October 29, 2011

First up: UCSD & Vanguard

Are you ready for Basketball?

The Cardinal begins play next week, as they have the past two years, with exhibition games against UC San Diego and Vanguard

Exhibition games "don't count", but they're very entertaining for Cardinal fans. The players are as eager to play as you are to see them, and you never know what to expect. Do you remember:

  • How the freshmen sparkled in the game against Vanguard last year? Chiney, Toni and Sara got 33% of the playing time. Sara scored 16 points on 53% shooting, and Chiney had a 24-point 16-rebound double-double. How will our six freshmen perform in their college debut on Wednesday?

  • The smothering defense against UCSD last year when the Cardinal had 46 rebounds to the Tritons' 12?

  • The outstanding guard play against Vanguard in 2009 when Mel had twelve assists with just one turnover and Jeanette had seven As and two TOs?

  • The barrage of 3-pointers against Vanguard in 2009 – 15 of them — or Lindy's seven against Chico State in 2008? Will the 3s still drop from one foot farther away?
Both of the exhibition games are FREE for kids under 14. Register here for a voucher and bring all the young fans you know to Maples on Wednesday and Saturday.

If you like to take photos of the Cardinal for your own pleasure or to share with other fans and want some tips from a professional sports photographer, come to Kissick Auditorium at 5:45 on Wednesday before the Vanguard game. More information here ...

UC San Diego

The UCSD Tritons are a strong Division II team that has won 20 games in each of the past six seasons. They advanced to the semifinals of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Tournament last season.

They have been ranked in the Division II preseason top 25 each of the past three years and are ranked ninth this year.

UCSD welcomes back eleven letterwinners, including all five starters:

  • #15, 5'7" senior guard Chelsea Carlisle earned WBCA Honorable Mention All-American accolades after averaging 18.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game as a junior in 2010-11. She was also named to the All-CCAA and Daktronics All-West Region first teams last year.

  • #5, 5'9" junior guard Emily Osga averaged 11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season. She was named to the All-CCAA first team.

  • #25, 6'1" senior center Lauren Freidenberg posted season averages of 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds on 51.5% shooting.

  • #24, 5'10" junior forward Erin Grady was UCSD's fifth-leading scorer (6.4 points) and ranked fourth in both rebounding (4.0) and assists (1.3).

  • #21, 5'9" sophomore guard Megan Perry earned a spot in the starting lineup as a freshman with her consistent shooting. She made 53.6% overall and a team-high 61.5% from beyond the arc.
Here is UCSD's roster.


The Vanguard Lions play in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). They are one of the elite NAIA teams. Since 2003, Vanguard has won one championship, advanced to the semifinals twice and finished as quarterfinalists three times. They are ten-time GSAC champions and have been picked to finish third in the conference this season.

They had a slew of injuries last season, and were eliminated in the NAIA first round for the first time since 2001-02. Three of last season's starters graduated, but the team has reloaded with three juniors from Australia, and the Lions are roaring to get back into the battle for their second NAIA Championship.

16-year head coach Russ Davis says, "If we stay healthy, this team can compete for it all."

Based on 2010-11 stats, I'm guessing that the starters will be:

  • #24, 5'6" junior guard Chelsea Alfafara started 15 (of 29) games last season. She was the highest scorer of the returning players with 9.1 points per game. She tried more 3-pointers than anyone, and made 34% of them.

  • #3, 5'6" junior guard Veronica Beavor started 13 games and averaged 8.9 points, an 3.2 rebounds.

  • #25, 5'8" senior guard/forward Ariel Castillo started 15 games and averaged 6.6 points and 1.8 rebounds.

  • #11, 6'0" junior forward Allison Burns started 17 games and averaged 7.3 points and 5.2 rebounds.

  • #00, 6'3" sophomore forward/center Leigha Bednar came off the bench for about 13 minutes a game and averaged 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds.
Here is Vanguard's roster.

October 28, 2011

Toni marches to her own beat

Michelle Smith (espnW) writes about the first basketball player in anyone's best recollection who is an active member of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. Yep, that's Toni! Read more...

October 23, 2011

Tara to receive Athena Award

Tara has been selected by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce to receive the 2011 Athena Award.

The award is presented annually by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities in partnership with Athena International. Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 6000 awards have been presented in over 500 communities worldwide.

The award goes to individuals who:

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.
  • Provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
  • Actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential.
Former Palo Alto mayor Lanie Wheeler nominated Tara for the award with this recommendation, "Tara has had a positive and lasting influence on the hundreds of young women who have benefited from not only the basketball skills she has taught them, but from the life skills upon which she places equal influence. She serves as a wonderful role model."

Tara will receive her award at a Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto on Nov. 16. You can register to attend the luncheon here.

October 21, 2011

Sarah and Alex playing catch-up

Michelle Smith (espnW) reports how Sarah and Alex are doing as they practice for the upcoming season while recovering from their injuries.

And she introduces Contessa.


October 20, 2011

Stanford picked to win the Pac-12

The coaches voted and picked Stanford to win the Pac-12 this season. Read more...

Cardinal counting on freshmen contributions

John Reid (Palo Alto Daily News) reports what each of the six Cardinal freshmen is contributing to the team in this article ....

October 19, 2011

Run Cardinal, run

Bay Area sports journalists report on the new look of the 2011-12 Cardinal.

Stanford women have a new, faster style by Tom FitzGerald, San Francisco Chronicle: "This is not the typical Stanford women's basketball team. It's going to run and run, then run some more..."

Stanford to change its tempo by John Reid, Mercury News: "VanDerveer may opt to get much of her offense out of a pressing defense, thanks to some lightning-quick perimeter players and returning bigs who can run the floor like gazelles."

October 18, 2011

Gearing up for a deep March run

At today's practice, Janie MacCauley (Associated Press) observed:

Tara VanDerveer is largely in observation mode right now.

She is teaching and coaching fundamentals, and more so than ever. That's just how it goes with six freshmen on the roster. The Hall of Fame Stanford coach has spent her share of time during the early days of practice simply watching to gauge what each of them brings to the 11-time reigning Pac-10 champions, who will be the favorites to capture the inaugural Pac-12 crown.


October 16, 2011

Speculations on the Starting Five

Jake Curtis has been speculating about who will play which positions on the Cardinal's 2011-12 team. He has it all pretty well worked out except for the two guard spots, which have many potential candidates.

He thinks, "It all depends on what happens at point guard. When VanDerver settles on a starter at that position, a lot of other things can fall into place. It may take several games before that issue is settled, however. In fact, it might take much of the season." Read more...

Stanford Athletic's report of last Friday's practice season made it clear that, "With three starting positions, among them both backcourt spots, up for grabs, VanDerveer and her staff want to see as many combinations as possible. With four more weeks of practice and two exhibition games left to figure out Nov. 11's starting five, there is still much, much more sweat to be spilled after today." Read more...

October 14, 2011

Fun on photo shoot day

Michelle Smith continues her up-close-and-personal with the Cardinal series for espnW with a iight-hearted account of 2011-12 photo shoot day. Read more...

October 13, 2011

Sarah and Alex cleared to practice

Happy news for Sarah and Alex — they've gotten medical clearance to practice!

Sarah played all of last season and then had surgery to correct a shoulder problem. She's now a redshirt junior — she sat out her sophomore year with foot problems.

Alex missed her senior high school season after tearing her ACL almost a year ago.

October 10, 2011

Nneka and Chiney named to Wooden Award preseason top 30 list

Congratulations to Nneka and Chiney!

They are two of the women on the Wooden Award preseason top 30 list that was announced today by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Nneka was on last season's ballot and is a two-time (2010 and 2011) Wooden Award All American.

For more information, see:

October 06, 2011

Up close and personal with the Cardinal

From espnW:

This season, espnW will spend time with the Stanford Cardinal and their Hall of Fame head coach, getting behind-the-scenes access to the players. Come to espnW every Friday throughout the season to get to know the Cardinal and how they live their lives off and on the court, from the start of practice to the last game of the season in March and, perhaps, into April.

Michelle Smith begins the series with a story of how Tara will need to remake the Cardinal identity and carve out something new with her young team in the upcoming season. Read more...