February 28, 2011

Do it for Kayla

Fan voting for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award began just a month ago and continues for another three weeks.

That's right — the voting continues right up until March 20th. 30th, just before the Final Four. (Date corrected 3/1/11.) Remember that you can vote once a day from your smart phone and from each computer to which you have access.

The ten candidates have been in the same relative positions since the beginning.

Angie Bjorklund (Tennessee) is in the lead. Her lead has been increasing gradually since the beginning. She now has 22.4% of the vote.

Maya Moore (UConn) and Erin Anthony (Army) are contending for second place. Their percentages have also increased gradually. Anthony has pulled ahead with 18.4% to Moore's 16.5%.

Then come Liz Repella (West Virginia), Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma) and Kayla, who each have about 7 or 8% of the vote. Their percentages have, of course, gradually decreased as the top three have increased.

Jasmine Thomas (Duke), Dawn Evans (James Madison), Sam Quigley (DePaul) and Amber Harris (Xavier) bring up the rear, each with about 4 or 5% of the vote.

These are all fine young women, all deserving of the award.

But they're not our Kayla.

Kayla does her best for us every day on the basketball court.

Do your best for Kayla at the ballot box.

February 26, 2011

Cardinal is Pac-10 Champion!

The Cardinal out-gunned the Ducks 99-60 , set a new home record with its 60th consecutive win at Maples Pavilion, and claimed its 11th consecutive Pac -10 championship.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The postgame video with Jeanette and RosGO

A gallery of photos from Stanford Photo

And photos by Ben Margot, Associated Press:

Jeanette launches a three-pointer Sarah hooks one into the basket Nneka looks for her shot Chiney fights for possession Duck drives against Jeanette Who got this ball? Tara has some tips for Mikaela Sisterly advice?

February 25, 2011

Cardinal attack begins with Jeanette

By Michelle Smith, writing for Stanford Athletics:

Finally, Stanford senior Jeanette Pohlen can say it and mean it, "I am a point guard."

Four years into her college career that has seen her go from a role player to an All-American candidate, she can stop adding the other part of that sentence, "...but I'm really more of a '2' guard." Read more...

And in a story in her blog Leftcoasthoops, Michelle casts her vote for Jeanette as the Pac-10 Player of the Year and for Scott Rueck as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Read more...

February 24, 2011

Cardinal trounces the Beavers

Stanforl had a palindromic victory over Oregon State: 73-37.

The Beavers were warmly welcomed to Maples in appreciation for what they've accomplished this difficult season, but were shown no mercy after the tipoff.

It's always a team game for the Cardinal but, as Tara said at the postgame meeting, there were solo performances tonight.

Sarah hooked the ball into the basket on seven of 12 attempts and added a couple of free throws for the game-high 16 points. (She's scored 16 twice before, once earlier this season at Oregon and once in her freshman year.) She also had six rebounds and two assists and, in spite of tough opposition from El Sara Greer, was called for just one foul. Sarah played for a career-high 25 minutes, well above her average of 15.

Chiney came closest to a double-double with ten points and nine rebounds. She also had five steals, two of which she followed with fast break layups. She was called for an intentional foul early in the game when, as she was going up for a shot, her elbow contacted Sara Greer's mouth. There was no intent to foul — this was an instance of the automatic call for elbow contact above the shoulder.

Toni had another fine game: ten points, two assists and two fast breaks after steals.

Mikaela didn't score, but had three assists and grabbed six rebounds and two steals.

Our stalwarts, Jeanette and Kayla, came through as always. Kayla: 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Jeanette:10 points, five rebounds, six assists and a steal.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video

A gallery of photos by Nhat V. Meyer, Mercury News

A gallery of photos by John Todd, Stanford Photo

And photos by Paul Sakuma, AP Photo and John Todd:

Jeanette goes up for her shot Chiney scores Kayla is ready for the rebound Chiney tries for a block Nneka and Mel enjoy the game Kayla and Chiney enjoy the game Everyone enjoyed the game

February 23, 2011

Toni is getting up to speed

By Tom FitzGerald, San Francisco Chronicle:

Coach Tara VanDerveer says Kokenis is probably among the five fastest players she has had in 25 years at Stanford. "She's not just fast," she said. "She can shoot - she has a really nice pull-up. She has a good sense of getting the ball to other people." Read more...

Home again, home again, road trips are done

After a rigorous road trip in L.A., Cardinal fans can look forward to the comfort of home games in Maples this weekend as the Cardinal play:
  • The Oregon State Beavers on Thursday, Feb 24 at 7:00 pm. The game will be webcast by Stanford All*Access and broadcast by KZSU.

  • The Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Feb 26 at 2:00 pm. The game will be webcast by Stanford All*Access and broadcast by KZSU.
Although you should never take any basketball game for granted, I really think that the Cardinal have nothing to fear from the Beavers and Ducks. To paraphrase something Kayla said after the UCLA game last week, "Every single person is ready to do what she needs to do."

