompson pulled up short with a knee injury. Stanford was only down by five with about nine minutes left in the first half. Replays didn't show her having a traumatic event, just crumpled when running, but she was in a lot of pain. She went to the locker room for most of the first and Notre Dame made some runs. She was never really herself after that and not very effective in the second. She finished with two points.

The third thing hurting us was Notre Dame guard Lindsey Allen. She scored a career high 24 first half points, and made four 3-pointers. I know Stanford was keying on Notre Dame’s other guard Jewel Loyd, and limited her to six points in the first, but you have to at least get a hand in the face of Allen. To illustrate her hot hand, she made 16 threes all season long. Stanford gambled she would not keep hitting, but they also should have gotten to her faster on defense.

Stanford bomber, Bonnie Samuelson tried to keep Stanford in it hitting her threes in the first, but not much production from everyone else.

In the second half, Stanford finally stopped Allen (or she got cold) but then Jewel Loyd got hot. With Lili being limited in minutes, Bri Roberson was in and got into foul trouble, playing with three for most of the game. She was tentative on defense on Loyd and it showed.

However it was nice on the other end of the floor to see Bonnie to continue hitting her threes. When she hit her fifth of the game, she made ND’s Coach take a time out and take out her big player to put a smaller guard on Bonnie. It worked. Bonnie was then ineffective. She finished the game with 17.
Once Lloyd took over, and ND got a few fast break points, all the wind in Stanford’s sails was gone, and that’s all she wrote. Except Imma gonna write more!

It was not how Stanford or their fans wanted it to end, but if any coach did more with less, it was Tara VanDerveer getting great production out of her guards with a completely new offense. Stanford will miss all their seniors, none more than steady guard Amber Orrange and dead-eye Bonnie Samuelson.

Thank you all for a great season!

Now, to see if anyone can knock off UConn (no one gave us a shot in November!)

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Stanford Going to the Sweet Sixteen

So C and R like to get prepare for Stanford games kinda like how Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer does. Study, study, study. We read anything we can get our hands on about The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team and then about the opponent (Tara does the hard job of watching tape after tape of teams).

Going into round 2 of the NCAA tourney, Stanford was playing Oklahoma University. What C and R read about them is they like to foul. Well, not so much they like to foul, but they do foul, over 20 a game. That could mean two things for Stanford. It could mean that if Stanford could draw fouls, they would get lots of free throws and free points and OU players to sit. Or if the refs did not call fouls, big trouble for Stanford.

In the first half, it looked like the latter, as the refs were not calling hard fouls. And I don’t think I have ever seen anyone tear off Erica “Bird” McCall’s super goggles, but it happened not once, but twice (Bonus drinking game, replacing when an Ogwumike lost a contact). Lots of bodies flying, and then a whistle when there was hardly any contact.

Oklahoma came out in a zone, and with their athleticism and long reach, the Stanford guards could not penetrate very well, and the three point line was well guarded. Three point specialist Bonnie Samuelson scored zero points in the first. Hats off to OU, they had quick hands and knocked the ball out of Stanford’s hands a lot. Stanford was lucky to only be down 36-32 at the half, thanks to a Lili Thompson three to make it respectable.

However the master preparer, Tara VanDerveer is also a master adjuster at the half. She found a way to get her guards some penetration and maybe OU was a little bit tired as they couldn’t get out to the three point line as quickly. Result: Stanford went six for nine on 3-pointers in the second half, eight for the game. Bonnie hit three of them, and scored all 19 of her points in the second half, including going 8-8 from the free point line when OU finally got into foul trouble. BTW, Stanford attempted 38 free throws, making 30 of them.

Speaking of the second half, Stanford played better defense and only allowed OU six points in the first ten minutes. By comparison, Stanford went on a 12-2 run to open the second half. Lili Thompson helped fire Stanford up by hitting some key threes of her own. And Stanford senior Amber Orrange will surely be missed next year, because she is clutch. Whenever Stanford needed a basket, whenever the offense stalled (as it did a lot in the first) she would hit a timely shot to keep Stanford in it (Even if most of it was drive left!).

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange driving left!
(Photo By:
And what about Stanford lock down “D?” In the first half, Oklahoma's Gioya Carter opened the game with 12 points and four steals. VanDerveer put Orrange on her at the defensive end. She finished with 16 points at the half and scored just two baskets in the second half. Wow.

Couple OU’s poor shooting, especially for the 3-point line (2-14 in the second) with the toughened Stanford D, and the refs finally calling fouls for the second half resurrection. Several OU players had to sit in the second while Stanford shot. Final score 86-76.

Stanford had four players in double figures, which is great as Stanford has struggled to get everyone involved in the offense. It was so great, Stanford did not need “Tournament Taylor to help out, as Greenfield finished with only four points. Amber finished with 24. Lili Thompson and Bonnie each scored 19 points. Erica McCall added 10 and 11 boards, for a double-double. Briana Roberson provided a spark with 13 points and some tough defense. In fact, once Tara put in Bri and went to a three guard set, Roberson didn’t come out.

Next, Stanford has a date with #1 seed Notre Dame Friday. Funny, Stanford and Notre Dame have met only twice, with Stanford enjoying a 2-0 lead. And they have never played each other in the NCAA tournament.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stanford Survives First Round of NCAA Tourney

They say this time of the year survive and advance. They say a win is a win is a win. They say it is okay to win ugly.

C and R say we are very worried for round two.

