January 23, 2018

Kiana is freshman in name only

"Kiana is poised and composed in her first season at Stanford," writes David Keifer (Stanford Athletics).

Read more ...

January 21, 2018

Cardinal concedes win to Bruins, 53-64

As shown by the low final score, this was a competition of defenses, the Stanford smart defense versus the UCLA press and zone. For most of the game, each team impeded the other about equally. For example, turnovers were Stanford 16, UCLA 14 and rebounds were Stanford 37, UCLA 36.

As it turned out the game was decided in the first four minutes. During that time, Stanford had six possessions: five misses rebounded by UCLA, and a turnover. At that point the Bruins were ahead 10-zip; and that is the lead that they held to the end of the game. A few times, Stanford closed to within six, but they could not erase that opening drought.

As in the prior game, Tara substituted frequently right from the start, so that nine players had significant time on the floor.

Kiana had 14 points and three assists to offset one turnover. She had more success driving to the basket, where she was 4-6, than from long range where she made only 2 of 8.

Marta scored nine points and spent 35 minutes virtually nose to nose with Jordin Canada. She had five assists against four turnovers.

DiJonai had six points and eight rebounds, plus a steal.

Nadia also had six points and eight rebounds.

Alanna and Brittany had frustrating nights, scoring only five points and a few rebounds each.

Maya had four points in 13 minutes of play, and tallied one monster block.

Having split the Los Angeles weekend, Stanford returns home to play the Arizona teams.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

And the video press conference with Tara.

January 20, 2018

Cardinal snatches win from fingers of the Women of Troy, 59-55

Neither team played well, and for much of the game, Stanford played the worse.

The Cardinal opened by giving up turnovers on its first four possessions, and Tara was quick to sub in Maya, Nadia and DiJonai for starters Alanna, Kaylee and Kiana. She continued an unusually rapid series of substitutions as the tentative, sloppy offense continued.

Fortunately the Trojans were no better, except for a sequence in which they hit three consecutive three-point shots to gain a lead they would hold most of the game.

The first half ended with the Cardinal behind 23-26. At this point eight Stanford players had scored, but the leading scorer was DiJonai with five. Most of the others had two each.

The third quarter started no better. DiJonai was providing the only offense, and Stanford trailed by 14 midway through the quarter. Then DiJonai made a three, Kiana made a three, DiJonai hit two free throws, and Alanna made a layup, and the hole was a lot less deep. On the buzzer, Alanna dropped in a three to close the quarter at a more hopeful 41-45 deficit.

For the first two and a half minutes of the fourth, neither team could score. Then Marta stole the ball and laid it up to bring Stanford within one. Brittany grabbed a rebound and scored to put Stanford ahead for the first time in 30 minutes. The game was tied at 55-55 with 41 seconds to play, then Brittany scored to make it 57-55.

The Trojans called time to inbound the ball past the time line, and had 20 seconds to tie or win the game. Unfortunately for them, they instead turned the ball over on a bad pass. Marta iced the win with two free throws.

DiJonai had 15 points (on five of eight shooting, including two of four three-point shots) plus six rebounds and four steals. It was her play alone that kept Stanford from being buried in that dismal third quarter.

Brittany scored only two points in the first 35 minutes of the game, but came alive to score another 10 in the last five. She also had three assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Alanna scored nine, mostly in the second half, and blocked three shots.

Marta scored eight, including a critical steal and layup near the end. She had four assists and three steals, against two turnovers.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

And a video interview of Brittany, "We stayed together as a team".

January 19, 2018

Why we play

Mikaela Brewer(Stanford Daily):

"A few times, I’ve heard one of my best friends say 'wow, I just had a bigger than basketball moment'. Throughout the past year, I’ve really put some thought into those words, which hold more power than you may think."

Read more: Why we play

January 18, 2018

DiJonai is tough and full of energy

Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle) says,

"[DiJonai] is known for her toughness, competitiveness and athleticism, as befits the daughter of a former NFL player."

Read more: Stanford’s Carrington inherited football toughness

January 17, 2018

LA schools rematch

Alexandre Bucket and Laura Anderson discuss Kaylee, DiJonai and the upcoming LA games in this week's Stanford Daily Women's basketball roundtable: LA schools rematch.

