January 31, 2013

Next up: On the road to Oregon

The Cardinal travels to Oregon this week for games against:
  • The University of Oregon in Eugene on Friday night at 6:00.
  • Oregon State in Corvallis on Sunday afternoon at 2:00
Both games will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks (with Ros Gold-Onwude as the analyst for the Oregon game and perhaps for the Oregon State game) and broadcast by KZSU.

How many Beavers does it take to stop Chiney?

For fans that are travelling to Oregon: A reminder to meet for dinner before the Oregon game at the Bridge Bar & Grill at about 4:00, and to meet for brunch and a chat before the Oregon State game at the home of Ed & Mary Jennings between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

  Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks are having a very difficult season.

They lost four of last seasons's top five top players – Amanda Johnson, Nia Jackson and Jasmin Holliday graduated; junior forward Deanna Weaver, who injured her foot last March and had not played yet this season, left the team last week. Between them, they accounted for 55% of the Ducks' points and 45% of their rebounds last season.

Then early this season, senior guard Laura Stanilus and sophomore forward Lexi Petersen, both starters, suffered season-ending knee injuries.

That leaves fourth-year head coach Paul Westhead with just three bench players who average more than six minutes per game. He's not having much success with his trademark up-tempo style of play.

The Ducks' main problem is that they put up a lot of shots, but they don't make many. They take more shots than any other Pac-12 team, but have the poorest field goal percentage. On average, the Ducks score 13 fewer points than their opponents.

They also turn the ball over more than any other Pac-12 team – about 21 times per game, which is seven more than their opponents.

Fortunately, they lead the Pac-12 in rebounding, but just barely – they snag only two more per game than their opponents.

The probable starters for Oregon are:

  • #14, 6'3" freshman forward Jillian Alleyne has been a bright spot for the Ducks. She gets down the floor faster than most post players and leads the team in scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking. She scores almost 25% of the Ducks' points – 14.0 per game at a rate of 44.8%. She accounts for almost 30% of the Ducks' rebounds and leads the Pac-12 in both total rebounds (12.9, which is third-best in the nation) and offensive rebounds (4.8). She's posted seven double-doubles this season. She'll be of even more value to her team when she learns to control her play. She's played only about 30 minutes per game – limited, at least partly, by foul trouble . She averages three fouls per game and has fouled out three times.

  • #22, 5'9" junior guard Ariel Thomas runs the point for the Ducks. She averages about five assists per game and turns the ball over a bit less, for an assist/turnover ratio of 1.16. She averages 10.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

  • #15, 6'1" sophomore forward Liz Brenner is a multi-sport standout who joined the team in December after the volleyball season ended, as she also did last season. She averages 8.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

  • #2, 6'2" junior forward Danielle Love averages 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

  • #5, 5'9" sophomore guard Jordan Loera averages 6.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

The three reserves who get significant playing time are:

  • #21, 5'7" sophomore guard Amanda Delgado is the Ducks' most productive 3-point shooter (makes 2.7 per game) and second-best scorer. (10.7 ppg)

  • #4, 5'8" freshman guard Devyn Galland averages 6.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

  • #40, 6'4" sophomore center Megan Carpenter started every game for the Ducks before Liz Brenner joined the team. She averages 4.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Oregon's win-loss record (3-17 overall, 1-7 conference) places them last in the Pac-12, their RPI (274) places them last, and their strength of schedule rank (107) places them ninth.

Here are Oregon's 2012-13 statistics and roster.

  Oregon State Beavers

It's been a difficult year for the Oregon State Beavers too.

After two good seasons under head coach Scott Rueck, 2012-13 held the promise of even more improvement. The Beavers were returning four starters from the team that went 20-13 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT, and they had added a highly-regarded freshman class.

The promise faded before the season started when senior guard and team leader Sage Indendi suffered a season-ending ankle injury and senior center Thais Pinto suffered a knee injury that has kept her off the court, with no timetable set for her return.

The Beavers struggled in non-conference play, but have steadily improved since the beginning of the season. They're doing better than their win-loss record indicates. Four of their five conference losses have been by very narrow margins — one point vs USC (56-55), four points vs UCLA (68-64), and in overtime by four points to Washington (81-77) and three points to WSU (76-73). Their top five scorers are averaging 20.5 more points per game in conference play than they did in non-conference play.

The Beavers are a balanced and slow-paced team that sometimes struggles to score. They average the second-fewest points in the Pac-12 and have just one player who scores in double digits. They're hurt by having a high turnover rate – four more than their opponents.