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team, a number 4 seed played Cal State Northridge (CSUN), number 13 seed, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Stanford won 73-60, but not before squandering a 20-7 first-half lead. It will be hard to survive and advance when your team goes eight minutes without scoring, as Stanford did in the first, and be behind at the half 29-28 at the half. Stanford offense stalled big time, looking disjointed and jerky. The usually smooth guards kept picking up their dribble, severely disrupting the flow of offense.

Granted, Stanford went on a 24-4 run early in the second, handing CSUN their own seven minute draught, but again Stanford let CSUN come back within six with two minutes left. The next game, two days away is with an Oklahoma team that scored 111 points in their first round victory. No, C’s cat did not sit on her keyboard, Oklahoma scored 111 in a regulation game, no over time needed. (Fun fact, Stanford BBall alum Lindy LaRoque, is a graduate assistant coach for OU). Some defense will have to be played and some shots made by Stanford if they want to survive and win this one. But as R said, if anyone can study the opponent and come up with a good game plan, it is Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.

Lili Thompson
Lili Thompson has her game face on!
(Photo By:
Hats off to “Tournament Taylor,” that being Taylor Greenfield, the one person who could create her own offense and score. Taylor scored 19 points and was joined in double figures by Lili Thompson with 17, Bonnie Samuelson with14 points (she made three out of four 3-pointers) and Erica McCall added 10. And believe C and R, they will need more points against OU.

More fun facts, this victory gave Tara VanDerveer her 800th victory at Stanford. She became the 10th college basketball coach -- men's or women's -- with at least 800 victories at a single Division I school ... And, Stanford won their 500th game at Maples Pavilion (with just 87 losses).
See ya Monday at Maples.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stanford WBB Pac-12 Champs

They were calling her “Tournament Taylor.” The can now call her MVP. Taylor Greenfield helped propel the Stanford Women’s Basketball team over the semifinal hump from an ASU team that beat them twice, and helped them knock out Cal to win the championship. She, of course, was named the tournament MVP. (Curious she was not on the All-Pac-12 Tournament team, though Stanford’s Amber Orrange was). She is also the first non-starter to win the Most Outstanding Player in Pac-12 tourney history.

In the semifinal game vs Arizona State, Greenfield's driving basket with 44 seconds left gave Stanford the lead for good and hold off ASU 59-56 (although Stanford had built a 12 point lead and again failed to stop ASU). The last minute was filled with wild plays, fouls and non-called fouls. Boy it gets rough in the Pac-12. Taylor finished with 17 points (one off her career-high) including a key offensive rebound and free throw with 10 seconds left.

Wearing their road uniforms for the first time in Pac-12 tournament history, Stanford leaned on senior guard Amber Orrange and her 18 points, and Greenfield all game. How bad was the Pac-12 officiating? With about 5 minutes left in the game, Stanford had been whistled for 17 fouls, ASU just one. Finally ASU had to play the foul game in the closing minute.

In the finals vs Cal, Stanford once again leaned on Taylor. Could lightning strike twice? It could. Taylor G came off the bench and went off for 20, breaking her career high and winning the afore-mentioned MVP honors.

Stanford Women's Basketball wins Pac-12
Stanford beats Cal for Pac-12 Tournament Championship.
(Photo courtesy of Pac-12 Official site)

Unfortunately, at the 15:32 mark or so in the first, Stanford’s Brittany McPhee went for a rebound against Cal’s Brittany Boyd. McPhee hit Boyd in the face (certainly not intentionally) and cut her cheek. Boyd left the game, and we were told stitched up in the locker room. She came back with a bandaged cheek about 2:22 minutes left in the first and it was clear she as not herself the rest of the game.

BB’s stat line was seven points, two rebounds and three assists. Matters were not made batter when a Stanford player, I think Taylor Greenfield, also accidentally hit Boyd on the other cheek in the second half. That is a shame. We hate to see an athlete injured in the course of a game, and you always want to beat your opponent at full strength. Cal was also affected by the super center Reshanda Gray getting in foul trouble early in the first half and limited her minutes. Her stats were six points and three rebounds, although other CAL players (Cowlings and Range) stepped up in their absences. Cal lead at the half 25-23.

Stanford took the lead with 12:53 minutes left in the second on a Taylor G jumper. Cal wouldn’t go away, and it was a four point Stanford lead with a minute left. That gave Stanford some breathing room to let Cal score. Cal hit a three at the buzzer, but were down by four. Stanford won 61-60.
More importantly, Stanford wins the automatic bid in the NCAA tournament and is placed in the part of the bracket away from UConn. They also have chance at hosting the first and second rounds, too. Home court is so huge come March.

Congrats on Stanford persevering in the Pac-12 tournament!

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Pac-12 Tourney, Round 1

The Stanford Women’s Basketball team took advantage of the first round bye to beat UCLA 67-62. However, Stanford floundered on offense for long stretches and let UCLA come back several times. UCLA was able to tie the game at 56 with five minutes left, but Amber Orrange (Ms. Clutch) made a three and Stanford hung on for the win.

UCLA came in with a game plan to stop the Stanford guards and let the Stanford bigs have the ball in their hands. They also didn’t believe the Stanford bigs could hurt them. The Stanford bigs of Erica McCall, who scored 10 and grabbed eight boards, and Kailee Johnson, who had eight points and seven boards did wound them. Plus the Stanford guards weren’t’ really stopped, Amber Orange had 18 and Lili Thompson had 14.

Erica McCall
Stanford's Erica McCall, left, and UCLA's Kari Korver battle for a loose ball
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Bad/sad news, Karlie Samuelson is out for the tourney (and probably for the year) with a broken pinkie. She recently had surgery and that was one humongous cast for a busted pinkie.

