December 30, 2015

It's time to get serious

As the Pac-12 season gets underway, Ryan Thorburn (Eugene Register-Guard) advises that it's time to get serious. He provides a brief summary and evaluation of each Pac-12 team in:
Season about to get serious for Ducks.

December 28, 2015

Cardinal dismantles the Mocs

The Chattanooga Mocs came into Maples with the reputation — indeed, the actual numbers — of a strong team. Many fans perched on the edge of their seats after tip-off, ready for a close, suspenseful game.

However, any suspense was pretty well blown away in the first five minutes, as the Cardinal loped out to a 14-2 lead at the first timeout. It became clear that the Mocs, who have lost two of their key players to injury, were not the dominating team we played last season.

The first quarter ended at 40-18 (the Band's favorite lead at "2X plus 4", but it came just at the buzzer so the Band didn't have a chance to chant it). For the rest of the game Stanford held that 2X or greater lead.

Chattanooga has the stats of a team that defends well while fouling little, and in fact they were never in the bonus in any quarter — but neither was Stanford.

Late in the second quarter, the Mocs went to a 1-2-2 zone defense that slowed the Cardinal. They continued the zone throughout the second half. The Cardinal, holding a big lead, didn't try to beat the zone, but settled for passing the ball around the perimeter for 25 seconds on most possessions. Several times a Cardinal fast break or outlet pass got down the floor ahead of the defense and yet was pulled back, allowing the Mocs to set up their zone. Even with such passive tactics, in the third quarter Stanford outscored Chattanooga 11-7, ending the quarter at 51-25.

In the fourth quarter Jim Foster, Chattanooga's hall of fame coach, put his reserves in early. Tara did not, but left her better players on the floor until the 4:32 mark. This imbalance led to a 14-0 Cardinal run. The Mocs had only five points in the fourth quarter to end the game at 73-30.

Clearly, Stanford had the better defensive game plan (and the players to execute it) for this contest. Chattanooga's best player, Jasmine Joyner, was blanked for the first 39 minutes, only scoring a single basket at the end of the game. While the zone slowed Stanford, it didn't help the Mocs who just couldn't score effectively against Stanford's defense, and the Cardinal enjoyed their third blowout win in a row.

Several individual highlights stand out in memory. In the second quarter, Kailee had the ball in the paint, swarmed by Mocs. She looked for an outlet, and looked, and looked; then with an almost audible "the heck with it" dribbled once, spun, and dropped in a short jumper. A couple of possessions later she rebounded a miss by Karlie, passed out to Lili who shot and missed, rebounded again under the basket, and made a layup.

Bird didn't quite get her double-double tonight (no one did), but she led all scorers with 18 points, to which she added eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

The Cardinal were cold from beyond the arc, making just five of 22 attempts. Lili missed all six of hers, but scored inside and at the line for 11 points. She needs just 28 more to become the 36th member of the Stanford 1000-point club.

Karlie was, as always, a beast on defense. Her defensive efforts don't contribute much to the box score, but they're a vital part of the Cardinal's success. She's credited tonight with just three rebounds and one steal, but she frequently caused held balls and turnovers and unsuccessful shots. She was also the Cardinal's third double-digit scorer with 10 points and dished four assists.

Bri had the most success from beyond the arc (a perfect three of three) and the most assists (five) with just one turnover.

Kaylee was tough under the basket. She was often in contention for a rebound and grabbed six of them. Four were offensive rebounds; she put two of them back in. She also scored on two other layups for a total of eight points, and she had four steals. She's clearly out of her slump!

In the final minutes, Tess put in two nice layups, both times off assists by Alexa.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Hector Garcia-Molina (Stanford Photo).

Kaylee causes a potential change of possession
Kailee looks for an outlet
Bird lays it way up
Bri looks to pass
Karlie takes possession
Alanna drives past Alicia Payne
Lili protects the paint

December 26, 2015

Mocs at Maples on Monday

The Cardinal wraps up the non-conference season on Monday night at Maples against a dangerous opponent — the Chattanooga Mocs, who handed them a 54-46 upset last season.

Kaylee shooting against Jasmine Joyner last season

The 7:00 pm game will be live-streamed by Stanford Athletics and broadcast by KZSU; live stats will be available here.

Chattanooga grabbed national attention last season with stunning upsets of Stanford and Tennessee. They went on to an unbeaten Southern Conference record and a third straight NCAA tournament berth. Third-year head coach Jim Foster was expected to make that four in row with the return of nearly every key player.

Unfortunately for the Mocs, two of their key players are no longer in action. Starting junior guard and second-best scorer Chelsea Shumpert suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Mocs' third game of the season. Shumpert scored the game-high 18 points against Stanford last season on five-of-nine from beyond the arc.

Starting redshirt sophomore guard Aryanna Gilbert, who tore her ACL last December, has not played in the past four games; no injury report has been published.

In spite of these setbacks, the Mocs lead the Southern Conference with an 8-4 win-loss record. Three of the losses were to ranked teams — UConn, Tennessee (by just two points) and South Florida.

The Mocs are not ranked, but their RPI is 23 and their schedule-strength rank is 29.

As was the case last season, the Mocs are a very disciplined team. They excel defensively without fouling. They have committed the second-fewest fouls of any team in the nation (11.6 per game).

The Mocs are led by 6-2 junior forward Jasmine Joyner. She is the Mocs' leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and rebounder (8.5 rpg). In spite of her modest height, she is the nation's second-best shot blocker with an average of 4.33 per game. With Shumpert out of action, the Mocs don't have much in the way of 3-point shooting, but Joyner has begun to expand her game and is now the Mocs' best 3-point shooter with an average of 1.1 per game at a rate of 38%.

