August 23, 2011

Pat Summitt diagnosed with dementia

For many years, the Cardinal's toughest opponent has been Pat Summitt and her Lady Vols. Today Coach Summit faces one of life's toughest opponents — Alzheimer's Disease.

No matter how many times they beat us, I always felt great respect for Coach Summitt's amazing accomplishments, for what she has done for women's basketball.

Today I also feel deep admiration for the courage and grace she showed as she announced her illness.

I wish her the best possible outcome in her fight against this dreadful disease — as much time as possible coaching the game that means so much to her and peace and comfort in whatever follows.

This is Coach Summitt's announcement:

Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia, by Dan Fleser (GoVol Xtra)

Pat Summitt's way will lead Lady Vols, by Michelle Smith (ESPNw)

Pat Summitt, Tennessee women’s basketball coach, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease by Sally Jenkins (Washington Post). Accompanied by a photo gallery that extends from Pat & her son Tyler cutting down the net at her fourth National Championship in 1996 to her induction into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame in 2011.

Tara's reaction to the news about Pat Summit: "Hearing today's news about Pat Summit's diagnosis was numbing to me. Pat is not only a great coach but she has been an outstanding mentor and friend. She has shown great courage in announcing this news. I know that she has the best support group around her that anyone could ask for, and I know that Pat will fight this development with the strength, spirit and determination that she has shown throughout her Hall of Fame career. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."

Nneka and Chiney named to preseason Wade Watch list

Congratulations to Nneka and Chiney!

They are two of the 25 women on the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year preseason "Wade Watch" list that was announced today by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. This is Nneka's third straight year on the list. Chiney, in her first appearance, is one of just four sophomores on the list.

For more information, see:

August 22, 2011

Gold medal videos

USA Basketball has released five videos taken yesterday when the USA won the gold medal at the 2011 World University Games:

August 21, 2011

Nneka leads USA to gold medal in World University Games

Nneka finally got to play major minutes today as the USA beat Taiwan 101-66 in the gold-medal game.

She had a huge game — the team-high 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“We wanted to go to Nneka early and often, and we did,” said head coach Bill Fennelly, “I think tonight’s game was even better than the game she played two years ago (in the U19 World Championship gold medal game). I think that says a lot about her, not just her talent, but her commitment and focus. You want your best players to step up at the biggest times, and a gold medal game is a good time to step up and do the things you can do."

This marks the third straight gold as a team for Fennelly, Nneka and Skylar Diggins, who were all also members of the 2008 USA U18 National Team and 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team.

“It’s just amazing,” reflected Fennelly. “Nneka and Sky have been through a lot. This is the third time I’ve had them, twice as an assistant and now as a head coach. They are great players, but they are even better people. I think they were the true leaders of our team. Everyone knew it from the beginning. They followed what we asked them to do, and their experience really paid off and showed the other kids what the international game is all about – the travel and how you just have to fight through it day-by-day. At the end of the day, they have another gold medal and they deserve it.”

Chiney, along with Nneka, Skylar and Elena Della Donne, was one of the four USA players who scored in double digits. She had ten points, six rebounds and a block.

Chiney's field goal percentage led all players in the World University Games. She made a whopping 67.4% of her attempts. Nneka was a close second with 65.3%.

There's lots more about today's game from USA Basketball:

August 20, 2011

Analyzing Stanford's 2011-2012 women's basketball schedule

Jake Curtis analyzes the Cardinal's 2011-12 schedule:

Stanford has its typically difficult women's basketball schedule facing it in 2011-2012, although it may not be quite as tough as it was the past two seasons. That's a good thing, because the Cardinal may not be as strong as it was the past two years.

He expects the Cardinal's season to end with a trip to the NCAA tournament, but doesn't predict how far they'll go


August 19, 2011

USA heads into gold medal game with win over Australia

The USA defeated Australia 79-67, but it was a battle as is expected whenever these two countries meet.

Playing time for the USA women was less evenly distributed than it has been yet in this competition. Elena Della Donne played almost the entire game and had a huge double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Skylar Diggins added 17 points and five assists in 34 minutes.

Nneka and Chiney both got into foul trouble for the first time, but still made significant contributions to the victory.