January 16, 2018

A Two-Weekend, Four-Game Assessment: Stanford is Better than Its Ranking

By Warren Grimes

Over the past two weekends, Stanford went 3-1, with the one loss coming at Arizona State. These four games were mid-season, and provide an apt opportunity to assess Stanford’s accomplishments and shortcomings. Kiana Williams started all four of these games, and is a significant reason for the team’s improved performance. She’s upped her game in a number of important categories. The chart below compares Kiana’s season averages with her averages for the last four games.

Minutes Points/Game FG % 3-Point % Assists/Game Steals/Game
21.6/31.5 8.2/12.0 .355/.441 .337/.348 1.3/1.75 .6/1.0

Kiana deservedly was chosen conference freshman of the week for the Arizona weekend. The likelihood is that statistics will continue to improve for this gifted freshman.

A veteran who has also upped her performance is Kaylee Johnson. For the season, she’s averaging .378 boards per minute; but in the last four games, she’s tearing down boards at a .452 per minute clip. She is, by a significant margin, the team’s best rebounder. She is also finishing underneath better. Her season-long field goal percentage is 46%; during the four game run, it was 60%.

Improvements came too for DiJonai Carrington. In the last 4 games, DiJonai shot 40% from three point range (compared to a 25.8 % clip for the season) and became the team’s # 1 theft artist. Her 11 steals during the four games was double her season-long steals per minute rate. Carrington also continues to be one of the team’s best rebounders, with the same per minute rebounding rate as Alanna Smith.

Alanna Smith did not up her point or rebounding performance, but the last 4 games showed her a more efficient scorer. Her field goal percentage, 51.2 for the season, went up to 53.3 in the last four-game stint. Her 3-point percentage is 32.6% for the season, but was 37.5% over the last 4 games. And Alanna’s assist numbers are up: 1.5 per game over the season, but 2.25 over the last 4 games.

Improved assist performance is even more dramatic for Brittany McPhee. She has averaged 2.9 assists per game over the season, but, for the last 4 games, had 3.75 assists per game. Indeed, Brittany was the number one assist maker during the last two weekends (Marta Sniezek was second with 3 assists per game). Brittany’s point per game average was down, but she is making collapsing defenses pay by picking out the open player. That is an indication that Stanford’s quick-pass offense is becoming more efficient.

Looking at the big picture, the conference continues to be highly competitive, with Oregon the only team undefeated in conference. Both Washington and Arizona, although losing by significant margins to Stanford, showed moxie under their new coaches. In not atypical fashion, Charli Turner Thorne has her team fast out of the gate. The issue for ASU in past years has been an inability to sustain that momentum in the second half of the season.

For this week, the AP pool has five Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25, with Oregon holding the #7 position. OSU, California, and ASU all made the lower end of the top 25. Stanford is unranked. Are all of these teams better than Stanford? Are they likely to be ahead of Stanford at season’s end?

Ask yourself this question: Would you want to trade players (and coaching staff) with any of these teams for the current Stanford lot?

A silly question. Stanford had a rough beginning; but now, almost all roads lead upward.

January 14, 2018

Cardinal Hounds Huskies 71-45

Although the UW Huskies had not won a conference game, Tempie in the pregame talk cautioned that they were well-coached and ran an aggressive defense that was meant to confuse their opponents with many different defensive looks.

This was evident in the first quarter when the Husky defense forced DiJonai to give up the ball on a five-second violation -- a rare type of turnover that we hadn't seen in a long time. Although the quarter ended with Stanford ahead 15-11, stats for rebounds, turnovers, and shooting percentages were even, and the team in purple were not looking like lap-dogs.

In the second quarter Stanford began to pull ahead on rebounds and perhaps the UW players began to feel the stress of running a constant pressing defense. The referees created some drama with multiple foul calls that the crowd wanted to overrule, and the half ended at 31-23.

The third quarter started well with a lovely block by Kaylee leading to a layup by Alanna. The Huskies dug in and pressed every inbound, and were successful in stealing the inbound ball on two successive tries. That didn't help them much; Stanford continued to rebound better and the quarter ended at 47-31.

