December 31, 2006
Only in the postgame celebration, players jumping into one another's arms at midcourt, was there finally a moment for Stanford to exhale.
The No. 14 Cardinal women's basketball team engaged in an intense battle with one of the best teams in the country Saturday evening in front of the largest crowd of the season at Maples Pavilion, and the Cardinal came out with their biggest win, defeating No. 10 Arizona State 77-71.
Candice Wiggins was the driving force for the Cardinal (9-3, 4-0) with an outstanding second-half that included 19 of her 21 points and 5 three-pointers that propelled Stanford from behind on two occasions. (More ...)
December 30, 2006
In recent years, playing Arizona State has proven to be not merely a game, but an experience for Stanford. It's an experience with a significance that needs to be conveyed properly to those Cardinal players facing the No. 10-ranked Sun Devils for the first time in their careers today at 5 p.m. at Maples Pavilion.
Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer has gone over the basketball basics -- taking care of the ball, maintaining poise and composure, hitting the boards hard. She let her veteran players handle the rest.
"You can't really know until you play them," senior center Kristen Newlin said. "We are getting prepared for aggressive defense." (More ...)
December 29, 2006
Candice Wiggins was back in the lineup for the No. 14 Stanford women's basketball team Thursday night, and while it was undoubtedly nice to have the two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year on the floor, it wasn't a matter of necessity.
The Cardinal rode the balance of five double-figure scorers and a dominant inside game to a decisive 86-58 victory over Arizona in their Pac-10 home opener at Maples Pavilion. (More ...)
December 28, 2006
Santa Claus brought Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer just what she wanted for Christmas.
Candice Wiggins, the Cardinal's two-time All-American, will be back on the court tonight when No. 14 Stanford takes on Arizona in its Pac-10 home opener at Maples Pavilion. Wiggins sat out games for the first time in her college career last week with a left hamstring strain as the Cardinal traveled to Los Angeles to open the conference schedule against USC and UCLA. (More ...)
December 24, 2006
December 21, 2006
With its two-time All-American on the bench in street clothes, Stanford opened the Pac-10 season Wednesday night by making it look easier than it should have been.
The 14th-ranked Cardinal rode another stellar defensive effort and a strong night in the frontcourt to a 62-46 victory over USC at the Galen Center.
Freshman point guard JJ Hones did her part from the outside, turning in a personal-best 11 points, including three big three-pointers in the first half to keep USC at bay. (More . . . )
December 19, 2006
It snuck up on us, but the start of the Pac-10 women's hoops has arrived. Stanford begins conference play Wednesday night at USC, followed by a trip to UCLA on Friday for an early afternoon affair. In this balanced league, road wins are paramount to title hopes, and the Los Angeles swing was the toughest the Cardinal faced last season. What do this year's Trojans and Bruins bring to the table? (More ...)
December 17, 2006
Brooke drives up the court
New about to make a tough shot
Jayne shoots way over a couple of Utes
One of JJ's three steals
J.J. Hones steals the ball from the UtesDon't you love reading about Cardinal routs? Here are accounts of Saturday's game from Bay Area newpapers.
Cardinal routs Utes--Wiggins hurts legBy: Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle
The Stanford women's basketball team found a different way to win Saturday afternoon at Maples Pavilion. And in this case, change should be good for the No. 14-ranked Cardinal.
They returned to the court for the first time in 13 days and won handily -- defeating Utah 74-47 -- on a day when Brooke Smith didn't score a point, the first scoreless day in her Stanford career. And they won on a day when Candice Wiggins didn't play in the second half after sustaining a left leg injury on the final play of the first half. (More ...)
Balance helps Cardinal winBy: Dylan Hernandez, San Jose Mercury News
The Stanford women's basketball team appears to be finding its form -- enough so that it crushed visiting Utah 74-47 Saturday with Candice Wiggins on the bench for the entire second half and Brooke Smith held scoreless for the first time as a Cardinal. (More ...)
December 16, 2006
Just when the Stanford women's basketball team was finding its groove, final exams came along.
The No. 14-ranked Cardinal have not played a game in 13 days, but they will take the court today at 2 p.m. against Utah (5-4) hoping to recapture some of the momentum that appeared to be building when they soundly defeated then-No. 25 Texas Tech 73-49 on Dec. 3. (More ...)
December 15, 2006
After a two-week break for autumn quarter final exams, #14-ranked Stanford Women's Basketball is back in action on Saturday against a hot Utah squad from the Mountain West. The youthful Utes may not sit in the Top 25, but they just knocked off a pair of Pac-10 schools and are shooting the ball at a high clip. We take a look at the Cardinal's and Utes' most recent outings and preview the match-up. (More ...)
December 14, 2006
The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics released a position statement Monday calling for a ban on the use of male practice players in women's intercollegiate athletics. The statement concludes months of debate about whether the practice should continue.
According to the CWA statement, the use of male practice players "violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX." The committee believes that "any inclusion of male practice players results in diminished participation opportunities for female student-athletes, contrary to the association's principles of gender equity, nondiscrimination, competitive equity and student-athlete well-being." (More ...)
ESPN columnist Mechelle Voepel writes:
Junk the males? No way!On a periodic basis, we probably all make the pronouncement, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.
Right now, this is my current "stupidest thing I've ever heard of," and this one might not be topped any time soon.
The NCAA officially announced Monday: "The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics has issued a position statement calling for a ban on the use of male practice players in women's intercollegiate athletics."
You know, when the NCAA moved out of Overland Park, Kan., a few years back, maybe it shouldn't have stopped at Indianapolis. Perhaps it should have kept going east. Right now, I think the middle of the Atlantic Ocean might be a good spot.
It's lucky for me that the NCAA is gone from Kansas, because the headquarters was barely 10 minutes from my house. If it were still there, I'd probably have been arrested Monday for disturbing the peace by standing outside and screaming incessantly, "What in the world are you people thinking?"
You can read the entire "position statement" online … and if you make it through without wanting to repeatedly beat your head against a wall (or, you know, somebody else's head), then you're doing a whole lot better than me. Among other things, it's paranoid, uninformed, reality-phobic, logic-devoid, silly and ill-conceived.
Unfortunately, this issue is going to be voted on at the Division III level in 2007 -- that proposal is to greatly limit the use of male practice players -- and the obvious fear is that Division II and Division I are next and might ban them altogether.
Check out the Women's Hoops Blog for more commentary on this lunacy (uh, warning: there is an f-bomb in there; I'd have a few here, too, except we're not allowed). Or go to various women's hoops message boards, where many posters make point after point after point after point about how wrongheaded this is.
Men's practice players have helped women's basketball get better. The idea that they take "opportunities" away from women in practice doesn't make any sense if you've ever seen how they are actually used.
Coaches use them to give everyone more productive reps, not just the starters. They use them to help simulate opposing players' strengths and weaknesses. They use them because they can constantly wear them out if need be; it doesn't matter if they're not as fresh and strong as possible for games.
A devastating injury demon -- anterior cruciate ligament tears -- afflicts females in this sport a great deal more proportionally than males. As scientific/medical research and weight-training methods advance, we all hope to see ACL injuries decrease markedly among women's hoops players.
But I'd guess the ACL factor alone has contributed a lot to women's hoops teams facing problems with having enough available, healthy bodies in practice over the years.
This "position statement" suggests that the answer is bringing in more women to the team -- as if there are talented, fit, competitive women who can practice and play at the necessary level just hanging around every campus wanting to join the team but being ignored because coaches want men practicing.
Does the NCAA's Committee on Women's Athletics think coaches are complete morons? That they don't scour every nook and cranny they can find to get eligible females who can help their teams?
Does the CWA not realize that when women's basketball players are working out on their own, the first place many of them go is the rec center on campus to play against men because they know it helps them?
But here's something else that is significant in this whole matter. Let's consider what being a practice player does for the men who fill that role. They are participating in something that's designed to contribute to the betterment, achievement and glory of women -- not themselves. They need to be punctual, responsible, willing to follow instruction, able to control temper flare-ups in the heat of competition, and eager to work hard toward something that helps other people.
Gee, you don't think any of that stuff is going to make them better human beings, partners and fathers, do you?
They are learning to respect women as athletes. They are taking that respect with them -- at least to some degree -- when they're around other men who don't think or feel the same way. Maybe they are changing a few minds.
Yeah, clearly we need to "eliminate" them.
It has been a good news, bad news week for 15th-ranked Cal. And unfortunately for the Bears, the bad news is the biggest.
Sophomore guard Alexis Gray-Lawson, part of the nucleus of five young players who came into the Bears' program last season and helped lead them to Cal's first NCAA berth in 13 years, will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a torn ACL in Sunday's win at Kansas. (More ...)
December 12, 2006
ESPN women's basketball analyst Nancy Lieberman first met Jayne Appel at the Nike Girls Skills Academy in Beaverton, Ore., during the summer of 2005.
Like the rest of the select group in attendance, Appel was a bright, young talent with limitless potential. Lieberman was taken with her basketball savvy and skill around the hoop. But there was something else.
"You see a lot of kids, when they come into situations, they have big, wide eyes. She was a little bit different," said Lieberman, a two-time Olympian and member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. "You could tell she had a good handle on the situation. Some kids don't know what they want to do. Let's face it. Go to Stanford and figure it out."
Appel is doing just that. (More ...)
Senior Brooke Smith and junior Candice Wiggins have been included among a list of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Monday. The Naismith Trophy is one of the prestigious national awards presented annually to the men's and women's collegiate players of the year. (More ...)
December 11, 2006
- Washington: After blowing a second-half lead at Ohio State, the Huskies bounced back with what should prove to be a big win later on over Texas A & M.
- California: The young Golden Bears didn't pass their first test, at Vanderbilt, but have still won eight of nine.
- Arizona State: Maybe the least publicized and most unrecognized really good team in the country.
- Stanford: The poor Cardinal start might be the most perplexing story of the season so far.
December 04, 2006
Stanford can head into its annual break for final exams fully able to concentrate on taking care of business in class, knowing that it finally is taking care of business on the court.
The 15th-ranked Cardinal made easy work of Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon at Maples Pavilion (More ...)
December 01, 2006
The No. 15 Stanford women’s basketball team will be looking to start its first winning streak of the 2006-2007 season when they take on No. 25 Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Sunday in Maples Pavilion. (More ...)
November 30, 2006
Cardinal bounces back from lossesBy: Chris Haft, The Mercury News
It took the Stanford women's basketball team 225 games to fall below .500. It took the Cardinal one game to hurl that figure into the wastebasket of trivia.
Purging itself of last weekend's losses to No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia, the Cardinal routed Santa Clara 88-56 on Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion. Stanford (3-3) recorded its largest margin of victory this season and matched its season high for scoring. (More ...)
Cardinal spread scoring wealthBy: Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle
After a difficult, disheartening weekend, the Stanford women's basketball team needed a confidence boost.
It came Wednesday night in the form of the Santa Clara Broncos. The 15th-ranked Cardinal ended a run of two straight losses with a dominating performance at Maples Pavilion, defeating the Broncos 88-56. (More ...)
Determined Card dominateBy: Christian Torres, The Stanford Daily
It was a welcome return to Maples Pavilion last night for the No. 15 Stanford women’s basketball team. After a difficult weekend on the road with losses against No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia, the Cardinal dominated Santa Clara 88-56 leading into Sunday’s bout against No. 25 Texas Tech. (More ...)
Hoops effort isn't puzzling by Stanford WomenBy: Rick Eymer, Palo Alto Weekly
Kristen Newlin is another piece to the basketball puzzle that Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer continually contemplates as she finds a way to patch together the whole picture. (More ...)
Balanced attack leads StanfordBy: John Reid, Palo Alto Daily News
Stanford's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, her left knee wrapped up, spent the pregame warm-ups peppering her Stanford teammates with hand-slaps in preparation for their non-conference women's basketball game with Santa Clara at Maples Pavilion Wednesday evening. (More ...)
November 29, 2006
Stanford women’s basketball team returns home with hopes of erasing the memory of its three unsavory losses, a streak which gave the Cardinal a sub-.500 record for the first time in seven years. Stanford (2-3) will host Santa Clara (4-2) tonight to kick off a three-game homestand.
After road losses to No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia last week, the Cardinal hope that the lessons of traveling and a home crowd will give them the advantage in their meeting with the Broncos. (More ...)
November 24, 2006
Stanford's 10-game losing streak to Tennessee, which dates back to 1996, is an inescapable fact for the Cardinal women's basketball players as they prepare for today's matchup in Knoxville against the No. 4-ranked Lady Vols. But it is also largely irrelevant.
