December 28, 2013

Cardinal breezes by the Bulldogs

The Cardinal finished the non-conference season in fine fashion with a fairly easy victory over Fresno State.

The Bulldogs made a strong effort and were ahead by one point seven minutes into the game, but couldn't keep up the pace and fell further and further behind to an eventual 86-54 win for the Cardinal.

Chiney fought against the Bulldog defense for 23 minutes for her eighth double-double of the season (20 points and 10 rebounds). She will most likely break the Stanford and Pac-12 career rebounding record at home in Maples next weekend — she needs only ten more to do that.

The Cardinal responded to the struggle on the inside with a great game from the outside tonight. They took almost half their shots from beyond the arc and made 41% of them.

Taylor (who started tonight) made four of nine 3-point attempts and scored a total of 18 points, matching her career-high. She also matched her career-high rebounds (six) and had two assists and a steal.

Amber sank three of five 3-pointers, scored 15 points, dished out six assists, had zero turnovers, and stole the ball three times.

Bonnie sank four of six 3-pointers and scored 14 points.

The twelfth 3-pointer came from an unlikely source — Mikaela! It was the fourth one of her career. She also had a career-high eight assists, seven rebounds, a block and a steal.

Briana played for seven minutes. She was fast and decisive on offense, fast and pesky on defense, and scored her first collegiate point on a free throw.

Neither Karlie nor Sara suited up tonight.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-Fresno postgame notes from Stanford Athletics

A gallery of photos by Cary Edmondson (USA TODAY Sports),

A gallery of photos from Fresno State Athletics,

And photos by Gary Kazanjian (Associated Press):

Mikaela drives to the basket
Lili puts up a shot
Chiney eagerly awaits a rebound
Bird commits grand theft
Amber seizes an opportunity
Bonnie & Mikaela box out
Briana on defense
Kailee and Bree Farley face off
"Good job, Taylor!"

December 26, 2013

Next: Non-conference finale in Fresno

The Cardinal takes the bus to Fresno for its last non-conference game of the season on Saturday evening at 6:00.

The Fresno State website reports that the game will be televised by the Mountain West Network, and the Mountain West Network provides this information about TV stations that cover the Mountain West. I haven't found the game in any of the listed Bay Area station schedules, but I think it will be streamed live to this page (the WBB game link is the third row, on the left).

The game will be streamed live by the Mountain West Network and broadcast by KZSU. You can find live stats here.

  Fresno State Bulldogs

The Cardinal and the Bulldogs are familiar opponents. This will be their 28th meeting since 1976.

The Bulldogs are a guard-oriented team that likes to play a fast up-tempo game, but it was their tough defense that disrupted the Cardinal last year at Maples.

Chiney's layup attempt foiled by Jacinta Vandenberg

After dominating the Western Athletic Conference for many seasons, the Bulldogs transferred to the Mountain West last season. They finished second in the conference and beat #1 San Diego State in the Mountain West Tourney. So they advanced to the NCAA playoffs, where they lost to Cal in the first round.

Although their top two scorers (Kiki Moore and Rosie Moult) have graduated, the Bulldogs expect that this season will be even more successful. They've been picked to win the Mountain West.

They've had a shaky start, however, and currently stand at #3 with a 6-4 record. Two of the losses were to Pac-12 teams USC and WSU. The worst lost was to the University of San Francisco Dons last week. Their RPI is 190, and their schedule strength is ranked 191.

The most productive Bulldogs are:

  • #33, 5'5" redshirt senior guard Taylor Thompson is the Bulldogs' floor general. She has a good assist/turnover ratio of 2.3 (4.5 assists and 1.9 turnovers per game). She also leads her team in scoring (12.1 ppg) and steals (2.7 spg) and gets 4.4 rebounds per game. She takes about half her shots from beyond the arc and makes 33% of them (1.5 per game).

  • #25, 5'10" redshirt sophomore guard Moriah Faulk usually comes off the bench for about 25 minutes per game. She's the second-best scorer (11.3 ppg), rebounder (6.0 rpg) and "assistant" (2.8 apg). She also takes about half her shots from beyond the arc, but makes 41% of them (2.1 per game).