Nneka gave as good as she got foul-wise and made five of her six free throws. She made just one of her seven field goal attempts, but it sparked a 9-0 run for the USA in the fourth quarter that helped them pull ahead of Austraila for good. She also had seven rebounds and two steals.

Chiney had eight points and three rebounds.

The USA will play Taiwan (also 5-0) in the gold medal game on Sunday. Taiwan is the shortest, quickest team that the USA has faced in the World University Games.

Chiiney says of Taiwan, "They are the most efficient team I have seen here. They are quick, they finish and they stay steady. Knowing us, we have to come out strong, really make defensive stops and rebound. We have a size advantage, but that doesn't mean anything to them. We just have to be ready, and we have to bring home the gold medal."

Here are the game report, box score, quotes and photo gallery of the USA- Australia game.

August 18, 2011

USA flies past Finland

... with a commanding 96-30 victory.

The USA had twice as many rebounds as Finland, including six each from Nneka and Chiney.

Nneka had twelve points, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

Chiney had ten points, a block and zero fouls.

The victory takes the USA on to the semifinal round, where they will play Australia, which features four of its national team players on its World University Games roster. It will be the USA team’s toughest opponent by far in this year’s tournament.

In regard to playing Australia in the semifinals, Nneka said, "I am ready, and I think everyone else is too. We are excited. Obviously, it is fun to win big, but it’s also fun to play a really great team and we are ready for tomorrow."

Here are the game report, box score, quotes and photo gallery.

August 16, 2011

USA routs Great Britain

USA Basketball rolled to a 3-0 finish in the preliminary round of the World University Games with an 85-33 rout of Great Britain on Tuesday.

Chiney began the USA scoring with four free throws in the first 34 seconds of the game. She added six more points on four field goal attempts, three rebounds, a block and a steal in ten minutes of play. For the third consecutive game, she committed no fouls.

Nneka went 3-for-6 from the field and hit both free-throw attempts for a total of eight points. She also had five rebounds, an assists, two blocks and a steal.

The team gets a day off, then advances to the quarterfinal round of the competition on Thursday. There the USA will take on Finland, the second-place team from Group A, at 8:30 p.m. local time (4:30 a.m. PT Thursday morning).

Here are the game report, box score, photos and quotes.

August 15, 2011

Tara announces 2011-12 schedule

Tara announced the 2011-12 schedule this morning.

As we have come to expect, it's tough and challenging. Eleven of the Cardinal's opponents played in the NCAA tournament last season.

"A big reason for this program's regular season and postseason success is that we face a tough and challenging schedule every season, and 2011-12 is no exception," Tara said. "Playing NCAA Tournament-caliber teams early on and throughout the year prepares us for new challenges in the Pac-12 and in the high-pressure contests in the postseason."

This is the announcement and the schedule from Stanford Athletics.

This is the schedule from the FBC, which will include FBC events as well as the basketball games. It also includes links to each opponent's women's basketball website and maps of the venues. Links to media coverage (TV, All-Access and GameTracker) will be added when that information becomes available.

USA women defeat Slovakia

Another balanced attack by the USA resulted in another huge victory in their second World University Game — 114-68 over Slovakia.

Nneka and Chiney started the attack — Nneka hit a jumper at 9:49, and Chiney scored on the USA's next possession.

They each made 75% of their field goal attempts. Nneka ended with 14 points, five rebounds, an assist and two steals. Chiney had 13 points, six rebounds and a block.

The USA team committed just 18 fouls, but coach Bill Fennelly and several players spoke of foul trouble and difficulty adjusting to how international referees call the game. So it's especially encouraging to Cardinal fans who worried about Chiney's propensity for geting into foul trouble last season that she again had no fouls last night.

Here are the game report, box score, quotes and photos.

August 14, 2011

USA rolls to victory over Brazil

The USA mounted a balanced attack against Brazil and defeated them 112-53 in the opening round of the World University Games.

Every member of the USA team played at least 10 minutes, and five of them scored in double digits.

Chiney scored six points, five rebounds and three assists in 10 minutes without committing a single foul!

Nneka scored 14 points, two rebounds and two blocks in 12 minures of play.

