February 27, 2010

Cardinal tames the Wildcats

The final score of 75-48 came as a surprise. It didn't feel like a sure thing until well into the second half.

The Wildcats' zone defense made scoring difficult, especially in the first half. But Kayla worked through it and scored the game-high 26 points. Twelve of them were on four of eight three-pointers. She also had eight rebounds and seven assists. With a total of 38 points for the weekend, she gets the sombrero that Tara gives the top scorer on the team's annual trip to Arizona.

This was a notable game for Jayne. It was the 138th game of her career, which is a new Stanford record. With her fifth rebound, she set a new Pac-10 record for career rebounds. She ended this game with 11 points, eight rebounds, an assist, a block and two steals. She had no bandage on her right hand, so apparently Thursday's injury was nothing serious.

Jeanette had another great game – three from beyond the arc, a total of 11 points, and four assists with no turnovers.

Nneka was hampered by foul trouble again. She had one three minutes into the game and sat out most of the first half. (Apparently, Amy's 11th commandment is in effect.) But she made the most of her 24 minutes. She scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Her total of 16 rebounds for the weekend ties her with Jayne. I don't know if they have to share the top-rebounder sombrero or if Tara keeps an extra one on hand.

The Cardinal's defense made scoring difficult for the Wildcats too. Their top scorers, Ibekwe and Whyte, were held to 15 and 13 points respectively, a bit below their combined average. This was without Ros, who was at the game, but didn't suit up. Coach Paye said, "She's taking a rest today."

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And more photos:

Kayla tries to block a shot Jayne puts it up Kayla shoots over Ify Joslyn on defense Hang on, Nneka!

10 questions with Jayne

A question-and-answer session with Jayne from Michelle Smith, Left Coast Hoops.

February 25, 2010

Cardinal clinches conference championship

With their 62-43 victory over the Sun Devils tonight, the Cardinal clinched sole ownership of the Pac-10 championship.

This is the:
– 6th consecutive season that they've done that
– 10th consecutive season that they've had at least a share of the top spot
– 19th time in the 24-year history of the Pac-10 that they've been the champion or co-champion

It was about as ugly a win as I've ever seen, but it was a win!

The Cardinal took control with the tipoff and were ahead by 10 at the four-minute mark. Which was fortunate, because that's about where it stayed – give or take a point or two – until the last four minutes, when the Sun Devils finally wore out and the Cardinal was able to extend the lead.

Both teams were extremely aggressive and neither coped with that very well. Much to their credit, Jayne, Kayla and Jeanette refused to give up and scored in double digits.

Jayne led the scoring with 19 points. She also had eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Kayla added 12 points, four assists, six rebounds and a steal.

Jeanette had 11 points, four assists and three steals.

Ros never gave up on defense, even after taking a blow to the head in a multi-player pileup near the end of the first half. (I think someone sat on her head.) She held Danielle Orsillo scoreless in the first half and allowed her just four field goals in the second.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And more photos:

Ros drives for a shot Jeanette steals the ball from Danielle Orsillo Kayla grabs a rebound Jayne blocks Janae Fulcher's shot Kayla forces a jump ball Nneka fights for a rebound Kayla pressures Becca Tobin

February 23, 2010

Away in the desert

Here comes another challenging weekend for the Cardinal. Although this hasn't been a great season for the Arizona schools, road games against them are never a gimme for the Cardinal. The Cardinal will need to play whole games, not just second halves like the first time around.

Kayla was a star performer in those first two Arizona games. It will be extra sweet if she repeats this weekend in front of her hometown fans.

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Cardinal were discombobulated by the Sun Devil's aggressive defense for about 14 minutes and were still a couple of points behind at halftime in our prior game. But the Sun Devils couldn't keep up the pressure for 40 minutes, and the Cardinal stepped up their game and won by 23 points. Kayla was the top scorer with 23 points.

The Sun Devils have had considerable success since then. They've won four games (against Cal, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona) and barely lost two (by four points to Washington State!, by one point to Oregon). I'm sure Charli will have them fired up and eager to avenge the loss at Maples.

I expect that this probable last matchup between their top scorer, fifth year senior Danielle Orsillo, and our top defender, Ros, will be especially intense.

One thing that hasn't changed for the Sun Devils this season is their fan support. They average almost 3000 fans at home games. Wells Fargo Arena should be rocking on Thursday.

Arizona State's win-loss record (16-9 overall, 8-6 conference) places them in a tie with USC for 4th in the Pac-10, their RPI (64) places them 6th, and their strength of schedule (57) places them 9th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

Arizona Wildcats

The Cardinal's prior game against the Wildcats bore some similarities to the ASU game. We had a terrible first half and were behind by two at halftime. The major problem in this game was the Wildcats' offense. Led by their fabulous freshman Davellyn Whyte, they shot 57% in the first half to the Cardinal's 35%. The Cardinal tightened their defense and took control in the second half for a 21-point victory. Kayla was again the top scorer, with 27 points, but this time she shared that spot with Nneka.

The Wildcats have won three conference games since then (Washington State, Washington, Oregon State) and lost two (Oregon, Arizona State). Their top players are still among the best in the Pac-10:

  • Ify Ibekwe is the leading rebounder and fifth-best in the nation with 16.5 rebounds per game. She has the third-most steals (2.28 per game) and is the #11 scorer (14.0 points per game).
  • Davellyn Whyte makes the third-most three-pointers (2.32 per game) and is the #4 scorer (16.5 points per game).
Arizona's win-loss record (12-12 overall, 6-8 conference) and their RPI (124) place them 7th in the Pac-10, their strength of schedule (56) places them 8th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

Honoring the Seniors

On Saturday night, after their last home game of the season, we honored the 2010 seniors — JJ, Mel, Ros, Jayne and Michelle.

Read Mechelle Voepel's thoughts on the event in Celebrating Senior Night at Stanford.

Judy Richter reports on the game and the postgame celebrations in Stanford’s seniors – More than a touch of class.

Dana Stewart shares her remembrances and feelings in Oh, How We Will Miss You!.

See photos of the game and the postgame festivities in Don Anderson's Photo Gallery.

February 22, 2010

Jayne is Pac-10 Player of the Week ... again!

Jayne continued her Fantastic February last week with a pair of double-doubles against Oregon and Oregon State. That makes six in a row and 13 this season.

She joined the exclusive 2000-point, 1000-rebound club.

She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time in a row and the ninth time in her career.

Congratulations, Jayne!

February 20, 2010

Cardinal takes care of the Beavers

Jayne put her name in a special place in Stanford's record book tonight. She joined Val Whiting and Nicole Powell as the only women to score at least 2000 points and make 1000 rebounds in their careers. Jayne has 2005 points and 1202 rebounds — so far.

Tonight's game was unusual in that no Cardinal played for more than 28 minutes – the starting five, JJ, Mel, Michelle and Joslyn each played for at least ten. It was especially nice to see the five seniors playing together for several minutes in the second half.

The team took care of the Beavers, 82-48, without much trouble.

  • Nneka was the top scorer with 17 points.
  • Jayne had the only double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds).
  • Jeanette was again shooting and handling the ball very well (13 points, five assists, one turnover, two steals).
  • Kayla had nine points and five rebounds and held the Beaver's top scorer, Talisa Rhea, to one field goal.
Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

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

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos from US Presswire,

And more photos:

Nneka goes up for two Kayla knocks the ball away from Kirsten Tilleman Kayla grabs a loose ball Nneka goes up over El Sara Greer Kayla and Talisa Rhea struggle for the ball Jeanette, Kayla and Jayne celebrate

Nneka's sophomore year highlights

Someone has compiled a video of the highlights of Nneka's sophomore year.
"Stanford Sophomore, 6'2 Power Forward Nneka Ogwumike Nneka is on her way to becoming the Pac-10 Player of the Year as a Sophomore. "
It's all there – the incredibly athletic layups, the alley-oop! putbacks, the 18-foot jumpers, the rebounds, the blocks ...

Don't miss Mel's no-look assist at 1:57.

Stanford shines despite lack of spotlight

From Mechelle Voepel, ESPN.com:

What has Stanford been up to since its loss to UConn? Fifteen consecutive victories, Jayne Appel hitting her stride and a team playing as well as its past two Final Four teams Read more...

Stanford seniors share success, injury

From Michelle Smith, FanHouse:

Stanford will honor five seniors as part of its annual Senior Day ceremony following Saturday's game against Oregon State, a game that will likely clinch the Cardinal's 10th straight Pac-10 title. Read more...

February 19, 2010

Kayla's nifty inbound

If you weren't at the game on Saturday, or if you were and blinked at the wrong time, you missed Kayla's nifty inbound play.

Kayla had the ball to the left of our basket. She bounced it off Amanda Johnson's back, stepped in, fielded the richochet, turned to her left, put it up and in.

You can see it at 0:53 on the game highlights video. Don't blink!

More Stanford vs Oregon game reports

Here are reports of last night's game from the Oregon and Stanford student newspapers:

February 18, 2010

Cardinal out-runs, out-guns the Ducks

What a dazzling stat sheet:
  • Five double-digit scorers!
  • Two double-doubles!
  • 12 three-pointers at a rate of 46.2%!
  • 16 more rebounds than the Ducks!
  • 23 assists with just 10 turnovers!
  • Stanford 104, Oregon 60!!

Jeanette is back on track. She was six for nine on three-pointers and had seven assists, zero turnovers, a block and two steals to go with the highest scoring game of her career – 26 points.

Jayne also had 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds – just 23 to go for the Pac-10 career record.

Kayla had the other double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) and one of the prettiest plays of the game – instead of passing the ball on an inbound under the Stanford basket, she bounced it off a Duck defender, then turned and laid it up and in.

Ros's pit bull defense held the Pac-10's third-best scorer to one field goal. On offense, she sank three of six three-pointers and scored 11 points.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference video with Tara, Jayne and Jeanette,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos from US Presswire,

And more photos:

Jayne looks for her shot Jayne gets the rebound Jayne goes up for the basket Duck loses the ball That was a lot of fun!

The Ducks are confident

Rob Mosely, Eugene Register-Guard reports that the Ducks will do what they do at Maples tonight. They don't spend much time breaking down upcoming opponents. Coach Paul Westhead says, "It's about us. If you think it’s going to be a tough game, just press and run more." Read more...

Tom FitzGerald, San Francisco Chronicle writes about Westhead's coaching style and how the Ducks are doing. Read more...

Patrick Malee, Daily Emerald reports that the Ducks are hungry for a second shot at the Cardinal and are ready to finish the job.

Paul Westhead says, "We’ve come to beat you, not to play you.”

Taylor Lilley says, “They don’t like to run. They don’t like to be pressed."

Nia Jackson says, "I think it's going to be a great game."

I think Jackson's got it right.

February 17, 2010

Last homestand of the season

Next weekend is the last of the season at Maples for the Cardinal and their fans. Be there:
  • On Thursday, in the Pink Zone to show your support of breast cancer research.
  • On Saturday to honor our seniors.
And ... oh yes ... to see our awesome Cardinal play a couple more basketball games.

Oregon Ducks

In our first meeting of the season, the Cardinal had trouble for a while with the Ducks' in-your-face press. But some adjustments and a monster of a game from Nneka led to a very satisfying victory for the Cardinal.

After that, the Ducks lost to UCLA, then won their next four games – against USC, Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State.

Their games continue to be lively high-scoring contests. They score the most points in the Pac-10 (85.3), but they also allow the most points to their opponents (75.9). Five of their players are among the top 30 scorers in the Pac-10, led by Taylor Lilley at #3 and Micaela Cocks at #8.

They continue to be deadly beyond the arc. They lead the Pac-10 in three-point percentage (36.9) and three-pointers per game (8.54). Taylor Lilley makes the most (3.67), but Victoria Kenyon has the best percentage (43.9).

In spite of the furious pace of their games, they take good care of the ball. They have the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Pac-10 (0.96). (Stanford is one of only 21 teams in the nation that have a positive ratio – more assists than turnovers.)

This is a crucial weekend for the Ducks. They are currently 4th in the Pac-10, one game behind Cal. So their game at Haas on Saturday is a must-win. But I'm sure they'll be trying for a win at Maples before that!

Oregon's win-loss record (16-8 overall, 7-5 conference) and their RPI (5-7) place them 4th in the Pac-10. Their strength of schedule (61) places them 9th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers are having such a disappointing season. Their grind-it-out defense holds their opponents to the third-fewest points in the Pac-10 (58.9), but it doesn't generate enough offense to tip the balance in their favor. They score just a bit less (58.2 points per game), the fewest in the Pac-10.

In our prior game, they held us to just 63 points, our then-lowest of the conference season, but they were able to score only 47.

Since then, they've lost seven consecutive games, including a non-conference one to Cal State Bakersfield.

Coach LaVonda Wagner says, "We're on the struggle bus and just can't find our way off."

Oregon State's win-loss record (9-14 overall, 1-11 conference) places them 9th in the Pac-10. Their RPI (209) and strength of schedule (89) place them last.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

February 16, 2010

Best, worst Bay Area coaches

Lowell Cohn, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, names the worst professional or college sports coach in the Bay Area. He starts with the best ... guess who ... and works his way down to ... Read more

February 14, 2010

Jayne's Fantastic February

Mechelle Voepel wrote of Jayne recently in an article for ESPN.com:
There has been some worry about Stanford senior center Jayne Appel in regard to her knees this season. But … it's looking like she's definitely back up to speed.

In the Cardinal's three games in February, Appel has three double-doubles. The latest came Sunday in a 98-67 victory over Washington State, which Stanford beat for the 50 millionth, whoops, 50th consecutive time (in, uh, 50 meetings).

Appel had 25 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in her final trip to Pullman, Wash. (Unless she just wants to go back and visit some day. For some reason.)

Actually the Cardinal have played four games in February and Jayne had double-doubles in all four of them: 23-13, 15-13, 18-13 and 25-14.

In recognition of her stellar performances against Washington and Washington State last week, Jayne was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. This is the eighth time in her career that Jayne has received that honor. Read more...

Congratulations Jayne!

Cardinal crushes Cougars

The Cardinal kept the Cougars' two leading scorers in check, but couldn't stop Jazmine Perkins who made 78.6% of her field goal attempts and the game-high 26 points. But overall the Cardinal outshot the Cougars 56% - 39.4% and defeated them 98-67.

My game ball goes to Joslyn for her first career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). She made two of her three three-point attempts. She also had two assists and two steals. All this in just 17 minutes!

Jayne scored a season-high 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for her fourth consecutive double-double. She also had six assists, two blocks and a steal. The Pac-10 career record is hers with just 35 more rebounds!

Nneka had dropped below her 20+ pace for the past few games, but got back to it today with 21 points.

Jeanette appears to be getting her shooting touch back. She sank two from beyond the arc and scored 12 points in all. She also had three assists, a block and five steals.

Kayla was just a rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

JJ and Mel are still hampered by their injuries. They each played just five minutes today.

For the first time this season, all of our reserves (except Sarah, of course) got some playing time.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And more photos:

Kayla finishes a fast break Nneka goes up for a shot Jayne goes up for a shot Jeanette looks for a recipient Ros can't stop Jazmine Perkins' shot Ros and Jazmine Perkins fight for the ball Mel and JJ talk it over

February 12, 2010

Cardinal handles the Huskies

It was all about defense tonight. Stanford held Washington to 36 points, their fewest of the season and the fewest of any Stanford opponent. And Washington held Stanford to 58 points, our fewest of the season.

The Cardinal found enough offense to win fairly easily – they were in control throughout the game.

Jayne was definitely in control. She scored the game-high 18 points and took a big step towards setting the Pac-10 record for career rebounds by grabbing 13 of them – also the game-high. And she had two assists, a block and a steal.

The Huskies slowed down the rest of our front court. Kayla and Nneka both got into foul trouble and played just 28 and 20 minutes respectively. Nneka had 12 points, but just three rebounds. Kayla had eight of each. Joslyn subbed in for 17 minutes and added four points.

The rest of our scoring came from Jeanette and Ros. Jeanette ended the first half with a three-pointer and started the second half with another one, closely followed by two layups on fast breaks. She also had a steal and five assists with three turnovers. Ros added six points.

That's not much scoring, but it was enough. As for the Huskies, post player Regina Reynolds made 55% of her field goal attempts. The rest of the Huskies made 20%, largely due to Ros's defensive efforts.

Media attention was focussed on the Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight. There are just two game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And a few photos:

Kayla splits the defenders Ros keeps an eye on the Huskies' leading scorer Nneka puts up a shot Air-tight defense