November 30, 2006

Stanford back on track

I think that all the Bay Area sports writers were as pleased to have a good Stanford Women's Basketball game to write about as we were to see it!

Cardinal bounces back from losses

By: 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 wealth

By: 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 dominate

By: 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 Women

By: 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 Stanford

By: 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

Time for a Turnaround

By: Haley Murphy, The Stanford Daily

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


This is Michelle Smith's (San Francisco Chonicle) report of the Stanford-Tennessee game:

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

Basketball History

Here is some basketball history to entertain you while you wait for the Tennessee and Georgia games.

The Beginning of Basketball

You 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

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
  3. 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.
  4. The ball must be held by the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
  5. 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.
  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
  13. The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner.

The Beginning of Women's Basketball

Women'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, 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.
Here is Jenkin's article.

November 17, 2006

Candice Can Feel It This Year

From: Stanford Alumni Magazine

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 ...)

Stanford Women Get Set to Face Lady Vols and Bulldogs

By: Scott Bland, Stanford Daily

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

Stanford Will Be Among Best By Season's End

By: Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle

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

Jayne Makes Her Stanford Debut

By: Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle

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

Brooke focuses on the task at hand

By: Dave Albee, Marin Independent Journal

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 ...)

Candice on ESPN Preseason All-American First Team


ESPN has named their Preseason All-Americans. Candice is on the first team. (More ...)

November 10, 2006

Stories from the Stanford Daily

Over the Hump

Experienced 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 Boards

Senior 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 Freshmen

By: 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 Opener

Wiggins 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 ...)

Cardinal Talented Enough for Another Deep March run

By: Mechelle Voepel,

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 ...)

Wiggins Is Hungry For A National Championship

By: Lara Boyko,

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 ...)

Loyola Marymount Post-Game Quotes

By: Mike Eubanks, The Bootleg

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 ...)

November 08, 2006

Stanford Women Shoot for a Goal: Final Four

By: Darren Sabedra, San Jose Mercury News

Soon after Stanford lost to Louisiana State in the NCAA tournament last March, Coach Tara VanDerveer began looking ahead to this season like a child dreams of a return trip to Disneyland.

For nine seasons, the Cardinal has tried to get back to the Final Four. This season, it might finally conquer the magic mountaintop.

How could the expectations be anything but sky high? The Cardinal returns one of the best players in the program's history (junior guard Candice Wiggins) and a post player who had a game for the ages in last season's Sweet 16 (senior Brooke Smith).

It has also added a star-studded freshman class, highlighted by the arrival of 6-foot-4 Jayne Appel from Pleasant Hill, whom VanDerveer can't seem to say enough good things about. (More ...)

Final Four is Experienced Cardinal's Goal

By: Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle

On Halloween night, instead of candy, Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer gave out basketball tickets. She thinks her team is a treat, why shouldn't everyone else?

"We have been looking forward to this season for a while," VanDerveer said. "I run into people when I'm out, when I'm walking the dogs and they say, 'How's the team going to be?' and I say 'I think it's going to be a great year.' " (More ...)

November 07, 2006

20 Questions for 2006-07

Can you handle the truth? Because our experts dug down to answer 20 of the biggest and perhaps most debatable questions that had us scratching our head as the 2006-07 season nears. With last year's super seniors gone, several notable coaching changes and lots of young stars looking to steal the show, the upcoming season is certain to hold a few surprises. A look at some of the bigger storylines on our minds before games tip off Thursday:
. . .
4. Who's the second-best team out West behind Stanford? And will the Cardinal's resurgence at the top overshadow the region's other top teams? (More ...)

November 02, 2006

Candice On Preseason Wooden Award Watch List


Stanford guard Candice Wiggins has been named to the list of 30 preseason candidates for the 2006-07 John R. Wooden Award.

The 30 candidates are comprised of the top returning players, although transfers, freshmen, medical redshirts and other players who excel throughout the season will be considered for both the midseason top 20 list and the national ballot toward the end of the season. (More ...)

November 01, 2006

Five Freshmen to Watch

By: Megan Youngblood,

Jayne Appel, 6-foot-4 F/C, Stanford
An assortment of top 25 schools had designs on Jayne Appel. Tennessee, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Duke, Cal, and UConn were all in the running for one of the premier post prospects in the country. The Pleasant Hill, Calif. native had an especially hard time narrowing down her choice after trying to synchronize decisions with fellow AAU teammate Jacki Gemelos. They had talked about going to the same school and when Gemelos verbally committed to UConn, she tried to rope in Appel as well. Gemelos, a 6-foot guard, made the biggest splash in the summer recruiting season by de-committing from UConn and signing with USC instead. But the USA Today First Team selection Gemelos will have to sit out the season with a torn ACL.

Appel, however, will be the one to watch. A true center, she can score with either hand with her back to the basket, and can also hit the midrange jumper. Appel will be a perfect fit for this team, drawing comparisons to one of her new teammates in current Stanford star Brooke Smith. This past summer, Appel also helped the USA Basketball U18 Women's National Team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. In the gold medal game against Canada, Appel posted nine points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes.

With her ability to bury an open three and comfort handling the ball on the break, Appel's great hands will allow her to catch anything Stanford dishes her way.

about the other four...)