February 29, 2012

Cardinal wraps up another perfect season at Maples

Tonight's 76-52 victory over Seattle U was the Cardinal's 79th consecutive home victory and closed out its fifth undefeated season at Maples.

It wasn't the prettiest game they've ever played, but that was largely due to some very good defense by Seattle U. In a refreshing change from last week's games, the Redhawks' defense was strong and effective, but controlled — they committed just 12 fouls.

On average, the Cardinal attempts 73 field goals per game. Tonight they launched just 55 as the Redhawks' tenacious zone defense took them deep into the shot clock all through the game.

Fortunately 16 of the attempts were from beyond the arc, and almost half of them went in. Bonnie made four of eight, Joslyn two of three and Lindy one of two. And the Cardinal tallied 13 more points at the free throw line at a rate of 100%.

Amber was excellent on both offense and defense. She had ten points, nine assists (and five turnovers), five rebounds, a steal and a block (!).

The Big Three had their usual good game. Nneka topped the stats with 19 points and 11 rebounds — she's now tied with Nicole Powell for third place on the Stanford career rebound list. Chiney was close behind with 18 points and eight rebounds — she now has 563 career rebounds and is on track to far exceed Nneka's freshman/sophomore total. Jos contributed 14 points and six rebounds.

On the injury front, as reported by Tara at the post-game meeting: Toni is kind of dinged up (she played just 15 minutes tonight); Taylor's strained hamstring is coming along well (she didn't play tonight, but would have if it were a tournament game); Sarah didn't play tonight, but will next week.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Casey Valentine (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Paul Sakuma (Associated Press):

Ready to go Nneka heads into her last game at Maples Chiney encounters a determined defender Nneka averts an attempted steal Chiney drives to the basket Cheers for the reserves Good job, sister! Congrats to the seniors

Toni keeps ticking

Joe Goddard (TheDoingsHinsdale) reports on Hinsdale Central's star alumna:

Hinsdale Central has produced a number of accomplished female athletes since Title IX gave them equal opportunity with boys, but no girl has been more gifted than the Class of 2010’s Toni Kokenis, who’s now starring in basketball at Stanford University.


February 28, 2012

Grace makes the most of a tough role.

By Michelle Smith (espnW):

The public address announcer called Mashore "one of the most popular players in the locker room" and praised her for her resilience and perseverance. She smiled and looked as if she were fighting her emotions as the crowd cheered her for four years of hard work, hustle and heart.

Mashore will leave Stanford with four conference titles, an unblemished record at Maples Pavilion and at least three trips to the Final Four.

But her experience will not be everything she wanted it to be, her view from the end of the bench not the one she would have chosen.


February 26, 2012

Seattle who?

Don't miss your last chance to see Nneka, Lindy, Grace and maybe Sarah (that's a hope, not a rumor) play at Maples:

Go to Kissick Auditorium after the game for a meeting with Seattle U's head coach Joan Bonvicini. She was formerly the head coach at the University of Arizona for many years.

  Seattle U Redhawks

Seattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic university located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Seattle U was in NCAA Division I, in the West Coast Conference (WCC), from 1971 to 1980, when financial difficulties caused them to cut back on athletic expenditures and drop down to Division III. They began an NCAA four-year reclassification period in 2009, with Joan Bonvicini heading the women's basketball program.

During the reclassification period, a university is not allowed to belong to a conference – it plays as an independent institution. Seattle U will join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) next season as a fully-qualified Division I institution. (They applied for membership back into the WCC, but that didn't work out.)

Coach Bonvicini has taken the team from a 6-24 record in 2009-10 to 8-22 last season and 17-9 so far this season. They stand in the upper half of the 342 Division I teams with an RPI of 143 and a schedule strength rank of 195.

The Seattle U starters are:

  • #11, 5'11" senior guard Talisa Rhea is in her first active season at Seattle after tranferring from Oregon State in 2010. She leads the offense for the Redhawks and takes very good care of the ball — 5.3 assists to 3.3 turnovers for a ratio of 1.6 (that would rank 4th in the Pac-12). She is also their leading scorer with 13.9 points per game and one of their two top three-point shooters with 1.8 per game.

  • #41, 6'2" sophomore forward Kacie Sowell is the Redhawks' best rebounder (9.6 rpg) and their second-best scorer, just a hair behind Rhea with 13.8 ppg. She's had double-doubles in half of the Redhawks games this season.

  • #14, 5'11" sophomore forward Ashley Ward is the Redhawks' third double-digit scorer with 10.9 points per game.

  • #5, 5'7"senior guard Elle Kerfoot averages 8.8 points per game. She takes 61% of her shots from beyond the arc and makes 37% of them for an average of 1.9 per game.

  • #1, 5'10" sophomore guard Sylvia Shepard averages 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Coming off the bench for 10-17 minutes a game are junior point guard Daidra Brown, junior forward Brenda Adhiambo, senior forward Maggie McCarthy and junior guard Amani Butler. They combine for about 17 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Here are Seattle U's 2011-12 statistics and their roster.

Nneka contender for top player

Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle) has written a lovely article all about Nneka:
The soft hands that act like magnets for the ball off the backboard. The soaring athleticism. The relentless jostling for inside position. The tough bank shots that No. 30 makes look so easy.

Nneka Ogwumike has a multitude of weapons.


And another about possible upcoming attractions:

With Nneka Ogwumike in the final weeks of her decorated Stanford career, sister Chiney will have to carry the family flag by herself the next two years. Then what?

Meet Olivia and Erica Ogwumike, the next (and final) two sisters in what could be the first family of women's basketball.


Peter Chen (Bleacher Report) considers whether 2012 will be the charm for Stanford Women's Basketball:

The Cardinal look to make it five Final Fours in a row beginning next month. They have the nation’s longest home court win streak as they steamrolled conference newcomers Colorado and Utah by 22 and 27 points, respectively, to extend their winning streak at Maples Pavilion to a gaudy 74 games.


February 25, 2012

Cardinal takes care of Utah on Senior Day

The Cardinal gave Tara her 700th Stanford victory on Senior Day with a 69-42 win over Utah.

Utah had a hard time today. Their senior point guard, Janita Badon, sprained her knee last week and did not play. Their three-point specialist, Iwalani Rodrigues, took over at the point, tried just one shot from beyond the arc and missed it.

Their star front court players got into foul trouble with their over-zealous defense of the Cardinal front court. Michelle Plouffe committed three fouls in the first ten minutes. Taryn Wicijowski committed her third foul five minutes into the second half and fouled out at the 3:33 mark. In spite of that, they each played about 35 minutes and scored most of Utah's points.

Chiney had the only double-double of the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds, half of them O-boards.

Nneka scored 15 points and had seven rebounds, five blocks, two steals and an uncharacteristic six turnovers. Two of her field goals were jumpers from jus-s-s-t inside the arc — she may yet hit a three-pointer in her college career. She's in fifth place on the Stanford career rebound list, just two behind Val Whiting.

Joslyn was a strong "third sister" again today with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Amber began the Cardinal scoring with a jumper off the tipoff. She added two more jumpers, two dribble-drives to the basket, and a couple of free throws for a total of 12 points. She also grabbed four rebounds, including three O-boards. Her defense was just as impressive. During her 28 minutes of play, she escorted the Utah point guard on every trip down the court. Her defense of Iwalani Rodrigues was a major factor in disrupting the Utah offense.

Grace delighted her teammates and the 5000 or so Cardinal fans by ending the Cardinal scoring with a three-pointer.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Don Feria for Stanford Photo,

And photos by Paul Sakuma (Associated Press):

Go get 'em, sister! Chiney puts it up Nneka taps the ball away Jos is robbed Mêlée The bench celebrates Grace's three-pointer Amber, Tara and Amy share the joy Nneka gets a kiss from her mother, while Chiney looks on Nneka gets a hug from Tara, while her father looks on Love for the seniors from Sara and Bonnie

February 23, 2012

Cardinal survives Buffalo stampede

Wow! That was a wild game! The Buffs employ an uninhibited aggressive style of play that didn't serve them very well tonight. They committed 25 fouls, and the Cardinal cashed in with 27 free throws – nine by Nneka and eight apiece by Jos and Chiney.

The Buffs hung in with the Cardinal pretty well for most of the first half. There was tough defense, unproductive shooting and lots of turnovers on both sides. With 3:30 left in the first half, the Cardinal were ahead 21-18. Twelve of the Cardinal's 21 points were from free throws.

Then the Cardinal went on a 24-2 run that extended seven minutes into the second half. The margin stayed at about 20 points for the rest of the game to a final score of Stanford 68, Colorado 46.

The Buffs made just 32.7% of their field goal attempts – 8% below their season average. Their poor shooting was due partly to strong Cardinal defense and partly to the Buffs' often uncontrolled offense.

Nneka got her double-double: 23 points and 11 rebounds. She is now second on the Stanford career scoring list – 15 points past Kate Starbird. (There is virtually no chance of her overtaking Candice for first place. She would have to average 33 points a game all the way to the Final Four for that.)

Chiney had a great game on both offense and defense: 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Highlights of the Cardinal offense were two from beyond the arc by Lindy and one by Toni, two long-g-g-g jumpers by Nneka, and three successful drives to the basket by Amber.

There was little commendable ball-handling in this wild game – each team turned the ball over 19 times. Amber, Toni and Lindy combined for six assists and twelve turnovers.

After the game, the team celebrated their being the first-ever Pac-12 regular season champion.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

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

And photos by Paul Sakuma (Associated Press):

Count the basket ... and one! Toni goes up against Chucky Nneka gets stuffed Jos fights for possession Bonnie, Taylor & Nneka celebrate Sara's last-second rebound and layup Champions

Tinkle’s gamble paying off big-time

By Mark Soltau (Buck/Cardinal Clubhouse):
For Joslyn Tinkle and many stellar student-athletes who consider Stanford, the question is often the same: Stay home where it’s comfortable and success is almost a given, or expand your horizons, push yourself, and shoot for the moon?

Tinkle chose the latter.


February 21, 2012

Newbies at Maples

The Cardinal welcome the Pac-12 newcomers to Maples Pavilion this week:

  • Colorado on Thursday at 7:00. Watch the game on Stanford All-Access, listen on KZSU.

  • Utah on Saturday at 2:00. Watch the game on Stanford All-Access, listen on KZSU.

    The Utah game may be a milestone for Tara. If Stanford wins both games this week, the Utah game will be Tara's 700th victory at Stanford (and the 852nd of her career).

    Saturday is also Senior Day. Grace, Lindy, Nneka and Sarah will be honored after the game, first with the formal Stanford Athletics ceremony in Maples, then with an FBC "tent" in Dallmar Court.

  Colorado Buffs
Amber steals the ball from Chucky Jeffery
Colorado began the conference season with a heady 11-0 win streak (against weak opponents), and head coach Linda Lappe figured they could finish anywhere from 2nd to 12th in the conference. But she cautioned, "We can't take anyone lightly ... we're going to have to be ready to play every single night."

Unfortunately for the Buffs, they haven't been able to do that. They are 5-9 in the conference and stand in 10th place, with four games left to play. They will probably finish in the bottom third, which is not too surprising for a very young team (one senior, two juniors) in a new league.

The team is prone to turnovers. They are tied with Washington for worst in the conference with 17.4 per game. Their assist-to-turnover ratio is just 0.69 (#11 in the conference).

Their most glaring deficiency has been inconsistency on offense. They average 62.2 points per game (ninth in the conference).

Junior guard Chucky Jeffery leads the team in almost every statistical category — scoring (15.2), FG% (0.448), rebounds (7.0), steals (2.6), blocks (1.0), assists (4.0) and turnovers (4.8).

Freshman guard Lexy Kresl, sophomore guard Brittany Wilson, freshman forward Jen Reese and senior forward Julie Seabrook average between 9.2 and 7. 6 points per game.

Here are Colorado's 2011-12 statistics and their roster.

  Utah Utes
The Sisters gang up on Taryn Wicijowski
Michelle Smith (espnW) has written an interesting account of the Utes as they embark on their trip to the Bay Area. Read here...

I hope that Utah doesn't do too much better against Stanford the second time around. In their first meeting this season, the Utes hung with the Cardinal for the first 11 minutes and allowed just 62 points – the Cardinal's third-lowest score of the season.

The Utes have one of the best front courts in the conference in sophomore forwards Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski, who combine for 27.2 points and 16.7 rebounds per game.

In the front court, senior point guard Janita Badon and junior shooting guard Iwalani Rodrigues each contribute 10.5 points per game. Badon leads the conference with 5.7 assists per game and has the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66). Rodrigues is the third-best outside shooter in the conference (2.0 per game).

Utah would surely have made a stronger showing in their inaugural Pac-12 season had they not been limited by injuries. The above four players play, on average, 34 minutes per game.

Here are Utah's 2011-12 statistics and their roster.

February 20, 2012

Nneka hopes to end college basketball career in Denver

John Henderson (Denver) bases a nice article about Nneka on a tenuous link to Denver. Read here...

February 18, 2012

Cardinal dismisses the Ducks

The Cardinal came onto the Matt Arena Court blazing — layup by Nneka, 3-pointer from Toni, 3-pointer from Josyln, two free throws from Nneka, 3-pointer from Taylor — 13-1 with 37 minutes left to play. The game continued at a more temperate pace to a final score of Stanford 81, Oregon 46.

With this win, the Cardinal clinched the inaugural Pac-12 regular season title.

Joslyn led all scorers tonight with 19 points. She also tallied six rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.

Nneka had the only double-double — a small one, because she got in a bit of foul trouble and played only 23 minutes. 12 points, ten rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.

Chiney had 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Amber and Toni both took very good care of the ball. They each had five assists and one turnover. Amber also scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and had two steals. Toni had six points, two rebounds, two steals and a block.

Six Cardinal out-gunned the Ducks from beyond the arc — Bonnie and Taylor each had two three-pointers; Joslyn, Toni, Lindy and Sara each had one. The Ducks had four.

Also of interest: The Cardinal now has the longest home-court winning streak in the nation (76 games) — St. John's defeated UConn by one point tonight with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by Chris Pietsch (Associated Press):

Jos works her way in for two of her 19 points Nneka slides in for a layup Chiney drives to the basket Jos and Chiney on defense Jos, Chiney and Nneka gang up on Amanda Johnson Watching Jos sink free throws after Liz Brenner (15) was called for a deadball foul.