This just in, Colorado upset Oregon State and knocked them out of the tournament. Now Stanford just needs to beat ASU to make it to the finals. ASU beat them twice, so you know what C and R always say, third time’s a charm. See the game for free on Pac-12 channel Saturday at 6PM, even if you don’t get it. Stanford will be wearing their black unis, something Tara VanDerveer does not remember them even earing in the torunet, as they are never the underdog. TVD says she likes that.
Crossing fingers and pinkies for Stanford! in the next round.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stanford Pac-12 News

So the Stanford Women’s Basketball team lost their final regular season game against Pac-12 opponent Oregon. You can read all about it here:

Actually, the loss didn’t hurt them in the Pac-12 sense. They are still seeded third in the Pac-12 tournament behind second seed ASU, which beat them twice, and first seed Oregon State, which they beat in their one meeting. Cal is seeded fourth. The third seed means they get a first round bye, and of course, if the win their quarterfinal match, they will play ASU, the team that beat them twice. Oh well, third time’s a charm.

Stanford Team
(photo courtesy of Courtesy: Stanford Athletics)
Where they did get hurt was falling to number 19 or 20 or so depending on what poll you are reading. They top 16 teams get to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, so Stanford lost home field advantage. And had they stayed at 16 or higher they would have ended up in a part of the bracket where they would have met #1in the country UConn at the Final Four. Now projections have them meeting UConn in the third round. However, they are the one team that gave UConn their only loss….my head hurts.

Pac-12 Honors:
Hats off to the four Stanford players who earned Pac-12 Honors.
  • Amber Orrange was named to both the All-Pac-12 squad and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. She is now among 13 Stanford greats to have appeared on that squad in at least three seasons for Stanford.
  • Lili Thompson was named to her first All-Pac-12 team.
  • Bonnie Samuelson was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, her first Pac-12 post season award
  • Kaylee Johnson earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. She averaged 10 rebounds a game, second in the Pac-12.
We would be remiss if we did not tell you Lili was selected to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-District Women’s Basketball Team in early February, one of only five Division I underclassmen in the entire country to receive such recognition.

So cross your fingers for Seattle. Maybe they can win it and change their luck and position in the NCAA bracket. Did you know, for the Stanford site, that Stanford is 34-3 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament? It has won 10 of the 13 titles (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), is 12-0 all-time in the quarterfinals, 12-1 in the semifinals and 10-2 in the finals.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stanford Spoils OSU’s Pac-12 Plans

Well, we all know the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team won’t win the Pac-12 regular season title this year, ending a streak of 14 straight, but they weren’t about to let someone else have it. Stanford, at #19 came to #7 Oregon State’s home court and beat them 69-58.

Stanford did it by doing something they have not really down all year. They took (and hit) mid-range jump shots. Credit Stanford’s Hall of Fame Coach, Tara VanDerveer for taking away an opponent’s strength. OSU has a great shot blocker in 6’6 Ruth Hamblin. Stanford tried not to get near her to let her swat. This time the screens at the top of the three point line worked, as Stanford’s speedy guards used the screen and then pulled up for the jumper before their defender could catch them, instead of going to the basket only to have their path cut off. It worked.

Stanford pulled to an early lead and then did not play good defense on Jamie Wesinar. She scored 15 in the first half with open threes and drives to the basket. She was putting a dagger thought Stanford’s heart, and Stanford ended the half only up by one, 34-33.

However, Tara always has some magic words at half time (we imagine something like if you let her get another three, you’re getting benched) because she did not score a point until 3 minutes left in the second (it was a three). She finished with 18 for the game. Stanford’s other players also played lock down defense and held OSU to 25 second half points.

The three ball. Stanford only made one in the first, and three more in the second. However, Bonnie Samuelsson hit two in a row to start the half and that was all Stanford needed to keep their lead. OSU was 6-28 from behind the arc. Wow, that is a lot of misses.

Erica McCall
Erica had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks
(photo courtesy of Stanford Women's Basketball)
Stanford had a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures. Lili Thompson finished with 13 points and Erica McCall and Amber Orrange both added 12. Bri Roberson and Bonnie Samuelson both chipped in 11. Erica had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks (and did two Nnekas, where she grabbed arebound in the air and shot an dmade it….twice!) and got to talk to Stanford alum Ros Gold-Onwude.

The game was very physical with the Pac-12 refs doing their lousy job of calling hard fouls. Bodies were flying. Karlee Samuelson hit the deck and hurt her shooting hand, and did not come back in the game, so we hope she is okay. We need her for the upcoming Pac-12 tournament, where Stanford has a shot at redeeming themselves to win the Pac-12 Tournament Title.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Battle of the Bay

Last week, Stanford came into Cal’s gym and beat them on their home floor 59-47, in their last game of the season, on senior night. That had to hurt Cal’s seniors. Well, turns out Stanford seniors got to feel what that felt like first hand. Cal came into Maples and beat them 63-53, despite Brittany McPhee’s 24 (more on that later).

Not only did Cal play the spoiler on Stanford’s senior night, but that win on Stanford’s home floor denied Stanford a chance at winning their 15th straight regular-season conference title. That’s right, Stanford had its consecutive streak of regular-season titles end at 14.

At the game at Cal, Stanford was down by nine at the half, but played great defense in the second. Stanford held Cal’s guard Brittany Boyd to six points and center Reshanda Gray to nine. Oh, Cal was 3-27 in that second half. Stanford’s guards, by contrast were hot, scoring the bulk of their points in the second half. Lili Thompson, after a mini-demoting, scored 18 and Amber Orrange scored 19.