  Oregon State Beavers

As was expected, OSU is ranked last in the Pac-10. What few (perhaps no one) expected is that they have won nine games so far.

The Beavers had a thrilling victory last weekend in the Oregon Civll War. They rallied from a 20-point deficit at halftime to defeat the Ducks by two points for their second conference win.

I so admire what coach Scott Rueck and his team have accomplished this season. If you feel the same, get on your feet and applaud when the Beavers are introduced at Maples on Thursday night.

  Oregon Ducks

Oregon has had a dismal conference season that keeps getting worse. They've lost their last seven games and have played the last four games without Nia Jackson, their leader in scoring and assists, who injured both knees early in February.

Oregon’s most glaring weakness is the lack of defensive rebounding (they make the fewest in the Pac-10), which has kept the Ducks from being able to consistently run their fastbreak offense.

Oregon is currently ranked ninth in the Pac-10, with Oregon State just one game back. They are in danger of dropping to the bottom if they can't pull themselves out of the doldrums for the remaining four games of the season (against Cal, Stanford and the Arizona schools).

February 22, 2011

Loss to Stanford better for the Bruins?

Charlie Creme discusses the difficulties of putting together a bracket. In his evaluation, UCLA's loss to Stanford on Saturday drops them from a #2 seed to a #3 seed, which might actually be better for the Bruins. Read more...

In this week's Fanhouse Terrific 12, Stanford is one of the Terrific Teams of the Week and Chiney is one of the Terrific Players of the Week — no question about that!

February 21, 2011

Significance of Stanford's win over UCLA

By Q McCall, Swish Appeal:

The difference between the Stanford Cardinal and the other two national title contenders in college basketball is their balance - no player accounts for more than 20% of their total statistical output. But the difference between Stanford and every other team outside the top three is that they arguably have two or three players who could be the top player on any Top 25 team. Read more...

Aside by me:

Q McCall is a statistics geek. He provides a glossary of the statistics he uses most in Statgeekery. Total statistical output isn't defined there — he may mean more than just points scored. But Maya Moore averages 23.7 points per game, which is 29.8% of UConn's total average score; Brittney Griner accounts for 27.8% of Baylor's total; Nneka, Jeanette, and Kayla respectively account for 20.5%, 19.7%, and 16.1% of Stanford's total.

February 20, 2011

Freshmen sparkle in victory over the Bruins

No Nneka? No problem! Well, not an insurmountable problem. The Bruins battled fiercely and effectively for almost the entire 40 minutes but finally succumbed, thanks largely to the efforts of Chiney and Toni who led the Cardinal to a 67-53 victory.

Chiney played hard and smart for 37 minutes. She had a huge double-double (18 points and career-high 15 rebounds), made 10 of 12 free throws, and had a block and a steal. Remarkably, she committed only two fouls as she prevailed over fierce defense by the Bruins. Also remarkable — she had enough energy to jump up and down in excitement after putting up a difficult "... and one" with two minutes left to play.

Toni took over at the point 3½ minutes into the game and never left. She added 13 points and two assists to the Cardinal offense. She handled the Bruins' pressure with composure, losing the ball just three times, and balanced that nicely with three steals. Her defense of Darxia Morris, the Bruins' leading scorer, was a big factor in holding Morris to 0-7 on field goal attempts in the second half.

The Cardinal rocks — Kayla and Jeanette — were solid today, as always.

Kayla had a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds), two assists, two blocks and a steal. Her defense of Jasmine Dixon helped to hold the Bruins' star player to three field goals and ten points.

Jeanette led the Cardinal off to a great start as she sank a 3-pointer on their first possession. After that the Bruin defense held her to three field goals and ten points — same as Dixon. She also had five assists, two rebounds and a steal.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play

And photos from the Associated Press:

Mikaela battles for a rebound Jeanette tries a steal Kayla scores with a reverse layup Joslyn fights against a double team Mikaela takes a fall Jeanette finishes a fast break Chiney and Kayla have good reason to be pleased

February 19, 2011

Nneka's ankle

Jake Curtis reports the on the condition of Nneka's ankle, which she sprained in yesterday's game against USC, and proposes various options for tomorrow's game against UCLA. Read here

Honors for Tara and Jeanette

With more than 800 wins, two NCAA titles, eight trips to the Final Four and a 1996 Olympic gold medal to her credit, Tara became one of 12 finalists for basketball’s highest honor Friday, nominated to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Read more in: A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame. When Tara reminded Kayla that it's just a nomination, Kayla responded, “It’ll happen coach!”

Jeanette is one of 11 final nominees for the Nancy Lieberman award, which honors the women's basketball point guard of the year. Read more in: Read more in:

February 18, 2011

Cardinal toughs it out against the Trojans

It was too close for comfort in the first half. The Trojans' offense was hot — they outshot the Cardinal by 10% and out-three-d them by 20%. But the Cardinal made all ten of their free throws and didn't let the game get away. They ended the half two points ahead.

