November 30, 2011

Cardinal harvest a win

The Cardinal started out slow and careless tonight against the Aggies, who are a very quick team with excellent passing and aggressive defense. It was neck and neck for about the first eight minutes. Then Sara sank a couple of threes, and the Cardinal settled down and overwhelmed the Aggies with their superior size and skill to a 93-44 victory.

Joslyn had a splendid game. She scored a career-high 19 points on 88% shooting! She also grabbed nine rebounds (two O-boards), had three assists with zero turnovers and stole the ball once. She played like the Third Sister with her strong offensive and defensive play in the paint.

The other two sisters were just as effective. Nneka scored 20 points on 70% shooting and six of seven free throws and had nine rebounds with five O-boards. Chiney scored 18 points (including four of six free throws), had nine rebounds with six O-boards, a block and a steal.

The Cardinal were hot beyond the arc tonight. They made 44% of their three-point attempts. Bonnie led the way with five (of eight). Sara had two and Taylor, Toni, Amber and Joslyn each had one.

The Aggies are noted for their thievery, but the Cardinal out-stole them seven to three — Bonnie had two and Taylor, Chiney, Toni, Sara and Joslyn each had one.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

A postgame interview of Sara James,

A gallery of photos by Rick Bale (Stanford Photo),

And more photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Bonnie launches one of her eight threes Nneka goes up for a shot Chiney rises above the opposition Toni steals the ball Jasmine drives Nneka grabs a rebound

November 29, 2011

Back home with the Aggies

The Cardinal have returned from two tough games on the road to play at home against the UC Davis Aggies on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.

If you can't be there to see them, you can watch the game on Stanford All-Access, listen to it on KZSU, or follow the action on GameTracker.

The Aggies are coming off their best season ever — they were the Big West champion last season and advanced to the NCAA for the first time (where they lost to Stanford in the first round).

Jos on defense at 2010-11 NCAA round 1

They began this season with a 5-0 run, then lost to Santa Clara 78-81 in their sixth game. However, they've had a fairly weak schedule so far. Their schedule strength is ranked 256 by Sagarin/CBS (incidentally, that's 3 points better than UConn's schedule strength at this time). They've been picked to finish third in the Big West, behind Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.

The Aggies have lost their three leading scorers and rebounders (Paige Mintun, Vicky Deely and Heidi Heintz), and they have a new coach — sort of. Sandy Simpson retired after 14 seasons as head coach. Taking over is Jennifer Gross, who was an assistant coach at UC Davis for four years and then associate head coach for the past three.

However, ten players returned from last season, including three senior starters — Samantha Meggison , Hana Asano and Kasey Reicks

UC Davis is a small team. All their starters are less than six feet tall. They do have a couple of taller players (6'2" senior post Lauren Juric and 6'3" sophomore post Kelsey Beard), but neither has played yet this season. I don't know why — there's no injury report on them.

The Aggies have made up for their lack of size with their defensive efforts. They've averaged 12.8 steals per game, nearly twice that of their opponents, and forced their opponents to an average of 21.2 turnovers a game,

The UC Davis starters are:

  • #32, 5'11" senior guard Samantha Meggison leads the Aggies in scoring (13.5), rebounding (4.7) and steals (3.0). She has scored in double digits in all six games this season.

  • #2, 5'6" seniot guatd Hana Asano is second to Meggison in points (10.0) and steals ( 2.8). She has the most assists (3.5) with a good assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5

  • #5, 5'7" junior guard Hannah Stephens averages 8.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

  • #10, 5'10" junior guard Blair Shinoda is the second-best rebounder (4.3) and averages 7.2 points per game.

  • #25, 5'11" senior forward Kasey Reicks averages 8.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
The Aggies' best 3-point specialist is 5'11" junior guard Cortney French, who comes off the bench. She has averaged just under three per game at a rate of 42.5%.

Here are the Aggies' 2011-12 statistics and roster.

November 28, 2011

Nneka is Pac-12 Player of the Week

Nneka earned her fifth conference Player of the Week award for her average of 28.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in the games against UConn and Xavier last week.

More information in the announcements from:

Stanford Athletics

November 25, 2011

Stanford perseveres to victory over Xavier

Stanford had an unexpectedly difficult game today, but eventually defeated Xavier 80-64.

The Cardinal used up several games worth of poor shooting karma today. It didn't look that way when Toni sank a 3-pointer on the first play of the game, but the next Cardinal 3-pointer came 32½ minutes later (from Taylor) with 12 misses in between. Their final 3-point tally was a miserable 16.7% (3 of 18).

In spite of their poor shooting, the Cardinal never lost focus nor let up on defense. They had five steals, forced 20 turnovers and out-rebounded the Musketeers 43-26 (with 21-7 O-boards).

Stanford and Xavier traded the lead with all through the first half, and Stanford didn't gain its first double-digit lead until six minutes into the second half.

Xavier's aggressive defense made it difficult to get the ball inside, but there's no stopping Nneka. She scored a season-high 34 points on 61% shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds (six of them O-boards).

Chiney was right in there with her. She had 18 points and eight rebounds (seven of them O-boards!) and made four of her five free throws.

Toni played excellent offense and defense for 31 minutes. She had 14 points, two rebounds, four steals and six assists with just two turnovers.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by David Kohl (AP Photo)

Nneka puts up a shot Joslyn looks to shoot Chiney looks for her shot Amber scrambles for the ball

Family shares Thanksgiving on the road

Michelle Smith (espnW) takes us to Thanksgiving dinner with the team at Mikaela's home. Read here...

November 22, 2011

Onward to Xavier

The Cardinal have moved on to Ohio where they will have Thanksgiving dinner at Michaela's home in Beavercreek. Then they'll continue on to Cincinnati to play Xavier on Friday.

There will be no telecast or webcast of this game, but it will be broadcast by KZSU. The game is at 10:00 in the morning Pacific Time. If you're working on Friday, try to take a long early lunch hour. If not, be sure to get home from your Black Friday shopping trip in time for the game.

Tyeasha Moss guards Jos at Maples last season

Xavier has led their conference (Atlantic 10) and been a strong NCAA contender for the past three seasons. They had perfect conference seasons, were the A10 runner-up in 2009 and the A10 champion in 2010 and 2011. In 2008-09, they were ranked 20/18 in the national polls and made their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Gonzaga in the first round. In 2009-10, they were ranked 5/5 and, as you may remember, lost to Stanford in the Elite Eight. Last season, they were again ranked 5/5 but lost in the second round.

But things are very different at Xavier this season. Head coach Kevin McGuff left to take the head coaching job at the University of Washington, and the staff is now headed by former assistant coach Amy Waugh. Four seniors graduated, including "twin towers" Ta’Shia Phillips and Amber Harris. Three-point specialist Katie Rutan transferred to Maryland.

Xavier returns just one starter, senior guard Tyeasha Moss. They have only ten active players. They have been picked to finish seventh in the A10.

Xavier's RPI, as calculated by Sagarin/CBS is 87 and their schedule strength is 14 — they've started the season with some tough games. They defeated Eastern Kentucky 66-61 in their home opener, then lost the next two on the road.They battled back from an 11-point deficit against Mississippi State to within two with less than a minute to go, but lost 65-71. Last Sunday they lost 44-62 to No. 9/10 Louisville.

The Musketeers' main weakness so far this season is ball-handling. They've averaged 16 turnovers a game. They don't shoot from beyond the arc very well — 16 of 67 attempts so far. They make about 33% of their field goal attempts. On the plus side, they rebound well, getting three more per game than their opponents.

The Xavier starters are:

  • #0, 5'9" senior guard Tyeasha Moss is Xavier's only returning starter. She is their leading scorer (13.0 ppg), second-best rebounder (7.0 rpg) and primary 3-point shooter (2.7 per game at a rate of 28.6%).
  • #10, 6'0" sophomore guard Lynette Holmes averages 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.
  • #3, 5'3" sophomore guard Shatyra Hawkes averages 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds
  • #12, 6'2" redshirt junior forward Jessica Pachko transferred to Xavier from Marquette last season and did not play. She averages 9.7 points and 6.3 rebounds.
  • #2, 6'1" redshirt junior forward Amber Gray transferred to Xavier from Tennessee, which wouldn't clear her to play basketball after she sat out her sophomore season as she recovered from brain surgery for a life-threatening stroke. Now in her second season at Xavier, she is their leading rebounder with 8.7 per game and averages 8.0 points
Only three other players have come off the bench so far this season, each for a bit more than 10 minutes per game: 6'2" senior center Sabrina Johnson, 6'3" freshman forward Liz Stratman and 5'10" sophomore guard Ashley Wanninger.

Here are Xavier's 2011-12 statistics and roster.


Quick Stanford-UConn postcript: Michelle Smith comments on valuable lessons to be learned from the game.

Stanford women’s basketball: Not ready for prime time: Tom FitzGerald writes about some disconcerting aspects to the Cardinal’s game.

UConn Huskies 68 Stanford Cardinal 58 — Quick Recap: Holly C. Tanneyhill (Swish Appeal) reviews the game in terms of what she had earlier said were the keys to victory.

UConn's No. 23 rises to occasion again: Graham Hays (espnW) pays a well-earned tribute to KML's performance last night

WBB: UConn 68 Stanford 58: Stanford Women's Basketball fans voice their opinions of the game in The CARDboard.

Tweets from:

  • Ros: Final Thoughts: it's early. More important who learns the most from this and improves the most come March.

  • Nneka: Thx 4 the support tweeps! We fought hard and will only learn from playing such a talented team

  • Chiney: The sun is up... Its a new day! True colors come out when you are tested! On to Ohio!

November 21, 2011

Cardinal out-played in Connecticut

The Huskies played the better game and delighted about 14,000 fans at the XL Center with their 68-58 victory over the Cardinal.

The Huskies' fierce defense controlled the game. They had nine blocks and twelve steals and caused 16 Cardinal turnovers.

They got the Cardinal into foul trouble — Nneka sat out about 14 minutes of the first half with two fouls. We can beat Texas without Nneka, but not UConn.

The Huskies' defense led to dazzling offense — especially by star freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored 25 points, and sophomore Bria Hartley, who added 19. Between them, they accounted for 65% of UConn's points.

Nneka led the Cardinal's offense with 22 points. Jasmine was our only effective 3-point shooter tonight — she made three of four. Sarah made four of her five field-goal attempts. Chiney played a strong, controlled game. She had 12 rebounds. Although she ended with four fouls, she didn't commit the first one until four minutes into the second half.

The Cardinal were behind by just six at half-time. With Nneka back in, they closed the gap in the second half. The score was tied for the ninth time with 13 minutes left to play. After that, the Huskies gradually pulled ahead as the Cardinal wilted under the relentless pressure.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by Jessica Hill (AP Photo):

Nneka goes up against Stefanie Dolson Tiffany Hayes drives past Amber Taylor guards Stefanie Dolson Jos and Chiney double-team Kiah Stokes Sarah, Toni and Chiney triple-team Bria Hartley A disappointed bench

November 20, 2011

Last round of pregame commentary

Here's the last round of speculations and commentary (no predictions) before UConn and Stanford tip off at the XL Center tonight.

This is why they came to Stanford by Michelle Smith (ESPNW.

Stanford freshmen ready for prime time when playing against Connecticut in women's basketball by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Stanford, UConn women resume classic rivalry by Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle)

Connecticut and Stanford renew their rivalry on Monday with a lot less on the line by The Associated Press)

Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli preview Stanford-UConn ... with Kara Lawson., first 10 minutes of ESPNW Podcast

Banking on Freshmen: UConn & Stanford in the Same Boat by Holly C. Tannyhill (Swish Appeal)

Big test: Stanford at UConn from the Republican American

In Stanford-UConn, Look For Freshmen To Make Noise by John Altavilla (Hartford Courant)

Stanford poses major test for UConn women by Rich Elliott (Stamford Advocate)

Auriemma will learn a lot about his team in tonight's game by Mike DiMauro (The Day)

UConn women's basketball preview glance -- Huskies vs. Stanford from The Hour

UCONN WOMEN: Stanford will be sizable challenge for Huskies by Jim Fuller (Register Citizen)

Next up: Stanford

The game against Stanford on Monday is drawing a lot of interest in Connecticut.

Blast from past next on agenda by Carl Adamec (Journal Inquirer) rightly dismisses last season's historic loss with UConn's talking points for 2011-12: "It's a different team. It's a new season."

Stanford brings toughest test yet for UConn by Matt Cerullo (The [UConn] Daily Campus) provides an inadequate analysis of UConn's toughest competitor. The only Stanford players the author mentions are the "dangerous Ogwumike sisters" and Toni.

10 Things To Make You Feel Good About UConn, by John Altavilla (Hartford Courant) gives his worried readers "10 reasons why UConn will, could, might beat Stanford Monday."

Something About Stanford For Breakfast, by John Altavilla (Hartford Courant) gives his readers plenty to worry about in this evaluation of the Cardinal.

For UConn Women And Stanford, The Season's First Real Test, by John Altavilla (Hartford Courant. In his third story of the day, Altavilla repeats some of his points about Stanford, but adds Tara's thoughts about the UConn/Stanford rivalry.

Stanford, UConn resume what may be top rivalry in women's game, by Rich Elliott (Greenwich Time) includes a brief report of each of the prior 12 games between UConn and Stanford.

Game Notes from Connecticut Women's Basketball

November 19, 2011

Going for two in a row

... against UConn on Monday night.

Is one win enough to be deemed a streak? Why not? A streak has to start sometime, and this one had the sweetest start you could wish for.

The Huskies have dominated the Big East for two decades, but have been predicted to finish second this season (after Notre Dame). They are currently ranked #4 in the national polls, just a bit ahead of Stanford.

They haven't been challenged yet this season. Their first two games, which they won handily, were against Holy Cross and Pacific, whose respective ranks by Sagarin/CBS are 191 and 290.

The Huskies have a short bench again this season — minus Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon plus three freshmen equals eleven. Geno says, "We're one injury or one misfortune away from being a very average team ... by UConn standards."

The Huskies' starters this season are:

  • #3, 5'10" senior guard Tiffany Hayes is UConn's only senior, and they will rely on her leadership this season. She started every game last season. She was UConn's second-best scorer with 14.7 ppg, made 1.3 3-pointers at a rate of 35% and 3.7 assists with a a good assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5.

  • #34, 5'11" junior guard Kelly Faris also started every game last season and played the most minutes (about 33 on average). She was second only to Maya in rebounds (6.7), steals (1.8), assists (3.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65). Although she's listed as a guard, she played as a somewhat height-challenged power forward.

  • #14, 5'7" sophomore guard Bria Hartley started all but four games last season as a freshman. She was UConn's best 3-point shooter (2.0 per game at a rate of 39%) and the third-best scorer (12.4 ppg). Her weakness was ball-handling — she made about three assists per game and almost as many turnovers. That should improve in her sophomore year — she's had eight assists and five turnovers in this season's two games.

  • #31, 6'5" sophomore center Stefanie Dolson started all but two games last season. She was UConn's fourth double-digit scorer (10.2 ppg) and their most accurate shooter (62%). She got 6.1 rebounds per game.

  • #5, 5'10" redshirt junior guard Caroline Doty is back in the starting lineup after missing last season with her third major knee injury. Teammate Stefanie Dolson says that Doty's return, "is going to mean everything to us. She's definitely that glue player that coaches always talk about. She brings everyone together, keeps them focused and on point with what we're doing on offense and defense. Her intensity on both ends of the floor is one of the highest on the team."
HoopGurlz ranked UConn's 2010-11 recruiting class second-best (to Tennessee) in the nation. The Husky pups are:

  • #23, 6'0" freshman forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was ranked the *1 overall recruit. She has drawn early comparisons to Maya Moore in more than her uniform number. Someday Geno may be saying, "We have Kaleena and you don't."

  • #41, 6'3" freshman center Kiah Stokeswas ranked the #5 post. She is said to be a great shot blocker and rebounder.

  • #13, 5'0" freshman guard Brianna Banks was ranked the #6 guard. She is especially noted for her quickness. She is tempted to say that, "[her opponents] might be surprised if I blow past them a couple of times.” Geno is pleased with her performance so far, but says that she, "is looking for the basket after she crosses midcourt. As we go on, she'll want to learn to pass it to somebody."
Here are the Huskies' 2011-12 statistics and their roster.

November 17, 2011

Monarchs no match for the Cardinal

ODU didn't come close to its hope of keeping the margin around 20 points — Stanford won 97-48.

The Lady Monarchs are a fast, aggressive and hard-playing team, but they were overwhelmed tonight by the Cardinal's skill, size, and energy. Stanford out-played ODU in the paint, with 52-34 rebounds and at the perimeter with 12-3 three-pointers.

Taylor started the 3-point barrage with two in the first minute, then Lindy sank her first one two minutes later. Lindy went on to make a career-high five 3-pointers for a career-best 15 points — all in the first half. Sara joined in with three of four, Toni and Jasmine each got one of two. In all, the Cardinal made 54.5% of their 3-point attempts.

There was good shooting inside the arc too. Nneka scored 14 points, Chiney 13, Joslyn 12 and Sarah 10.

There was fine guard play from Lindy and Jasmine (each had four assists and one turnover) and from Toni and Amber (each had three assists and one turnover). The final count was 23 assists with just 12 turnovers.

There was good news at the charity stripe too. It's been reported that Chiney has been working hard on her free throws, and it paid off tonight — she made five of six!

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos by Don Feria/,

And more photos by Paul Sakuma/AP Photo:

Toni directs traffic Sara gets tangled up on defense Chiney goes way up for a shot Nneka receives a hard pass Lindy enjoys the game The sisters enjoy the game