The Beavers' strength is their defense. Six of the players in the regular rotation are good rebounders, averaging from 4.3 to 6.5 rebounds per game. The team leads the Pac-12 in shot-blocking with just over six per game. They hold their opponents to just 33.5% shooting — the second-best in the Pac-12 and 11th in the nation.

The probable starters for Oregon State are:

  • #15, 5' 10" freshman guard Jamie Weisner leads the Beavers in scoring with 12.5 points per game. Her scoring has improved from 10.4 ppg in non-conference games to 15.5 in conference games. She's the most productive 3-point shooter – she takes 40% of her shots from beyond the arc and makes 1.5 of them per game. She's the second-best rebounder with 5.7 per game. Unfortunately she has the most turnovers – almost three per game.

  • #14, 5'11" sophomore guard Ali Gibson tallies 9.1 points, 2.1 steals, 2.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.

  • #24, 6'0" junior guard Alyssa Martin tallies 8.8 points, 2.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

  • #23, 6'2" senior forward ShaKiana Edwards-Teasley averages 1.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

  • #32, 6'3" freshman forward Deven Hunter leads the Beavers in rebounding with 6.5 per game and scores 5.0 points per game.
Oregon State uses an eight- or nine-player rotation. The reserves who get significant playing time are:

  • #20, 6'4" senior forward/center Patricia Bright leads the Beavers in blocked shots. She averages just a bit less than two per game, which is second-best in the Pac-12. She also averages 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

  • #40, 6'6" freshman center Ruth Hamblin averages 5.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. She's the Beavers' most efficient scorer, making 56% of her shots. She commits the fewest turnovers and stays out of foul trouble — just one per game.

  • #30, 5'6" senior guard Mollee Schwegler averages 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game.

  • #5, 6'3" freshman forward Samantha Siegner averages 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Her scoring has improved from 1.8 ppg in non-conference games to 7.5 in conference games.

Oregon State's win-loss record (9-11 overall, 3-5 conference) places them 9th in the Pac-12, their RPI (200) places them 11th, and their strength of schedule rank (134) places them 10th.

Here are Oregon State's 2012-13 statistics and roster.

January 30, 2013

Celebrate LSJUMB's 50th Anniversary

Hey Cardinal fans!

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. The official celebration will not be until the Fall but in the meantime, please join me in celebrating this unique, energetic and creative group of young musicians by decorating and wearing your own white hat with a red band.

Let's start wearing them to games as a way to show our appreciation for the great job they do.

Nancy Sabbag

January 29, 2013

Honors for Chiney

Chiney was honored twice this week in recognition of her outstanding performances against Utah and Colorado:
  • She was selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as its Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week

  • She was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week again for the fourth time this season and the seventh time in her career.

Chiney posted her 14th and 15th double-doubles in those games and now ranks third in the nation in that category. She is also ranked sixth in points per game (22.0) and seventh in rebounds per game (12.0) and field-goal percentage (58.6).

Read more about Chiney's accomplishments in this Stanford Athletics article.

Chiney's accomplishments, both at Stanford and with USA Basketball, were recognized by FIBA last week:

"If the third-year NCAA women’s star keeps up the good work, she’ll have every chance of making the USA squad at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey."

Click here for the article.

January 28, 2013

Little things add up for Ruef, James

Michelle Smith (espnW) writes:

In Stanford's locker room, Sara James and Mikaela Ruef already had time to shower and change into their street clothes. Neither player will find herself being summoned into a postgame news conference anytime soon, but quotes aren't what VanDerveer seeks from them right now.

Instead, Stanford's coach wants their energy, their grit, their physicality, a few points and, when it's absolutely necessary, a big play or two.


January 27, 2013

Cardinal corrals the Buffaloes

Welcome back, Cardinal!

Our team played with speed and determination and aggression tonight — quick moves, crisp passes, tough defense, confident shooting. It took every bit of that effort to down the ambitious Buffs.

The Cardinal looked to have the game well under control until six minutes into the second half, at which point they led by 21. Then the Buffs stepped up the aggression and went on a 16-2 run.

With eight minutes left to play and their lead down to seven, the Cardinal regained control with a 7-point burst — a jumper by Jos, a three-pointer by Toni as the shot clock expired, and a rebound and put-back of Toni's missed free throw by Chiney.

The Buffs kept up their pressure, but the Cardinal held strong to a 69-56 victory.

The Cardinal's strong defense held the Buffs to 36% shooting and forced 18 turnovers, off which the Cardinal scored 21 points.