This is what Nneka had to say after the game:

What did if feel like to play in the first game of the tournament?
It was amazing. We were in awe last night when we went to watch the men's team play, and we were really excited. We weren't actually expecting a full crowd, but it seemed like everybody was there. Playing in this arena is a lot of fun, and obviously stepping on the court with U-S-A on your chest is an amazing feeling.

On tonight's game:
We are really trying to focus on staying together and being focused. We have a lot of players that haven't played internationally before, and I think the feeling that you get on the court is a little different than back home and people were still getting used to that. It took us a few minutes today, but we got it started about halfway through the first quarter. Coming out with a lot of intensity will be a huge focus for us moving forward.

On the USA's depth:
It's so much fun. It's not often at all that you get to play with the people that you are usually playing against. I've never had this much talent on a team before, and you really have to embrace the experience because you never know if you will be able to get to do this again. I'm just really happy with the team. We are focused on collaborating and being a unit, and I'm excited for five more games.

On the third quarter:
They had 17 points at halftime, and they scored 23 in the third. I think we just lost our focus. Coach talked about how sometimes teams play to the scoreboard and don't play against the game. We need to win every quarter. Doesn't matter what the score is. We strayed a little bit away from that, but we are going to work to stay focused.

On Opening Ceremonies:
Oh my gosh, that was an experience I will never forget. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced. When people say that this is like a mini-Olympics, or it's comparable to the Olympics, they are not lying. Walking out with all of my teammates and all of the U.S. athletes with our outfits on and the American flag, it was an experience of a lifetime. I had a lot of fun. China did so much to prepare for these games, and it was beautiful.

Click here for the game report, box score and more quotes and photos.

August 13, 2011

World University Games begin

The 2011 World University Games (Universiade 2011) kicked off with a colorful opening ceremony on Friday.

Nneka and Chiney enjoyed the festivities.

The women's basketball competition began today. USA played Brazil at 7:00 p.m. PT. (That's 10 a.m. on Sunday in Shenzhen.). The result hasn't been posted yet.

Naismith Hall of Fame enshrinement

Ten inductees ... with ten very different stories ... and ten so very different ways of telling them.

Tara, as we knew she would, told her story with grace and dignity.

August 12, 2011

Hall of Fame News Conference

Tara is in Springfield, excited about being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame tonight. On seeing fellow inductee Dennis Rodman, she joked she was so excited she was "gonna go out and get a tattoo."

Tara's press interview inspired these two stories:

  • Player's anguish coach's gain by Mark McGuire (Times Union).

    The anguish refers to Tara's pain in only being able to watch basketball as a kid growing up in Schenectady. The story tells about serendipitous events in Tara's life as a girl and as a young woman that started her on the path to a Hall of Fame coaching career.

    So many what-ifs.

    "You never know where your life will take you," Tara said. "I think with basketball, I was determined basketball was going to be part of my life, no matter what."

  • VanDerveer, Mullin have pre-Hall history by Matt Steinmetz (CSNBayArea)

    This story tells about a little-known connection between Tara and fellow inductee Chris Mullin. Hard as it might be to believe, they both might have helped each other get to where they are now -- on the brink of the game of basketball's highest honor.

    The story is accompanied by two video clips. The first clip is a different part of Tara's press interview than the one embedded above, in which she recounts the Vanderveer/Mullin connection. The second clip is of the inductees arriving at the Hall of Fame for the press conference — it includes brief glimpses of Amy and Tara.

Here are a few more stories and/or photos:
  • Tara VanDerveer fits right in at Hall of Fame 'dress rehearsal' by Tim Kawakami (Mercury News
  • Hall of Fame welcomes latest class by Dick Vitale (ESPN)
  • Hoophall Class of 2011 from WWLP
  • The Hall of Fame Career Of Tara VanDerveer - The 2010s from Stanford Athletics

    The conclusion of the week-long review of Tara's Hall of Fame career looks at the first year of the current decade during which Tara earned her 800th career win, led the Cardinal to its fourth consecutive Final Four, was named national coach of the year by the WBCA, Associated Press and Atlanta Tip-Off Club and selected for induction as a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

    The review concludes:

    There are still many, many challenges, achievements, and milestones remaining in the career of Tara VanDerveer. Friday night in Springfield, Mass. will recognize VanDerveer for everything she has accomplished, and provide a springboard for everything she will continue to accomplish in her long, storied career.