5-11 sophomore guard Keiana Gilbert, Aryanna 's younger sister, is the Moc's second-best scorer with 12.3 ppg.

5-9 senior point guard Alicia Payne was voted the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season. She averages 6.3 points per game and 3.7 assists with just 2.0 turnovers.

6-0 junior guard Moses Johnson and 5-10 freshman guard Nakeia Burks have completed the starting lineup for the past four games. The sixth Moc to consistently play major minutes is 5-10 junior guard Queen Alford. Combined, they average 16.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Here are Chattanooga's statistics and roster.

December 22, 2015

Cardinal leaves Roadrunners in the dust

The CSUB Roadrunners have been strong in their league the past two years but have been inexplicably slumping this year. Today, for one quarter, they looked as if they might be getting back on form, when the first quarter ended with the score 18-12 and the Roadrunners giving the Cardinal some real competition.

Stanford began to assert itself at both ends of the floor in the second quarter, during which the Cardinal outscored the Roadrunners 24-6, ending the half at 42-18. The rest of the game was all Stanford until with five minutes left to play, Tara put in the last of the reserves to finish the game at 83-41.

For the second game in a row, every Stanford player had at least five minutes on the floor; and everyone but Alexa scored at least 1 point. Four Stanford players were in double digits: Alanna with 14, Karlie with 13 (on four of five 3-pointers), Kaylee with 11 (and seven rebounds), and Erica leading all with 15 points and 10 rebounds (her eighth double-double of the season) and four blocks and a steal.

Erica was honored before the game for her participation in USA Basketball this summer. She received a plaque presented by the coaches of both teams: Tara for Stanford and Erica's father, Greg McCall, coach for CSUB.

And she got a big hug from her dad after the game.

Stanford's dominance did not extend to every aspect of the game. The Cardinal gave up 14 turnovers to CSUB's 11 and three steals to their seven and hit only 39% of their free throws, 13-33. So these two blowout wins should not be taken as a forecast of the upcoming Chattanooga game, where Stanford will face a much stronger opponent.

Here's a game preview: It's Erica McCall vs. Greg McCall as Stanford hosts CSU Bakersfield by Michelle Smith (espnW)

The game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio with Tara, Erica and Alanna

A gallery of photos by Nhat V. Meyer (Bay Area New Group),

A gallery of photos from Stanford Athletics.

December 21, 2015

Watch out for Roadrunners

The Cardinal's next visitors are the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00. The game will be live-streamed by Stanford Athletics here. KZSU will broadcast the game, and live stats will be here.

Some people are touting this game as McCall (Erica) vs McCall (Greg, Erica's father and the Roadrunners' head coach). I doubt that they look at it that way. I expect that each of them will be delighted to win and sorry for the other's loss.

Bird and her dad at FILA National Tounament in 2010

The Cardinal and Roadrunners have played each other just once before. That was four years ago when Bird was a high school senior and Greg had just stepped up from assistant coach to head coach at CSUB, which had just made the transition to NCAA Division I.

The Cardinal won that game easily and, on paper, it looks like the re-match will have the same result.

The Roadrunners play in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). They placed second in the WAC in the past two seasons and were picked to finish second this year, but are currently standing at the bottom with a 2-10 win-loss record.

The Roadrunners have had a tough non-conference schedule (South Carolina, Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA), but it's hard to understand why they've lost six other games. They lost their top shooter to graduation, but they still have their three-year star rebounder 6-2 senior forward Batabe Zampare, who is leading the team this season with 11.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Zampare is backed up by 6-0 redshirt junior forward Erika Williams and 5-2 senior guard Alyssa Shannon, who score 11.3 and 9.7 points per game, respectively.

But there are also five freshmen and two sophomores on the roster. Perhaps the Roadrunners are another cake in the oven that's not quite done yet. They just broke an eight-game losing streak on Saturday with a victory over Cal Poly in which 5-9 freshman guard Addi Walters led all scorers with 15 points on 55% shooting.

Here are Bakersfield's statistics and roster.

Lili is Player of the Week again

Lili was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time this season and the third time in her career for leading Stanford to two wins last week over then-No. 14 Tennessee and Cornell. Read more ...

December 19, 2015

Cardinal crushes Cornell

This game was not expected to be a challenge, but any possible doubt was erased when the Cardinal went on an 18-0 run to make the score 23-3 with two minutes left in the first quarter. There was some doubt among the fans whether Cornell could break into double digits in the half, but they did, ending the half at 53-13.

The Big Red never stopped competing as hard as they could, but even in the fourth quarter, playing against the end of the Stanford bench, Cornell was outscored 20-10 on the way to the final score of 93-38.

Each of the fourteen Stanford players had at least nine minutes on the floor. Twelve of the fourteen scored, and five had double-digit scores: Alanna and Erica with 12; Lili and Karlie with 11; and Kaylee with the only double-double, putting 11 rebounds together with 10 points, three blocks, three assists and a steal for her best outing so far this season.

Especially noteworthy among the fourth-quarter outings by bench-sitters was Kiran. She was 3-4 from long range, emphatically corking every Cornell attempt at a run.

The Cardinal was almost perfect on free throws, making 21 of 24. Lack of pressure has a most gratifying effect.

