February 28, 2014

Chiney is semifinalist for Naismith Trophy

Chiney was named among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club yesterday.

It's the second straight year that she has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy. The Atlanta Tip-Off Club will announce the four finalists on March 21.

Here is more information

Cardinal drubs UDub

The Cardinal wasted no time asserting their superiority tonight. They snagged the tipoff, began with a 13-2 run, extended their lead to as much as 30 and finished 83-60.

At the pregame chalk talk, Tempie said that the Cardinal had a whole different game plan against the Dawgs for tonight's game.

It was clear from the outset that part of the plan was denying the basket to the Dawg's standout scorers, Kelsey Plum and Jazmine Davis. The Cardinal defense held Plum to 2-of-7 field goals and Davis to 1-of-5 in the first half. (Plum was much more successful in the second half and finished with 21 points.)

The offensive plan was (1) get the ball to Chiney and (2) make your shot. Both parts of this succeeded.

Chiney, in spite of often being double- or triple-teamed, made 61% of her shots and scored 32 points — four short of her career high. She also grabbed 11 rebounds, dished three assists, blocked two shots and got one steal.

The Cardinal made 47% of their shots tonight, including nine (of 24) from beyond the arc.

Bonnie started again tonight and was hot beyond the arc. She sank four (of seven) 3-pointers and a layup for a total of 14 points.

Lili appeared to have fully recovered from her sprained ankle. She was in the starting lineup again and played for 29 minutes. She sank three (of six) 3-pointers and a jumper for a total of 11 points. She also had four rebounds and two assists.

Amber was aggressive on offense. She was the fourth double-digit scorer for the Cardinal with ten points, including one trey. She also had five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Karlie sank the Cardinal's ninth 3-pointer and added five more points on 100% free-throw shooting. She played for only 15 minutes (Tempie said that she's still in pain from her foot injury).

Mikaela played her typical fine game — the game-high 14 rebounds, four points, five assists and a steal.

In other Pac-12 action tonight, Cal beat WSU in overtime and USC beat Utah (the Arizonas and Oregons play on Friday). So, for a day at least, Cal is in second, ASU and OSU are tied for third, USC is fifth, UW and WSU have dropped to a tie for sixth.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-Washington postgame notes from Stanford Athletics,

A postgame interview of Chiney on playing in front of Nneka from Pac-12 Networks

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

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Mikaela and Chiney deny Talia Walton's shot
Chiney strips the ball from Jazmine Davis
Mikaela denies Kelsey Plum's shot
Lili drives past Jazmine Davis
Chiney lays it up over Talia Walton
Amber finishes her drive to the basket

February 26, 2014

Next: The home stretch

The Cardinal wraps up the regular season at Maples this weekend with games against:
  • Washington on Thursday evening at 8:00
  • Washington State on Saturday evening at 7:30
Both games will be televised and live-streamed by Pac-12 Networks and broadcast by KZSU Live, with live stats here.

Saturday is also Senior Night, when we say goodbye to Toni, Sara, Chiney and (really, this time) Mikaela. They'll be honored after the game with the official Stanford Athletics ceremony, followed by an informal behind-the-bench session. Note that there won't be a chalk talk before the game.

The middle of the Pac-12 standings is up for grabs this weekend. Stanford stands comfortably at the top, three games ahead of the others with a 15-1 conference record. It's followed by:

  • Cal at 12-4.
  • Arizona State and Oregon State tied one game back at 11-5.
  • Washington, Washington State and USC in a three-way tie two games further back at 9-7.
Cal plays the Washington schools and the Arizonas play the Oregons (the ASU/OSU game is in Corvallis on Sunday afternoon at 2:00).

At stake for the six teams in the middle is an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.

At stake for Stanford this weekend is pride and confidence going into postseason play.

You probably remember that UW beat the Cardinal and that WSU came uncomfortably close to doing so three weeks ago. Since then, both of the Washington teams have beaten Colorado, Utah and Oregon and lost to Oregon State.

Since then, the Cardinal has, I'm sure, spent time studying the videos of those games in Washington and practicing winning strategies.

The Tara Show

The Pac-12 Networks will honor Tara's legendary coaching career with a 30-minute documentary entitled Tara VanDerveer: Life in a Season. The show will air on Monday, March 17 (selection Monday) at 8:00 p.m.PT.

This is a preview of the show:

Click here for the announcement from Pac-12 Networks

February 24, 2014

Amber is finalist for Lieberman Award

Amber has been selected as one of the 22 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the women's basketball point guard of the year.

The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman during her career.

Sportswriters from across the country determined the list of candidates. The writers will return their final ballot — top point guard pick and three finalists — in early April. The winner will be announced during the Final Four weekend.

Here is more information:

  • The announcement of Amber's nomination and of Pac-12 Player of the Week awards to Chiney and Josh Huestis by Stanford Athletics
  • The list of finalists

February 23, 2014

Cardinal wins battle against Bruins

The Cardinal Road Warriers had to fight hard to win this battle with the Bruins, which they did 65-56.

With the victory, they clinched the Pac-12 title and the #1 seed in the tournament.

The Bruins came out roaring, took the lead and held on to it for most of the first half.

Tough Bruin defense and an unfriendly basket held Chiney to three points for 17 minutes. With three minutes left to play in the first half, she subbed out. I don't know who said what to her, but she subbed back in 44 seconds later and took the game in hand with two steals, two layups, and two free throws that gave the Cardinal a four-point lead at the end of the half.

That wasn't the end of the game, by a long shot. The Cardinal never relinquished that lead, but couldn't extend it to more than twelve points. The short-handed Bruins were in foul trouble and visibly tired as the game proceeded, but they kept up the battle right to the final buzzer.

Perhaps because of the Cardinal's slow start against the Trojans on Friday, Tara shuffled the lineup and Bonnie, Briana and Bird joined Chiney and Amber as the starting five.

Briana earned her spot as she scored the Cardinal's first five points with a 3-pointer (after a steal by Bird) and a layup. But she subsequently committed two fouls and turned the ball over twice and played for only six minutes.

Lili got only eight minutes at the point. She played with her usual speed and intensity, but her ankle is probably not yet fully healed. Alex played for seven minutes, did a fine job of harassing Thea Lemburger and scored the Cardinal's final point with a free throw.

Amber led the offense the rest of the time and played for all but three minutes. She attacked the Bruin defense repeatedly, stole the ball and took it to the basket on fast breaks twice, and scored a total of 13 points.

Although she didn't start, Mikaela joined the action soon after and played her usual strong defense for 31 minutes. It seemed like Mikaela was the one who burst out with the ball in her hands whenever there was a battle for the ball under the Cardinal basket. She grabbed 11 rebounds, scored seven points, dished three assists and had one block and one steal — all that with only three fouls, all in the last 15 minutes of the game.

The Bruins used an extended zone defense that pretty well shut down the Cardinal's perimeter offense. The Cardinal didn't keep launching futile long shots, as they did in the game against Washington. They attempted just nine 3-pointers. Bonnie was the only one besides Briana who found any success beyond the arc — she made one of four attempts.

And, yes, Chiney did solve the Bruin defense and find her shot in the second half. She finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds for her 20th double-double of the season, blocked five shots and stole the ball four times.

In other Pac-12 action today, Cal, Arizona State and Oregon State all won. So Cal is still in second place. ASU and OSU are still tied for third, one game back. Washington, USC and Washington state are in a tie two games behind them and have little chance of earning the coveted first-round bye in the tournament.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-UCLA postgame notes from Stanford Athletics,

A postgame interview of Chiney on team depth from Pac-12 Networks,

A gallery of photos by Dave Cortesi,

And photos by H. W. Chiu (Associated Press):

Chiney drives past Luiana Livulo
Chiney steals and heads for the basket
Taylor lays it up between Atonye and Thea
Taylor lays up another one

February 22, 2014

Amber's actions speak loud and clear

Amber isn't the most outspoken player on the floor, especially for a guard. But Tara says she keeps the beat for Stanford.

Click here for Michelle Smith's (espnW) story.

February 21, 2014

Cardinal fights off tough Trojans

Who were those black-clad women on the court for the first 28 minutes of the game? The faces and the names on the uniforms were familiar, but the unrelenting defense and the best field-goal percentage in the Pac-12 were missing.

In the first 12 minutes of the game, the Cardinal turned the ball over eight times and missed 12 of their 16 field goal attempts. The Trojans sank five of seven 3-pointers and had a 19-point lead.

The Cardinal managed to whittle the lead down to seven by the end of the first half.

Things didn't go much better for the Cardinal after the break. The Trojans held on to the lead for eight more minutes.

Then Chiney stole the ball at midcourt and streaked to the basket for a layup that tied the score at 43-43.

The game was still in jeopardy with 18 seconds left to play after Ariya Crook sank her third 3-pointer, but the Trojans kindly fouled Bonnie, who calmly swished two free throws that gave the Cardinal a 64-59 victory.

Was this the Trojans' best game of the season or the Cardinal's almost-worst? Probably some of both.

In other Pac-12 action, Cal held on to second place with a close four-point win over UCLA. ASU and OSU held on to a tie for third — ASU just barely with a four-point win over Colorado. Washington beat Oregon 108-100 and is now tied with USC for fifth place.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-USC postgame notes from Stanford Athletics,

A postgame interview of Chiney on fighting for the win from Pac-12 Networks,

A game highlights video made by USC from the Pac-12 Networks video stream that shows every one of USC's 21 field goals,

A gallery of photos by Dave Cortesi,

And photos by Alex Gallardo (Associated Press):

A bit worried?
Amber on the move
Taylor drives around Desiree Bradley
Jordan Adams escapes Amber and Chiney defense
Amber ties up Cassie Harberts
Chiney pulls down a rebound

Chiney prepares for final March run

Here's a great up-close-and-personal story about Chiney from the Associated Press:

As college basketball career and studies wind down, Ogwumike prepares for one final March run

February 20, 2014

Chiney earns top CoSIDA honor

Congratulations Chiney!

on being named the recipient of the 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year award for Division I women’s basketball …

… the first Stanford women's basketball player
to have ever earned this honor!!

There's more information in the announcements from:

February 19, 2014

Next: Southward bound

The Cardinal travels to Los Angeles this weekend to play:
  • USC at the Galen Center on Friday evening at 6:00.
  • UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday afternoon at 4:00.
Both games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks, streamed online by Pac-12 Networks, and broadcast by KZSU. USC live stats here and UCLA live stats here.

The Cardinal needs to be ready for two very tough games — from USC because they have everything to win and from UCLA because they have nothing to lose.

  USC Trojans

Well, the Trojans don't have everything to win, but this is a critical weekend for them. They'll be in second place or sixth place or anywhere in between in the Pac-12 standings after their games against Stanford and Cal. They need to win at least one of those games to have a realistic chance of earning a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Trojans were second in the Pac-12 when we played them four weeks ago at Maples (game report here.)

The Trojans are still somewhat unpredictable. They lost their next two games — to the Washington schools at home — then defeated UCLA at home. Last weekend they traveled to Oregon, where they defeated Oregon and lost to Oregon State. They're now in a three-way tie with Arizona State and Oregon State for third place in the Pac-12 standings.

Cassie Harberts has been the Trojan's top scorer in those last five games and the top rebounder in three of them. She has improved her scoring from 15.7 to 16.6 ppg and her rebounding from 7.3 to 7.7 rpg since we last met.

Here are USC's statistics and roster.

  UCLA Bruins

UCLA will probably end its injury-ridden season in the bottom tier of the Pac-12 standings, but it's not ending with a whimper.

The Bruins made the Cardinal fight hard for a win four weeks ago at Maples (game report here.)

They've lost four of six games since then and stand at #8 in the Pac-12, two games behind the tied Washington schools.

But last weekend their offense exploded for a 103-83 victory over Oregon, led by their three big scorers — Atonye Nyingifa (34 points), Nirra Fields (26 points) and Thea Lemberger (21 points) — plus 10 points apiece from Corrine Costa and Madeline Brooks.