The fourth quarter started with an exchange of three-point shots, but when around the seven-minute mark DiJonai hit a three and Alanna a layup to give Stanford a 20-point lead, some of the fight went out of the Dawgs, and from there it was a cruise to the final score. Defense was undoubtedly key to this win: Washington's Amber Melgoza, who came in averaging 22 points in conference games, was held to only five for this game.

Alanna led all scorers with 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Brittany had 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, and a steal, and spent a lot of time and effort defending Melgoza.

DiJonai had 11 points on three of four shooting, including making both of her three-point tries. She also had five rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

Kaylee led all rebounders with 12 and and all shot-blockers with five (5!)and was just two points shy of a double-double.

Kiana had an off-night for shooting, hitting only one of her six three-point tries, but still ended with seven points, two assists, a block, and two steals, and also contributed to defending Melgoza.

Every available player was given some time on the floor (Anna was still out recovering from a "high ankle sprain" , Maya was not feeling well, and Mikaela was cleared to warm up but not to play).

Alissa had five points including a three, and Estella made use of her short time on the floor to drop in a three of her own.

Encouraged by this pair of wins the team heads to Los Angeles for two challenging games next weekend as the PAC-12 season rolls on.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of DiJonai, "We were clicking on all cylinders'',

And the video press conference with Tara, Alanna, and Kaylee.

January 12, 2018

Cardinal Contains Cougars, 70-57

In the pre-game talk, Coach Lindy spoke of how the team was disappointed with its showing at ASU, especially in rebounding and committing fouls. Rebounding had been the focus of practice all week. Here's a spoiler: it worked. At the half, rebounds were 30-11 in Stanford's favor, and the team committed only 15 fouls for the game, giving WSU only 11 free throw attempts.

The game opened in excellent fashion: WSU had four misses and two turnovers in their first six possessions and had to call time at 6:30 with the score 10-0. The Cardinal continued hot and the Cougs continued to miss, and the first quarter ended at 22-7.

The second quarter continued a spectacular rout, and at the half the score was 45-17. Stanford was hitting at a 63% pace, WSU at 23%, and rebounds, as noted, were 30-11.

Once in the second quarter and again in the third, the score hit the Band's favorite value, "two X plus four" but WSU began to show some signs of life. They mounted an aggressive, pressing defense and began to get turnovers, and the third quarter ended at 58-32 — still a healthy lead but not the runaway of the first half.

In the third quarter Stanford seemed to get sloppy or tired; the WSU defense produced turnovers; and the Cougs began to climb back. Half-way through the quarter DiJonai went up for a block, took a mighty swat at the ball but hit arms instead and ended up bringing herself and the opposing player down hard in a heap, ruled an unsportsmanlike play.

On a positive note, a minute later Kaylee scored her tenth point to cinch a double-double, and got a solid cheer from the crowd.

The score for the fourth quarter was 12-25 and, as one annoyed fan said, "If it had gone on much longer we could have lost it." In truth the cushion was ample and there was no real danger of losing, but it was disappointing to see a lack of the killer instinct needed to finish the game crisply.

Alanna led all scorers with 20 points on 10-18 shooting. Several times she went up from the middle of a scrum under the basket to receive a lob pass, and writhed her way through multiple defenders to finish the play. She also stole the ball twice and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.

Kiana had a hot hand tonight and earned a career-high 36 minutes of playing time. She scored 15 points on two midrange jumpers, a layup, and three (of six) three-point attempts.

Brittany had 12 points, plus five assists, three steals, and a block.

Kaylee added the game-high 15 rebounds to her ten points for her first double-double of the season.

Nadia had five points and five rebounds, a steal and a block.

DiJonai had seven rebounds and a steal, but missed all seven of her shots.

With the sands of Arizona hopefully blown away by a solid win, the team will welcome the UW Huskies on Sunday.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

Ros interviews Alanna about upperclassmen leading the way,

The video press conference with Tara, Kaylee, and Alanna,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphoto.com).

January 11, 2018

Cardinal v Cougars battle of the boards

The Cardinal and the Cougars meet in Maples tonight, each determined to rebound from a disappointing loss in its prior game.

And both teams are emphasizing better rebounding in their preparation for the game.

Sounds like it's going to be a real battle of boards.

Cougars try to rebound from tough loss by Avery Cooper (Daily Evergreen)

Stanford women need to rebound in more ways than one by Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle)