January 31, 2011

Bracketology at conference season mid-point

Charlie Creme's most recent field of 64 includes four Pac-10 teams:
#2 in Spokane (with Tennessee as #1)
One night the Cardinal grab more than 60 rebounds, the next they knock down 11 3-pointers. Stanford has dominated the Pac-10 so thoroughly and in so many ways that it's hard to imagine anything short of an unbeaten league season.
#3 in Dallas (with Baylor as #1)
The Bruins didn't even compete with Stanford, but no one else in the Pac-10 has been able to match UCLA — which illustrates just how big the gaps are in this league.
Arizona State
#8 in Dallas
In a game the Sun Devils really needed, and with leading scorer Dymond Simon on the bench with a head injury, senior Becca Tobin made some big buckets late to propel ASU to a win at USC. That establishes the Sun Devils, for now, as the third-best team in the Pac-10.
#9 in Philadelphia (with UConn as #1)
A big comeback at home against Arizona State ultimately fell short, resulting in a loss that kept USC out of third place in the Pac-10. The task is now just a bit harder in the second half of the league schedule.
The entire bracket

How good is the Cardinal?

In a post to Rule of Tree, Scott Allen briefly reviews the Cardinal's status halfway through the conference season and asks, "How Dominant is This Year's Stanford Women's Basketball Team? " Read more...

A couple of weeks ago, Q McCall (Swish Appeal) asked a similar question, "Just How Good Are The #4 Cardinal This Season?" He presented a detailed analysis of the team's strengths. He thinks they're more aggressive, more balanced, more dangerous and that their defense has improved dramatically. It's still a good read, four games later. Read more...

January 29, 2011

Stanford's shower of threes

It was a sunny afternoon in Corvallis. Inside Gill Coliseum, it was raining threes (or "trifectas" as the OSU announcer liked to say):
  • 11 from the Cardinal at a 55% clip — Jeanette 5-8, Kayla 3-3, Lindy 2-3, Josyln 1-4.
  • 7 from the Beavers at a 28% clip — Earlysia Marchbanks 3-6, Sage Indendi 2-8, Alyssa Martin 1-6, Tami Brown 1-2
Both teams played strong defense inside, making it hard for even Chiney and Nneka to get to the basket. The Cardinal won the battle of the boards, but not by much — 40-35. And the Beavers outdid the Cardinal on O-boards, 19-17.

All in all, the Beavers gave the Cardinal a tougher game than the Ducks did. There's much to be admired in this "new" team.

But yes, the Cardinal won, 74-44.

Mikaela was the shining light of the reserves today. She played excellent defense for 12 minutes, getting the team-high eight rebounds, three assists, a block and two steals.

Kayla was top scorer of the day with 21 points. She added four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals.

Jeanette had 15 points – all from beyond the arc. She tried only one layup and didn't get a chance to improve her record-breaking free throw percentage. She also had five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Chiney had 11 points, six rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.

Nneka had 10 points, six rebounds and a block. She was focused at the charity stripe today and made all four of her free throws.

Toni got a good deal of exercise leading the high-fives for three-pointers but did not play. Kate Paye said, in the pregame chalk talk, "She's getting better each day," but did not offer a prognosis.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by Rick Bowmer, AP Photo:

Jeanette steals the ball from Alyssa Nneka blocks Alyssa's shot "Is this a ball I see before me?" Kayla drives around Earlysia An assist from Jeanette? "Good job, reserves!"

January 28, 2011

The indomitable Kayla Pedersen

On November 9, 2007, Stanford donned new black road uniforms and throttled Yale 100-44.

"New uniforms, new team, new attitude," said three-time All-American Candice Wiggins. "I think the new black uniforms actually symbolize how our team is. We just have a different attitude - younger, fresher. It's an energetic bunch."

The young bunch included much-hyped freshman Kayla Pedersen. The 6-foot-4 forward followed a 15-point, nine-rebound effort in the opener with a 15-point, 16-rebound performance against Rutgers.

On January 27, 2011, Stanford donned its new Nike SuperElite® cardinal road uniforms and took to the forest-painted floor at Matthew Knight Arena.

Senior leader Kayla Pedersen's 11-point, 14-rebound effort helped demolish the Oregon Ducks 91-56.

In that span of time Kayla has:

Played in 133 games
Started every one of them
Played 4,166 minutes
Been the top scorer in 28 games
Been the top rebounder in 54 games
Had 37 double-doubles
Scored an average of 12.9 points
Grabbed an average of 8.5 rebounds
Dished out an average of 2.3 assists
Had an average of 1.8 turnovers

She has just broken and is on pace to shatter the longest-held Stanford career record — 4,148 minutes played, held by Virginia Sourlis since 1986.

By the end of this road trip, she will likely have broken the unofficial career record for games started — currently 135 by Candice.

Congratulations Kayla!!

January 27, 2011

Cardinal topples the Tall Firs

Coach Paul Westhead said, "We're going to try to beat them with our speed." That didn't work. The Ducks couldn't get downcourt ahead of the Cardinal fast enough to get their offense going. They didn't make a basket until halfway through the first half. They made just 25% of their field goal attempts and not quite 10% of their 3-point attempts. Only Nia Jackson was finally able to find her way through the Cardinal defense to score the game-high 21 points.

Westhead thought, "We certainly can cut into their rebounding advantage." Nope, that didn't work either. The Ducks were out-rebounded 68-32.

Bottom Line: Stanford 91, Oregon 56

Actually it was a game in which neither team played their best. The Ducks applied strong defensive pressure in the paint that held the Cardinal to a less than stellar field goal percentage of 43.6, and the Cardinal had far too many turnovers – 18 of them.

Chiney had a huge double-double — a team-high 18 point and 12 rebounds. She also had two assists, three blocks and a steal.

Kayla, in a game where she set a new Stanford record for career minutes played, again demonstrated her powerful presence with 11 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

Jeanette sank three of her nine 3-point attempts and scored 17 points in all. She also dished out six assists (unfortunately accompanied by five turnovers), had four rebounds and blocked two shots.

Sarah was a strong presence in the post tonight. She played for 20 minutes, during which she scored 16 points, had eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and just one turnover.

Nneka scored 16 points and had eight rebounds, an assist and a block. She drew a lot of the Ducks' defensive attention and went to the free-throw line 13 times. Had she done better there (she missed five of them), she would have beat out little sister for top scorer.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And the photos:

Jos and Nneka thwart Nia Jackson's drive to the basket Nneka comes down with the rebound The ball gets away from Victoria Kenyon Chiney works her way in for a shot Jeanette wins the race down the court Nneka and Mel harass Nia Jackson Chiney battles for a rebound

January 26, 2011

Vote for Kayla!

The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I female senior basketball player who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

Sounds like Kayla!

The committee agrees – she is one of the ten candidates on the final ballot.

You can help Kayla win.

Fan balloting counts for 1/3 of the total.

You can vote once a day from your smartphone and from each computer to which you have access until March 20.

Vote now: Click here

More information:

January 25, 2011

On the road in Oregon

The Cardinal is on the road next weekend to play:
  • Oregon on Thursday, Jan 27 at 6:00 pm. The game will be televised on FSN/CSNBA
  • Oregon State on Saturday Jan 29 at noon. The game will be webcast on OSU All*Access
You can watch both games at Mike's Sports Bar & Grill. They will show the OSU webcast on their TV monitors. You can also listen to both games on KZSU.

Neither Oregon nor Oregon State is having a great season, but both games promise to be interesting and perhaps more challenging than win-loss records would indicate. Here is the statistical matchup:

Points per game 79.6 82.9 56.8
Scoring margin +24.9 +8.7 +1.6
Field goal % 0.492 0.388 0.385
3-pointers per game 6.3 9.4 6.9
3-point % 0.375 0.350 0.329
Free throw % 0.748 0.680 0.576
Rebounds per game 44.5 45.2 36.6
Rebounding margin +11.5 -1.1 -0.2
Assists per game 17.6 16.1 12.8
Turnovers per game 14.2 17.5 19.6
Assist/turnover ratio 1.24 0.92 0.67
Steals per game 7.6 13.2 10.4
Blocks per game 3.4 4.1 5.2
Win-loss record 16-2, 7-0 12-6, 3-4 7-11, 0-7
Rank #4/4 --- ---
RPI 3 81 136
Schedule strength 1 92 80

  Oregon Ducks

The game against Oregon will be interesting, if for no other reason, because it will be played on the stunning Kilkenny Floor of the just-opened Matthew Knight Arena.

The Oregon women played their first game there on Sunday night to an overflow crowd of 12,320 – the most to ever attend a Pac-10 women's basketball game.

The is the Ducks' second season of "Run & Gun" offense under head coach Paul Westhead, and it's more of the same this season. Last season's top scorers, Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks have graduated, but Nia Jackson and Amanda Johnson have moved up to among the top four scorers in the Pac-10 (interspersed with Nneka and Jeanette). They have each scored in double-digits in all but one game this season and scored more than 20 points in six games.

The Ducks lead the Pac-10 in scoring with 82.9 points per game, which is #7 in the nation, and in rebounding (45.2 per game). They average more than eight 3-pointers per game, the best in the Pac-10 and #8 in the nation. They steal the ball almost as often as UCLA – more than 13 times per game.

So why have they won only 2/3 of their games? Because their opponents run and gun right along with, and sometimes beyond them. Although the Ducks lead the Pac-10 in scoring, they also allow their opponents the most points. They make the most rebounds, but also allow the most rebounds.

The Ducks had one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the Pac-10. They played no ranked opponents. They have won three conference games at home – against Washington, Washington State and Oregon State – and have lost on the road to Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and USC. Their win-loss record (12-6 overall, 3-4 conference) places them 6th in the Pac-10, their RPI (81) places them 7th, and their strength of schedule (92) places them 9th.

The Ducks' starting lineup is:

  • #32, 5'7" redshirt junior guard Nia Jackson runs the point and is the Ducks' top scorer with 16.7 points per game. She makes the most assists in the Pac-10 (5.8 per game) and has the best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.98). She averages 2.7 steals per game, which is a tie with Amanda Johnson for second-best in the Pac-10 (behind Eliza Pierre, Cal). She makes half of her 3-point attempts, the best percentage in the Pac-10, but makes on average just one per game.

  • #11, 6'2" junior forward Amanda Johnson is the Ducks's second-best scorer with 16.1 points per game. She is their best rebounder with 8.3 per game, which is third-best in the Pac-10 (behind Ify Ibekwe, Arizona and El Sara Greer, OSU). She averages 1.4 3-pointers per game. Like Nia Jackson, she averages 2.7 steals per game.

  • #30, 6'0" guard/forward Jasmin Holliday is the Ducks' third-best scorer (8.3) and second-best rebounder (6.3). She averages just over two steals per game.

  • #25, 5'11" junior guard Ashley Buis is a junior college transfer. She attempts the most 3-pointers (almost six per game), but makes less than a third of them for the team-high average of 1.7. She averages 7.7 points per game.

  • #21, 6'2" redshirt senior forward Victoria Kenyon averages 6.5 points, 1.2 3-pointers and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Coming off the bench for at least 10 minutes a game are:

  • #54, 6'5" senior forward/center Nicole Canepa averages 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. She is Oregon's only active "big" (Ellyce Ironmonger has played just a few minutes in half a dozen games this season).

  • #4, 5'10" senior guard Kristi Fallin averages 7.6 points, 1.7 3-pointers and 2.8 rebounds per game.

  • #1, 5'11" freshman guard/forward Deanna Weaver from Santa Clara averages 6.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

  • #20, 5'6" freshman guard Ariel Thomas from Sacramento is the backup at the point. She averages 4.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Here are Oregon's 2010-11 statistics and their roster.

  Oregon State Beavers

The most interesting thing about the OSU game will be meeting the ragtag assortment of players (no disrespect to individuals) that coach Scott Rueck has assembled into a team:

  • Remaining from last year's team:
    • 6'2" senior forward El Sara Greer, who played two years at a community college before one year at OSU.
    • 6'1" sophomore forward Angela Misa, who averaged four minutes per game as a freshman.
  • Walk-ons signed after an open tryout in August:
    • 5'9" redshirt sophomore guard Sage Indendi, who played for one year at George Fox Community College, coached by Scott Rueck.
    • 5'9" senior guard Amanda Davey, who played two years at a community college.
    • 5'8" redshirt freshman guard Jenna Dixon, who attended OSU but did not compete in basketball.
    • 6'0" freshman guard Alyssa Martin from Portland.
  • Other freshman recruits:
    • 5'8" guard Alexis Bostic from Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland
    • 5'8" guard Classye James from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose
    • 5'11" guard Katie Schrock from Corvallis High School
  • Others:
    • 5' 11" junior guard Earlysia Marchbanks, a community college transfer with two years of basketball experience.
    • 6'2" redshirt freshman forward Tami Brown, an OSU athlete who also plays varsity volleyball.
    • 5'7" redshirt junior guard Courtney Wetzel, an OSU athlete who also plays varsity soccer and volleyball.
The newborn Beavers have done surprisingly well. They have lost all seven conference games, but went 7-4 in moderately difficult non-conference play. They have done much better than their win-loss record shows. Their average margin of defeat is just six points; they had just two double-digit losses — by 13 points to Rutgers and by 12 to UCLA.

A slight improvement in their free throw shooting could have earned them several more victories. They make just 57.6% of their free throw attempts, the worst in the Pac-10.

The Cougars' win-loss record (7-11 overall, 0-7 conference) places them last in the Pac-10, their RPI (136) places them last, and their strength of schedule (80) places them 8th.

The Beavers' starting lineup is:

  • #34, 6'2" senior forward El Sara Greer is the Beavers' top rebounder (8.4 per game), which is second-best in the Pac-10 (behind Ify Ibekwe, Arizona). Almost half of her rebounds are O-boards; she grabs the most in the Pac-10. She averages 3.4 blocks per game, which is #1 in the Pac-10 and #9 in nation. She averages 9.4 points per game and has made four double-doubles this season.

  • #24, 6'0" freshman guard Alyssa Martin is the Beavers' top scorer with 14.9 points per game. She averages 2.4 3-pointers per game, which is a tie with Sage Indendi for third-best in the Pac-10 (behind our Jeanette and Kristi Kingma, Washington). She has scored in double-digits in all but three games.

  • #22, 5'9" sophomore guard Sage Indendi is the Beavers' second-best scorer with 10.8 points per game. Like Alyssa Martin, she averages 2.4 3-pointers per game.

  • #2, 5'8" freshman guard Alexis Bostick runs the point. She averages 3.5 assists and almost the same number of turnovers. She averages 6.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals (the team high) per game.

  • #15, 5'11" junior guard Earlysia Marchbanks averages 6.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Here are Oregon State's 2010-11 statistics and their roster.

January 24, 2011

Jeanette leads on an even keel

Brian Price (Pac-10 News) writes that Jeanette is poised to lead her team for every minute of time she has left as a Cardinal, which will hopefully conclude under a shower of confetti on April 5 in Indianapolis. Read more...

Kayla is Pac-10 Player of the Week

Kayla has been named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for helping the Cardinal take sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with a pair of convincing wins over tough competition from UCLA and USC.

She paced the squad with an average of 17.0 points and 7.5 rebounds over the two wins. She shot 63.2% (12-for-19) from the field and 57.1% (4-for-7) from 3-point range.

On Thursday against the Bruins, Kayla posted a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds while going 6-for-9 from the field. On Sunday against USC, she went 6-for-10 from the field, including going 3-for-4 from behind the arc on the way to 16 points, five rebounds and three assists

This is Kayla's first Pac-10 Player of the Week award this season and the fourth in her career. She is the third Stanford player to be awarded this honor in the past four weeks.

Congratulations Kayla!

January 22, 2011

Cardinal stymies the Trojans

Once again, the Cardinal's stifling defense took away what the Trojans like to do — shoot from the perimeter. The Cardinal held the Trojans to just two of 16 three-point attempts and defeated them 95-51.

The Cardinal shot better than usual from beyond the arc. They sank ten three-pointers — four from Jeanette, three from Kayla, two from Lindy and one from Ashley.

Jeanette had an unusual double-double — the game high 21 points and her career-high 12 assists. She also had zero turnovers for a mathematically impossible assist-to-turnover ratio.

Chiney had her usual double-double, her fourth of the season with 14 points (on 64% shooting) and the game-high 11 rebounds. She also had an assist, a block and two steals.

In last week's press conference, Tara said that she told Kayla to, "Shoot the three or sit down." Kayla shot the three today and sank three of four attempts. She also hit several layups and a couple of free throws for a total of 16 points. She added three assists and five rebounds.

Sarah had one of her best games of the season. She had an almost-double-double (11 points and nine rebounds) and turned the ball over just two times.

All the starters had returned to the bench to stay with 8:38 left to play. The reserves held the Trojans in check for the rest of the game and extended the Cardinal's lead by seven points.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos by Zach Sanderson and Rick Bale, Stanford Photo,

And more photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo:

Jeanette splits the defense Kayla launches one of her three long ones Chiney grabs a rebound Jeanette puts up one of her four three-pointers Double team? No problem! Get back out there, Mel! Cheering Ashley's three-pointer

January 21, 2011

Stanford/UCLA miscellany

Several reports of the game: A story about Nikki Caldwell's basketball program: An unexpected reference to Stanford women's basketball: