January 30, 2010

Cardinal declaws the Wildcats

The Wildcats put up a nearly impenetrable zone, and the Cardinal's perimeter shots weren't falling all through the first half: Stanford 40, Arizona 42.

Then Stanford make some adjustments, tightened up the defense and took over the second half: Stanford 43, Arizona 20.

Final: Stanford 83, Arizona 62

Kayla shared top-scorer honors with Nneka – 27 apiece. Kayla hit 50% of her shots and had four of seven three-pointers and seven of eight free throws. She had 13 rebounds (six of them O-boards) for the only double-double of the game.

Nneka hit 69% of her shots and had six rebounds.

Jayne had 12 rebounds (six offensive), eight points and six assists with just one turnover.

Joslyn scored a career-high ten points, including two of five three-pointers.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference video with Tara, Kayla and Nneka.

The game highlights video,

And more photos:

Jayne looks for her shot Kayla fights for a rebound Joslyn grabs the rebound Is around the back a foul? Niya Butts wasn't happy about the second half Cheering on the reserves

Jayne absorbs pressure so others can thrive

Cardinal fans have worried about Jayne this season, "Is she OK? Why isn't she scoring as much as last year?"

Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle) writes about the changes in Jayne's game and how they have contributed to Nneka's huge improvement.

"She likes to be the assist generator rather than scoring," Nneka said. "She's very unselfish even though she can score on anybody." Read more...

January 29, 2010

Tara honored in Chautauqua

Tara owns a home in Chautauqua where she has vacationed every summer since she was eight years old. She's a sailor and a swimmer in Chautauqua, not a basketball coach.

But it's as one of "Women's Basketball Coaching Elite" that she has been inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. This will be Tara's fifth Hall of Fame. Congratulation, Tara! Read more...

January 28, 2010

Ros GO!

It looked pretty bad for about 14 minutes. The Cardinal was totally discombobulated by the Sun Devil's aggressive in-your-face defense and fell behind by 14 points. Then they figured it out and began a 35-5 run that extended eight minutes into the second half, during which the Sun Devils got one field goal. The score was 65-40 as our deep reserves began to sub in with about three minutes to go. The final score was a very satisfying 71-48.

Ros had a fabulous game. She played for 36 minutes and never lost sight of the Sun Devils' top scorer Danielle Orsillo. During that time, Orsillo, who tries about twelve field goals and scores 14 points a game, tried eight field goals and made one. They're not exchanging a friendly greeting in the photo – Ros had just made a three-pointer over Orsillo's defense. Ros sank two more three's and ended with a career-high 19 points.

Kayla played hard and smart, sinking shots and drawing fouls for 35 minutes. She hit seven of 12 field goals and nine of 10 free throws for the game-high total of 23 points.

Jayne was energetic and aggressive. She had the only double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Sun Devil's defense got Nneka into foul trouble. She made eight points, seven rebounds and two steals – not bad for 23 minutes of play.

Jeanette and JJ did a great job at the point against continuous harassment. Jeanette had six assists with just one turnover. JJ had four assists and no turnovers.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference video with Tara, Ros, Jayne and Kayla,

The game highlights video,

A photo gallery from Stanford Photo,

And more photos from the Associated Press:

Kayla scores in front of Becca Tobin Jayne drives to the basket Joslyn takes care of the ball Kali Bennett blocks Jayne's shot Tenaya Watson blocks JJ's shot All's well that ends well

Nneka added to Wade Trophy Watch List

Congratulations, Nneka!

Nneka, the Pac-10's leading scorer and shooter, was named as one of seven players added to the State Farm Wade Watch List, the WBCA and the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee announced today.

Through the first 18 games of the season, Nneka has burst onto the national scene as she leads the Pac-10 in scoring (19.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (64.2), and is second in rebounding (10.7 rpg). Her field goal percentage is the third best in the nation. Her points and rebounds per game are both ranked #17.

She joins Jayne, Jeanette and Kayla, who were named to the preseason list in July.

January 27, 2010

Next up: Sun Devils and Wildcats

The Cardinal wraps up the first half of the Pac-10 season with a home stand against the Arizona schools.