Here are UCLA's statistics and roster.

February 17, 2014


Charlie Creme (espnW) has added a fourth Pac-12 team to his bracket this week — Oregon State.

His opinion doesn't make it true, but wouldn't having four teams in the NCAAs be great for West Coast basketball and being in the NCAAs awesome for the Beavers? They haven't been there since way back in 1996, the year Judy Spoelstra took over as their second-ever head coach.

This is what Creme has to say about the four Pac-12 candidates:

1 Stanford
The Cardinal righted things quickly after the loss at Washington, absolutely smothering Arizona State and then dominating Arizona. They still own the path to a No. 1 seed.
5 California
After Sunday's win over Arizona State, the Bears are in firm control of second place in the Pac-12 -- which means they're in good position to avoid Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament until the title game.
7 Arizona State
The losing streak has reached three games, which allowed Oregon State and USC to catch the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 race.
11 Oregon State
The Beavers are the Pac-12's hottest team and in the field after five straight wins. Their 9-5 conference record is the program's best in more than a decade.
This is Creme's complete bracket.

February 16, 2014

Bonnie bombs the Wildcats

The Cardinal kept up its excellent defense this afternoon and easily held the short-handed Wildcats in control for a 74-48 victory.

The Cardinal returned to its perimeter offense with great success — five players sank a total of 13 treys.

Bonnie the Bomber led the way with five of eight and was the top scorer with 17 points.

Amber sank three of four, Taylor and Lili each sank two and Kailee got one. Alex, Briana, Jasmine and Sara each tried once and missed. Karlie spent the afternoon on the bench resting a stepped-on ankle.

Chiney had another leisurely afternoon. She spent just 22 minutes on the court today, during which she scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

The Cardinal bench got 107 minutes of playing time today. Of particular note, in addition to Bonnie and her 3-pointers, were Brianna and Bird.

Briana ran the point for 20 minutes — almost twice as long as her previous high. She didn't rack up impressive statistics, but showed that she's developing into a valuable backup for Amber and Lili. I didn't notice any freshman mistakes. Her best stat, perhaps, was just one turnover.

Bird is still having trouble finding the basket and staying out of foul trouble, but she had a respectable seven points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

The last ten minutes of the game were played entirely by the eight Cardinal reserves not named Samuelson vs. the entire six-player Wildcat squad. The Wildcats outscored the Cardinal 17-9.

In other Pac-12 action, Cal beat ASU and USC lost to Oregon State. So Cal is now in sole possession of second place and ASU, OSU and USC are in a three-way tie for third place.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-Arizona postgame notes from Stanford Athletics,

The game recap video from Pac-12 Networks

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

A gallery of photos by Robert Stanton (USA Today Sports),

And photos by Ben Margot (Associated Press):

Mikaela on defense against Breanna Workman
Mikaela still on defense against Breanna Workman
Bird keeps the ball away from Keyahndra Cannon
Candice Warthen drives past Lili

February 14, 2014

Cardinal defense: A++

The Cardinal defense was unrelenting. It clogged the paint so thoroughly that ASU didn't make a basket until eight minutes into the game — the second one came five minutes later.

The Cardinal defense held the Sun Devils to 24.1% shooting from the field and their top four shooters to a total of 12 points.

On offense, the Cardinal abandoned the perimeter (they launched only four shots from beyond the arc and made none of them) in favor of driving to the basket.

Amber led the charge as she scored eight of the Cardinal's first ten points. She scored 14 points in all — four of them on fast breaks off of steals. She matched her career-high of five steals.

Chiney, Lili, Mikaela, Taylor, Bird and Karlie also scored on drives to the basket.

Chiney got a good rest tonight — she played for only 27 minutes, during which she tallied her 19th double-double of the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. She needs only 49 more points to take 2nd place on the Stanford all-time scoring list away from Nneka. Looks like that's going to happen in L.A. next weekend. By the way, she broke the Stanford and Pac-12 record for career field goals made last weekend at UW.