Tonight's events will be televised on NBA TV:

    3:00 pm PT: 2011 Hall of Fame Special
    4:00 pm PT: 2011 Hall of Fame Red Carpet Show
    5:00 pm PT: 2011 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

The programs will be re-run later in the day. See the NBA TV schedule.

August 11, 2011

Amy named to Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame

The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame announced yesterday that Amy Tucker is one of the 16 members of the Class of 2012, which will be formally inducted next year, on May 19.

Amy was an outstanding basketball player for Springboro High School in Ohio and at Ohio State.

She has coached basketball since graduating from Ohio State — as an assistant to Tara at Ohio State for two years, an assistant at Stanford until 1995, interim co-head coach in 1996 while Tara was leading the U.S. Olympic squad, and as Assistant Head Coach since 1997.

Her talent as one of the nation's top recruiters has been a major factor in Stanford Women's Basketball success for all these years.

Congratulations Amy ... and thank you!!

Read more about Amy's accomplishments here:

Tara's Hall of Fame career – the 2000s

Stanford Athletics continues its review of Tara's coaching career. In the fourth installment, Tara guides the Cardinal out of its late-1990's funk to three consecutive trips to the Final Four.

The World of Women's Hoops, an Internet Radio show hosted by David Seigel, paid homage to Tara today with a roundtable discussion by Jennifer Azzi, Angela Taylor, Vanessa Nygaard, Kate Paye, Melanie Murphy, Jayne Appel, Jeanette Pohlen, and Candice Wiggins. Here are links to the accompanying story and the podcast of the show.

Other tributes to Tara today also honor Teresa Edwards. She and Tara joined forces for USA Basketball in the 1996 Olympics. Fifteen years after winning the gold medal, they will enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame together on Friday night:

August 10, 2011

Road Warriors

The USA Basketball WWUG team travelled for 30 hours from Colorado Springs to Shenzhen, China.

They got into the dining hall around midnight, met again for breakfast at 9:00 a.m., then went to a delegation briefing at 10:00 a.m., met for lunch at 1:00 p.m., went straight to a press conference that put them back at the village about 3:30 p.m., then got taped an hour later and headed off for a scrimmage against Brazil at 5:35 p.m.

Chiney doesn't look like her usual exuberant self in the photo above, but she wasn't too tired to share her thoughts about the experience:

What was it like, getting out on the court against other international competition?
It was great. It was a nice opportunity to get the kinks out, to finally get loose because we had a long travel. We’re just here trying to get acclimated, so being able to finally hit the floor after seeing so many athletes from so many countries is really great. We were motivated. It was fun.

Were you familiar with any of their players, did you play against any of them at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship?
Coming from the U18 team last year, I was familiar with some of their players and their style. But, it’s a completely different team that we have right now at this event. So it was a different experience. Overall I liked our energy. We got better with every play and every possession and that’s what we’re looking for as we practice.

Take me through your travel day to get China.
The travel, being able to be with the team helps you so much because we rely on each other for energy, entertainment and relaxation. We were just sitting together, bonding as a team, having good conversations and watching TV. We were also very excited about where we were going. Even though it was tiring, we’re fighting the jet lag. We’re finally starting to adjust and we’re happy to be here right now.

Realizing you’ve only been here about 24 hours, can you describe what life is like in the athletes’ village?
It’s been fantastic. The athletes’ village has so many different cultures. You see and meet people from around the world that you would never get to meet, who are also top-tier athletes and great people. The village is just great, food-wise, service-wise. The people of Shenzhen have been way over hospitable. I really enjoy the village and I couldn’t imagine a better experience, coming to the World University Games.

Is there another team, country or sport you’re looking forward to going to watch?
Yeah, I definitely am trying to follow the Stanford people, the swimmers. I know some people who are swimming here, so hopefully I get to go see them compete. Besides that, USA athletes, trying to see as many sports as we can, the different ones, the obscure ones, the mainstream ones and obviously our men’s (basketball) team, hopefully we can catch them, too. USA and Stanford, I’m hoping to watch them all.


August 09, 2011

Tara's Hall of Fame career – the 1990s

Stanford Athletics continues its review of Tara's coaching career. In the third installment, Tara leads Stanford to its second national championship and USA Basketball to a 60-0 record and a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.

Elliott Almond (Mercury News) writes about Tara's work ethic:

Tara VanDerveer has never been one to waste an opportunity. When she lands in Springfield, Mass., this week for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies, the Stanford coach plans to work on improving her tried-and-true triangle offense. Read more...

In his article, Almond quotes one of Tara's aphorisms: "You want to have fun? Try winning. Now that's fun."

A couple of days ago, Ros Gold-Onwude tweeted, "In honor of Tara's Naismith HOF let's start a #taraisms trend. Along w/ bball genius-she's said a lot of funny things over the years."

These are the taraisms that former players have tweeted. (Thanks to "Moxie12" for beginning the list.):

"Don't be a pig and hog the ball!"
"What offense are you running? Mumbo Jumbo?!!! Be a point guard! Run the play!"
"There's too much mustard on your hotdog" (on showoff/ fancy moves)
"You don't want to be 'the nice girls from Stanford'." (telling us to be tough)
"The 'S' on your jersey doesn't stand for stupid."
"Mind over mattress."
"You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to be best teammates."
"It's not the start of the race but the finish."
"Mental is to physical as 4 is to 1."
"Why use a water pistol when you have a cannon!"
"Don't be a squirrel on the wrong side of the tree." (in reference to the D post being on the wrong side of the O post player)
"You can't be a light switch and turn your game off and on, has to be on all the time!"
"If you have a Ferrari body don't use it like a pickup truck."
"They already made the movie dumb and dumber... And you're NOT in it!!!"
"A repetition of error shows a lack of intelligence"
"Sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the fire hydrant."
"Basketball is a team sport. If you are into individual things, take up tennis."
"This isn't prayer basketball, we don't just throw the ball in the air and PRAY someone will catch it"
"I might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night."
"Christmas is over. Quit standing around like a decoration."
"This is not a democracy."
"If there is a fire in the house, get off the porch!" (in reference to the ball in the key & helping in)
"When I was playing I used to love guarding Weak Wilma because I could help in & get steals!"
"The play is called Motion"...not "SLOW Motion"
"That play's not for you! The play is called money! Not funny!"
"You have to be more than a one trick pony!" (on having more than one go-to move)

Tara's Hall of Fame career – the 1980s

The Stanford Athletic Department continues its review of Tara's coaching career. In the second installment Tara returns to Ohio State as head coach of the varsity team and, in her fifth season, leads the Buckeyes to the NCAA Elite 8. She transfers to Stanford in 1985 and, in her fifth season there, leads the Cardinal to the NCAA Championship.

In another tribute to Tara, Dick Baker (The Republican) writes about Tara's family ties to Springfield, Massachusetts where she will return on Friday for her induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

August 08, 2011

Tara's Hall of Fame career – the beginning

The Stanford Athletic Department is looking back at the first 32 years of Tara's coaching career each day this week, leading up to her induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night.

The first installment tells about Tara in the 1970s, as an undergraduate at Indiana University and in her first coaching jobs at Ohio State and the University of Idaho.

The story is accompanied by a gallery of photos you've probably not seen before, including the one on the left of Tara as an Indiana student.

August 04, 2011

Nneka is a veteran international player

Nneka and Skylar Diggins are the two most veteran international players on the USA World University Games Team roster. They were both on the United States’ FIBA Americas U18 Championship and 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship teams.

Their experience with international play figures to be a boost later this month when the United States tries for its eighth gold medal in World University Games play.


August 03, 2011

Nneka and Chiney both make the final cut

Nneka and Chiney have been named to the 12-player roster that will head to China for the 26th World University Games.

Chiney twittered, "My big sis and I made the USA WUG Team! Feeling so blessed!! Goin' for the gold in China!!

Nneka twittered, "Thanks for all the love and good luck wishes everyone! Make sure you follow us while we go for the gold in China.

The USA WUG team will continue training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs through next Sunday. They depart for Shenzhen, China on Monday August 8, where they will practice until the games begin.

In Shenzhen, the WUG opening ceremony will be held on Friday, August 12. The Women' Basketball competition will take place from August 14 -21.

Here is more information: