November 30, 2010

Holidays twice as nice for Cardinal

There's nothing new to report about Stanford's Thanksgiving weekend games against South Carolina and Texas, but it's always nice to get attention from the national media.

In her review of the games, Kecia Bailey [SportsPageMagazine] points out that it's nice to be home for Thanksgiving and always nice to be home in Maples, where Stanford extended its consecutive home-win streak to 49.

The article is accompanied by a gallery of photos. I especially like these of Kayla launching a three and putting a block on Chassidy Fussell.

In her blog about Thanksgiving hoops tournaments, ESPN columnist Mechelle Voepel goes off-topic to report that Ms Do-it-all, Stanford senior Kayla Pedersen, had her kind of game Sunday: 19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals.

FanHouse has inaugurated a new feature this week, FanHouse Terrific 12. Stanford is the #2 terrific team this week, and Kayla is one of the terrific players: "Though Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted 22 points in the Cardinal's 15-point win over Texas, Pedersen's 19-point, 12-rebound, 5-assist performance was dazzling."

November 29, 2010

Toni is the "story" of Stanford's win over Texas

By Michelle Smith [LeftCoastHoops]

Toni's performance was quietly one of the most important parts of Stanford’s 93-78 win Texas at Maples on Sunday.

At the postgame press conference, Tara said, "“The story for me today was Toni ... I think her speed and her quickness really helped us get into doing the things we wanted to do.” Read more...

November 28, 2010

Cardinal messes with Texas

... and comes away with a big win, 93-78.

Kayla had her first double-double of the season: 19 points (two of them before the tipoff!) and 12 rebounds. She also had a block, three steals, and five assists with just one turnover.

Nneka was the top scorer with 22 points. She had seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Chiney added 14 points, four rebounds, an assist, two blocks and a steal.

Sarah came off the bench for her best performance since her freshman season – 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and a block.

Toni had another great game. She ran the point today for 32 minutes. In addition to her fine ball-handling (three assists, one turnover) and her tenacious defense, she made the first 3-pointer of her career and had a total of eight points.

Our third freshman, Sara James, played for just four minutes today, during which she scored five points – the best points/minute rate of the afternoon.

The top four Cardinal scorers made 71% of their shots, the team as a whole 57.4%. On the other end of the court, the Cardinal defense held the Longhorns to 38.7% shooting.

Texas didn't expect such strong defense. Coach Goestenkors said, "That was new for us, for somebody to attack us the way we've been attacking other people." That attack cost the Cardinal 22 fouls (several of them questionable) and 21 Texas points off free throws. Too-nice Stanford girls were not on the court today.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference video,

A gallery of photos by John Todd [Stanford Athletics],

And more photos:

Kayla scores Sarah avoids the defense Nneka looks for her shot Kayla gets in the way Toni fights for position Jeanette snatches the ball away Sarah doesn't get this rebound Nneka & Kayla had plenty to smile about today A couple of Stanford fans

November 27, 2010

Special day for creative writers

Sunday will be a very special day for hundreds of Bay Area school kids who are participating in the Stanford Women's Basketball Creative Writing Program.

You may recall that earlier this year, Sarah Boruta applied for and Stanford received a $50,000 grant from the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grant Program to increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women's basketball. Stanford Women's Basketball is using the grant to implement a literacy and creative writing program for 3rd-5th graders in the Bay Area (more information here).

Sarah reports that nearly 4,000 students from 41 schools throughout the Bay Area are participating in the pogram.

The first phase of the program (Workbook 1) was completed last week. Each participating teacher chose a class winner and sent his/her story to Sarah, who will select an overall winner from each grade level (3, 4, & 5).

Each participating student received a voucher to attend the Stanford vs Texas game on Sunday. At halftime, the overall winners will be announced and all class winners will be acknowledged for their achievement. There will be a team autograph session following the game, so the students will be able to meet selected Stanford team members and receive autographs.

Sarah further reports that she and Lauren Greif have been taking players on visits to the participating schools. The player talks to the students, holds a Q&A session, gives away a few tickets and posters, and plays with the students at recess. Each visit has gone well, with the players being well received and the teachers and students being excited about Stanford Women’s Basketball and coming to the game on November 28.

Nneka on a school visit

The creative writing program is continuing with two more workbooks. The winners of Workbook 2 will be acknowledged at the Stanford vs USC game on January 22. The winners of Workbook 3 will be acknowledged at the Stanford vs Oregon game on February 26.

Here is the online version of Workbook 1 (large PDF file).

November 26, 2010

Cardinal roast the Gamecocks

Coach Dawn Staley and her team got a warm welcome from the women's basketball fans at Maples, but no mercy was shown on the court as the Cardinal powered on to a 70-32 victory.

There's been some concern this season about Stanford's being able to handle a small, fast, guard-oriented team. They had little trouble handling South Carolina. Stanford held South Carolina to 21.8% shooting, and shot 53.1% against their scrappy defense.

There's been some concern too about Stanford's shooting from beyond the arc. Not today — Jeanette sank four long ones, Joslyn had two, Kayla and Sara each had one (Sara's the first of her college career).

There are lots more good things to report about today's game:

  • No one played more than 30 minutes. Nine played between 13 and 30 minutes.

  • Jeanette led all scorers with 14 points. She also improved her assist-to-turnover ratio with four assists and three turnovers.

  • Kayla did everything well, as usual: 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a block

  • Nneka left her niceness on the bench and played tough under the basket: ten points, seven rebounds and a block.

  • Joslyn is really earning her place in the starting rotation. She had another strong game: ten points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal, zero turnovers.

  • Sarah played her steadiest game of the season: seven points, two rebounds, two blocks, a steal, and just one turnover.

  • Chiney had nine points, four rebounds, two beautiful assists to Nneka, a block, a steal, and she didn't get into foul trouble.

  • Toni's 14 minutes at the point was partially responsible for some of Jeanette's three-point success. She was also strong on defense, beginning to show some of Ros' intensity. My favorite play of the game was when she snagged a rebound, blew past her defenders all the way down the court, and flipped the ball to Lindy who laid it up and in.

  • Sara played a career-high 13 minutes and sank her first three-pointer.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos:

Sarah impedes Gamecock progress Nice block, Jeanette Good D from Sarah and Kayla Sarah grabs a rebound Jeanette launches one of her four three-pointers Chiney goes up for a shot Nneka goes way up for a shot! Good job Chiney!

November 24, 2010

Tara and team spread positive attitude

Tara and the team visited Ralston Middle School on Monday and spoke to the students about how goal setting and hard work can help them become successful in life.

Here's a report of the visit by Vincent Ware in the Belmont Patch.

After the visit, Chiney twittered, "Our team just spoke to the awesome kids of Ralston Middle School! Positive energy is contagious!!"

November 22, 2010

Next up: Gamecocks & Longhorns

Welcome home, Cardinal!

We hope that your experience with new offensive strategies and changing rotations last week, the comforts of home and our enthusiastic support will lead to decisive victories this week — your 48th consecutive one at Maples on Friday at 1:00 against South Carolina, your 49th on Sunday at 12:30 against Texas.

  South Carolina Gamecocks

Stanford and South Carolina have played each other twice before, in 2006-07 and 2008-09. Stanford won both times.

South Carolina went 14-15 last season and finished seventh in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

South Carolina has lost their two top players from last season. Senior guard Valerie Nainima tore her ACL early in the summer. She was South Carolina's top scorer, the only three-pointer shooter and had the most assists. Freshman center Kelsey Bone, South Carolina's top rebounder and second-best scorer, transferred to Texas A & M. Third-year coach Dawn Staley said in a preseason interview, "There's an opportunity for everybody to contribute. We're looking for all the players that worked on their game in the summer to step up — here's their opportunity to shine!" She expects her team to be fast-paced and more guard-oriented this season.

In spite of losing Nainima and Bone, South Carolina is picked to finish seventh in the SEC again this season — not bad in a conference with four teams in the AP Top 25, headed by Tennessee. So far, they've defeated Illinois & Clemson and lost to Xavier & Penn State.

The probable starters for South Carolina are:

  • #3, 5'8" sophomore guard Ieasia Walker has stepped up as the top shooter with 15.3 points per game. She also has 3.5 rebounds per game and 10 steals.

  • #11, 5'9" junior guard La'Keisha Sutton was the third best shooter last season behind Nainima and Bone. She has 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season.

  • #21, 6'0" sophomore forward Ashley Bruner has stepped up as the top rebounder with 9.0 per game. She has also scored 9.3 points per game.

  • #24, 6'0" junior guard Marah Strickland is a preseason pick for the SEC second team. She has 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

  • #52, 6'1" senior forward Jewel May has 4.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Coming off the bench for more than 15 minutes per game are:
  • #5, 5'6" junior guard Markeshia Grant
  • #12, 6'1" junior forward Charenee Stephens
  • #10, 6'0" freshman forward Kayla Brewer
Here are South Carolina's 2010-11 statistics and their roster.

  Texas Longhorns

Stanford and Texas have played each other five times before, most recently in 1995-96. This is the first time Coach Gail Goestenkors has brought a team to Maples Pavilion.

The Longhorns have performed well since Coach Goestenkors took the reins from Jody Conradt in 2007. They've been to the Big Dance in each of the past three seasons. Last year they were (22-12) and ended the season with a loss to San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA.

This season, Texas is the preseason pick for fourth place in the Big 12 after Baylor, Texas A & M and Oklahoma. They have had three big wins this season over unranked opponents and are currently ranked 17/19.

They have six newcomers this season — five freshman and senior Sarah Lancaster, an import from Texas Women's Tennis. One of the freshmen is Tiffany Moore, who was ranked as the No. 22 prospect nationally by ESPN Hoopgurlz. She hasn't played yet this season; I don't know why.

The Longhorns are not as strong in the post as they had expected, because 6'4" center Cokie Reed is out for the season after foot surgery. Coach Goestenkors says, "We will probably run more than we have in the past and use some traps and some different presses to try to utilize our speed and our guard strength."

The starters for Texas are:

  • #5, 6'2" senior guard Kathleen Nash is the Longhorn's most versatile player – she plays all five positions. She is a top Texas all-time performer. In her first 97 games at Texas, she racked up 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 3-pointers. This season she has averaged 17.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.7 3-pointers per game. She is a preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

  • #33, 5'8" junior guard Ashleigh Fontenette runs the point for Texas. She has averaged 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and 4.7 steals per game. She is a preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

  • #24, 5'10" freshman guard Chassidy Fussell was named Big 12 Freshman of the Week for averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds last week. Her averages for the seasons are 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds.

  • #12 5'7" junior guard Yvonne Anderson has averaged 15.0 points and 3.3 rebounds and has made 50% of her ten 3-point attempts.

  • #22, 6'4" junior center Ashley Gayle hold the Texas single-season block record (103). Her averages this season are 8.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.0 blocks.

Texas has just four reserves, not including Tiffany Hayes. These two have played about 20 minutes per game:
  • #44, 6'3" freshman forward Anne Marie Hartung averages 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds.
  • #11, 5'10" freshman guard Chelsea Bass averages 10.0 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Here are the Texas 2010-11 statistics and roster.

November 21, 2010

Cardinal shakes off the Bulldog

Stanford and Gonzaga put on a suspenseful show for the 6,000 fans in the sold-out kennel.

They traded the lead all through the first half. The Cardinal pulled ahead by as much as 12 points in the second half, but the Bulldogs came back to tie it up 68-68 with 5½ minutes left to play. Jeanette broke their grip with two three-pointers and a layup as the Cardinal went on a 9-0 run. That and eight of 12 free throws led to the Cardinal's 84-68 victory.

Kayla hit two milestones this week. She scored eight points today, giving her a career total of 1535 and 10th place in Stanford's 1000-point club. She's on target to exceed 2000 by the end of the season. Her ten rebounds tonight give her a total of 1006, fourth in the Stanford record book behind Jayne Appel, Nicole Powell and Val Whiting. She's on target to be second by the end of the season. She also led in assists today – eight – and had just two turnovers.

In spite of having the fingers on her shooting hand bandaged, Nneka hit the first three-pointer of her college career. She was the Cardinal's top performer with 21 points, 14 rebounds, an assist and a block.

Jeanette added 19 points, three rebounds, two assists and a block.

Mikaela's steady play earned her a career-high 21 minutes of playing time, during which she had eight points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Joslyn started again and played 25 minutes. She had 11 points and three rebounds.

Sarah continues her growth towards being the steady player in the post that Stanford needs. She had seven points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and just two turnovers.

Toni relieved Jeanette at the point for 14 minutes. She scored just two points, but they were clutch free throws that began the Cardinal's 9-0 run late in the game.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

There are just a few photos today:

Another drive by Nneka and some advice from Tara

November 20, 2010

The Kennel is sold out

McCarthey Athletic Center (a.k.a. the Kennel), home to the Gonzaga basketball program, is sold out for the Gonzaga vs Stanford game on Sunday.

This is the second sellout in school history for the women Zags — their game against then #8 Tennessee in 2008 was the first.

The Kennel was recently ranked by Sports Illustrated as the fourth toughest arena in the country. It may not be this tough for a women's basketball game,

but our Cardinal are in for an intense afternoon.


November 19, 2010

Cardinal outlasts Utes

The Cardinal had a new set of starters against Utah — Kayla, Jeanette, Joslyn, Sarah and Chiney — partly due to Tara's quest to find the strongest starting lineup, and partly because Nneka did not play. She warmed up with the team, but then sat out with an undisclosed medical problem — the telecast showed that she had a couple of fingers taped together.

Although Tara doesn't like, "playing Kayla and Jeanette 40 minutes," Kayla did play 40 and Jeanette 38. However, Tara was able to play some of her younger players more — Chiney, Sarah, Mikaela, Toni, Lindy and Sara all got significant minutes.

Neither team was able to get into a flow and both performed poorly. The low score (23-15 at the half, 62-53 final) was due not so much to good defense as to sloppy playing.

Jeanette played much better in the second half. She led all scorers with 19 points and had three rebounds, a block, two steals, and an assist (but, alas, five turnovers).

Kayla was steady throughout with 13 points, four rebounds, a block, a steal and six assists with just one turnover.

Chiney had another strong performance — twelve points, game-high eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Sarah had problems with both offense and defense at first, but improved in the second half — eight points and four rebounds.

The team was much better at free throws tonight, making 15 of 18 (four of them from Lindy) for a respectable 83%.

Michelle Harrison had a great game. She made four of eleven three-pointers and scored the team-high 14 points. She got lots of hugs from her ex-teammates after the final buzzer.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos :

Chiney defends against Janita Bandon Michelle Plouffe defends against Chiney Joslyn shoots over Brittany Knighton Michelle celebrates one of her four three-pointers Chiney snags a rebound Janita Badon drives past Jeanette Jeanette defends against Ciera Dunbar Kayla beats the defense

Michelle faces her old team

Sarah Thomas [Deseret News] explains Michelle's transition from Cardinal to Ute.

Michelle says, "I expect it to be really competitive. We'll all be happy to see each other, I know it's going to be all smiles, but when tipoff comes, we want to play." Read more...

Jack Blanchet [The Stanford Daily] previews the Cardinal's road trip to Utah and Gonzaga. His story includes a discussion of, "... plenty of new looks on the floor this weekend, as Head Coach Tara VanDerveer expects to use many different rotations in order to find the strongest starting lineup and the best rotations off the bench." Read more...

November 18, 2010

Tara talks Utah, UConn and . . .

From Michelle Smith [LeftCoastHoops]:

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer did a conference call Wednesday morning in advance of her team’s first road trip of the season, a two-game sojourn to Utah and Gonzaga.

VanDerveer addressed a number of topics, including last night’s Connecticut-Baylor game and a reunion with a familiar face in Salt Lake City. Read more...