The Cardinal plan is still, "get the ball in to Chiney when possible," and she led her team as usual with 20 points and 12 rebounds (her 15th double-double) and an assist and three blocks. Her free-throw shooting is not as dependable as it had been for most of the season. She missed five of nine tonight. To give her full credit, two of the misses came after a very hard foul by Chucky Jeffery that had Chiney hobbling around on a badly tweaked ankle for a few moments.

But other players were taking their shots tonight, most notably Toni, who made six of eleven attempts, including three of four from beyond the arc. Toni also had the team-high five assists and stole the ball twice. It was great to see her play with the energy and confidence she showed so often last season. Her dependable excellent perimeter defense was a major factor in holding the Buff's second-best scorer, freshman forward, Arielle Roberson, to zero field goals.

Jos did everything for her team tonight, She scored inside and outside (but not way outside — no 3-pointers tonight) and made all her free throws for a total of 16 points and had five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal. She and Mikaela performed their "Tinkle to Ruef to Tinkle with just a few seconds on the clock" inbound play twice tonight, to the great delight of the 3904 fans in attendance.

Mikaela didn't tally much in the box score tonight (two points, four rebounds and an assist (that should be two assists on those inbound plays)), but her so-tough defense inside for 21 minutes was a great contribution to the Cardinal victory.

Amber drove to the basket by various routes through or around the Buff defense and scored ten points. She also tallied four steals, three assists and two rebounds.

The lid came off the basket for Bonnie tonight as she made two of her five quick 3-point attempts. She was also a strong defender during her eight minutes on the court.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (Stanford Photo),

And a few photos from the above galleries:

Toni calls the "and one" after sinking her 3-pointer
Mikaela grabs a rebound
Jos drives to the basket
Chiney looks for her shot
Bonnie launches a three
Amber's not letting go of this one
Jos & Toni on defense against Chucky Jeffery
All's well ...

January 26, 2013

Cardinal out-hustles the Utes

Tara called on the "Chinettes", Chiney's teammates, to step up and carry more of the load. They did a pretty good job of that tonight and earned a nice 65-44 win over the Utes.

The Utes were badly hurt ten minutes into the game when one of their star players, junior forward Taryn Wicijowski, went down with a knee injury.

The Utes were behind 16-5 at that point and never caught up. The Cardinal defense kept a tight rein on their star outside shooter, senior guard Iwalani Rodrigues, and held her to four points on 15% shooting. Junior forward Michelle Plouffe did her best to carry her team with a game-high 24 points, but she couldn't do it by herself.

The Cardinal didn't shoot well tonight. Their three-point game isn't back yet — they hit just three of eleven from beyond the arc (two by Jos and one by Sara). And they made just 40.3% of their field goal attempts and 70.6 % of their free throws.

But the Cardinal defense hustled and held the Utes to 25% shooting, so the Cardinal offense was good enough — tonight.

Jos put on a hustle clinic in the first two minutes of the game. She grabbed Sara's missed shot and put it back, grabbed Toni's missed shot and put it back, stole the ball from Taryn Wicijowski, and sank a three-pointer on an assist from Chiney: Stanford 7, Utah 0.

She finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, a block and a steal.

Chiney was not to be denied. She tallied 23 points and 13 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. She also had two assists and two blocks.

In other Pac-12 action tonight, Cal recovered from a 16-point deficit in the first half and won over Colorado by just three points.

The Cardinal's stepping-up and load-carrying needs to improve on Sunday.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Dave Cortesi:

Chiney shoots
Toni beats everyone to the basket
Sara gets some air
Amber steals the ball
Too late, Plouffe!

January 25, 2013

Expectations of Utah & Colorado games

Tara spoke to Several members of the press yesterday about the upcoming games against Utah and Colorado. Here is their take on what she had to say:
  • Seeking support for Ogwumike's excellence by Tom FitzGerald (San Francisco Chronicle) "We're living a lot on what Chiney does, and we need some people to carry more of a load," VanDerveer said. "We think we have capable players that are spectating." ...

  • Stanford women ready for conference newcomers by Andy Drukarev (Cardinal Sports Report) "I really think the blueprint of our team is Sara James, how well she's done and how well she's contributing. So for other people it's if she can do it, you can do it, that's been our message. We have to make more happen." ...

  • VanDerveer's State of the Cardinal by Mark Soltau (Stanford Athletics) "In some ways, our start hurt us in that we did find ways to win," said VanDerveer, "We're excited that we were able to do that, but I think it added a little bit of complacency to people. We as coaches knew we had a lot of work to do, and sometimes people listen more when they lose than when they win." ...

  • Stanford women's basketball needs more than just Chiney by Rick Eymer (Palo Alto Online) "Both teams are really good," VanDerveer said. "They're different in that Colorado is maybe more athletic, quicker, whereas Utah is bigger. Both teams are very physical." ...

And here's a report from Utah about head coach Anthony Levrets' expectations of his team: Utah looks to finally beat the Cardinal by Michael Smith (Daily Utah Chronicle)

And a story about what motivates the Colorado Buffs: Colorado returns to prominence by Kate Fagan (espnW)

January 24, 2013

Next up: Utes and Buffs visit Maples

The Pac-12 devised an unusual schedule this season. Stanford plays its second round against the Rocky Mountain teams at Maples this weekend, but hasn't yet played the Arizona, Oregon or Washington teams.

The game vs Utah is on Friday night at 7:00. It will be live-streamed by the Pac-12 Networks and broadcast by KZSU.

The game vs Colorado is on Sunday afternoon at 4:00. It will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks and broadcast by KZSU.

The Cardinal can expect two tough games, although one of the opponents is tied for second place in the Pac-12, and the other is tied for tenth. As Tara said after the USC game, “It has never been easy. We get teams’ absolute A games.”

  Utah Utes

Sara led the way in Salt Lake City
Conference play started badly for the Utes. They lost to Cal and Stanford, twice to Colorado, then to Arizona before pulling out a 20-point win over Arizona State last week.

The Utes are now tied for tenth place in the Pac-12, but Tara doesn't under-estimate them "They're 1-5, but they're an unbelievably great 1-5 team," she said.

The Utes are led on both offense and defense by junior forwards Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski. They rank fifth and sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring (Plouffe 16.1 ppg, Wicijowski 15.6 ppg) and tenth and eleventh in rebounding (Plouffe 7.3 rpg, Wicijowski 7.2 rpg). Wicijowski makes 53.8 of her field goal attempts, good for 26th in the country and third in the Pac-12.

Senior guard Iwalani Rodrigues, still recovering from last season's shoulder injury, has increased her productivity since the conference season began. She's making 34.5% of her 3-point attempts and scoring 12 points per game.

The Utes know how to take care of the ball. They average just 13.4 turnovers per game — ninth in the country and second in the Pac-12. Their assist/turnover ratio is also second-best in the Pac-12.

In anticipation of the trip to the Bay Area, head coach Anthony Levrets said, "We feel like if we play well on any given night that we are going to have a chance to win. That's what our kids believe and had believed for a long time. It's good to get a win to get that feeling back. We're going to go out there and compete as hard as we can and see what happens."

Utah's win-loss record (10-7 overall, 1-5 conference) places them tied for 10th in the Pac-12, their RPI (118) places them 9th, and their strength of schedule rank (82) places them 7th.

Here are Utah's 2012-13 statistics and roster

  Colorado Buffs

Cardinal denied Chucky in Boulder
The Buffs are riding a four-game win streak into Maples. They won over Utah twice, then Arizona State, the blew out Arizona 79-36 last week. Senior guard Chucky Jeffery made history in that game, becoming the first player in team history with 1,400 points, 800 rebounds and 400 assists.

Jeffery and freshman forward Arielle Roberson continue to lead the Buffs in scoring and rebounding.

Jeffery continues the improvement in her ball-handling. Her assist/turnover ratio is now 1.48, second-best in the Pac-12.

The Buffs defense succeeds in denying their opponents. They allow the fewest points (52.4) and rebounds (31.6) in the Pac-12.

The Buffs have worked their way up in the national polls. They're currently No. 20/23, their highest ranking of the season.

Colorado's win-loss record (15-2 overall, 4-2 conference) places them in a 4-way tie for 2nd in the Pac-12, their RPI (29) places them 4th, and their strength of schedule rank (56) places them 6th.

Here are Colorado's 2012-13 statistics and roster.

January 22, 2013

Chiney among Wooden Midseason Top 20

The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced today that Chiney is among the players named to the John R. Wooden Award's Midseason Top 20 list.

Chiney was named to the Wooden Award final ballot last season and is well on her way to achieving that again. She ranks fourth in the nation in double-doubles and seventh in scoring, rebounds and field goal percentage.

There's more information in these announcements:

Chiney is discovering herself

In her espnW blog, Chiney writes about discovering who she wants to be. Read here ...

January 20, 2013

Cardinal trumps the Trojans

It was a game of spurts. The Cardinal and the Trojans played even for the first ten minutes. Then Amber sank a three-pointer that sparked a Cardinal run to a 13-point lead at the end of the half.

The Cardinal stayed in control after the break and increased its lead to a comfortable 19 points with 13 minutes left to play. At that point, the Cardinal's tight defense had held the Trojans' top scorers, Cassie Harberts and Ariya Crook, to five and four points respectively.

Then the Trojans shifted to overdrive. They slowed the Cardinal way-y-y down with a three-to-four player full-court press. Harberts and Crook each scored about 15 more points, and the lead dwindled to five points with two minutes left to play.

Tara called a time out. The Cardinal came back with the last spurt and won 75-66.

The game ball has to go to Chiney, who tallied a huge double-double (29 points and 16 rebounds). 13 of those points and seven of the rebounds came in the last 13 minutes during which the Trojans almost took the game away.

This was Chiney's 13th and biggest double-double of the season. Only four other Division I players in the nation have more.

My second game ball goes to Sara, who started again. She didn't lead in any statistical category, but she played with the hustle and sense of urgency that the Cardinal needs so badly.

Sara scored on two of the most entertaining plays of the game. The first: Chiney stole the ball in the Trojan paint and took off on a breakaway, accompanied by Trojan defenders; nearing the basket, she flipped it to Sara, who was ahead and waiting. A minute later, Amber soared high above the taller players, snatched a rebound, and passed it to Sara, who took it the length of the court for a layup.

Sara took five shots from beyond the arc without hesitation (she releases the ball almost as quickly as Bonnie). Although she mode only one of them, three of the misses were rebounded by the Cardinal, so no loss. Six more points came from layups as she flew to or past the basket. In all, she tallied 13 points and four rebounds.

Jos had a great game too. She scored 15 points and added four assists, seven rebounds and a block.

She made all three of her 3-point attempts, which she spaced judiciously throughout the game.

Amber often brought the ball down the court, but she was again primarily a shooting guard today.

She scored 13 points, including one 3-pointer, on 67% shooting. She also tallied three assists and three rebounds.

In other Pac-12 action today, Cal defeated UCLA in a close, very competitive game and Colorado outscored Arizona by 43 points. So Stanford and Cal share the top rung of the Pac-12 ladder, with Colorado, UCLA, Washington and USC one game behind.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

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

January 19, 2013

Inside the paint with Chiney

A light-hearted interview of Chiney from the Pac-12 Networks:

Cardinal bashes the Bruins

Tara called for people to step up, to be more aggressive. The Cardinal did just that tonight — big time! Stanford 75, UCLA 49.

The Cardinal's smothering defense held the Bruins (the top scoring team in the Pac-12) to 31% shooting and a season-low 49 points. They out-rebounded the Bruins (the top rebounding team in the Pac-21) 36-25, forced 19 turnovers and stole the ball nine times.

The Cardinal's offense combined lots of gutsy drives to the basket with a rejuvenated outside game. They made 53% of their field goal attempts, including six of seven three-pointers.

Sara begins the Cardinal scoring

Chiney led the way with 25 points and 13 rebounds (her twelfth double-double of the season), but she had lots of help from her teammates tonight.

Jos had some trouble getting up for jumpers in the paint, perhaps because she tweaked her ankle a few days ago, but she more than made up for that by finding her three-point shot — she hit four of four from beyond the arc. Three of them were in the last two minutes of the game, and the already ecstatic crowd went wild. She scored 16 points in all and had six rebounds.

Amber didn't spend much time dribbling the ball on the perimeter tonight. She drove to the basket instead and made 70% of her shots for a total of 15 points. She was an absolute pest on defense. She stole the ball five times.

Toni was on top of her game tonight — energetic and decisive. She was the "blew-by-you" Toni that we haven't often seen this season. She scored just six points, but also contributed six assists, four rebounds, a steal and relentless defense. She sank a three-pointer seven minutes into the game that gave the Cardinal a lead they never relinquished.

Sara started tonight, for just the second time in her career, and played with great energy and determination for most of the first half. She began the Cardinal scoring (after the Bruins had taken a four-point lead) with a drive to the basket and a layup that brought the crowd to its feet.

Mikaela made life tough for the Bruin Bigs tonight. She grabbed five rebounds, scrambled for loose balls, and blocked one shot. She contributed a field goal, a free throw and three crisp assists to the Cardinal offense.

And so the Cardinal begins another winning streak at Maples. At KZSU's postgame interview, Jos said, "We're not gonna let anyone else come in here and take what we want!"

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A game highlights video from Stanford Athletics,

A game highlights video from Pac-12 Networks,

A post game interview of Chiney from Pac-12 Networks,

A gallery of photos by Richard C. Ersted (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Dave Cortesi:

Sara scores again
Jos attacks the Bruin defense
Sara grabs a rebound
Jos works through difficulties
Chiney scores
Toni shoots through the D
Amber elevates to score
Mikaela secures a rebound