  • #5, 5'10" senior guard Bree Farley averages 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game

  • #10, 6'1" junior forward Alex Sheedy averages 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

  • #15, 6'6" sophomore center Jacinta Vandenberg is the leading rebounder (6.1 rpg) and shot blocker (1.8 bpg). She scores 7.3 points per game.

Here are Fresno State's statistics and roster.

December 22, 2013

Chiney is National Player of the Week

Charlie Creme, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel are unanimous in their vote for Chiney as espnW's National Player of the Week.

Read Charlie Creme's enthusiastic endorsement here.

December 21, 2013

Cardinal defends home court

Tennessee got its toe in the door and scored the first four points. Then Stanford slammed it shut with a 13-0 run. They held on to the lead (with considerable difficulty at times) for the remaining 35 minutes and won 76-70.

The Lady Vols almost pulled it out at the end, as they are wont to do. They closed the gap to two points with 1:05 minutes to play, but the Cardinal held on with a layup and a free throw by Amber and, for good measure, two free throws by Mikaela!

The Lady Vols' talented frontcourt wasn't able to slow Chiney down at all — she had a monster double-double of 34 points and 20 rebounds (she needs just another 20 to break the Stanford record for career rebounds) and blocked three shots.

The Cardinal's strong perimeter defense kept the Lady Vols' speedy backcourt in check. The Lady Vols sank their first 3-pointer four minutes into the second half and made only four of their 15 attempts from beyond the arc. Credit for this is largely due to Lili who played for 35 minutes and Amber who played for 34.

Lili also made a huge contribution to the Cardinal offense — she sank three of her five 3-point shots and scored a career-high 14 points.

Amber drove to the basket repeatedly, connected when it really mattered (the aforementioned 1:03) and dished out five assists.

Taylor left no doubt that she's back in the game 100%. She played for 30 minutes and made three of her five 3-point shots.

Mikaela was beat up by fierce Lady Vol defenders in the paint, but never gave up (although she was a bit slower getting up from the floor toward the end of the game). She made six of her eight free throws — a welcome improvement over her prior sub-50%. She grabbed eight rebounds, made three assists and blocked a shot.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-Tennessee postgame notes from Stanford Athletics

An especially good slideshow with triumphant music by Deb Gumbley,

A gallery of photos by Karl Mondon (Bay Area News Group),

A gallery of photos by John Todd (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Tony Avelar (Associated Press):

Chiney shoots over Isabelle Harrison
Amber drives to the basket
Isabelle Harrison shoots over Chiney and Mikaela
Lili guards Meighan Simmons
Chiney and Bashaara Graves look for the rebound
Bashaara Graves gets past Mikaela
Kailee doesn't let a broken nose slow her down
Chiney congratulates Amber on her last-minute shot

December 18, 2013

Next: Lady Vols coming to Maples

The Lady Vols come to Maples on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 for the 31st episode of what may be the longest non-conference series ever in women's basketball.

The score: Lady Vols 22, Cardinal 8.

The Cardinal will try very hard to extend its winning streak to three.

  Tennessee Lady Vols

This is Holly Warlick's second season as head coach, and she's doing a fine job of continuing the Lady Vol tradition of excellence. The Lady Vols may not be quite the dominating presence they used to be, but they're getting awfully close.

They're picked to win the SEC and have both the talent and depth to be a strong contender to finish the season in Nashville .They're ranked 3/3 in the national polls, their RPI is 1, their schedule strength rank is 10, and their win-loss record is 10-0.

They've played just one ranked team (North Carolina 12/14), but five of their other opponents have received votes in the national polls

There are currently no superstars among the Lady Vols. It's a balanced team with ten players (the entire roster) who get an average of at least twelve minutes of playing time. Three of them average double-digit scores, they all average more than four points and two rebounds per game.

The Backcourt is very solid and athletic.

5'7" junior point guard Ariel Massengale, the Lady Vols' only true point guard, is starting at that position for the third season. She's a good ball handler who averages 6.4 assists with 2.6 turnovers per game, for an assist-turnover ratio of 2.5. She's also the Lady Vols' most dependable scorer. She makes 40% of all her shots — more than half of them from beyond the arc — for an average of 12.4 points per game. On defense, she contributes 1.6 steals and 2.9 rebounds per game.

5'9" senior guard Meighan Simmons is more patient and more into team play than in past seasons. She leads the Lady Vols in scoring (13.6 ppg), but is still a streaky shooter, especially from beyond the arc where she makes just 27% of her attempts. She sank eight 3-pointers in one game this season, but no more than two in each of the others. Her ball handling causes some eye-rolling moments — she turns the ball over more than any other Lady Vol (2.9 times per game).

5'9" redshirt freshman guard Andraya Carter is back on the court after season-ending shoulder surgery a year ago. She's very comfortable running the point (3.2 apg with 1.2 turnovers) and is also an effective scorer (5.6 ppg, .47 FG%). She's got hustle and an upbeat attitude and sees herself primarily as a defensive igniter.

5'11" freshman guard Jordan Reynolds is another promising young guard who can help out at the point. She contributes 4.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

The Frontcourt has the potential to be as deep and talented as some of the best post crews in Tennessee history.

6'3" junior center Isabelle Harrison battled injury issues her first two seasons that limited her playing time. "Having her healthy [this season] has done wonders for this team," Warlick said, "She is a natural leader who is good at motivating her teammates." She makes 56% of her shots and averages 11.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

6'2" junior forward Cierra Burdick is very dependable in the post and a grinder on defense. She averages 8.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

6'2" sophomore forward Bashaara Graves, who was SEC freshman of the year last season, is set to rival Glory Johnson for impact as a power forward. She makes 52% of her shots and averages 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

6'6' freshmen center Mercedes Russell, who is the highest ranked player to sign with Tennessee since Candace Parker in 2004, is already making her mark in the post. She makes 60% of her shots and averages 8.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and the team-high 1.4 blocks per game.

6'2" sophomore forward Jasmine Jones averages 5.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game

6'3" sophomore center Nia Moore averages 4.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Here are Tennessee's statistics and roster.

December 16, 2013

Cardinal quiets the Lobos

Updated December 17: Added game report from Albuquerque Journal and Chiney interview.

The Lobos had few opportunities to howl as the Cardinal overwhelmed them 75-41.

Chiney lost no time in joining sister Nneka, Jayne Appel, Nicole Powell and Val Whiting in the Stanford 2000-point/1000-rebound club.

She scored the requisite five points in 1:21 minutes, then continued scoring at will — 23 points in the first ten minutes, 32 at game-end.

To this, she added seven rebounds and four blocks.

It wasn't good basketball. Both teams played very fast and very sloppily, but the game was entertaining for Cardinal fans. A few random highlights:

  • Taylor made both of her three-point attempts and another lovely reverse layup.
  • Lili soared above outstretched arms and blocked a shot.
  • Amber stole the ball, streaked the length of the court and scored.
  • Mikaela fought hard against the persistent Lobos and grabbed ten rebounds and blocked three shots.
  • Bird did too for eight rebounds and two blocks.
Here are game reports and commentary: The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-New Mexico postgame notes from Stanford Athletics

A postgame interview of Chiney from Pac-12 Networks

A gallery of photos by Karen Ambrose Hickey (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Jeff Chiu (Associated Press):

Amber finishes a drive to the basket
Lili lays it up
Chiney celebrates an "and one"
Mikaela blocks a shot
Chiney on defense
Bird is surrounded by a pack of Lobos
Bird is determined to make this shot
Sara and Mikaela howl

Lobo women look forward to Stanford

Ken Sickenger (Albuquerque Journal) reports:
Surprising as it may seem, the University of New Mexico Lobos can’t wait for their women’s basketball matchup tonight against No. 6 Stanford.

Yes, the Lobos realize they’re facing a loaded Cardinal lineup paced by National Player of the Year candidate Chiney Ogwumike.

And no, the Lobos are not brazenly predicting a monumental upset.

The thing is, UNM coach Yvonne Sanchez and her players figure they’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain tonight at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.

Sickenger also notes that tonight’s game is the opener of a home-and-home contract. Stanford is scheduled to play at the Pit next season.


Read more about the Lobos in their Game Notes.

December 15, 2013

Tara honored for 900 wins

This was the scene at Maples yesterday when Tara was honored for being the fifth Division I women's basketball coach to win 900 games:

This is a video of the "Presentation of the Jersey" ceremony:

This was the scene in Puerto Vallarta on November 27th when Tara was awarded the game ball for the actual 900th win: