April 16, 2009

Between Seasons

The FBC website will be active during the summer, reporting all the Stanford Women's Basketball news we can find. Watch for this information:
  • USA Basketball: Who will be play in the FIBA U19 World Championship in Bangkok in late July? Likely candidates are Nneka, Sarah and Joslyn, who were on the U18 team last summer. The USA U19 team trials will be May 14 - 17 in Colorado Springs.

  • News of Cardinal in the WNBA: Has Candice's Sixth Woman of the Year performance last season earned her a starting position this season? Will Brooke be signed to a season contract after training camp?

  • Summer basketball at Kezar Stadium during June - August. Which Cardinal will participate? Will Grace and Lindy play again this summer? Will we get an early look at incoming freshmen Joslyn and Mikaela? Will Krista take an afternoon off from med school?

  • Jennifer Azzi's induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June.

  • Will the team send us postcards from Italy in September?

  • The 2009 -10 schedule: a preliminary one in a couple of months, the official one in September.

  • Preseason predictions and prospects.

A reminder that what you won't find on the website this summer is news of prospective recruits. While John and Sue Soo would like nothing better than to share speculations and predictions of who will be Stanford freshmen in 2010, the NCAA prohibits us from writing about a recruit until she has signed a letter of intent. That won't happen until November.

April 12, 2009

Michelle's thank you

Michelle Smith posted her thank you to Cardinal fans in The Bootleg (the Stanford women's basketball forum). She gave her permission to have it repeated here for those fans who do not subscribe to The Bootleg:
Hi all-

OK. I've been smoked out :-), but I couldn't let this moment pass without saying how much I appreciate all the kind words and good wishes that have been sent my way from this group. It has been a great lift in a tough time.

Just to address a few things: I did voluntarily take the buyout. We are a two-newspaper income household and that is starting to seem like a bad long-term financial plan. It is time -- especially with a high school freshman living down the hall -- to come by a more stable income source. That is why I am choosing to go now instead of waiting to see how things turn out at the paper.

My official last day is May 23. I am burning some post-season comp time at the moment, and will be back for a couple of weeks to perhaps cover a few baseball games or write a couple of features before I officially depart.

I will, as I wrote, miss terribly covering the women's game for the Chron. It's been a pleasure and the most rewarding thing in my career. You must know that my editors have been exceedingly encouraging at letting me have the freedom to pursue stories and have provided prominent play at prominent moments and I'm very grateful for that.

And lastly, I'm working on a plan to continue to cover the game. I'm not ready to give up all the details yet -- mostly because I don't have them. But I guess I'm hoping for your support when my new venture begins in a few months. Let's just say this, I'm shopping for domain names and looking for friends with technological and business know-how to make sure I'm doing this right.

Anyway, you've all always been so kind and I will be around, lurking, and maybe now sometimes posting where I wasn't really able to before.

With gratitude, Michelle

The dunk that made history

With 6' 8" Brittney Griner playing at Baylor next season, there's been renewed buzz about dunking.

I was surprised to learn that the first official dunk in a women's college basketball game happened more than 20 years ago — on Dec 21, 1984. No visual evidence of the play was ever released, but it had been videotaped and the tape was made public earlier this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported the whole story, which includes a small image of the video. Here is a larger image.

April 09, 2009

Michelle's farewell

Michelle Smith, pictured above at last year's Final Four, has been writing about Stanford women's basketball for fourteen years. Her good stories have greatly enhanced the experience of being a Cardinal fan.

Yesterday the Chronicle published her last column. There aren't enough words to say how much we'll miss them, Michelle.

April 08, 2009

Eileen's early basketball history

Eileen Roche, our Director of Basketball Operations, was first associated with Stanford women's basketball in 1982 as an assistant to Tara's predecessor, Dotty McCrea. The photo is of Mike Kehoe (the other assistant coach), Dotty and Eileen.

Eileen played basketball in junior high school about 10 years before that. Or at least she tried to — it was just after Title IX was passed. That story is told by Hana Kajimura, a student journalist at Paly High School.

In the Record Book

Four players made it into the Stanford Women's Basketball record book this season. Six records were broken — three by Jayne, one by Jillian and two by the team.

Note: corrected 04/15/09: Jayne improved her career field goal percentage, but did not break the record.)

Jayne has 215 blocks in her career, which breaks the record of 201 set by Val Whiting (1989-93).