"I think we go into it each time fresh," said Stanford senior Brooke Smith. "You don't want to put extra weight on it and you don't want to look at old patterns. It's a big game and we just want to be well-prepared for them. (More ...)
And Darren Sabreda's (San Jose Mercury News):
Candice Wiggins is tired of coming close.
"We're not going to walk away and be happy with like, `Yeah, we're on Tennessee's heels,'" said Wiggins, Stanford's All-America guard. "No, we want to be stepping on their feet." (More ...)
November 22, 2006
The Beginning of BasketballYou know about Dr. James Naismith and the peach baskets, don't you? If not, here's that story.
But it turns out that there's more to it than that. Naismith's daughter recently discovered five boxes of personal documents, photographs and mementos in her basement. Here's that story.
Naismith's 13 Rules of Basketball
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
- The ball must be held by the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
- If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
- A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
- The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner.
The Beginning of Women's BasketballWomen's basketball was invented by Sendra Berenson at Smith College in 1892. Pamela Grundy, the co-author of Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball reports:
... women's basketball started about a year after James Naismith invented a game for his boys at the Springfield, Mass., YMCA.
Sendra Berenson at Smith College, who was often bed-ridden because of a lack of vitality, had found that physical education improved her health. She wrote to Naismith for the rules to basketball, added some twists to keep contact to a minimum, and the women's game was born.
Women couldn't vote. There were medical studies that showed women's brains were smaller than those of men, women who played sports would be in danger of losing the ability to bear children, women had a finite level of energy and they should spend it being women, not basketball players.
But more women took up the game and more people went to watch. The game was cheap and less violent and deadly than football.
Modesty still ruled and women basketball players were wrapped in bloomers, ballooning blouses and even hats so that only the face and hands were exposed. Still men were banned from watching women play basketball.
But the heavy wool bloomers were better for women than the constricting corset and narrow-bottomed skirts that many women wore because it helped their frail bodies stand erect,.
Women's Basketball, 1892-1997
Sally Jenkins, in an article for WNBA.com, says, Women's basketball has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1892.
It may be surprising to discover that women began playing basketball less than a year after the game was invented. The fact is that women's basketball is steeped in tradition, some of it frustrating, most of it fascinating.
The article is an amusing account of the history of women's basketball:
- From 1892: Gymnastics instructor Senda Berenson Abbott adapts James Naismith's basketball rules for women and introduces the game at Smith College. First inter-institutional contest between the University of California and Miss Head's School.
- To June 21, 1997: The inaugural WNBA season begins.
November 17, 2006
On the team roster, Candice Wiggins insists on the .5—as in 5’11.5” tall. As she slipped on socks over Cardinal-red toenails for a recent workout, the shooting guard held up a size-10.5 shoe. “And I’m sure I’m six feet with these on.”
The two-time All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year hardly needs a boost. As she starts her junior year, Wiggins ranks 17th in Stanford history in points scored, with 1,352. She tops the Cardinal record book in points per game, averaging 19.6. And Wiggins is third in program history in free-throw percentage, at 82.9 percent. “That can go up,” she says, with more than a hint of mischief. “Way up.” (More ...)
After a tough 55-52 loss to No. 18 BYU in the second round of the Preseason National Invitation Tournament, the No. 10 Stanford women’s basketball team (1-1) will be looking to get back on track when it visits Missouri, No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 Georgia next week.
The tough swing through the South should finally provide some definitive measure of the Cardinal’s talent after plenty of preseason hype and high expectations. (More ...)
November 16, 2006
No fewer than four people in the last two days have posed the question, "So, is Stanford overrated?"
It's a legitimate query considering a team that's ranked No. 4 in the country to begin the season can't manage to nail down a win in its second game of the season on its home floor. But "overrated" is an overreaction to a mid-November result.
The Cardinal ran into an early obstacle that came in the form of a very inspired, very physical, very fortunate BYU team. (More ...)
November 13, 2006
The Stanford women's basketball team, already well-stocked inside with the starting tandem of seniors Brooke Smith and Kristen Newlin, gets bigger, deeper and better tonight. (More ...)
November 11, 2006
SAN JOSE - Athletes in attendance for Pac-10 Conference women's basketball media day earlier this week were waiting in a holding room at the San Jose Arena for their turn to be interviewed. But one of them wasn't wasting time. She was busy.
Brooke Smith of Stanford was sitting by herself in a corner, doing her homework reading a book on psychology. The 6-foot-3 senior center from San Anselmo isn't one to let a moment pass without somehow improving herself. Smith is in her final year at Stanford and she knows what's at stake in the long haul depends a lot on her. She's moving toward a degree in human biology and pursuing a personal goal on the basketball court she hopes will land her in Cleveland for the NCAA tournament semifinals April 1.
"I think anything less than going to the Final Four would be a disappointment," said Smith, a two-time all-Pac-10 player and All-American candidate out of Marin Catholic High. "At the same time, it's about the process and taking it one game at a time. It's about the journey." (More ...)
November 10, 2006
Over the HumpExperienced Cardinal squad aims high after postseason disapointment
By: Scott Bland, Stanford Daily
After three years of agonizing near-misses, the No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team comes into the 2006-2007 campaign with the talent, confidence and focused energy necessary to finally capture their first NCAA championship since 1992.
“We’ve learned a lot about sticking with things, going through the ups and the downs,” senior forward Brooke Smith said. “Hopefully this year we can get over the hump and get into the Final Four.” (More ...)
Crashing the BoardsSenior Brooke Smith eyes a final shot at postseason glory
By: Christian Torres, Stanford Daily
Just a few months ago, “Brooke with the hook” was dominating the court in the regional semifinal of the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament. Redshirt senior center Brooke Smith was having an epic night, scoring a career-high 35 points against Oklahoma, and in the process toppling the Sooners’ star player: then-freshman center Courtney Paris.
One game later, the Cardinal saw their Final Four dreams come to an end in the final seconds of a 62-59 loss to Louisiana State. This season, Smith is looking finish out her career at the NCAA championship game. (More ...)
The FreshmenBy: Haley Murphy, Stanford Daily
While junior Candice Wiggins and senior Brooke Smith have been the focus of most of Stanford’s preseason excitement, four fresh faces will grace the court with their esteemed teammates. With four years of eligibility before them, the freshmen are hopeful about the season and the ways in which they will contribute to the Cardinal program. (More ...)
No. 4 Hoops Downs LMU in Season OpenerWiggins returns from injury and drops 16 on Lions
By: Christian Torres, Stanford Daily
At the start of its season, the Stanford women’s basketball team came through in the finish last night at Maples Pavilion against Loyola Marymount. With the Lions on their heels for much of the first half, the Cardinal finally pulled away in the middle of the second with a devastating 24-2 run, clinching an 88-61 victory in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). (More ...)
It's not enough to be on a pretty campus … where the weather's almost always great … and everybody is smart … and you're not far from one of the most interesting cities in the entire world, San Francisco.
… it bugs the Stanford women's hoops team that for the past three seasons, the Cardinal have been good enough … to just miss the Final Four.
… I know what the real culprit, the true hobgoblin, the undeniable karmic killer has been for the Cardinal. And it could strike again, so coach Tara VanDerveer might want to get out some voodoo dolls or something in March in hopes of swaying the selection committee.
Not in terms of seeding, because that doesn't matter. The Cardinal have proven that. All that matters is this: Stay out of the Dallas Regional at all costs. (More ...)
When 5-foot-11 Stanford guard Candice Wiggins was a little girl, her mom Angela could see her future.
"My mom was probably my biggest advocate for basketball and just knew that I could stand out in the sport," Wiggins said, whose earliest memory of the game is when she only scored one basket during the entire season. "She just knew when I was eight years old that I could be great and accomplish all of this. She told me that I would make a difference in the game and erase all of the bad images of my father (former San Diego Padres second baseman Alan Wiggins). I wasn't really thinking about this at the time, so it is amazing for me to think back on how she knew all of those years ago. It is her encouragement that has made me work harder."
While she worked hard from the encouragement of her mother, Wiggins also decided to not let the hard work get the best of her. (More ...)
Stanford's 2006-07 voyage started with a bump in the road in the first mile Thursday night when the Cardinal led LMU by two points at the half and trailed early in the second half. Then a 50-15 run over the next 16-plus minutes righted the ship for a strong 88-61 win. Though the freshmen have been hyped, it was the upperclass "big three" that dominated and combined for 56 points and 25 boards. (More ...)