The Cardinal began the second half with a 12-2 run. The Trojans had cut the lead to five when Tara drew a T for objecting vociferously to an offensive foul called (mis-called?) on Toni. Stefanie Gilbreath missed both free throws and that was pretty much that. The Cardinal gradually extended their lead to an eventual 78-64 victory.

Trivia question (I don't know the answer — leave a comment if you do): When did Tara last get a technical foul?

Jeanette sank five of nine 3-pointers and led the scoring with 19 points.

Ms Do-Everything Pedersen had 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Nneka sprained her ankle about five minutes into the second half and had to leave the game. Before that, she scored 11 points — her 35th consecutive double-digit score — and grabbed six rebounds.

Chiney scored 13 points (all in the second half), and had six rebounds, a block and a steal.

The bench contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and 59 minutes of very good play to the victory.

Toni was especially effective. She played the point for 23 minutes, hit a huge 3-pointer that broke a tie score halfway through the first half, and scored twice more with her signature one-handed scoop shot.

Joslyn was a strong presence in the paint. She also made the Cardinal's seventh 3-pointer.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play

A postgame video interview of Jeanette by Michelle Smith

And photos:

Trojans lose Chiney for a moment Joslyn drives to the basket Sarah flips one in Nneka puts up a shot Toni grabs a loose ball Mikaela makes her shot Kayla interrupted Nneka drives to the basket ... and elevates

Mel is unsure of her role on the team

By Jake Curtis:

Melanie Murphy might play in Friday’s game at USC or Sunday’s critical game at No. 9 UCLA. In fact, she might play a lot. Then again, she might never get off the Stanford bench the entire weekend. Read more...

February 17, 2011

On the road to LA-LA Land

The Cardinal are heading south for their most challenging weekend of the conference season to play:
  • USC on Friday at 7:00 pm. The game will be webcast by USC All*Access.
  • UCLA on Saturday at noon. The game will be telecast by FSN/CSNBA.
If you'd like to watch the games on bigger screens that you have at home, join your fellow fans at Mike's Sports Bar & Grill. Note that the USC game on Friday is at prime dinner time — come early to be sure to get a seat. Both games will also be broadcast by KZSU, with Jake Kelman doing the play-by-play and Ros Gold-Onwude as the game analyst.

These games are huge for all three teams.

The Cardinal will be fighting to stay all alone at the top of the Pac-10 and keep its probable #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Although the Cardinal trounced the Trojans 95-51 and the Bruins 64-38 earlier this season at Maples, the games at the Galen Center and Pauley Pavilion will be something else again. The games in L.A. have traditionally been a battle for the Cardinal, occasionally a disastrous one.

The UCLA Bruins will no doubt bring their most aggressive defense to their second crack at the Cardinal for a share of the Pac-10 title.

Under third-year coach Nikki Caldwell, the Bruins have set new UCLA records for best overall start to a season (21-2) and best start to a conference season (11-1).

The Bruins are ranked #9 in both national polls and predicted by Charlie Creme to be a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Since we last played, they have won six games against Cal, USC, the Arizona schools and the Oregon schools. Except for the game against Oregon, they were low-scoring games with a fairly small win margin (on average, about nine points).

The Bruins lead the Pac-10 in steals (11.58), in rebounding defense (29.8) and in turnover margin (+4.5). They are second to the Cardinal in seven other categories. Jasmine Dixon leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (61.3%)

The USC Trojans began this season as strong contenders for the Pac-10 title. They went 8-3 in a tough non-conference schedule — their best start in 16 years. But they've followed that with an inconsistent conference season and are now 15-8. With just six more games, they probably need at least one win this weekend to get into the NCAA tournament.

The Trojans are struggling to hold on to third place in the Pac-10. Arizona State, Cal and Washington State are all just one game behind them.

The Trojans have done pretty well since we last met. They defeated Arizona and the Oregon schools, lost to UCLA and lost to ASU (by one point!). They return home this weekend with the momentum of road wins against Oregon and OSU, in which Jackie Gemelos scored a total of 28 points, Ashley Corral scored a total of 30 points and Briana Gilbreath had two double-doubles (19-13 and 14-10).

February 14, 2011

Kayla, Jeanette and Nneka named to Naismith midseason list

The honors keep coming for this season's tri-captains. So far:
  • They are all on the 2010-11 State Farm Wade Watch list.
  • Kayla and Nneka are on the Wooden Award midseason top 20 list
  • Nneka is on the Associated Press 2010-11 preseason All-America team
  • Kayla is on the final ballot for the Women's Basketball Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
And today all three of them were named to the midseason Naismith Trophy Watch List.

Here is more information:

Opposing views

I find it interesting to see how different a given game looks depending on who you're rooting for. Here are reports of Saturday's Stanford vs Washington game from the student newspapers:

Huskies tamed by Nate Adams, The Stanford Daily

Huskies nearly pull off upset by Josh Liebeskind, The Daily (of the University of Washington)