November 30, 2012

Davis & Gonzaga previews

Here are previews of the Cardinal's next game or two:

November 29, 2012

Jos has the answers

Jake Curtis says Jos is the answer for the Cardinal this season:
It's not exactly clear what the question was, but the answer is indisputably Joslyn Tinkle. The only senior on the roster of the Stanford women's basketball team, Tinkle has plugged up virtually all the holes the Cardinal seemed to have this season. Read more...
And she had the answers for Stanford Athletics when they asked her what it will be like to play against her sister, Elle, at Gonzaga on Sunday. Hopefully, the contest will not end with punching and screaming and yelling and crying as their childhood contests always did. Read more...

November 27, 2012

Next up: Aggies and Zags

The Cardinal play away next weekend:
  • At UC Davis on Friday evening. The game will be live-streamed by Big West TV and broadcast by KZSU. If you plan to go to the game, allow plenty of driving time. Google Maps says two hours on a Monday evening, but Hwy 80 from the Bay Area to Davis is often heavily congested on a Friday afternoon.

  • At Gonzaga on Sunday afternoon. The game will televised by SWX (a local sports & weather channel in the Spokane area), live-streamed by Zag Sports ($9.95 charge) and broadcast by KZSU.

  UC Davis Aggies

UC Davis's head coach Jennifer Gross is one of the top offensive coaches on the west coast, and her teams have given Stanford some challenging competition in recent years. The Aggies have advanced to the WNIT four times in their five years as a Division I program.

They may not be quite so challenging early in this season. They lost the nucleus of the team – four strong starters – to graduation and have six newcomers – five freshmen and a transfer from Iowa State who is not eligible to play this season.

They've been picked to finish seventh (of ten) in the Big West and are 2-2 for the season

The Aggies who will probably see the most action on Friday are:

  • #14, 5'10" sophomore forward Sydnee Fipps starts for the Aggies and is their leading scorer with 21.8 points per game. She's taken about 40% of her shots from beyond the arc and made 40% of them. She also averages 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.

  • #13, 5'11" senior guard Cortney French came off the bench last season, but is a starter this season and the Aggie's second-best scorer with 19.5 points per game. She's taken almost 3/4 of her shots from beyond the arc and made 47% of them. She grabs 4.0 rebounds per game.

  • #10, 5'10" senior guard Blair Shinoda plays the point and is the Aggies' only returning starter. The Aggies average about eleven assists per game, and Shinoda dishes out 3.5 of them. She also averages 2.75 steals and 4.8 points per game.

  • #24, 5'10" junior forward Brianna Salvatore comes off the bench for about 20 minutes per game. She is the Aggies' best rebounder with a modest average of 4.5 per game.

  • #23, 5'9" freshman guard Molly Greubel also comes off the bench for about 20 minutes per game. She averages 7.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.
Here are the Aggies' 2012-13 statistics and roster.

  Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Bulldogs no longer have Courtney Vandersloot, Kayla Standish or Kate Redmon, who led their team deep into the NCAA tournament in the past three years.

They have a lot of youth this season – 10 underclassmen, including six freshmen. But they still have head coach Kelly Graves, one of the best coaches in the mid-majors, who's been building Bulldog teams that compete with the best for 12 years. He says the team is one of the most talented he's had at Gonzaga.

The apparent drop in talent at Gonzaga prompted coaches to pick the Bulldogs to finish second (to BYU) in the West Coast Conference this season. It's a first for the Zags in five years to be picked anywhere but first, but it hasn't slowed them down. They've won five of their first six games, losing only to #6 Louisville in a tournament in Puerto Vallarta.

The Bulldogs are especially competitive at home in their 6000-seat "Kennel", which is sold out for Sunday's game.

These are the most productive Bulldogs:

  • #3, 5'8" junior guard Haiden Palmer leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 12.0 points per game and also averages 2.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals. She transferred to Gonzaga two years ago after her freshman year at Oregon State.

  • #24, 5'10" sophomore guard Keani Albanez comes off the bench to score the Bulldogs' second-most points (10.1 per game). She's taken exactly half her shots from beyond the arc and made exactly half of them.

  • #34, 5'9" junior guard Jazmine Redmon runs the Bulldogs' up-tempo offense. She dishes out 3.7 assists per game and has an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.89. She also scores 7.3 points per game.

  • #12, 5'8" senior guard Taelor Karr transferred to Gonzaga last season after two years at Kansas State and was immmediately eligible to play. She shares point guard duty with Redmon. She scores a bit more (7.7 points per game) and distributes the ball less (2.6 assists and 2.6 turnovers per game).

  • #44, 6'5" redshirt freshman center Shelby Cheslek contributes much-needed height and strength to the guard-oriented Bulldogs. She's their top rebounder (4.9 per game) and has blocked almost two shots per game.
Look also for #31, 6'2" freshman guard Elle Tinkle. She may not get much playing time, although she was the high scorer with 14 points in the Zags' prior game. She will be very excited to be playing with her big sister, Joslyn.

Michelle Smith (espnW) has much more to say about the Zags here: Gonzaga has a new look this season

Here are the Bulldogs' 2012-13 statistics and roster.

November 25, 2012

Cardinal out-shoots the 49ers

The Long Beach State 49ers are very good 3-point shooters, but Cardinal defense held them to two of 20 beyond the arc this afternoon, while the Cardinal sharpshooters sank ten of 24. The result: a 77-41 victory for the Cardinal.

My game ball goes to Amber, who set the tone this afternoon with her relentless drives to the basket, her spot-on assists and her dogged defense of 49ers star Alex Sanchez. Amber scored 13 points and was just one assist and three rebounds short of a triple-double. She turned the ball over only once — her assist-to turnover ratio for the season is now 3.1.

The 49ers used a zone defense most of the game in an attempt to deny access to the basket. They didn't slow Chiney down much — she scored her third consecutive double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds).

Her teammates took the opportunity to shoot from beyond the arc and made 42% of their attempts — three of five from Taylor, two of five from Jos and Bonnie, and one each from Jasmine, Sara and Amber. Jos was the top scorer with 18 points.

The Cardinal defense denied the 49ers their comfort zone beyond the arc and outrebounded them 43-32 on the inside.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Norbert Von Der Groben (Stanford Photo),

And these photos by Tony Avelar (Associated Press):

Jasmine goes for the loose ball
Chiney lays it up over 49er defense
Mikaela closes the lane
Jos drives to the basket
Chiney on her way up
Taylor shoots over the opposition
Jos looks to pass the ball
Cardinal cheering section

November 23, 2012

Life is a team sport

Cardinal fans know that the team reaches out to the community in various ways, but the media doesn't often report those activities. So, it was a pleasure to find a report of one in the San Carlos Patch:

Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer and her number-one ranked Cardinal team fired up the students at Ralston Middle School Wednesday with some awesome ball handling drills and advice on teamwork, respect and appreciation. Read more...

By the way, Ralston counselor Teresa Bergin, who invited the team to Ralston, is Clare Bodensteiner's mother.

These are a few of the photos that accompany the article:

November 22, 2012

Next Up: Long Beach State

After three games in three days in Hawai'i, the Cardinal have it a bit easier next weekend. They play just one game, at home, against the Long Beach State 49ers.

The game will be live-streamed by the Pac-12 Network and broadcast by KZSU.

Stanford and Long Beach State were frequent competitors in the pre-Tara era and have met occasionally since then. They last played each other 19 years ago. Stanford scored its most points ever and won that game and 122-49.

  Long Beach State 49ers

The 49ers play in the Big West conference, along with one of the Cardinal's recent competitors (Univerity of Hawai'i) and two upcoming ones (U.C. Davis and Pacific). They've been picked to finish fifth (of ten) in the conference this season.

Last season they became the first team in Big West history to knock off a No. 1 and No. 2 seed in conference tournament action, and they reached the championship game for the first time since 2001. They return eight letterwinners and four starters from that team.

The 49ers are led by sophomore guard Alex Sanchez, who was named to the Big West all-freshman team last season. This season, she's the 49ers top scorer (13.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.5 rpg). She also averages five assists per game with a good assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.3.

Sophomore guard Chantel Dooley is the 49ers second-best scorer with 9.5 ppg. She also averages 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

The 49ers have four players who frequently shoot from beyond the arc — Sanchez, Dooley, sophomore guard Lauren Spargo and sophomore forward Ella Clark. They average a total of 5.0 three-pointers per game at a rate of 35%.

The 49ers are 2-2 for the season. Their most recent game was a 71-62 victory over the University of Washington.

Here are the 49ers 2012-13 statistics and roster.

November 21, 2012

Revenge of the Nerds

By the Associated Press:
Tara VanDerveer's team ended Brittney Griner and the Lady Bears' 42-game winning streak. David Shaw and his players outsmarted No. 1 Oregon 17-14 in overtime Saturday to complete a dramatic double, and "Nerd Nation" -- as athletes across all sports on this quaint Silicon Valley campus call themselves -- enjoyed a giant I-told-you-so celebration.

November 20, 2012

Chiney is Pac-12 Player of the Week too

Chiney's outstanding performance in the Hawaii tournament last week earned her the Pac-12 Player of the Week award, as well as the National espnW Player of the Week award announced earlier.

This is Chiney's second consecutive Pac-12 Player of the Week award this season and the fifth of her career.


November 19, 2012

Chiney is espnW Player of the Week

espnW has started a new feature — the women's basketball national player of the week award. Mechelle Voepel reports that it wasn't very hard to pick the inaugural recipient. Read more...

The Cardinal got more national attention in Graham Hays' weekly wrap:

Stanford is the stock of the moment, and for good reason.

No Nneka Ogwumike? No problem. Behind another command performance from Chiney Ogwumike and the type of supporting efforts from players such as Taylor Greenfield and Mikaela Ruef that largely erase the question marks about Stanford before anyone has even brined their Thanksgiving turkey, the Cardinal made a case for New Orleans from Honolulu. By all means, buy Stanford for No. 2 or even No. 1.

And the icing on the cake: Stanford moved up to #1 in the AP women's basketball poll, just edging out UConn and dropping Baylor to #3. Read more...

Commentary by Clay Kallum (Full Court Press): So which is the better team, Stanford or Baylor?

Cardinal tethers the Skyhawks

Stanford defeated Tennessee-Martin 92-67 in a fast-paced, high-scoring game.

The Skyhawks' sharp-shooting duo, junior guards Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome, lived up to their reputations. They were slowed down just a bit by dogged Cardinal defense (particularly by Amber and Toni), but still scored a total of 37 points, a little below their season average of 43.

The two teams traded a slim lead for the first 12 minutes of the game. Then Stanford went on a 14-2 run and led by ten points at the end of the half. They returned from the break (possibly with some crisp advice from Tara) and increased their lead throughout the second half.

Tara used an eight-player rotation for most of the game, plus a few minutes from Sara, Erica and Tess. Three Cardinal had outstanding performances.

Chiney had her second double-double of the tournament and her third of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds. She also blocked a shot and stole the ball once, then took it to the basket on a fast break layup.

Jos also scored 25 points — a career high for her. She also had six rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal and made all six of her free throws. Jos is the best of "nice girls from Stanford". As she took an assist under the basket, a defending Skyhawk spun past her and fell at her feet. Jos glanced down, as if to be sure she was all right, before laying the ball up into the basket.

Amber was an exemplary leader on the floor tonight. She dished out ten assists with just two turnovers, giving her an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.55 for the season. She also scored 12 points for her first career double-double, stole the ball twice and blocked a shot.

As a team, the Cardinal shot the ball considerably better than yesterday (against Hawai'i). They made four of ten three-pointers (two by Bonnie, one each by Jos and Taylor) and made 56.9% of their field goal attempts. They were also very good at the free throw line. With the exception of a freshman who's not doing well there yet, they made 13 of 15 tonight — that's a very nice 87%.

The All-Tournament team, "as selected by the media," ("What media?" snickered some Cardinal fans) was announced after the game: Joslyn, Brittney Griner and Jordan Madden from Baylor, Jasmine Newsome from Tennessee-Martin and Kamilah Martin from Hawai'i. Stanford won the tournament with its three wins and no losses. Chiney was the MVP.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Dave Cortesi,

And photos by Marco Garcia (Associated Press):

Toni tries to stop a speeding Skyhawk
Chiney looks for the basket
Tara shows her approval of good play
Chiney & Jos celebrate their tournament awards
The team celebrates winning the tournament

November 18, 2012

Cardinal too much for the 'Bows

The Cardinal lost their sharp-shooting edge tonight, but not their energy or enthusiasm. It was enough to defeat the Rainbow Wahine 69-42.

The Cardinal made just 43% of their shots tonight, well below their prior season average of 55% and made only four of 15 three-point attempts. But they out-rebounded the Rainbows 38-28 and had just nine turnovers to their 13.

Jos led the Cardinal scoring with 16 points, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

Chiney didn't give an inch to tough Rainbow defense and tallied her second double-double of the season (15 points and 17 rebounds). Eight of the rebounds were O-boards, the credit for which goes to her teammates' just-off-the-mark shooting as well as to her prowess.

Everyone got some playing time tonight. Denia and Kirhan subbed in for the last two minutes and the other 11 active Cardinal got 11 minutes or more.

Tess played tough defense for 16 minutes. She grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.

Erica delighted her fans with fierce defense, a steal and two successful spirited drives to the basket during her 11 minutes on the court.

Sara sat out yesterday with ice on her knee, and it was a relief to see her on the court for 15 minutes tonight, during which she contributed four rebounds and a couple of free throws to the stats.

In other game tonight, Baylor defeated Tennessee-Martin 82-67.

These games drew little attention from the media. For the Stanford/Hawaii game, there's just:

November 17, 2012

The last 3 seconds revisited

From the AP game report: "... and with three players draped on her, the 6-foot-8 star's shot fell harmlessly off the rim ..."

From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser game report: "... but she [Griner] came up short on her baseline shot and no one cleanly got the rebound in time."

Not true!

03.0 seconds to go: Griner puts up her shot. Mikaela & Chiney are straight-up guarding Griner. Jos is holding off a couple of Lady Bears.

02.9 seconds to go: Griner's shot is on the way. Chiney is already turning towards the basket. Jos continues holding off possible Lady Bear rebounders.

01.6 seconds to go: Many reach for the rebound.

Chiney, her hands slightly above Griner's, grabs the rebound cleanly and in plenty of time.