Brittany McPhee
Brittany McPhee scored 24 points. (Photo by Bob Drebin/
But the star of the first Battle of the Bay was from an unlikely source in Stanford’s Brittany McPhee. She came off the bench and in a span of one minute scored six points. She was not afraid. She got the start in the second half and ended up with nine, but did a lot of intangibles for Stanford.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer liked what she saw and went to Brittany off the bench in the second Battle of the Bay at Stanford. Coach was rewarded with a career-high 24 points from Brittany. She was unafraid to mix it up and scored most of her points on drives inside against a very physical Cal team.

"She backed it up," VanDerveer said. "She was not a one-game wonder.”

The bad news was Stanford stalled on offense in the second half. Other than Brittany, they had no play. The high screen at the top of the three point line is expected by other teams and now happens further and further away for the basket, way above the three point line. The other team now has more time to catch back up to the speedy guards. Credit Cal with covering Stanford’s three point shooters, too. Amber Orrange added 11 points but no one else from Stanford got above five points. That is the difference right there.

So now Stanford needs to play to get a bye at the Pac-12 tournament and try to get home court advantage for the first and second rounds of the NCAA play offs, if it is not too late. Will be interesting.

However, you can’t keep a good Card down, and the Stanford faithful stayed after the game to honor the six seniors. Lots of hugs and tears and shared thoughts on sisterhood, including the real life Samuelson sisters (and C and R got to talk to Stanford alum Toni Kokenis!). Most of the seniors are thinking about medical school, law school or grad school after graduation. Wow, not bad for ballers.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Stanford Loses Two in a Row in Arizona

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team did something they haven’t done in a time. Was it…

A. Lost two in a row
B. Lost two to Arizona State in the Same Season
C. Lost to Arizona on their home court

The answer is D all of the above. This weekend in the desert State was not kind to Stanford.

There was a similar theme to these two game. Stanford got a double digit lead, and was up at the half. Then went on scoring droughts as dry as the Northern California Hills. It comes down to post play, or lack of it. The only play Stanford has is a high screen at the top of the key, guard penetration, and a kick out to a player on the three point line. Guess what? The other teams know the screen is coming, and are anticipating the pass to the wing. Once the scouting report shows that, teams quickly figure out how to shut Stanford down.

Stanford lost to ASU first, 53-52. Neither team scored in the final 4:35. Stanford guards Amber Orrange had 15 points and Lili Thompson added 11. No one else, post or otherwise could crack 10 points. Stanford did get a shot off in the final seconds but it was off the mark.

Against Arizona, Stanford lost 60-57. Arizona scored 14 of the game’s final 17 points to earn its first win over Stanford since 2004. In fact, Arizona closed the game on a 10-0 run, scoring all 10 in the game’s final minute. This time Stanford had the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 1.9 seconds left, a daunting task to be sure, but they shot themselves in the foot by throwing it out of bounds and did not even get to attempt a shot. Amber Orrange and Lili Thompson led Stanford with 13 points apiece. No one else, post or otherwise could crack 10 points. Sensing a theme here?

Well, if anyone can right the ship, it is Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. Hope she can solve this offensive riddle. The world is just so much better when Stanford wins.

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stanford Wallops Washington State

So usually when you play Washington State, you have to be aware of the Tia and Lia show. WSU has two great players in guard Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley. Lia showed why she deserves lot of defensive attention, scoring 18 before fouling out with two minutes left in the game. However, Stanford’s defense held Tia to four points, 15 below her average. She was 1-10 from the field. Lia and Tia didn’t get much scoring help from their teammates, either.

Or maybe a better headline would be Stanford is basketball’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stanford would make a brilliant play and then follow it up with a boneheaded play. Or else WSU was just that good at forcing turnovers, which they did well in the first half. WSU forced 13 turnovers in the first half, and converted that into 14 points. A lot of them came off a full court press. Stanford was lucky to only be down 39-37 at the half.

However, Stanford must be slipping something in to the Gatorade at half, because again it was a different story in the second frame. Turnovers for Stanford were kept to a manageable five. WSU shot just 7-36 in the second. This time in the second half when WSU used their press, a Stanford guard would just drive coast to coast with an open path to the basket, instead of a turnover. Plus Stanford got WSU into foul trouble in the second and went to the line 16 times for the game. WSU only went to the line once in the second half.

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange surpassed 500 career assists against WSU (Norbert von der Groeben/
Always steady Amber Orrange scored 15 and had six assists. Amber became the seventh Stanford player to reach 500 assists. She now has 503 and counting.

Also today the post game got going, with good looks insides, especially by Erica McCall. Stanford also won the rebounding game, 47-30 (In the first half it was a 22-9 Stanford advantage). Erica McCall scored 14 and grabbed seven boards, with most of her points were from inside.  Bri Roberson added 11, despite having to sit with foul trouble, Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson each added 10, so having five players in double figures is always good. Freshie Kaylee Johnson chipped in seven pints and a game-high 11 rebounds. That makes 10 games for Kaylee with 10 or more rebounds in her young Stanford career.

Oh, by the way, WSU is now 0-59 against Stanford, proving to be the Washington Generals of the Pac-12.

Next up is Washington at Maples on Monday.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stanford Sweeps LA Schools

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team continued their line-up of three guards and two bigs against USC and told themselves not to get down early as they did the last two games. They listened to themselves and beat USC 71-60.

Lili Thompson
Couldn’t find a photo of Lili Thompson, so used this older one (MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)
Let’s correct that and say they listened to Hall of Fame Coach Tara VanDerveer. She told Lili Thompson, who did not score a basket against UCLA last game that she needed to make better decisions on offense and better shot selections. She listened. She got her first points, a layup, right away. Then she continued to attack the basket.

This game she was pump faking and putting the ball on the floor to get to the basket. And it worked. She got to the rim practically whenever she wanted. And when she didn’t she was fouled. She went 10-10 from the free throw line before she got a miss. She finished the night shooting 12-14 from the line (both career highs, BTW) and had 21 points.

Erica McCall listened, too. She has had an up and down season. Some of it could be the new offense focusing on the guards driving and kicking out ot the three point specialists. When McCall has been in she has either been ineffective or made great post moves but could not finish. Today she got some good finishes and scored 11 solid points for the game and grabbed six boards (with authority).

Strangely, though, after Lili’s hot start to make up for last game, her back court teammate Amber Orrange, who had 20 points last game, didn’t score in the first. Those two need to sync up on offense instead of taking turns. Granted, Amber likes to come through and make the acrobatic shots when no one is scoring, so maybe she didn’t feel the need to score with Lili carrying the load. She did have a much better second half and ended up with 10 for the game.

Speaking of post play, Stanford again was called for moving screens on their bigs. I believe they had three in the first half. Coach Tara questioned the calls again on the Pac-12 Half Time TV show. Hope she doesn’t get fined.

In the first, instead of waiting for the second half to make their move, Stanford went on a 15-0 run. USC didn’t help themselves, missing eight straight shots in first. USC also couldn’t hit threes. They went 4-15 from behind the line compared to Stanford’s 5-12. USC also did not get to the free throw line much, and when they did, they missed, going 8-16 for the game compared to Stanford’s 20-24.

Stanford has two other players in double digits to match Lili’s 21. Erica McCall scored 11 and Amber Orrange added 10 points for Stanford. Bonnie Samuelson made 2-4 3-pointers and scored eight total. Freshie Kaylee Johnson also added eight points, and three of the buckets came from easy walk-in lay ups when USC’s defense swarmed the top of the key trying to stop the guards and the three ball. The first time Kaylee turned near the top of the key and thought about a jump shot and was surprised to see no one in front of her. She paused and finally put the ball in the ground to the backboard and had the uncontested shot. She was ready when it kept happening.

Even with the win and leading most of the way since seven minutes in the first, C and R read these startling statics: USC outscored Stanford 36-22 in the paint, held a 20-5 advantage in offensive rebounds and scored 20 second-chance points.

Yikes. Stanford will need to shore that up with their post play. Everybody hear that?

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Stanford Women's Basketball Beats LA

Once again it was a tale of two halves for the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team. At least this time after finding themselves down early in the first they dug themselves mostly out of it before it got too late.

Stanford traveled to the land of Beat LA, oops, we mean UCLA. UCLA, boasting the best recruiting class in the country, came out hot. Their freshmen, Jordin Canada is something special, playing with a broken nose and the dreaded mask. She scored 14 in this game, mostly on drives to the basket. Keep your eye on her in the coming years.

For the first half, Stanford went with their three guards and two bigs like they did in the second half against Arizona State when they had that incredible comeback that fell thisssss short. Bri Roberson got the start as the third guard, and it was Bonnie Samuelson instead of Erica McCall joining Stanford’s freshie Kaylee Johnson in the paint.

Bri Roberson
Couldn’t find a photo of Bri Robersonb in action, so here she is hugging Lili Thompson (Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle)
Bri Roberson is just a breath of fresh air, with her speed and quickness. Her drives to the basket make you ask “how did she score that?” Stanford’s play this year is the dribble penetrate by the guards and if nothing is there, kick out to the three point line.

Bonnie Samuelson is Stanford’s go-to shooter, and although she made two 3-pointers in the first, surpassing Jennifer Azzi and Lindsey Yamasaki for career threes, she missed a whole bunch more. Well, the whole team did, going 4-14 from the 3-point line in the first. And when they missed, Stanford didn’t get the rebound. What was worse, UCLA made their threes, six for ten, or 60% for those of you scoring at home.

UCLA also doesn’t waste time after a made basket. They go straight to the other hoop and no one with an “S” on their chest stopped ball or got in front of the ball handler. UCLA really used that to their advantage in the first and got up by 10 over Stanford in the first.

Stanford stayed with it and got some defensive stops and some buckets by Amber Orrange. Stanford also go UCLA’s bigs in foul trouble and they had to sit while we shot. Stanford attempted 29 free throws in this game. By half time Stanford was only down 37-40.

Okay, funny moment when Karlee Samuelson was fouled and sister Bonnie, who makes her free throws 90% of the time, went to the line to shoot. The refs caught it and made Karlee take the shots. Still.

Like the last game, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer did some great adjustments and got her team fired up to open the second. Same thing here. Stanford started the second half with an 11-2 run and did not trail the rest of the game.

Also, UCLA was not hitting their threes, we think they got one with about eight minutes left but that was it .Stanford by contrast WAS hitting threes; for the game, they made 11 on 26 tries. They were patient on offense, working the clock, waiting for that open shot.

UCLA battled back and got within six but there was only two minutes left and then they had to play the foul game. Final score 79-70.

Shout outs:
-Well, there were four Stanford players in double figures, three in the 20s.
-Briana Roberson earned her first start of the season and scored a career-high 21 points. She averages around six points.
-Bonnie Samuelson added 21 points and went 4-10 from the 3-point line.
-Amber Orrange had 20 before she fouled out shortly before the end of the game. She also had four steals and stellar defense.
-Freshie Kaylee Johnson had her 4th double-double with 10 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

On to USC.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Stanford Cannot Outrun Arizona State

A tale of two halves, too little too late, ran out of gas, came up short, all those expressions would be apt in describing the Stanford Women’s Basketball team’s three point loss to Arizona State. Granted the teams were very similarly ranked, so at least this does not qualify as an “upset” except for the fact ASU had not won on the Maples floor for 31 years. Thirty-one years!! Dang, having a streak broken hurts: usually Stanford is the streak buster.

Amber Orrange
Stanford could not stop ASU's speedy guards in the first (Photo: Steve Rodriguez/ASU sports information)
So tale of two halves let’s go with that for now. C and R want to read out some statistics to show just how bad Stanford had it in the first. Stanford shot 29% in the first half (7 for 24) and made only two of its ten 3-point tries. Arizona State used a 14-2 run late in the first and outrebounded Stanford 24-10 in the first half. Stanford also gave up 20 points in the paint. Post play, post play, post play. Stanford has to score in the post and stop the other team’s post play.

What went wrong? The Stanford defense could not stop the drive down the middle or keep anyone out of the paint, there was not help defense when the ASU guards penetrated and no one could grab a rebound. ASU held Stanford without a field goal for nearly 4½ minutes late in the first half. ASU had 11 of their 20 offensive rebounds in the first half. When Arizona State outscored Stanford 19-6 over the final 10 minutes of the first half, Stanford was lucky to be only down 39-22 at the break.

But we have said this before: Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is the master of the half time adjustment, and she also is not shy about letting the team know they are letting her down. So when the second half started, Stanford was all fire and brimstone.

Now let’s go over some second half stats. Stanford forced seven turnovers in the first 9½ minutes of the second half and opened with a 20-7 run. ASU only scored 21 second-half points on 6-of-23 shooting. ASU shot 51% in the first and only 26% in the second. They also made four 3-pointers in the first and in the second, only one. Stanford, by contrast shot 29% overall in the first and 56% in the second.

So what changed? First Tara put in three guards and two bigs. They had some speedy guards, but so do we. That helped stop the drives down the middle. The Stanford guards also limited the three point shots and forced turnovers. They rattled ASU. Stanford got it to within one point with five minutes left, but couldn’t score for the next three minutes while ASU slowly added to their lead. ASU was up by seven with 46 seconds left but Stanford still rallied. A three by Briana Roberson, an off-balance layup/jumper by Amber Orrange and it was a two point game with 12 seconds left. But Stanford was forced to play the foul game and ended up losing 57-60.

If Stanford had a few more points in the first….
Or grabbed a few more rebounds. ASU outrebounded Stanford 44-22 for the game, with 20 offensive boards. Usually Stanford is the one out rebounding everyone, but to be doubled up like that? Stanford needs to grab the ball with two hands. There were a lot of tips that should have been rebounds.
Shout out to three Stanford players in double figures. Lili Thompson, Amber Orrange and Taylor Greenfiled all scored 12 points apiece.

Still more Pac-12 games to play. If Stanford can play like that second half in the first…or for 40 minutes, they will be strong come tournament time.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stanford Crushes Arizona

The nice thing about playing a team that is 0-4 in the Pac-12 team is, if you do your job right, you get to rest your starters and play your bench. The Stanford women’s basketball team did their job and beat Arizona 77-47 and rested their starters.

First of all, if a drinking game broke out that ruled you had to take a drink every time someone from Stanford either missed a layup or hit the deck, you would be blotto. Stanford had on their track shoes and had a lot of fast breaks, steals and fast breaks, and pretty passes on the fast break, but a lot of uncharacteristic misses on layups. Also C and R are getting concerned about those big ol’ brains of the players and the fact they keep hitting the floor. Love your willingness to take a charge, but remember what happened to your coach.

Erica McCall
Erica McCall scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds (Photo by Norbert von der Groeben/
Speaking of coaches, much has been written about Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer running a guard oriented offense this year and not having the post players be as prominent as past years. The only problem was that the post players were all but forgotten. Well, not forgotten, just not finishers. At times the post play of freshie Kaylee Johnson and sophomore Erica McCall showed the right moves but just couldn’t get the ball in the basket.

That put too much pressure on the guard tandem of Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange to score. TVD must have seen the errors of her ways, or at least said we need SOME post play. Tonight Erica McCall took that to heart and looked like a woman on a mission. Early on the crowd could tell she was in to it when she missed her shot, got the rebound, put it back up ,missed, grabbed the rebound in the paint and did a 360 and put it up again. This time she did find the bottom of the basket. She found it so much that she finished with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for a double-double (We think her first double-double of the season). She also had three blocked shots. That is called establishing your presence.

Oh, just saw this article that Erica cresdits her new sports googles with giving her better court vision. She wore them in the summer and didn’t like the, Now they are back on, she is feeling confident! Future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades!

-Shout out to Bri Roberson with 12 points, and going 4-4 from the foul line. She keeps improving with every game. She matched her career-high for points and rebounds (3) and set career bests in assists (5) and minutes played (28).

-Shout out to Lili Thompson for also scoring 12, and taking many hits to the floor.
-Shout out to the sharp-shooting Samuelson sisters (say that seven times fast). Younger Karlie Samuelson had 12 points, on 4-5 shooting from behind the line. Senior sister Bonnie has 14 points, on 4-7 shooting from behind the arc, and one great drive to the basket.

Five Stanford players scored in double figures, and nine players total scored, which is good since we are playing a very tough Arizona State on Monday. We will need all those points and all those missed lay ups better go in!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Stanford Wins in OT over Washington State

Just a quick write up about Stanford’s overtime win over Washington State, as there was a LOT of football on today. Did you know that Stanford has played three overtime games this season, and are two out of three? Did you also know Stanford has NEVER lost to Washington State, and had a 57-0 record going into this game? Think if they lost!

Stanford leaves the state of Washington with a win over Washington State and Washington. Both games had similar themes. In this game vs WSU, Stanford lived and died by their guard play. The post players continue their struggles to finish, but got some better results. Kaylee Johnson got it together and scored 13. Erica McCall also pulled down six rebounds. This game, though, Stanford’s Taylor Greenfield stepped up in the first, scoring seven, which earned her a starting spot in the second. She would end the game with eleven points. It was nice to have more players in double figures than just the guards.

Amber Orrange
Kaylee Johnson had 13 points and 15 rebounds in Stanford's overtime win. (Photo by Hector Garcia Molina/
In the first half both teams were pretty evenly matched, with both teams shooting around 38%, the difference being WSU forced Stanford into eight turnovers which lead to nine points. WSU by comparison only had two turnovers and Stanford got no points from them. Stanford also was 4-8 from the 3-point line, in the first, but WSU kept pace, going 4-9.

The Stanford guard play of Amber Orrange and Lili Thompson, as we mentioned, was well scouted by Washington. When Amber drove left, they were on to it and were able to limit it. It didn’t help matters that Lili Thompson started out cold and didn’t score in the first half. She would make up for it in the second.
WSU has a pretty impressive pair of guards as well, so nickname the Tia and Lia show. Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira can score, too. However, Stanford can scout, too, and held them to 3-12 shooting in the first.

Stanford had several long stretches in the first where they could not score, and were lucky to only be down by five, 28-33, at the half.

In the second, Amber Orrange played lock-down defense on Lia, but Lili had a more difficult time with Tia. She got hot and scored 16 in the second, totaling 23 for the game. Washington lead for most of the game, and at one point Stanford was down by 11, but good ol’ three-point specialist Bonnie Samuelson knocked down a three with 2:19 left in regulation to put Stanford within one. Then she knocked down some free throws a few seconds later to give Stanford a one point lead.  Both teams kept trading the lead, mostly on free throws in the final two minutes until Bonnie hit a three with 10 seconds left to put Stanford up by two. But then Stanford made the rookie mistake of not stopping ball and Lia scored a jumper to tie it in the final seconds, 71-71.

When overtime started, one of the Washington State, Mariah Cook players got called for her fifth foul and went down hard. After being helped off the court, all the life seemed to go out of WSU. Stanford’s Briana Roberson iced the game with 6 free throws in the final 44 seconds and Stanford would win 86-76.

Shout out to Six Stanford Scorers in Double Figures (say that seven times fast):
-Amber Orrange scored 19, including a three
-Bonnie Samuelson scored 18 and was 5-of-7 for 3-pointers, her second time this season with at least that many 3-point makes
-Lili Thompson added 13, including 2-4 from three point land
-Kaylee Johnson notched her third career double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds and one block
-Taylor Greenfield scored a season-high 11, and was 4-4 from the line
-Roberson was a perfect 8-8 from the line, to end up with 10 points.

Now back home against the Arizonas.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stanford Hangs on to Beat Washington

The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team traveled to the state of Washington to play Washington for a Pac-12 match up.

In this game, Stanford continued their experiment of perimeter play with less emphasis on the post players. To their credit they are executing it well. The Pac-12 announcers nailed it when they described it as “Four out one in, dribble drive” and “stretch four.” By having all players spread the floor instead of hanging out in the paint, the guards could either drive to the basket or kick out to a perimeter player. Washington was aware of this game plan and tried to stop it. The rest of the game was seeing if Washington’s defense could stop the guard drive and three ball, or if Stanford would execute. Let me tell ya, it was close. Stanford only shot 22% in the first.

Let’s talk for a moment about Stanford post play. The young post players of freshie Kailee Johnson and sophomore Erica McCall were both in great position to score down low and made some great moves, but still kept missing. Finish, Finish, Finish. Let’s hope with time….

Now let’s talk about Stanford defense. Stanford played great defense on Washington’s great Kelsey Plum. She is left handed like Stanford’s Amber Orrange and Stanford stopped her from going left. She was so uncomfortable, she only scored four points in the first.  She also did not get any foul shots in the first half, something she normally utilizes for points. She did heat up in the second and sunk two 3-pointers and finished the game with 16. Credit Stanford; they held the Pac-12's top scoring offense to just 56 points, 24 below its season average. Now that is some defense.

In the first half, Stanford held Washington scoreless for long stretches in the first, however Stanford was dry as well, going 8-35 in the first, and making only 3 out of 15 threes. C and R know Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is trying new personal on the floor, but some bench players in the first half who could not get in rhythm and contributed to that long drought.

It was 22-24 Washington at the half, both teams struggling.

In the second, both teams would go on drought/runs. Washington was up by seven at one point. Then Stanford’s Amber Orrange started chipping away, penetrating and getting to the rim or drawing the foul. And Stanford’s second guard, Lili Thompson was not to be outdone. She scored seven of Stanford’s final 13 points. Both guards really stepped up in the second. Lili scored 13 of her 15 in the second, and Amber scored 12 of her 14 in the second as well. Bonnie Samuelson added 12 points and freshie Kaylee Johnson grabbed 13 boards.

Lili’s biggest contribution, though was a desperation heave about five feet behind the three point line and the shot clock winding down with 27 seconds left and Stanford clinging to a two point lead, 57-55. The ball banked straight off the glass and went in the hoop, and there went Washington’s hopes. A meaningless Stanford foul with one second left and a free throw made the final score 60-56.

Lili Thompson's three
We just had to show the Stanford Bench reaction to Lili's 3! (ELAINE THOMPSON — AP Photo)

Shout out Karlee Samuelson for the old trick play, inbounding the ball off the unsuspecting defender, and gathering the rebound.
Shout to Erica McCall rocking the new sports goggles. Those were new.
Shout out to Bonnie Samuelson for scoring all 12 points from three point land (4-9).
Shout out to freshie Brittany McPhee, local Washington girl, who had her family in attendance and made two free throws.

That’s enough shouting, now on to Washington State.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Stanford Wins Defensive Battle over Utah

Two Pac-12 games gone, two wins for the Stanford Women’s Basketball team. This second win was over visiting Utah, the final score 55-44. You could say it was a defensive struggle, the half time score 20-14 with the edge to Stanford, or you could say both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net. Both teams combined to go 14 for 59 for the first half.

Stanford shot 36% from the field for the game. Utah was worse, shooting just 28% from the field, and was 4-21 for 3-pointers. Stanford went back to their full court press again and while they didn’t force many turnovers, (Utah had eight to Stanford’s ten) they still got them out of rhythm. Utah, conversely, had a hard time keeping up with the Stanford guards, especially in the second half, and fouled them when they drove, which they did a lot. Stanford as a team attempted 20 free throws, making 15 of them.

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange scored 17 points to lead Stanford past Utah (Photo by Bob Drebin/
Speaking of guards, it really was the guard show for Stanford, the two starting guards combined for 31 points. Senior Amber Orrange again was high Stanford scorer with 17 and Lili Thompson easily keeping pace with 14. Speaking of Lili, she went down hard under the basket with 5:40 remaining and left the game after being called for an offensive foul. She appeared to hit her head on the court and didn't return. We wish her the best and hope it is not a concussion.

Stanford is trying a new offensive set this year, one that includes many high screens by the post players, and they certainly tried that again in this game. Sometimes the screens were not effective, and if there was a shot, the post players were out of position to get the rebound. Speaking of screens Utah did a fairly good job of switching on the screens defensively, but the few times they were too slow to switch or lost their player, Stanford made them pay.
It is tough to beat Stanford when both guards are driving and clicking. Just hope they can get some more of the bigs involved and in double figures.

Shout out to freshie Kaylee Johnson, who made it her mission to contribute tonight. She did not score the last game versus Colorado and in this one had seven points and seven boards. She also had a career-high four blocks. Another shout out to another freshie, Brittany McPhee who had three blocks in ten minutes.

This just in, we learned Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer broker her left wrist New Year’s Eve. The 61-year old Hall of Fame coach purposely took a charge from 6’5 Tess Picknell, a Stanford reserve. Man, she still got it! And Happy New Year to you, coach!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stanford Survives Colorado

They say the Pac-12 is up for grabs (Or else C and R said it is, can’t remember if we read it or dreamt it). The statement was in action when the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team played Colorado. The lead changed hands four times and Stanford squandered an 11 point lead and let Colorado get within three with a minute to go before pulling out a 62-55 win.

Stanford, having seen the Ogwumike sisters graduate, miss their ability to put close games away with their rebounding and points, and there does not seem to be anyone from Stanford taking their place, at least not in the post position. Stanford guard Amber Orrange was the closest thing Stanford had to a take-charge player. To Amber’s credit, she scored a career high 26 points. Unfortunately, it seemed to be the same play, Amber driving to the basket from the left (she did score two 3-pointers to keep the defense honest). For variety, Amber drove right. She would either get the bucket or the foul. And if your game plan is to draw fouls, you need to make free throws. Stanford was 12-21 or 57% as a team. The fact that Amber scored 12 of Stanford’s final 17 points in the final 10 minutes could be looked upon as a good thing…or bad thing, meaning no one else stepped up.

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange scored a career-high 26 points. (Photo by Bob Drebin/

Stanford’s other guard, Lili Thompson also played big. She scored 17 points, and made two 3-pointers. The guards combined for 43 of the points, and no one else was in double figures. As C and R have said in other blog posts, Stanford’s lack of post play is hurting them on offense. Tonight it even hurt then on defense. Colorado’s posts were able to score almost at will when they got the ball in the paint. Special shout out to three point specialist Bonnie Samuelsson who had noticeable good D, limiting Colorado’s taller players and using her long arms to stop Colorado from shooting. We notice Colorado was 1-10 for threes for the game. Other special shout out to Erica Payne. When she was inserted into the lineup, she added some much needed hustle and intensity and seemed to pick the team up.

Speaking of paint, Colorado came into this game leading the Pac-12 in rebounds (no we didn’t make that up, we read that). The rebounding for this game was about even, Stanford with 37 and Colorado with 35. (Although it looked to C and R like Colorado was holding the Stanford players on box outs, especially in the first half). It hurt Stanford to have their leading rebounder, Kaylee Johnson sitting the bench for most of the first half with two fouls. The freshmen would foul out with two minutes left and only five rebounds and no points in her 19 minutes. The freshie will have to learn how not to foul when blocking, something Stanford center Jayne Appel had to learn her freshmen year, too.

Something new C and R saw tonight was Stanford’s full court press. It is used so rarely, and when it is only for a play or two. This time Head Coach Tara VanDerveer used it for a good portion of the second half. However, no good deed goes unpunished. Colorado also pressed Stanford, and they have not traditionally been good breaking it. When guard Amber Orrange was on the beach, Stanford looked frazzled. Stanford had 16 turnovers to Colorado’s 13. It kept the game close.

Still a win is a win. Looking forward to the rest of the Pac-12 season.

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