She had 349 rebounds this season, which breaks the record of 346 set by Nicole Powell in 2003-04.

She scored 46 points in the Elite 8 game against Iowa State, which breaks the record of 44 set by Kate Starbird in 1996 and tied by Candice in 2008.

She also bettered several other career statistics:
  • 1635 points places her at #7, up from #26.
  • 14.9 points per game places her at #6, up from #7.
  • 942 rebounds places her at #3, up from #17.
  • 58.6 field goal percentage, up from 56.6, keeps her at #2.
and season statistics:
  • 613 points, up to #7 from #11.
  • 60.2 field goal percentage, up to #5 from #6
  • 9.2 rebounds per game, up to #7 from #19
  • She nows holds the top three records in blocks — 84 last season, 70 this season and 61 as a freshman.

Jeanette played 1212 minutes this season, which is the second-highest individual season record. (The record is 1237, set by Candice in 2007/08.)

She attempted 222 3-pointers and made 83 of them — respectively #2 and #4 in the individual season records. (The records are 253 attempted by Candice in 2007-08 and 91 made by Krista Rappahahn in 2005-06).
Jillian played 138 games in her career, which breaks the record of 137 set by Candice (2004-08).

She scored 1096 points, which places her 25th in the 1000-point club.
Nneka had a field goal percentage of 62.9 this season, which is the third-highest individual season record. (The record is 69.5, set by Kristin Folkl in 1997-98).)
The team had 1663 rebounds this season, which breaks the record of 1609 set last season.

Its rebounding margin was +13.2, which breaks the record of +9.2 set in 1994-95.

April 07, 2009

Cardinal will be stacked & focused next season

Graham Hays (ESPN) writes,

"It's easier to look back on 40 minutes of fresh pain than look ahead to a new season now seven months away, but the Cardinal have reason to turn the page quickly. Even more than a season ago, this is a team with every reason to expect it will be back on this stage.

Next season they will return 88 percent of their scoring.

And that's just the beginning. Stanford adds 6-foot-3 Joslyn Tinkle from Montana and 6-3 Mikaela Ruef from Ohio, both ranked among the top 20 recruits in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz. Alongside Appel, Kayla Pedersen, Sarah Boothe and Nnemkadi Ogwumike, that's a lineup that may well break the program's single-season rebounding record set by this season's team." Read more...

April 06, 2009

End of a season to be proud of

Tara summed it up in the postgame interview,
I'd like to just extend my congratulations to Stanford and to especially Jill and Jayne being up here, having just a fabulous season, a team I'm really proud of. And I really liked how our team battled. This was a very tough night for us. Our team, especially with the leadership of Jill and Jayne, competed for 40 minutes and represented themselves and our team and our university in a way that I'm exceedingly proud of.

April 05, 2009

Always #1 in our hearts

We share your disappointment as we shared your joy over all you accomplished this wonderful season. We never dreamed five months ago that you would take us with you to the Final Four. Thank you.

Six hours to go

Nothing new left to say, but the media writers are still at it. Here's what I have time to post before boarding the plane to St. Louis:

UConn vs. Stanford: Who's got the edge, Connecticut Post

Stanford women must show their toughness against UConn, Mercury News

Killion: Stanford set to face bully of women's hoops, Mercury News

More to Final Four trip than playing the games, The Telegraph

Made it to St Louis — a few more stories before we head for the pep rally:

Workouts pay off for Stanford's Pohlen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Learning lessons in defeat, San Francisco Chronicle

UConn coach sounds off, San Francisco Chronicle

That's What You Say, San Francisco Chronicle

April 04, 2009

Jayne, Kayla, Tina, Lindy, Tara

Big congratulations to Jayne! 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association named her to the USBWA All-America team.

Today she was named to the State Farm Coaches' All-America Team. Here is the announcement from goStanford and the complete report from the WBCA.

There was a press conference after the Final Four Salute banquet. Here are the transcripts of: Jayne and Tina Charles have been buddies since middle school, but will be battling on the court tomorrow night as they did in last season's national semifinal.  

Dick Patrick (USA Today) writes that the Appel-Charles match-up is the key to the UConn-Stanford outcome. Read more...

John Altavilla (Hartford Courant) agrees. He writes that UConn needs Charles to come through against Stanford. Read more...
Lindy is writing a blog for the Las Vegas Sun about her experiences in St. Louis.

Jonah Bronstein (Niagara Gazette) reports, "We could’ve had a Niagara Falls graduate in the women’s Final Four." But the Niagara Falls High School didn't have a girls basketball team in 1968. Read more...

Waiting for the game to start

Tara said, "Let's just play the game. Roll the ball out there, and let's see what we've got."

But it's not quite time for that yet. If you want to something to read until then, here is a look at the Final Four's impact on the St. Louis economy: Articles about some of the players:
Many more analyses, predictions and opinions: And some videos:

April 03, 2009

10 things we love about Stanford women's basketball

By John Reid
Daily News Staff Writer

1. Stanford won't be afraid of UConn. The Cardinal has beaten the Huskies in five of eight meetings.

2. Stanford has entertaining YouTube videos. UConn's are not entertaining.

3. Stanford's Jayne Appel (right) is a walking headline. After her school-record 46-point game to beat Iowa State in a regional final, a headline could have been: "How do you like that Appel?"

4. With 83 3-pointers, Jeanette Pohlen needs eight to tie Krista Rappahahn for Stanford's single-season record.

5. Appel, Stanford's season(84) and career (214)blocks leader, will keep the Huskies from driving to the hoop. That should force the Huskies to shoot from the perimeter in a strange venue.

6. Stanford doesn't have anyone annoyingly tweetering during NCAA tournament games telecasts (UConn has Rebecca Lobo).

7. Stanford doesn't have a player who promised to give back her full scholarship money if they don't win the title (Oklahoma's Courtney Paris did).

8. Stanford's warm-up music ("All Right Now" played by the Stanford band) makes us want to get on the floor and dance with them.

9. Stanford's frontline of Appel, Kayla Pedersen and Nnemkadi Ogwumike is peaking at the right time. If the Cardinal wins its first national title since 1992, the frontline would be crowned the school's best ever.

10. Jillian Harmon (135 career games) can tie Candice Wiggins' Stanford record for most games played with an appearance in Tuesday's title contest.


Yesterday Stanford athletics  launched CARDINAL.RED.BASKETBALL, a website that  is designed to give potential student-athletes, alumni and fans an inside look at Stanford women’s basketball players and staff that is not covered by  gostanford.com news, releases and features.

The site will delve deeper into what it means to the athletes to be a part of the Cardinal tradition. It delivers interactive content for fans to enjoy and learn from and will assist coaches with recruiting.

This website is a lot of fun — full of videos and other visual information. Check it out now and enjoy it all through the basketball doldrums this summer. 

April 02, 2009

Final Four Sendoff

Dozens of fans, new and old, gathered at Maples Pavilion at noon today to give the Stanford women's basketball team a spirited send-off as the players and coaches got ready to depart for St. Louis. Read more and watch the video ...

Stanford-UConn revisited

An article by the Associated Press discusses last season's Stanford-UConn game and the upcoming one, and proposes, "If anybody can topple the Huskies, why shouldn't it be the calm, tournament-tested Cardinal?" Read more...

Charlie Creme (ESPN) favors the Huskies. He points out that the Cardinal are playing with the knowledge that beating the Huskies is possible, but concludes that it is hard to imagine the Huskies' not delivering in this one. Read more...

An article in Sports Illustrated discusses Jill's huge contributions to the team this season. Jill said, "It's almost over. I just want to take advantage of it and enjoy every moment.'' Read more...

Michelle Smith (San Francisco Chronicle) considers why the Stanford-Connecticut game isn't the NCAA championship game. Looking on the bright side, Tara said she's glad to have five days instead of just one to prepare for the matchup. Read more...

Here is a longer version of the Final Four Press Conference shown in the SF Chronicle article. The questions are unfortunately unintelligible, but Jillian and Jayne are, as always, articulate, calm, gracious and beautiful.

April 01, 2009

Nneka: One of the game's young stars

Tom Timmerman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, introduces Nneka to Final Four fans ... her maturity, her competitiveness, her intelligence, her obvious athleticism and more than anything, her wanting her team to be successful. Read more...

Jill turns up the volume

After the game against Iowa State, Jill said, "To come back two years in a row is so exciting. To put the program back on the map and to do it with this team and these coaches is just so special."

She's not leading the team just by example any more. Michelle Smith, San Francisco Chronicle, writes about Jill's finding her voice in the waning days of her career. Read more...