In other Pac-12 action today, the Tennessee Lady Vols came out of their slump and handed the Oregon State Beavers their first loss of the season, 53-50.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play and

A gallery of photos by Bill Dally (Stanford Photo),

December 18, 2015

Big Red vs Cardinal

  Cornell Big Red

The Cardinal is at home on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 to the Cornell Big Red. The game won't be televised, but it will be live-streamed by Stanford Athletics here. KZSU will broadcast the game, and live stats will be here.

This will be the first Stanford vs Cornell encounter ever. Cornell, located in Ithaca NY, is one of the eight Ivy League schools.

Cornell currently stands near the bottom of the league with a 4-4 win-loss record. Its roster consists of nine guards and three forwards (the tallest is 6-2.

The Big Red is led by 6-0 junior forward Nia Marshall, who accounts for more than a quarter of the Big Red scoring with an average of 16.8 points per game. She also has the most steals (2.6 spg) and the most blocks (1.0 bpg).

5-8 junior point guard Kerri Moran scores just 7.3 points per game herself, but generates more with her good ball handling. She tallies more than twice as many assists as turnovers — 4.5/1.9 per game.

6.0 senior guard Maddie Campbell leads the Big Red defense with 6.9 rebounds per game. 6-2 junior forward Nicholle Aston is close behind with 6.5.

The long ball is not a major part of Cornell's game. They make just 19% of their points from beyond the arc. 5-10 freshman guard Caroline Shelquist is Big Red's quintessential 3-point specialist. She takes 90% of her shots from beyond the arc, and makes just under two per game at a rate of 40%.

Here are Cornell's statistics and roster.

December 16, 2015

Cardinal's favorite flavor: Orange Crush

Updated Dec 17: Added Michelle Smith's game report and game highlights video

Tennessee took an early lead on a Diamond DeShields jumper on the first possession, but that was it for the Lady Vols. The Cardinal dominated the game for the next 32 minutes. They held a double-digit lead for most of that time — as much as 21 points — in the face of relentless full-court pressure by the Vols.

Then the Vols upped the pressure and cut the lead to seven with 5½ minutes left to play, but the Cardinal fought back and kept control and won 69-55.

The Cardinal learned the importance of rebounding from their loss to Texas and won the battle of the boards 42-31 tonight, including 13-10 O-boards. Bird led that battle with ten rebounds to which she added 14 points for her seventh double-double of the season. Only four other players in the nation have that many.

The Cardinal offense was unusual tonight in that almost all of their scoring came from within the arc. They attempted only eleven 3-pointers (about half of their average) and only Karlie and Lili succeeded with one apiece.

After the loss to Texas, Tara lamented, "so many bad shots". The Cardinal learned from that too — they made 50% of their shots tonight. Lili fell a couple short of her signature 21 points, but led all scorers with 19.

Kaylee was back in the action tonight. She made three of four shots in the paint and four of six free throws for a total of ten points — the seventh double-digit game of her career.

Marta played the point for 29 minutes tonight, during which she scored nine points, dished four assists with just three turnovers, grabbed three rebounds, and stole the ball twice. One of her drives to the basket and layup sparked the Cardinal's rebuff of the Lady Vols' resurgence as they cut the lead to seven points for the second time with three minutes left to play.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos from (Stanford Athletics),

The press conference video with Tara and Bird and Marta,

The game highlights video,

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Lili snags a rebound
Bird scores on a fast break
Alanna hooks it in
Lili dribbles around the Lady Vol press
Marta drives
Bird lifts it up and in
Bird celebrates her basket
The Cardinal celebrate the victory

The Lady Vols are here ...

... ready to play their 33rd game all-time against the Cardinal tonight.

Dan Fleser (Knoxville News) reports on the difficulty of the trip and the difficulty of achieving their desired quality of play in: Lady Vols miles away from destination on offense

The Tennessee game preview includes the skinny on Tennessee injuries.

The Stanford game preview includes a close look at the storied rivalry.

December 13, 2015

Texas too much for Stanford

The Longhorns did it with defense and with Davenport: defeated the Cardinal 77-69.

The Longhorns' strong defense was expected — they rank in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense and in rebound margin. They out-rebounded the Cardinal 44 - 29, including 16 - 8 offensive rebounds. The Cardinal had zero O-boards in the first half of the game, three of their eight came in the last eight seconds.

Senior guard Empress Davenport's performance was not expected. She is the Longhorn's defensive stopper. Until this afternoon, she had averaged just over seven points per game in her career. This afternoon she scored a game-high and career-high 23 points at a 53% clip!

The box score reveals a very different game than I observed. It seemed to me that the Longhorns had way more possessions than the Cardinal and were making more of their shots. In fact, the field goals were exactly the same — each team made 25 of 59 attempts. And the Cardinal had eight 3-pointers to the Longhorns' four, and thus a four-point advantage.

But the Longhorn defense led not only to offense. It also led to Cardinal fouls, which led the Longhorns to the free throw line where they scored 23 points on free throws to the Cardinal's 11, and there is the eight-point victory!

There were many fine performances by the Cardinal this afternoon to substantiate Tara's belief that this team has not yet achieved its potential.

Bird's effort seemed out-shadowed by the Longhorns' strong front court, but she made her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds, to which she added five blocks.

Lili's contribution was not dazzling (she made just one of six 3-pointers), but she made six of 13 from the inside and got to the line seven times, where she made all but one of her free throws. It all adds up to Lili's fourth 21-point game of the season.

