March 31, 2013

The splendid journey ends

The Cardinal wrapped up their amazing 2012-13 season at the Sweet 16, losing a close, hard-fought game to Georgia 59-61.

The ending is painful, but the journey was splendid. Being a Cardinal fan is always such a joy!

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference video with Tara, Jos and Chiney,

Stanford postgame quotes by Tara, Jos and Chiney

Georgia postgame quotes by Andy Landers, Jasmine James, Jasmine Hassell and Shacobia Barbee

A gallery of photos by Don Feria (Stanford Photo),

And, ending on a happy note, a few photos by Dave Cortesi:

March 30, 2013

Stories from Spokane

While waiting in the Portland airport for my flight to Spokane, I found these stories in the Spokesman Review:

March 29, 2013

Sweet 16 Eve

There's so much to look at on Sweet 16 Eve.


Here's a special treat — two nice stories about Mikaela:

Stanford's Mikaela Ruef faces scholarship realities by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Stanford's Mikaela Ruef's unique style wins over teammates by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)


If you read the Chronicle, you've already seen this story. It was published a couple of days ago, but wasn't available to non-subscribers until this morning.
Wayne Tinkle proud of daughter Joslyn by Ann Killion (San Francisco Chronicle)

Sweet 16 Predictions

The espnW 5 have picked their Sweet 16 winners. They're unanimous in predicting that Stanford and Cal will advance to the Elite 8, but there are a couple of dissenting picks in the other games. Click here for the article.

Charlie Creme (espnW) tells us five things to look for in the Sweet 16. He apparently doesn't expect anything especially interesting in the Stanford/Georgia game, but predicts that LSU will not be the No. 6 seed that pulls another upset. Click here for the article.

Georgia Lady Dogs

Preview of the Stanford/Georgia game from Georgia:
Lady Dogs face huge task vs. No. 1 Stanford from the Albany Herald

Photos of the Lady Dogs' practice session in Spokane by Elaine Thompson (Associated Press):

Jasmine Hassell leads a sprint
Jasmine James practices passing

Stanford Cardinal

Preview of the Stanford/Georgia game from Stanford:
Women's Basketball faces Georgia in Regional Semifinal by Tom Taylor (The Stanford Daily)

A gallery of photos of the Cardinal's trip to Spokane by Don Feria (Stanford Photo).

A gallery of photos of the Cardinal's practice session and press conference by Don Feria (Stanford Photo).

The Cardinal's trip to Spokane

The Cardinal's practice session & press conference

"Move it Like Miley"

"Move it Like Miley" Behind the Scenes

Photos of the Cardinal's practice session in Spokane by Elaine Thompson (Associated Press):

The Cardinal practice passing
Jos is ready to go
Chiney is really ready to go

March 28, 2013

The road to New Orleans continues in Spokane

This is how the teams that will play in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in Spokane match up statistically:

Stanford Georgia Cal LSU
Points per game 70.8 66.6 72.5 69.1
Scoring margin +19.1 +13.2 +14.4 +5.7
Field goal % 0.457 0.401 0.426 0.430
3-pointers per game 5.2 4.6 4.3 3.3
3-point % 0.320 0.280 0.307 0.292
Free throw % 0.719 0.678 0.616 0.708
Rebounds per game 42.3 40.9 44.6 38.9
Rebounding margin +7.6 +4.1 +11.6 +1.4
Assists per game 14.1 14.4 13.3 13.9
Turnovers per game 11.9 14.2 14.2 17.0
Assist/turnover ratio 1.18 1.02 0.94 0.82
Steals per game 5.9 11.1 8.8 9.1
Blocks per game 5.3 3.2 2.7 5.0
Win-loss record 32-2, 20-1 27-6, 12-4 30-3, 18-2 21-11, 10-6
RPI 3 19 9 34
Schedule strength rank 5 58 30 18

  Georgia Lady Bulldogs

The Lady Bulldogs earned an at-large bid to the tourney with their third-place finish in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) behind Kentucky and Tennessee. They advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over Big Sky champion Montana (70-50) in the first round and Iowa State (65-60) in the second round.

Georgia was challenged in both games. In the first round, Montana gave Georgia a real scare when it cut Georgia's lead to just two points five minutes into the second half. Then Georgia took control with a 21-6 run and coasted to victory.

In the second round, Georgia saw its 14-point lead evaporate under a furious rally from Iowa State in the final nine minutes of the game. Iowa took a one-point lead with three minutes left to play. Georgia held on and won the game in the last minute with a couple of layups and some free throws.

The Lady Bulldogs are coached by Andy Landers, who is in his 34th year at Georgia. This is their 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament; only Tennessee has more. They've advanced to the Sweet 16 twenty times, to the Final Four five times and to the Championship game once – in 1996 where they lost to Tennessee.

Stanford and Georgia have played each other occasionally, most recently four years ago in the Sweet 16 at Arco Arena. Do you remember that game? Two days later, Jeanette ran her renowned 4.4 second sprint against Xavier.

The Lady Bulldogs are led on the court by senior forward Jasmine Hassell (12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and senior guard Jasmine James (10.8 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.5 rpg). Freshman forward Shacobia Barbee has stepped up her game in the tournament. She had 13 points and 7 rebounds against Montana and the game-high 20 points and 5 rebounds against Iowa State.

Here are previews of the upcoming Stanford/Georgia game:

Here are Georgia's 2012-2013 statistics, roster and game notes.

  California Golden Bears

I expect you already know all about Cal, but here's just a bit of information about their trip to the Big Dance.

The Bears earned an at-large bid to the tourney by tying with Stanford for first place in the Pac-12. They won their first-round game against Fresno State 90-76 fairly easily. They had a comfortable 10-point lead with two minutes left to play against South Florida in the second round, then committed some careless fouls and missed seven free throws. South Florida's Inga Orekhova made three free throws in the last second to tie the game 70-70. The Bears regained their self-control in overtime and won 82-78.

This is Cal's 8th trip to the NCAA Tournament and the second time they've advanced to the Sweet 16.

Cal and LSU have played each other just once before – in 1981.

Here are stories about Cal's upcoming game against LSU:

Here are Cal's 2012-2013 statistics, roster and game notes.

  Louisiana State Lady Tigers

The Lady Tigers earned an at-large bid to the tourney with their sixth-place finish in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) behind Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. They advanced to the Sweet 16 with a close win over Green Bay (75-71) in the first round and a last-minute upset of #3 Penn State (71-66) in the second round (LSU took a one-point lead with 45 seconds left to play and won the game with four free throws.).

The Lady Tigers are coached by Nikki Caldwell, in her second season at LSU. LSU has been to the NCAA Tournament 22 times. They've advanced to the Sweet 16 twelve times (most recently in 2008) and to the Final Four five times.

The Lady Tigers are led by the play of junior forward Theresa Plaisance (17.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg) and senior guard Adrienne Webb (14.6 ppg,3.6 rpg).

The Lady Tigers had only eight active players coming into the Tournmanent. Then reserve junior guard Jeanne Kenney suffered a concussion in the first round game. She has traveled with the team to Spokane, but her status for the games there is not yet decided.

Here are stories about LSU's upcoming game against Cal

Here are LSU's 2012-2013 statistics, roster and game notes.

March 27, 2013

Catching up with the news

The Cardinal are busy preparing for the Regionals, but there's been a lot going on for them besides that.

Student Athletes

Five players were named honorable mention to the Pac-12 All-Academic Teams: Mikaela, Toni, Chiney, Erica and Bonnie.

They had grade point averages ranging from 3.20 to 3.47. No wonder the Cardinal does such a good job of studying its opponents and learning what to deny them!

Click here for more information.

Award Finalists

Tara has been was named one of eight finalists for the 2013 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year award.

Chiney has been named one of 12 finalists for the State Farm Wade Trophy,

Click here for more information.

Chiney's Travel Plans

A few days after Stanford's season ends, Chiney will pack her bags and head to her parents' native Nigeria to be an intern with the Minister of Petroleum.

Click here for the whole story.

Round 2: Cardinal cages the Wolverines

... with a superb team performance and advances to the Sweet Sixteen with a resounding 73-40 victory.

We've seen excellent defense from the Cardinal all season, but tonight was something special. The Cardinal emphatically denied the Wolverines what they like to do best – shoot from the perimeter.

A special shoutout goes to Sara. Her defense of sharpshooter Kate Thompson was so tight that the nation's second-best 3-point shooter scored a total of seven points – five free throws and one field goal late in the second half.

Villanova coach Harry Perretta gave Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico his insight on Stanford, "You can't beat them on the inside. I think you have to make at least ten 3-pointers to have a chance to beat them." It would have taken twice that many tonight — the Cardinal sank twelve from beyond the arc!

The Cardinal offense was spectacular. They made a sizzling 54% of their field goal attempts and 48% of their three-pointers.

Jos led the Cardinal's offensive onslaught with a fabulous farewell to Maples. She was perfect from beyond the arc with a career-high five 3-pointers. She scored the game-high total of 21 points. She also had three assists, six rebounds and two blocks.

Sara was effective on offense as well as on defense. She made three of five 3-pointers and added three assists.

Bonnie came off the bench midway through the first half and made back-to-back 3-pointers that increased the Cardinal lead to 20. With two minutes left in the game, she finished the Cardinal scoring with her third 3-pointer.

Amber led the Cardinal down the floor for the first 37 minutes of the game. She had six assists with just two turnovers and scored eleven points (including the twelfth 3-pointer).

The Wolverines were fairly successful in denying Chiney what she likes to do — score in the low post. They held her to twelve points, but they didn't stop her rebounding — she grabbed the game-high 15.

Mikaela seemed fully recovered from whatever was ailing her on Sunday. She played 24 minutes and tallied nine points, six rebounds and a block.

So, on to Spokane, where the Cardinal will play the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at 6:04 pm. Tickets for the Spokane Regional can only be purchased directly through the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Cardinal fans may request to sit in a Stanford block by using the promotional code STANFORD.  
Click here to buy tickets.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford postgame quotes from Tara, Jos and Mikaela,

Michigan postgame quotes from Kim Barnes Arico, Jenny Ryan and Rachel Sheffer,

The game highlights video,

The press conference video with Tara, Jos and Mikaela,

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

A gallery of photos by Nhat V.Meyer (Mercury News),

And a few more photos (see FBC Fan Pix later today for more photos):

Jos launches her first 3-pointer
Sara stays in touch with Kate Thompson
Chiney scores over the opposition
Nobody celebrates scoring like Mikaela
So happy!

March 25, 2013

Before the second round

From Stanford

Stanford rides Ogwumike as far as possible by Ann Killion (San Francisco Chronicle) - Added March 26

Tara, Chiney and Amber talk about the approaching game against Michigan

Stanford seeks to stop Michigan 3-point shooter by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Stanford tries to fill void with key defender out by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Cardinal and Wolverines are ready for NCAA contest by Palo Alto Online

Photos from press conference and practice

From Michigan

Michigan looks to pull off upset of No. 1 Stanford by the Associated Press

Putting the rankings aside, women's basketball prepares for Stanford by Glenn Miller, Jr. (Michigan Daily)

Michigan press conference

From a Neutral Site

Stanford faces opposite opponent by Michelle Smith (espnW)

About Tara

Tara VanDerveer to discuss extension by the Associated Press

March 24, 2013

Round1: Cardinal weathers the Hurricane

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane blew into Maples Pavilion on a five-game winning streak playing with such urgency and skill that, for 25 minutes, an upset seemed all too likely. Those 25 minutes began with three Cardinal turnovers in 45 seconds and ended with a tenuous 2-point Cardinal lead.

Then the Cardinal shifted into "One and Done" mode, went on a 16-3 run and finally got the game under control. Thy held on to their double-digit lead for the rest of the second half and won 72-56.

Chiney was heavily guarded throughout the game, but still managed to put up a shot every two minutes, on average, and make 72% of them for a total of 29 points. No double-double today — she had only eight rebounds (the most by a player on either team was nine).

Amber was seriously harassed by Tulsa's star player, 5'6" guard Taleya Mayberry on almost every trip down the floor for 38 mintues. She didn't have much success getting the ball inside and tallied only three assists. But she scored 14 points herself, including one three-pointer. She also tallied six rebounds, a block and a steal and turned the ball over only two times.

Taylor played a great 37 minutes today. She sparked the Cardinal with a three-pointer halfway through the first half that gave them their first lead. She scored a total of nine points and added two assists and three rebounds.

Jos was strong on offense and defense. She had nine points, two assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

Mikaela had some trouble defending the quick, little Tulsa players and got in foul trouble, so played for only ten minutes. She made good use of her limited time to grab eight rebounds.

Sara contributed two three-pointers and Bonnie contributed one to the Cardinal victory.

There was a good turnout for the Stanford/Tulsa game — I estimate about 5500. The attendance dwindled to less than a thousand for the second game between Michigan and Villanova.

The Wolverines and Wildcats were well matched in a low-scoring, strong defensive game. Michigan held a modest lead for most of the game (Villanova closed the margin to four with four minutes left to play), then pulled away at the end for a 62-50 victory. (Click here for the AP game report.)

So it's Stanford vs Michigan in the second round on Tuesday.

Here are reports of the Stanford/Tulsa game:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford postgame quotes from Tara, Taylor and Chiney.

Tulsa postgame quotes from coach Mossman, Taleya Mayberry and Tiffani Cuisnard.

Video Cardinal Land Tournament Edition: Episode 2 — game highlights, postgame press conference and snippets from the locker roon.

A gallery of great photos by Nhat V. Neyer (Mercury News),

A gallery of photos by Norbert von der Groeben (Stanford Photo),

And photos by Ben Margot (Associated Press):

Chiney fights against a triple-team
Chiney finds a clear path to the basket
Amber shoots through the defense
Jos on defense
Now what?
Sara & Taylor celebrate a good shot
Go Cardinal! Go!!

March 23, 2013

The day before the first round

The day before attending The Big Dance for the 26th straight time, the Cardinal met with the media and took to the court for a 90-minute workout.

Here are reports of those activities:

Elliott Almond (Mercury News) brings us up to date on the Fab Five Tinkles in Stanford's Joslyn Tinkle shares NCAA Tournament experience with father

Sara has the heart of a competitor

Mark Soltau (Stanford Athletics) has written a story about Sara's perservance and hard work, which are, "... a big reason the Cardinal enters the NCAA Tournament on a 17-game winning streak."

Click here for the story.

Here are some photographic highlights of Sara's season.

Sara leads the way with a steal and breakaway against the Utes on January 6

Sara scored her career-high 18 points in that game in Utah

Sara begins the Cardinal scoring against the Bruins on January 19 in her second career start

Sara finishes a breakaway against the Trojans on January 20

Sara lays up another one against the Trojans

Sara's layup from a different viewpoint

Sara is interviewed by Mary Murphy after the game against the Trojans

Sara starts against the Utes at home on January 25

Sara puts up a shot against the Wildcats on February 8

Sara lays it up and in against the Ducks on February 24

Sara launches one of her career-high five 3-pointers again the Cougars in the Pac-12 tourney

Sara is always an enthusiastic supporter of her team

March 22, 2013

Chiney is finalist for Naismith Trophy

The Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced today that Chiney is one of four finalists for the 2013 Naismith Trophy for Women's College Player of the Year, along with Elena Della Donne, Skylar Diggins and Brittney Griner.

Congratulations Chiney!

The winner will be announced at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) awards banquet on April 8 in New Orleans.

The announcement describes Chiney thus:

In 2010, the 6-3 standout won the Naismith Trophy as the high school girl’s player of the year. This season, led the fourth-ranked Cardinal to a 17-1 record in regular season conference play, a share of the Pac-12 regular season title, the Pac-12 tournament championship and became the first women’s player in Pac-12 history to be named both the conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. She currently ranks sixth in the NCAA in points per game (22.4), fourth in rebounds per game (13.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (57.4).

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 25 through April 6 fans can cast their vote by calling **VOTE (**8683).

Here is more information:

Chiney more than 'Nneka's litle sis'

Michelle Smith (espnW) has written a great story in praise of Chiney, who, "... is a star in her own right, bursting out of the shadow of her All-America sibling this season, making the previously unthinkable argument that perhaps someone not named Brittney Griner could be in the conversation for national player of the year in college women's basketball."


March 21, 2013

The road to New Orleans begins at Maples

Here is how the teams that will play rounds 1 and 2 at Maples match up statistically:

Stanford Tulsa Michigan Villanova
Points per game 70.7 63.6 60.8 59.5
Scoring margin +18.8 +1.9 +5.8 +7.3
Field goal % 0.453 0.386 0.436 0.397
3-pointers per game 5.0 4.8 6.2 8.3
3-point % 0.311 0.309 0.347 0.331
Free throw % 0.719 0.656 0.728 0.691
Rebounds per game 42.6 39.1 34.9 34.1
Rebounding margin +7.4 -1.0 +3.2 -3.7
Assists per game 14.1 12.2 13.9 16.0
Turnovers per game 12.0 16.2 13.9 10.6
Assist/turnover ratio 1.18 0.76 1.00 1.50
Steals per game 6.1 9.5 6.2 7.2
Blocks per game 5.3 2.3 3.2 4.0
Win-loss record 31-2, 17-1 17-6, 8-8 21-10, 9-7 21-10, 9-7
RPI 3 94 35 28
Schedule strength 5 51 30 24

Michigan and Villanova will meet for the first time in the other game at Maples. Doug Feinberg, AP sports writer, predicts a win for Villanova, "Kim Barnes Arico knows all about Harry Perretta's system, having spent years coaching at St. John's. Her new team just doesn't have enough offensive weapons to beat the Wildcats."

  Tulsa Golden Hurricane

The Golden Hurricane finished with an 8-8 conference record, tied for fifth in Conference USA (C-USA) behind SMU, Tulane, East Carolina and UAB. They won four games in four days at the conference tournament and earned their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

This will be the first meeting ever between the Cardinal and the Golden Hurricane.

It will be the Golden Hurricane's second appearance at the NCAA Tournament. They made their first appearance in 2006 as a #12 seed, also as C-USA's automatic qualifier. They upset North Carolina State in the first round and lost to DePaul in the second round.

The Golden Hurricane is coached by Matilda Mossman, in her second season at Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricane is led by senior guard Taleya Mayberry with 18.7 points per game and a team-high 116 assists and 76 steals. Freshman guard Kelsee Grovey nets 10.5 points per game; senior forward Tiffani Couisnard averages 8.5 points per game, a team-best 9.1 rebounds per game and has a team-leading 37 blocks; and junior forward Loren McDaniel adds 6.8 rebounds per game.

Here are Tulsa's 2012-2013 statistics, roster and game notes.

  Michigan Wolverines

The Cardinal and the Wolverines have played each other a couple of times, but not since 2000.

The Wolverines finished fifth in the Big Ten this season behind Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan State and Purdue. They lost to Michigan State in the quarter-finals of the Big Ten Tournament.

Their best wins this season came back-to-back in early February against No. 13 Purdue and Michigan State.

This will be the Wolverines' second consecutive and sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They advanced to the second round in 1990 and 2001. Last season, they lost to Oklahoma in the opening round.

The Wolverines are coached by Kim Barnes Arico, in her first season at Michigan. She came to Michigan from St.John's, who she guided to the NCAA tournament in the previous three years.

The Wolverines are led by the second-most prolific three-pointer shooter in the nation — senior guard Kate Thompson who makes 3.45 per game at a rate of 39%. She averages 14.5 ppg and has scored in double digits 23 times.

Thompson is joined by two other double-digit scorers — senior center/forward Rachel Sheffer (12.7 ppg) and senior guard Jenny Ryan (10.1 ppg).

Here are Michigan's 2012-2013 statistics, roster and game notes.

  Villanova Wildcats

The Cardinal and the Wildcats have never played each other.

The Wildcats finished in a three-way tie for sixth in the Big East this season behind Notre Dame, UConn, Syracuse, Louisville and St. John's. They lost to Syracuse in the quarter-finals of the Big East Tournament.

Their best wins this season were over Princeton, DePaul, Syracuse (No. 22).

This is the Wildcats' tenth at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Their most recent appearance was five years ago.

The Wildcats are coached by Harry Perretta, who is in his 35th year at Villanova.

The Wildcats are noted for their slow offensive tempo. Coach Perretta believes the game clock can be your friend.

Although they rank seventh in the nation in three-pointers per game (8.3), they average only 58.7 points per game. Their emphasis is on defense. They've held opponents to 36% field goal accuracy and only 51.8 points on average.

The Wildcats are also a very disciplined team. They commit the fewest turnovers in the nation (10.6 per game) and have the second-best assist/turnover ratio (1.5).

The Wildcats are led by fifth-year senior forward Laura Sweeney who leads the team in five statistical categories — scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (6.9 rpg.), field goal percentage (.520), steals (71) and blocks (59). She missed the Big East tournament loss to Syracuse with a concussion but is expected back for the NCAAs.

Senior guard Rachel Roberts ranks second on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and three-pointers (2.1 per game).

Here are Villanova's 2012-2013 statistics and roster .