Remember to WEAR RED FOR HAITI on Saturday

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils are a new team this season, one that is definitely a work in progress. Charli Turner Thorne is coaching the youngest, least experienced team she's had in a long time.

Six seniors graduated, and leading scorer Dymond Simon is out for the season. There are seven new players – five freshmen and two JC transfers – who are still adjusting to the Sun Devils' distinctive style of play.

The Sun Devils were the preseason pick for second place in the Pac-10 in spite of their inexperience. They started the season well with an 8-3 record. The three losses were against ranked teams Xavier, Texas A&M and Baylor. They were ranked nationally as high as #14/#7 in the early weeks of the season. Then they lost their first three Pac-10 games and dropped out of the Top 25.

They've won four games since then and now rank somewhere in the middle in most of the Pac-10 statistical categories. They are playing good defense, although nowhere near what they've been noted for in the past. They are doing less well on offense. They've not replaced the 26 points per game that Brianne January and Dymond Simon contributed last season and make the seventh-most points per game and the fewest three-pointers of any team in the Pac-10.

The Sun Devils' starting five are:

  • 5'9" senior guard Danielle Orsillo is the Sun Devils' top scorer (14.1 points per game) and their best three-point shooter (1.2 per game at a rate of 30.9%). She also has almost two steals per game.

  • 6'5" junior forward Becca Tobin is very slender, but stronger than she looks. She has the most rebounds (6.9) and the most blocks (1.4) per game. She is also a good shooter. She makes 11.1 points per game and has the second-best field goal percentage in the Pac-10 ( 54.3%)

  • 6'2" senior forward/center Kayli Murphy averages 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

  • 5'9" junior guard Tenaya Watson is a JC transfer in her first year with the Sun Devils. She averages 7.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. She has the most assists (3.05 per game), but almost as many turnovers (2.94).

  • 6'2" sophomore guard/forward Kimberly Brandon averages 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. She is the sister of Cal freshman Gennifer Brandon
Although the Sun Devils are short on experience this season, Turner Thorne still uses her whole bench and rotates players frequently. These six play at least ten minutes per game:
  • 6'5" redshirt sophomore forward/center Kali Bennett transferred from UW last season. This is her first season playing as a Sun Devil. She averages 6.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

  • 5'10" sophomore guard Alex Earl is the only Sun Devil besides Orsillo who attempts more than one three-pointer a game. She averages 0.8 three-pointers, 4.3 points and 1.0 rebound per game.

  • 6'3" redshirt freshman forward Janae Fulcher averages 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

  • 5'7" freshman guard Deja Mann averages 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.

  • 5'5" freshman guard Sabrina McKinney averages 2.0 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.

  • 5'11" senior guard Gabby Fage averages 0.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
The remaining Sun Devils are:
  • 6'5" freshman forward/center Joy Burke suffered a knee injury last season and has played only about five minutes per game this season.

  • 5'5" redshirt freshman guard Haley Parsons redshirted last season, was cleared to play in early December and has since played in only three games .

  • 5'5" senior guard Dymond Simon is out for the season rehabbing the ACL tear she suffered in the last 2009 regular season game.
  • 5'9" junior guard Markisha Patterson, a JC transfer, is out for the season with a knee injury.
Arizona State's win-loss record (12-6 overall, 4-3 conference) places them 4th in the Pac-10, their RPI (60) places them 4th, and their strength of schedule (47) places them 8th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

University of Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats are also largely a new team this season. After her first season as head coach, Niya Butts released four of the five freshmen. That and three graduating seniors left the Wildcats with five players. Butts added four JC transfers, a freshman and a transfer from Arkansas (who is not eligible to play this season).

The change has been all for the good. Although the Wildcats have a very short bench and no center, they are doing better than predicted. They were the preseason pick for ninth place in the Pac-10, but they are currently in seventh place, just over .500. Ify Ibekwe continues to be one of the top players in the Pac-10, and Davellyn Whyte, the freshman, is outstanding.

The starters for Arizona are:

  • 6'2" junior forward Ify Ibekwe is Arizona's standout player on both defense and offense. She averages 12.1 rebounds per game, which leads the Pac-10 and is #3 in the nation. She averages 1.4 blocks, 2.4 steals and 3.1 assists per game. She is the Wildcat's second-best scorer with 14.4 points per game. Like Nneka, she is extending her shooting range and has recently made three of five from beyond the arc. She's had 11 double-doubles this season and shares 6th place in this category with several other players in the nation.

  • 5'10" freshman guard Davellyn Whyte is Arizona's freshman phenom. She averages 17.9 points per game (#2 in the Pac-10) and makes 2.65 three-pointers per game (#3 in the Pac-10) at a rate of 40.5%.

  • 6'1" junior forward Soana Lucet transferred from the College of Southern Idaho. She is Arizona's third-best scorer (12.8 points per game) and second-best rebounder (6.9 per game).

  • 5'8" sophomore guard Brooke Jackson transferred from Mesa Community College. She averages 8.8 points, 1.4 three-pointers and 3.5 rebounds per game.

  • 5'6" senior guard Ashley Frazier averages 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats have only three reserves:
  • 5'8" sophomore guard Reiko Thomas has the best free throw percentage in the Pac-10 (92.1%). She averages 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.

  • 5'10" redshirt sophomore guard Tasha Dickey plays only about nine minutes per game and averages 2.2 points and 1.0 rebound.

  • 6'3" junior forward/centerAmanda Pierson transferred from Seward County Community College. She also plays about nine minutes and averages 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds.

Not available are:
  • 5'5" junior guard Shanita Arnold, who transferred from Arkansas, is not eligible to play this season.

  • 6'4" junior center Jennifer Kioa, who transferred from Foothill City College, was declared academically ineligible early in January.

  • 5'5" junior guard Faihza Hill left the team early in the season.
Arizona's win-loss record (9-8 overall, 3-4 conference) places them 7th in the Pac-10, their RPI (105) places them 7th, and their strength of schedule (44) places them 7th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

The best of the best

Jon Wilmer, Mercury News, reports on several extraordinary performances by Bay Area basketball players last week. Three were "... honored by their conferences, Cal guard Alexis Gray-Lawson and Stanford forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike were the best of the best." Read more...

January 25, 2010

A hard-fought game

Saturday's game between the Cardinal and the Ducks felt good to both teams.

Although the loss was the Ducks' fourth consecutive one, they were proud of their effort. Oregon's sparkplug, high-scorer Nia Jackson said, "We fought hard the whole game. Sometimes, you just come up short.”

The high-energy game provided a much needed boost to the Cardinal, who have struggled to find a consistent rhythm in the past few weeks. Ros said, “We fought hard, worked hard, I think this is one of the best energy wins we’ve had in the season."

Here are reports of the game from the student newspapers:

January 23, 2010

The Nneka Show

The Cardinal – all of them – stepped up to the challenge today, but Nneka gets the gold-plated, diamond-studded game ball for this victory.

She scored a career-high 30 points and snatched, grabbed, demanded 23 rebounds. That's a new Stanford single-game rebounding record, two more than Nicole Powell got against the Ducks in 2002.

Sore knees and ankles didn't slow the Cardinal down noticeably. Jayne had 17 points and six rebounds. Jeanette had 15 points and six assists. Ros had 11 points, three rebounds and five assists. JJ had 10 points and six assists.

The Cardinal not only outscored the Ducks 100-80; they outscored them from the perimeter – 13-9 threes, 41.4%-36%. Jeanette sank five 3's, Rosalyn had three, JJ two and Kayla, Lindy and Joslyn had one apiece.

After some early difficulties, the Cardinal did a terrific job of breaking the Ducks' swarming in-your-face defense. They ended with a very respectable 16 turnovers.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And more photos:

The Ducks try to stop Nneka Kayla chases after a loose ball Nneka takes a poke in the eye Tara gives some good advice JJ leads the celebration

January 21, 2010

Cardinal wins a tough one

The Cardinal held on in the first half of a tough defensive game against Oregon State and pulled away in the second half to a 63-47 victory.

The Cardinal weren't able to shut down Oregon State's superb shooter Talisa Rhea, although Ros's defense slowed her down considerably in the second half. Rhea got her 1000th career point early in the game and ended as the top scorer with 26 points – more than half the Beavers' total.

Kayla hit her stride in the second half and was the top scorer for the Cardinal with 23 points. She made seven of her 12 field goal attempts and eight of nine free throws.

Joslyn had an outstanding game. She played with great intensity and enthusiasm for 24 minutes, ending with nine points, six rebounds, and six blocks! (A seventh one was called a foul, but Cardinal fans thought otherwise.)

Ros played for 35 minutes, providing the intense defense that kept the Beaver scorers in check. She did so with zero turnovers (yeah!)

Lindy started at the point in place of Jeanette, and played for 19 minutes. Although she didn't score any points, she handled the ball well and was an incessant, pesky irritant to the Beavers' point on defense.

Nneka got a couple of fouls in the first half and played less than usual – just 29 minutes. Also as usual, she made some beautiful athletic shots and grabbed some amazing rebounds. In all, 12 points and nine rebounds.

Jayne got into foul trouble too and played just 19 minutes. She scored nine points and had seven rebounds.

In regard to the injured: Mel was suited up but didn't play at all; JJ was moving OK but played only four minutes (maybe she was resting up for Oregon (who, by the way, was defeated 72 - 62 by Cal tonight!); Jeanette didn't start, but played for 27 minutes with no apparent discomfort – she had six assists.

In the end, the Beavers' aggressive defense may have cost them the game. They held the Cardinal to 17 points and 27 rebounds less than their average, but they committed a lot of fouls and the Cardinal kept making those free throws – 17 of 19!

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And more photos:

Ros drives to the basket past Julie Futch Nneka drives on El Sara Greer Jayne puts up a shot over Kirsten Tilleman Tara offers some words of advice

January 20, 2010

A healthy guard or two would be nice

... headlines this article in Palo Alto Online.

Jake Curtis discusses the same issue in Three Stanford guards questionable for this week's games

In Short-handed Stanford heads to Oregon Michelle Smiths focuses on what Tara expects of Lindy and Ros in Oregon.

If LaVonda Wagner is licking her chops over the prospect of a weakened Cardinal team, it's not reported in OSU women face challenging weekend by Kevin Hampton, Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Guards are scarcely mentioned in Ducks have points in reserve by Rob Moseley (Eugene Register-Guard). This article is all about Nicole Canepa, Oregon's best low-post scorer. Paul Westhead would like to think she can be counted on to hold her own against Jayne, Kayla and Nneka after her breakout performance at Arizona.

Next up: Beavers and Ducks

The Cardinal will need all its skills this weekend to handle two very different styles of play – first good defense with not much offense from Oregon State; then fast furiously-paced offense with not much defense from Oregon.

Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers' statistics show a strong defensive team. But that's somewhat misleading, because they had a very weak non-conference schedule – by far the weakest in the Pac-10.

Nonetheless they do lead the Pac-10 and are #18 in the nation in scoring defense – they allow their opponents just 54.7 points per game. They're second in rebounding defense and rebounding margin (#14 in the nation) – their opponents get just 31.5 rebounds per game, while the Beavers get 40.3. They guard the perimeter very well. Their opponents make just 26.3% of their three-point attempts. That's the second-best three-point defense in the Pac-10 and #11 in the nation.

But the Beavers are short on offense. They have one very good shooter (Rhea) and two other pretty good ones (Palmer and Tilleman), but they attempt fewer shots than any other Pac-10 team. Their perimeter game is especially weak – they try only ten shots from beyond the arc and make three of them per game.

5'11" junior guard Talisa Rhea is the Beavers' top scorer with 16.8 points per game, which is fourth-best in the Pac-10. She has scored in double-digits in 11 of 15 games, with at least 19 points in ten of them. She is their only serious three-point shooter, the only one who attempts more than one per game. She makes 1.7 of them, at a rate of 32%. She has the most assists (3.2 per game), with almost as many turnovers (3.0).

6'1" sophomore forward Kirsten Tilleman is the Beavers' best rebounder (7.7 per game) and the third-best scorer (10.4 points per game). She is the only Beaver with a double-double; she's had three of them.

5'8" freshman guard Haiden Palmer is the second-best scorer with 10.6 points per game and seven double-digit games.

5'8" senior guard Julie Futch brings experience and senior leadership to the starting lineup, but doesn't add very much to the stats – 6.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

6'2" junior forward El Sara Greer is a junior college transfer, in her first season with the Beavers. She has the second-most rebounds (7.1 per game); 4.07 of them are O-boards, which leads the Pac-10. She is the only Beaver who makes a significant number of blocks (0.9 per game).

The Beavers have lost two players this season, both freshmen. Tayler Champion left the program a couple of weeks ago, and Amaya Gastaminza is out for the season with a knee injury. That leaves seven players on the bench, but only one plays a significant number of minutes: 5'7" sophomore guard Brittany Kennedy.

The other six reserves play a total of about 30 minutes per game and score about nine points.

The Beavers' win-loss record (9-6 overall, 1-4 conference) places them ninth in the Pac-10, their RPI (133) places them ninth, and their strength of schedule (233) places them last.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

University of Oregon Ducks

The Ducks finished 7th in the Pac-10 in 2008-09, but they're a different team this season – mostly the same players, but a new coach and a radically different style of play. Coach Paul Westhead's style is "run and shoot" – shoot within the first seven seconds of the shot clock.

Taylor Lilley, Micaela Cocks and Amanda Johnson have taken to Westhead's style like ... ducks to water? The Ducks are now the top-scoring team in the nation, with an average of 87.4 points per game. That's about 30 points more than last season. They make 8.82 three-pointers per game – #1 in the Pac-10, #5 in the nation, almost four more than last season.

The Ducks' stunning offense is weakened by their poor defense. They score the most points per game in the Pac-10 (87.4), but also allow the most to their opponents (73.6). They have the second-most rebounds per game in the Pac-10 (42.1), but allow their opponents almost as many (41.9). However, they do have the most steals in the Pac-10 (11.24 per game) and the second-best turnover margin (4.06 less than their opponents).

The Ducks' success so far is partly due to the fact that they had a fairly light non-conference schedule. They played only one ranked team, Georgia Tech. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the stronger Pac-10 teams. They've already had two unexpected losses to Arizona and Arizona State.

5'6" senior guard Taylor Lilley is a prolific three-point shooter. She has 204 in her career so far – the Oregon record. She makes 38.9% of her attempts and has averaged 3.4 per game this season, which is the most in the Pac-10 and fifth-most in the nation. She is Oregon's top scorer with 16.4 points per game, the fifth-best in the Pac-10.

5'8" senior guard Micaela Cocks makes the second-most points (14.8 per game) and also shoots the three well (1.6 per game at a rate of 37%)

6'2" sophomore forward Amanda Johnson scores 14.6 points per game, makes the second-most threes (1.8 per game at a rate of 35.3%) and is the best rebounder (9.9 per game, which is third-best in the Pac-10).

5'7" redshirt sophomore guard Nia Jackson is the one who runs, but doesn't always shoot. She has the most assists (3.8 per game) with 2.7 turnovers for a good ratio of 1.39, which is the fifth-best in the Pac-10. She also scores 9.5 points herself.

6'2" redshirt junior guard/forward Victoria Kenyon is a key member in the Ducks' pressure defense, and she's gaining confidence in her shooting. She averages 6.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The Ducks have eight reserves (freshman guard Aliyah Green is out with an ACL). Only these two play a significant number of minutes (more than 20 per game):

6'5" junior forward/center Nicole Canepa is the fourth Duck who averages double-digit scoring (12.2 per game). She does not shoot from beyond the arc, nor does she rebound as much as you might expect from the tallest player (5.9 per game). She is the only one with a significant number of blocks (1.5 per game), which is fourth-best in the Pac-10.

6'0" sophomore forward Jasmin Holliday has the second-most rebounds (6.0 per game) and scores 7.3 points per game.

The remaining six reserves play a total of about 16 minutes per game and score about 11 points.

The Ducks' win-loss record (12-5 overall, 3-2 conference) places them thirdrd in the Pac-10, their RPI (57) places them fourth, and their strength of schedule (92 places them ninth.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.