Brittany sparked the Cardinal offense with four of four from beyond the arc (until today, she had made only nine 3-pointers in her collegiate career). She sank back-to-back 3s twice — in the second quarter to cut the Longhorns' lead to two and again late in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four. Unfortunately, the sparks didn't quite ignite a change in momentum.

Kailee started for the first time since her freshman season and earned a career-high 25 minutes of playing time with her strong defense.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Postgame quotes from Texas coach and players and from Tara and Lili,

A gallery of photos from (Texas Athletics).

December 12, 2015

Vegas, baby?!

By Bill Bradley (Las Vegas Review-Journal) asks: Could Las Vegas be home to Women's College Basketball World Series?

Debbie Antonelli has proposed the idea for years. She thinks that NCAA women’s basketball is too often not entertaining or exciting. She has been saying, "Let’s do something dramatically different," — take the NCAA tournament to Las Vegas.

Dan Steinberg (Washington Post) told the story after last season's Final Four: Does women’s college basketball need more Vegas?

NCAA-sanctioned events aren't allowed under NCAA rules because of legalized sport betting in Nevada, but NCAA President Mark Emmert said this week that change might be coming:

December 10, 2015

Lili on Naismith Watch

Lili was among 50 women’s basketball players named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday.

It’s the second early season recognition for Lili, who was named to the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 on November 17.


December 08, 2015

'T' is for Texas and Tennessee and Tough

Updated Dec 11: RPI ranks, Tennessee statistics

The Cardinal return to the court after finals break for two of their toughest nonconference games of the season — against opponents who defeated them last season.

They travel to Austin for the first game — against the University of Texas Longhorns. The game will be on Sunday, December 13 at 10:00 am Pacific Time. It will be televised by ESPN and broadcast by KZSU, with Live Stats here.

Then they return to Maples for their 33rd game against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The game will be on Wednesday evening at 6:00. It will be televised by ESPNU and broadcast by KZSU, with Live Stats here.

There will be a chalk talk before the Tennessee game and a Behind the Bench session in Maples after.

Lili scored 28 points against the Longhorns last season

  Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns were ranked high in the national polls last season (No. 3/3 for a couple of weeks) until injuries derailed them midway through the season. Fortunately, the players that were healthy enough to get the Longhorns to the Sweet 16 returned, most notably the post duo of 6-7 senior center Imani Boyette (née McGee-Stafford) and 6-5 junior center Kelsey Lang.

The Longhorns have started strong this season: a perfect 7-0 (one of 15 undefeated teams). Two of their wins were by a decent margin against Top 10 teams: No. 8/8 Mississippi State (53-47) and No. 9/9 Tennessee (64-53). They are currently ranked No. 5/6. Their RPI rank is 48 and their schedule strength rank is 284.

The Longhorns' primary strength is their defense. They've allowed their opponents just 48.7 points per game (sixth-best in the nation) and held them to just .328 field goal percentage (16th-best in the nation).

Their defense has led to a good amount of offense: an average of 72.6 points per game.

The Longhorns have four 9+ scorers. They're led by Boyette with 13.6 ppg. She also has the most rebounds (8.9 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg). Close behind are 5-4 sophomore guard Brooke McCarty (13.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 apg), 5-9 junior guard Brianna Taylor (9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and 5-9 freshman guard Lashann Higgs (9.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.9 spg) .

The Longhorns score 60% of their points from the inside and 20% from beyond the arc. McCarty is their most productive 3-point shooter with an average of 1.9 per game at a rate of 42%.

The remaining points come from free throws, which they make at at rate of 65.0%.

Here are Texas' statistics and roster.

  Tennessee Lady Vols

They Lady Vols lost their three double-digits scorers from last season to graduation. But they gained 6-1 sophomore guard Diamond DeShields, who sat out last season after her transfer from North Carolina, and 6-6 sophomore center Mercedes Russell, who missed last season due to surgery on both feet. They join a solid returning core of 6-2 senior forward Bashaara Graves, 5-11 junior guard Jordan Reynolds and 5-9 junior guard Andraya Carter and top-rated 5-8 freshman point guard Te'a Cooper, giving coach Holly Warlick the most talented team she has had in her four seasons in charge of the Lady Vols.

In spite of dealing with leg injuries, DeShields leads the Lady Vols in scoring (13.6 ppg) and assists (2.9 apg).

Russell is the leading shot-blocker (2.2 bpg) and the second-best rebounder (9.2 rpg) and scorer (12.1 ppg). She makes 53% of her shots.

Graves comes in a strong third in scoring (12.0 ppg) with a dazzling .725 field goal percentage. She also grabs the most rebounds (9.5 rpg).

Cooper's playing time has been limited a bit by foul trouble and turnovers, but she still averages 10.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

The Lady Vols score 66% of their points from the inside and 17% from beyond the arc. DeShields is their most productive 3-point shooter with an average of 1.3 per game at a rate of 29%.

The remaining points come from free throws, which they make at at rate of 72.5%.

The Lady Vols started well this season, but have been hit hard by the injury bug and faltered lately. They've played two ranked teams: Squeaked past No. 25 Syracuse 57-55 early in the season, but lost to No. 8/8 Texas 53-64 two weeks ago and to unranked Virginia Tech last week. In their most recent game, they pulled out a win in the last few minutes of a close game against a one-win Wichita State team playing without its leading scorer.

They are now 7-2 and ranked No. 16/15. Their RPI rank is 17 and their schedule strength rank is 9.

Here are Tennessee's statistics and roster.

Team by Team Comparison

Points scored per game 72.6 72.6 66.0
Points allowed per game 48.7 59.0 55.7
% of total points from beyond the arc .20 .39 .17
% of total points from the inside .60 .42 .66
% of total points from free throws .20 .19 .17
Field goal % .449 .414 .411
3-pointers per game 4.9 9.4 3.7
3-point % .370 .398 .232
Free throw % .650 .716 .725
Rebounds per game 43.9 42.6 40.1
Rebounds allowed per game 30.6 41.7 34.6
Assists per game 14.0 14.7 14.7
Turnovers per game 15.9 15.4 17.7
Assist/turnover ratio 0.88 0.95 0.83
Steals per game 7.7 6.9 12.0
Blocks per game 3.9 5.9 3.9
Win-Loss Record 7-0 6-1 7-2
National polls 5/6 14/12 16/15
RPI rank 48 2 17
Schedule strength rank 284 7 9

December 03, 2015

Another Player of the Week award for Lili

Every week,'s Starting Five brings a look at some of the top women's basketball players in the country. Lili was one of this week's five standout competitors:

In a busy week for the Cardinal, junior guard Lili Thompson helped Stanford to a 4-1 record, including a Gulf Coast Showcase title where she was named the Most Valuable Player.

Posting averages of 20.8 points, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game, she shot 42.2 percent from the floor (27-for-64) and was even better from long distance, knocking down 44.1% of her three-point attempts (15-for-34). She missed just one free throw all week, going 14-for-15 from the line for a 93.3 shooting percentage. She netted 21 points in the 61-58 setback to Santa Clara and 26 in the 82-65 win over Missouri for her fourth-straight 20-point effort, making her the first Stanford guard since four-time All-American Candice Wiggins to achieve the feat. She also had 19 points and seven assists in the 74-66 win over Dayton, after recording back-to-back six-assist outings in the opening games of the Showcase.

She closed out the tournament with 17 points, nine of which were from a perfect outing from the charity stripe, to lift the Cardinal to a 71-65 victory over Purdue. Thompson and the Cardinal will next play at Texas on Dec. 13.

December 01, 2015

Lili is the best!

Lili was named the 2015 Gulf Coast Showcase Most Valuable Player after leading the Cardinal to the tournament championship. And now she has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for that performance.

In three games, Lili averaged 20.8 points, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game, shot 42.2 percent from the floor (27-for-64) and was even better from long distance, knocking down 44.1 percent of her 3-point attempts (15-for-34). She missed just one free throw all week, going 14-for-15 from the line (.933)

Read more from Stanford Athletics: Thompson Week's Best

November 30, 2015

Gulf Coast Showcase: 3rd Round Wrapup

3rd Round Overview

Stanford captures Showcase in overtime against Purdue, by Carl Bleich (Naples Daily News)

#1 Stanford 71, #2 Purdue 65

Gulf Coast Showcase Champs, AP game recap posted by Stanford Athletics
WBB Falls to No. 13 Stanford in OT 71-65, game recap from Purdue Athletics
Purdue goes cold in OT; Stanford wins Gulf Coast Showcase Championship, by Kat LaRocca (Swish Appeal)
Purdue Falls to Stanford in the Gulf Coast Showcase Championship, by WBBFan (Hammer and Rails)
Tournament Champion, by FBC Traveller Wally Mersereau
Box score and play-by-play
Audio Press Conference, Tara and Lili

#3 Dayton 79, #4 Louisville 66

#UDWBB powers past #22 Louisville, 79-66, Sunday night, game recap from Dayton Athletics
Moore, Hines-Allen Lead Louisville Women’s Basketball in Loss to Dayton, game recap from Louisville Athletics
Louisville’s downward slope continues, drop to 1-4, by Kat LaRocca (Swish Appeal)
Box score

#5 Maine 52, #6 LSU 41

Women's Basketball Defeats LSU, Finishes Fifth at Gulf Coast Showcase, game recap from Maine Athletics
Lady Tigers Take Sixth Place in Showcase, game recap from LSU Athletics
Box score and play-by-play

#7 Missouri State 77, #8 Marist 45

Lady Bears' complete performance produces big win over Marist, game recap from Missouri State Athletics
Women's Basketball Ends Gulf Coast Showcase with Loss to Missouri State, game recap from Marist Athletics
Box score and play-by-play

November 29, 2015

Gulf Coast Showcase: We are the champions!

This game was a nail-biter from end to end, and was decided by two unusual and unexpected factors.

Stanford took a quick early lead on threes by Lili and Bri. The Cardinal held a small lead through the first half, which ended at 26-21 — a low score resulting from many dry possessions by both teams that ended in turnovers and missed shots. The halftime stats were remarkable for how little difference there was between the teams: field-goal percent, turnovers, rebounds, all the usual stats were nearly identical. Basically Stanford was ahead because of the early threes.

Purdue took a brief lead at 4 minutes into the third quarter, and ended the third quarter ahead by one, 44-45. They made it 46-48 with a three at 6:16 into the fourth quarter. About this time Karlie was called for a block on which she went down hard and was slow to get up. However, she re-entered the game a few minutes later. The game was tied at 51-51 at the final media timeout with 4:07 to play.

Those last four minutes of regulation were full of action, most notably a three by Bri as the shot clock expired; Lili being fouled on a 3-point attempt and making all three free throws for a 57-53 lead; then two baskets by Purdue to tie the score at 57 all. Purdue made one more jumper to pull ahead, but fouled Bri who made two free throws to tie the game again at the 33-second mark. Purdue couldn't score and we went to overtime.

At this point we checked the stats and noted that although almost all the stats were close, there was one glaring difference. Purdue was 5 of 8 on free throws, and Stanford was 16 of 17! Stanford had gone to the line much more often and was making almost all. That difference of +11 on free throws is undoubtedly what kept Stanford in the game and allowed them to reach the OT. Now they had to win...

In the overtime, Bird grabbed a gritty rebound of a Lili miss, and Lili was fouled by Purdue's #13, Perry, a dangerous defender who now had to leave with her fifth foul. Lili made both free throws to give Stanford the lead.

After missed shots by both teams, Bri turned the ball over and Kailee fouled the Purdue player. Purdue made both of their free throws to tie the score once again.

Bird drove for the basket and was fouled and made both free throws: 63-61. On a Lili foul, Purdue made one of two free throws to make it a one-point game, 63-62 at 1:39. But on the next possession, with Stanford looking baffled and the shot clock running out, Kailee shot a three from the corner! The most unlikely player had suddenly put Stanford up by four, 66-62, with 1:00 on the clock.

The drama wasn't quite finished even then. Purdue fouled Bri who made two free throws (68-62) but then Purdue hit a three (68-65 with 40 seconds to go). But what iced the game was that on the Stanford possession, Bri was fouled shooting a three, and made all three free throws. That set the final score, 71-65.

Stanford and Purdue looked almost exactly matched, and Stanford could easily have lost the game to Purdue and been justified to call it a "quality loss". However they won the game and did so on two remarkable things: an amazing performance at the line, shooting 25 of 26 free throw attempts; and a startling last-second three-point shot by Kailee to put Purdue two possessions down late in overtime.

Bri had 26 points for her career high, including 5 of 6 three-point attempts. Bird had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Lili had 17 points tonight, averaged 20.7 points and 6.0 assists for the tournament, and was named the tournament MVP.

Here's the box score and play-by-play. Come back tomorrow for media game reports.

November 28, 2015

Gulf Coast Showcase, 2nd round

Stanford 74, Dayton 66

Dayton clearly outmatched Stanford off the court — they had their 30-man pep band, an 8-person yell squad, the Dayton Flyer mascot, and about 60 enthusiastic, red-shirted fans behind their bench. Stanford had about 20 fans (counting parents and Tara's mother and sister) thinly scattered around the arena.

The Flyers owned the first quarter 24-14, and looked like owning the game, with the Cardinal missing shots and giving up turnovers. There was promise, however in the fact that Bird ended the quarter with 4 made baskets, quite respectable given the size of the Dayton big girls defending her, and Alanna had hit two threes.

In the second quarter Alanna hit another 3-pointer and Stanford came within two, 28-26, before Dayton drained three 3s in a row to reopen their lead and end the half 40-33. We fans also noted Lili had only field goal, which suggested things might improve.

In the third quarter Alanna hit a three, Lili hit a three, Bri drove the lane (defying two players twice her size), drew a foul and made two free throws to bring the score to 43-40. A moment later, a three by Karlie tied the game, and shortly after Stanford was ahead by six. This lead they just as quickly gave back as Dayton tied the score 51-all, mostly on points made off Stanford turnovers. The third quarter ended with Dayton up 54-53.

Stanford opened the fourth quarter well, with treys by Lili, Alanna, Lili again, and a two by Lili. At 7:11 Dayton called time with the score 56-64. At 4:04, the final media timeout, the score was 64-69 and Lili, Karlie, Alanna and Bird each had three fouls. Three minutes later the score was unchanged after several fruitless possessions by both sides.

Then Dayton hit two free throws to get within three, and the game was still anyone's. But at 0:22, with the shot clock almost out, Karlie dropped in a clutch three: Stanford up by six with 22 seconds to play.

Employing the new rule, Dayton called time and then inbounded from the end of their bench. A score at this point could have been significant, but big #55 clanked a jumper and Bird got the rebound.

Dayton had to foul the Stanford inbound three times before free throws were needed. Bri made both and that completed the scoring: Stanford wins by eight, 74-66.

Top scorers were Alanna, posting her best performance with 22 points from making six of eight 3-point attempts; Lili with 19, including three of six 3-pointers and a perfect four from the line; and Erica with 16, on 62% shooting. Karlie was only two for seven attempts, but the second one was absolutely crucial.

Although they rarely looked comfortable and gave up many fouls and turnovers, the Cardinal recovered from a bad first quarter and posted a solid win over a quality opponent.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by Dave Cortesi

Dayton pep band and mascot
Pre-game huddle
Tara welcomes the team onto the court
The tipoff
Quiet post-game celebration

Purdue 62, Louisville 60

Purdue is unranked; Louisville is ranked 22 in the AP Top 25. On that basis, this was Louisville's game to lose.

Although Louisville kept the lead through most of the game, they were not able to put Purdue away. Purdue did not play like an unranked team; they passed the ball crisply and kept their composure in the face of the Louisville's harassing defense. Louisville would pull out a lead of 6 or 8, and Purdue would pull it back. Purdue has a freshman "big", 6-6 Nora Kiesler, who reminded us a lot of Jayne Appel; her rebounding was important to Purdue's ability to hang on.

The final minutes were exciting. Purdue was within 2, 51-53, at the four minute mark. At 1:50 they were within 1, 55-56. After a turnover by Louisville, Purdue scored to take a one-point lead, 57-56 with 1 minute to play.

Louisville answered at 41 seconds, regaining a one-point lead at 57-58. Here the new rules came into play: Purdue called an immediate time-out and then could inbound the ball from the end of their bench. At 34.1 seconds, Purdue scored: 59-58. Now Louisville called a time-out so they could inbound from the end of their bench.

Louisville scored at 26.1 seconds, regaining a one-point lead 59-60. Purdue called time-out to inbound from the end of their bench.

Purdue inbounded the ball and a Louisville player caused a foul. The Purdue player made both her free throws, making the score 61-60. Louisville called a time out; both teams were now out of time-outs.

Louisville put the ball in play; after a few seconds it went out of bounds and was awarded to Purdue. Now Louisville had to foul and did, at 10.6 seconds. The Purdue player made one of two free throws, making the score 62-60. Louisville was unable to score in the final seconds, so that was the final score.

The Cardinal should not look past Purdue; they are a legitimate threat. Just the same, most fans were glad we would not have to face Louisville tomorrow.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play,

Consolation side of the bracket

Maine 69, Missouri State 65

LSU 72, Marist 45

Up Next

No Cardinal vs Cardinals after all.

The Louisville Cardinals play the Dayton Flyers for third place at 2:00 pm Pacific Time.

The Stanford Cardinal play the Purdue Boilermakers for the championship at 4:30 pm.

November 27, 2015

Gulf Coast Showcase, 1st round

Read Wally Mersereau's trip report for an account of Thanksgiving day in Florida as well as the 1st round games: Raining Threes in Florida

Ready for Thanksgiving Dinner

Dayton 68, Maine 47

Debbie Antonelli helps Stanford staff scout the Dayton/Maine game

Dayton dominated this game from the start, primarily on their defense.

They played a fluid, alert zone on every defensive possession. The Maine Black Bears found it very difficult to score inside or outside. Outside, their threes weren't dropping, and when they managed to get the ball inside the height of the Dayton front court (6-5 Saicha Grant-Allen and 6-4 Jodie Conelie-Sigmundova), made it hard to get an unobstructed shot or an offensive rebound.

Dayton in turn did not score as freely as their height advantage would suggest they should -- in fact their high scorer was guard Amber Dean — but their final total of 68 was ample, given their defense.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play,

Stanford 82, Missouri State 65

Stanford dominated this game on shooting, hitting a total of 15 threes: five by Lili, five by Karlie, four by Bri and one from Brittany. (The Stanford single-game record for 3-pointers is 16).

The Cardinal began the game a three from Lili, then Bri, then Karlie in the first four minutes.

Missouri State mounted a vigorous player defense from the start, varied only in the second half with a tepid zone for one or two possessions.

A few minutes into the game the Lady Bears took their first and last lead, 11-12, quickly erased by a three from Brittany. From that point Stanford pulled away, ending the first half at 44-30.

The Lady Bears cranked their defense even higher in the second half, resulting in a lot of entertaining, and sometimes scary, action. Lili especially often tumbled to the floor. Marta also mixed it up, driving into the scrum to pass or shoot. But Missouri State played Stanford even in the third quarter at 22 points each.

In the fourth quarter they got within 12, but then Stanford pulled away to the final result.

Lili scored a season-high 26 points — her fourth straight 20+ game. Bri scored her most points of the season (18) and her most-ever 3-pointers (four).The Cardinal had trouble getting the ball inside this afternoon. Bird grabbed the game-high rebounds (10), but missed her fifth straight double-double by one point.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play,

Louisville 65, Marist 53

This was an entertaining game due to Louisville's style of play: pressure defense played with abandon. The Cardinals pressed Marist on every possession. This frequently resulted in a foul, or a ball out of bounds to Marist, but it often produced a turnover.

In the first half the Red Foxes were able to keep their composure under the constant annoying harrassment, and Louisville's shooting was poor (27% for the half), so they could not profit much from turnovers. Marist hit a number of timely threes and the half ended with Marist up 32-28.

Things began to turn for Louisville in the third quarter when, despite a number of unforced turnovers and a lot of fouls, they outscored Marist 17-10 to enter the fourth quarter up 45-42. In the fourth quarter Marist seemed to tire and Louisville ended the game with a 16-3 run to win going away.

If Stanford plays Louisville (Cardinal v. Cardinals), all that will be necessary to win is for Stanford to keep their composure and make the many free throws Louisville is sure to give them.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play,

Purdue 69, LSU 52

We didn't have the stamina for a fourth game today, but

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play,


Freshman Smith is Stanford's first international recruit by Janie McCauley (AP)

November 25, 2015

Fear the Flyers

Looks like the Cardinal's probable second round opponent in the Gulf Coast Showcase will be a big challenge.

Graham Hayes (espnW) has updated his mid-major rankings and now ranks the Dayton Flyers No. 1 with this evaluation:

Since last rankings: Home wins against Yale (81-75), Vanderbilt (81-56), Wisconsin (87-64)

In the spotlight: Size, size and more size. While not to the extent suggested by a photo that makes it appear they invaded a gym used by the Keebler Elves, the Flyers are big. That size has them at No. 1, rather than struggling to adapt to life without Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott. A backcourt of Kelley Austria, Jenna Burdette and Amber Deane was always going to be the foundation. But 6-foot-2 freshman Maddy Dennis looks ready, 6-5 junior Saicha Grant-Allen has been double-double productive with expanded minutes alongside 6-4 senior Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova, and 6-3 junior Andrijana Cvitkovic produced when Grant-Allen was in foul trouble against Wisconsin.

Dayton coach Jim Jabir and coaches of other teams competing in the tournament talk about coaching and opportunities in: VanDerveer, Stanford headline Gulf Coast Showcase

November 24, 2015

Up next: Thanksgiving in Florida

The Cardinal are spending the long Thankgiving weekend in Florida this year, playing in the third annual Gulf Coast Showcase.

The tournament format is an eight-team playoff, with winners playing winners and losers playing losers in the second and third rounds to determine places one through eight.

BD Global Sports, the event sponsor, will provide a video live stream and live stats of each game.

Click here for the tournament bracket and game times.

First Round

Stanford will play the Missouri State Lady Bears on Friday, November 27 at 10:30 am Pacific Time.

The Lady Bears play in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). They were picked to win the conference in the preseason poll:

Missouri State welcomes back four starters and nearly its entire statistical output from last season’s 18-15 squad that returned to the postseason (WNIT) for the first time since 2012.

The Lady Bears roster features a pair of talented senior guards in Kenzie Williams, a first-team all-MVC selection this season, and Tyonna Snow, an honorable mention all-conference honoree last season. Sophomore Liza Fruendt, a member of the league’s All-Freshman team a season ago, completes the Missouri State backcourt.

Senior center Hillary Chvatal, junior guard Lexi Hughes and sophomore forward Aubrey Buckley, who started in 30 games for Missouri State last season, will also play pivotal roles for the Lady Bears once again in 2015-16.

Here are Missouri State's statistics and roster.

Second Round

Stanford will play either the Dayton Flyers or the Maine Black Bears on Saturday, November 28 at either 8:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon (Pacific Time).

The Dayton Flyers are not ranked in the top 25, but have received votes in the national polls — enough to place them at No. 29/27. Graham Hayes (espnW) ranked them seventh in his preseason evaluation of the mid-majors.

The Flyers play in the Atlantic 10 conference. They were picked to finish second to George Washington University in the preseason conference poll.

The Flyers, who went 28-7 overall and 14-2 in the Atlantic 10 in 2015, are coming off a thrilling run to the Elite Eight in which they defeated tenth-seeded Iowa State, second-seeded Kentucky and third-seeded Louisville before falling to eventual National Champion, UConn.

The Flyers lost their two top players from that squad to graduation — senior guard Andrea Hoover and senior forward Ally Malott. Those two combined for 43% of the Flyers points and 34% of the rebounds.

The Flyers have made a good start this season with three victories, led by senior guard Amber Deane, senior guard Kelley Austria and senior center Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova.

Here are Dayton's statistics and roster.

The Maine Black Bears play in the America East Conference. They were picked to finish second to four-time reigning champion Albany in the preseason conference poll.

The Black Bears are coming off their best season in eleven years, winning 23 games and claiming the America East Co-Regular Season title after going 14-2 in conference play.

The Black Bears return all five starters from last year's squad, including Co-Defensive Player of the Year, senior forward Liz Wood, who ranked in the top-7 of scoring, rebounding, steals, assists and field goal percentage last season. Maine led the league in scoring defense last year, allowing just 54.5 points per game.

The Black Bears are a small black spot in the Stanford record book. The Cardinal have played them just once — in the 1999 NCAA 1st round. The Black Bears won 60-58 with a pair of free throws in the last 17 seconds of the game.

Here are Maine's statistics and roster.

Third Round

If Stanford wins its first two rounds, it is most likely to play the Louisville Cardinals, the only other nationally-ranked team in the tournament, in the championship game on Sunday November 29 at 4:30 pm Pacific Time. It would be a first-time meeting — the Cardinal and the Cardinals have never played each other.

Louisville was seeded No. 3 last season, but was upset by Dayton in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. They received pre-season rankings of No. 8/8 in the national polls. But they have lost their first two games this season (to Cal by four points and to Western Kentucky by two) and are currently ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 and dropped from the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.

Louisville plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They were picked to finish third, behind Notre Dame and Florida State, in the preseason conference poll. Charlie Creme (espnW) concurred with this evaluation:

Nine freshmen and sophomores make up the Cardinals' roster, and at least three of those players could be All-Americans one day.

Sophomore Mariya Moore could burst through as one of the country's top players, and classmate Myisha Hines-Allen is already one of its most efficient scorers. Although just a freshman (but the best of an outstanding class), guard Asia Durr is a veteran of the Team USA circuit and a two-time Georgia Player of the Year.

Taja Cole takes over at the point. She and Durr look to be the backcourt duo for Jeff Walz for the next four years. Erin DeGrate and Sam Fuehring should each get sizable minutes in the post as rookies.

Here are Louisville's roster and statistics.

The other three teams in the bottom half of the bracket are:

The LSU Tigers, headed by fifth-year coach Nikki Caldwell Fargas, play in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The SEC is a very strong conference, led by South Carolina and Tennessee. The Tigers were picked to finish tenth in the preseason conference poll.

Here are LSU's roster and statistics.

The Purdue Boilermakers play in the Big Ten Conference. They were picked to finish in the bottom half of this 14-team conference in the preseason conference poll.

The Boilermakers are the only Gulf Coast Showcase participant that the Cardinal has played in the recent past. The teams met two years ago in the Puerto Vallarta Thanksgiving Tournament. The Cardinal won that game — it was Tara's 899th career victory.

Here are Purdue's roster and statistics

The Marist Red Foxes play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

The Red Foxes have dominated the MAAC for more than a decade. They've been the tournament champion ten times in the past twelve years. They lost the championship game last season and, before that, in 2005.

They were picked to finish second this season in the preseason conference poll.

Here are Marist's roster and statistics.