The Cardinal not only outdid the Sun Devils in rebounding from last Sunday's losses — they out-rebounded them tonight 41-35.

The final score: Stanford 61, ASU 35.

In other top-of-the-standings Pac-12 action tonight, Cal beat Arizona and USC beat Oregon. ASU, Cal and USC are now in a tie for second place, three games behind Stanford.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford-Arizona State postgame notes from Stanford Athletics,

A gallery of photos by Bob Stanton (USA Today Sports),

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Amber drives past Sophie Brunner
Lili drives past Katie Hempen
Chiney drives past Joy Burke
Briana drives against Deja Mann
Chiney shoots over Kelsey Moos
Lili sticks with Deja Mann
Chiney puts a block on Elisha Davis
Chiney fights for position

Looking to rebound

The pressure will be high in Maples this evening with Stanford and Arizona State both looking to rebound from bad losses last Sunday:
Rebounding in Tempe four weeks ago

February 13, 2014

Next: At home with Sun Devils and Wildcats

The Cardinal is back home, ready to start a new conference winning streak in Maples this weekend with games against:
  • Arizona State on Friday evening at 7:00
  • The University of Arizona on Sunday at noon.
The game on Friday will not be televised, but a live video by Stanford Athletics will be streamed by Pac-12 Networks. Click here for the webcast.

The game on Sunday will be televised and live-streamed by Pac-12 Networks. Click here for the webcast.

Both games will be broadcast by KZSU Live, and live stats will be here.

  Arizona State Sun Devils

After we last played them in Tempe (game report), the Sun Devils went on a five-game winning streak, defeating Utah by three points, Colorado by two, Oregon State by two, Oregon by three and Arizona by 24. That streak came to a shocking end last Sunday when they lost to Arizona in the return game by 19 points.

Head coach Charli Turner Thorne said of the loss, "We didn’t do the things we’ve been doing. We didn’t defend the way we needed to defend, and offensively we were just not doing the things that we can do and were supposed to do. We just didn’t have that toughness today."

The same could be said of the Cardinal's loss to UW on Sunday. The game on Friday between two teams who just got big wake-up calls should be very interesting.

The Wildcats now stand in a precarious second place in the conference — two games behind Stanford and one game ahead of tied-for-third California and USC. They're still ranked in the national polls, at No.15/No.21.

Here are the Sun Devil statistics and roster.

  Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcat's frustrating season took a turn for the worse soon after we played them in Tucson (game report).

Freshman reserve guard Ashley Merrill withdrew from the university and went back home to California to be with her family. The Wildcats now have only seven active players.

Head coach Niya Butts said, "We are going to keep grinding and hopefully good things will happen." And a good thing did happen last Sunday — the Wildcats ended their eleven-game losing streak with a 68-49 thrashing of their arch-rival, the Sun Devils.

However, that was the Wildcat's first conference win, and they stand last in the Pac-12, two games behind Utah.

Here are the Wildcat statistics and roster.

  Pink Day

Sunday is Pink Day at Maples. So go find your pink t-shirt or pink hat or pink tutu and wear it to the game on Sunday to show your support for breast cancer awareness.

And remember that pink uniforms don't fund medical research. Now is a good time to donate whatever you can to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or the American Cancer Society or the organization of your choice.

February 12, 2014

Chiney is finalist for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award

Chiney has been named as one of the ten finalists for the 2013-14 Women's Basketball Senior CLASS Award — the award that is presented annually to an NCAA Division I female senior basketball player who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

This is the one where your vote counts. Fan balloting counts for ⅓ of the total vote — the other ⅔ comes from Division I head coaches and national media.

We helped Nneka win the CLASS award in 2012 by giving her 9.6% of the fan vote. We can do at least as well for Chiney! We all love watching Chiney play. Show your love by helping her win the national recognition she so richly deserves.

You can vote once a day from each device with which you access the internet — your personal computer, your work computer, your IPad, your IPhone. Voting begins today and continues though March 24th. That's 41 days. Do the math — you can cast at least 41 votes for Chiney (or 82, or 123, or ...).

Vote now: Click here

More information: