February 28, 2017

Pac-12 Honors for Bird, Karlie, Briana, Brittany and Nadia

The Pac-12 women's basketball head coaches voted the following awards:

Pac-12 Player of the Year
Kelsey Plum, Washington

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
Gabriella Hanson, Oregon State

Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon

John R. Wooden Coach of the Year
Scott Rueck, Oregon State

Kristine Anigwe, California
Monique Billings, UCLA
Sophie Brunner, Arizona State
Jordin Canada, UCLA
Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
Marie Gulich, Oregon State
Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Kennedy Leonard, Colorago
Erica McCall, Stanford
Brittany McPhee, Stanford
Chantel Osahor, Washington
Kelsey Plum, Washington
Karlie Samuelson, Stanford
Kristen Simon, USC
Sydney Wiese, Oregon State

Honorable mention:
Lexi Bando, ORE; Kennedy Burke, UCLA; Mikayla Cowling, CAL; Quinn Dornstauder, ASU; Gabriella Hanson, OSU; Courtney Jaco, USC; LaBrittney Jones, ARIZ; Emily Potter, UTAH; Haley Smith, COLO ; Alexis Robinson, COLO.

All-Freshmen Team
Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
Aarion McDonald, Washigton
Maryon Moore, USC
Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State

Honorable mention:
Jaelyn Brown, CAL; Mi'Cole Cayton, CAL; Nadia Fingall, STAN; Chanelle Molina, WSU; Reili Richardson, ASU.

All-Defensive Team
Kristine Anigwe, California
Monique Billings, UCLA
Jordin Canada, UCLA
Gabriella Hanson, Oregon State
Emily Potter, Utah
Briana Roberson. Stanford

Honorable mention:
Breanna Brown, OSU; Mikayla Cowling, CAL; Quinn Dornstauder, ASU; Caila Hailey, WSU; Courtney Jaco, USC ; LaBrittney Jones, ARIZ; Chantel Osahor, WASH ; Haley Smith, COLO .

2016-17 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball honors announcement

Five honored by conference, Stanford Athletics announcement

February 26, 2017

Cardinal snatches win from Ducks' bills, 65-59

The atmosphere at Knight Arena was cheerful on Senior Day with 4,286 Duck rooters settling in with their bingo cards in hand (For those who've not been there, the Oregon FBC sells bingo cards for $1 and the numbers are called at halftime.)

The Australian national anthem was played "to honor our Australian players", and then the US anthem was played very nicely by a violinist.

The Ducks used a zone defense from the start and Stanford's defense was as good as it usually is, with the result that the score after one quarter was 15-15.

During the second quarter we were grumbling about certain Stanford players who seemed to be passing up makeable shots or failing to drive when it seemed — from our vantage point 50 feet away and eight rows up from the hardwood — obvious that driving was possible, probably easy. Then we heard the Duck fans behind us complaining the same way about their team: "Why doesn't she SHOOT?!?" Despite our kvetching the Cardinal pulled ahead to end the half at 27-21.

Brittany opened the third quarter with a three and Stanford kept on outscoring the Ducks to end that quarter ahead 13, 49-36, and looked to be on track to a comfortable win.

The Ducks didn't agree with a quiet end to their Senior Day game. Starting the fourth quarter they dropped out of their zone defense and began full-court pressure on every inbound, producing several Stanford turnovers, and creating an 8-0 Duck run that brought the score to 49-44 and forced Tara to call time at 7:02.

The Ducks brought the score within five points several times in the following minutes and even within four, 58-54, with a minute to play. However the Cardinal made their free throws in the final seconds and closed the game out with a win.

Karlie led all scorers with 18 points, on 4-7 three-point shots and 6-6 free throws.

Bird had 16 points (all on field goals) plus 14 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season. She made 61.5% of her shots — the first time she's made more than half since the win at Washington.

Alanna had 14 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double; plus three blocks and a steal.

Bri had nine points including a very timely jumper to relieve the pressure when the Ducks first came within five midway through the fourth quarter.

The victory gave the Cardinal a tie with Washington for second place in the conference and the No. 2 seed in the tournament. They'll play either Colorado or Washington State in the quarterfinals on Friday evening, March 3, at 6:00.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A video interview of Bird,

And some of the Register-Guard photos that feature the Cardinal:

Kaylee blocks a shot
Alanna blocks a shot
Bird goes for a block, but fouls
Alanna puts up a shot
Bri battles Duck pressure
Bird and Britt fight for control
Everyone goes for the rebound

February 25, 2017

Beavers gnaw a narrow win out of Cardinal, 47-50

A record crowd of 9604 orange-clad fans jammed Gill Coliseum to roar support for the Beavers.

The game was dominated by defense from the start and buckets were hard for either team to manage. The first quarter ended tied 10-10. Even fewer points were scored in the second quarter, with a half-time score of 18-20. The Beavers seemed to have figured out how to defend all of Stanford's starters, so that in the third quarter Karlie had only four points, and Brittany, none.

Stanford likewise had the number of almost all the OSU players. The Cardinal held the Beavers to 28.3% shooting — well below their season average of 44.6%.

However, the Cardinal couldn't contain Sidney Wiese, but not for lack of defensive effort. Either Bri or Marta was pasted to her jersey almost every second, clearly making her life difficult. But less than a second is all she needs to fire one of her twisting, asymmetrical three-point shots, and five of nine of them went in.

Wiese's heroics notwithstanding, this was a winnable game for Stanford. In the fourth quarter the game was tied 33-33 on a Marta drive. About this time Brittany finally began scoring. The teams traded baskets until another tie, 43-43 at the 2:14 mark (Wiese with 21 of OSU's 43).

A minute later Bird rebounded a Brittany miss and put it back: Stanford ahead, 47-46 at 0:19.7.

Sidney Wiese missed a layup, but Marie Gulich grabbed the rebound and put it up and in: OSU ahead 47-48.

On Stanford's possession, OSU went to a zone defense for the first time in the game. Nevertheless, Karlie got one of the very few three-point opportunities she had all game, but missed it. That sealed the result.

No Stanford player reached double digits. Bird and Alanna had nine each. Brittany had eight, all in the fourth quarter. Nadia and Karlie had six.

The OSU fans cheered the announcement that the Beavers had clinched at least a share of the regular-season championship and everyone went home happy -- even the very few Stanford fans in the house, who at least knew they had seen a great basketball game.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

And the audio press conference with Tara.

February 23, 2017

It's crunch time

The Pac-12 title and the seeding for the Pac-12 tournament are on the line this weekend. The outcome won't be known until Sunday mid-afternoon after Stanford and Cal have played Oregon and Oregon State.

This is what the media has to say about the critical Friday evening game between Stanford and OSU:

Karlie's Stanford Story

February 21, 2017

The final reveal and bracketology

Charlie Creme discusses the NCAA selection committee's final reveal of the season: Committee drops important clues in final reveal

He has no comment about the Pac-12 teams, which the committee placed at 8-OSU, 10-Stanford, 12-Washington and 13- UCLA.

In this week's bracketology, Creme seeds the Pac-12 teams so:

Bridgeport Region
(no Pac-12 team)
Oklahoma City Region
2 Oregon State (up from 3)
4 UCLA (no change)
Lexington Region
3 Washington (no change)
8 Arizona State (down from 7)
Stockton Region
3 Stanford (no change)
9 Oregon (down from 8)
Here's the complete bracket.

February 20, 2017

Top-16 upsets and shakeups

The NCAA selection committee will announce the third and final reveal of its in-season top-16 seeds tonight.

After an eventful weekend full of upsets that shook up the top-16 seeds, Charlie Creme expects Notre Dame to replace South Carolina on the top line and Oklahoma to jump to a No. 4 seed: Notre Dame should replace South Carolina on top line in top-16 reveal

Creme predicts only a small adjustment of the Pac-12 teams. He moves Oregon State, Stanford and Washington each down one spot to 8, 9 and 11 respectively, while UCLA moves up one to 13.

His comments on each of the Pac-12 teams:

8. Oregon State: The Beavers have been grinding all season. Two more slugfest wins over Colorado and Utah this weekend have Oregon State tied with Stanford heading into Friday night's matchup that will likely decide the Pac-12 regular-season championship. Regardless of that decision, it is safe to say that the Beavers, barring something like a three-game losing streak, will be a No. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

9. Stanford: The Cardinal lost to Oregon State on Jan. 8 and have lost only once since. Sophomore Alanna Smith had a huge weekend in two key wins over Cal, with 44 total points off the bench to keep Stanford alive for a Pac-12 title that has eluded it since 2014. That is far more important to the Cardinal down the stretch since they won't be hosting NCAA tournament games even with a top-16 finish (Maples Pavilion is hosting the Pac-12 gymnastics meet the same weekend).

11. Washington: Kelsey Plum is making the national player of the year race a runaway, but she couldn't save the Huskies from a loss Friday at UCLA, which damaged Washington's chances at a No. 2 seed. The defeat was even more damaging to the Huskies' Pac-12 title chances; they are a game behind Stanford and Oregon State with two to play.

13. UCLA: Just when the Bruins look like they are ready to hit a slide, they rebound with a big win. They did it earlier this season at Stanford and produced again at home against Washington on Friday right after losing both of their previous games on a trip to Oregon. Even better news, Jordin Canada is playing; she's not back at 100 percent, but she's coming off the bench after a neck injury knocked her out of the loss at Oregon State.

February 19, 2017

Cardinal sweeps the Bears 72-54

Before the game, a person who had spoken to Cal assistant coach Charmin Smith reported that she said,"We really, really want to win this game."

That desire was enough to keep Cal in the game, and to keep the score close, for about 25 minutes of play. Then Alanna and Karlie took the game away.

Stanford was ahead by two to four points throughout the first half, which ended with the Cardinal ahead 37-32. Much of the credit for Stanford's lead at this point was due to Brittany, who scored sixteen points in the half.

Just seconds into the third quarter, Brittany was called for her third foul and had to take a seat. In her absence, Cal tightened the score, and over the next minutes repeatedly came within one point as the teams traded baskets.

Then Karlie hit a layup, Bri hit a jumper,

Alanna made a layup,

and Stanford was ahead by six.

Then on a Cal defensive mistake, Karlie was left open and immediately drained a three. Cal called time but shortly after play began, Karlie hit another three, and Stanford was ahead by double-digits.

Cal didn't quit playing, but with four fouls on star center Christine Anigwe, Alanna could find open lanes and made four more layups to keep the Cardinal well ahead to the end.

Alanna led all scorers with 17 and and all rebounders with eight, and added two blocks and a steal.

Brittany scored 16 points, all in the first half, and dished four assists.

Karlie scored eleven points on three treys and a layup, as well as five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Bri had nine points and played strong defense for 34 minutes.

Erica struggled in the paint against the octopus-like defense of Anigwe and Courtney Range to score seven, but had one emphatic block and five rebounds.

Every other available person (Anna and Mikaela were not dressed) got some time on the court and all but Shannon scored at least a point.

The seniors were honored after the game with tearful joy

The ceremony was video-ed (see link below), and Judy Richter will give a full report in a day or two in her blog.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

The senior ceremony video,

A video interview: Seniors Karlie Samuelson, Briana Roberson and Erica McCall reflect on careers at Stanford,

The video press conference with Tara, Bird, Bri and Karlie,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphotos.com).

A nice story about Tara ...

... from Milne School playground to 1,003 career wins: Stanford’s VanDerveer in touch with Albany roots by Steve Amedio (The Saratogian).

February 17, 2017

Cardinal out-battles the Bears

Stanford and Cal played a tight defensive contest that only turned the Cardinal's way in the final minutes. Both teams played excellent defense and none of Stanford's usual point leaders were able to break out and score freely.

However, as Tara says, a team is like an orchestra and different people solo at different times. Tonight the lead soloist was Alanna, who had a breakout game. Her twenty points in the first half kept Stanford in the game.

She also pulled off two dramatic plays that must have had an effect on Cal's morale. At the end of the third quarter, Cal had the ball leading by a point, 47-48. With two seconds left, Courtney Range attempted a three-point shot from in front the Cal bench, and Alanna's block slammed the ball out of play, so the quarter ended with that score. Then, only three seconds into the fourth quarter, Alanna hit a three of her own to give Stanford its first lead in many minutes.

Alanna, however, had to leave the game with five fouls when the score was tied 66-66 and there was still 2:16 to play. The game had to be decided by others, and a game's worth of drama was compressed into that short time.

With just a minute to play, Christine Anigwe fouled Bird, who made both free throws: Stanford up 68-66. (The Cardinal made 16 of 18 free throws in the game, an important factor in the outcome.)

On the following possession, Bird blocked a shot by Anigwe and Brittany controlled the ball. At Stanford's end of the court, the ball went out of bounds with 18 seconds left. The referees reviewed the video and awarded the ball to Stanford.

At this point, Cal made a critical error. They needed to foul, but somehow allowed the ball to be inbounded into the hands of Brittany, standing alone under the basket, and she simply laid it in: Stanford by four, 70-66.

Cal was unable to score in the remaining twelve seconds, but fouled Karlie who made two free throws to set the final score.

Alanna led all scorers with a career-high 27, including 3-5 three-point attempts, plus six rebounds, three blocks, and a steal.

Karlie had 17 points, including 3-4 from long range.

Bird had eleven points plus 14 rebounds for a double-double. She also had three steals, and a crucial block in the closing seconds.

Brittany gave her all for 27 minutes, but her shot was off tonight and she hit just three of fifteen attempts. But her last made shot was the one that gave the Cardinal a four-point lead with 12 seconds left to play.

Bri and Marta did their usual skillful ball-handling, combining for 12 assists with only five turnovers.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

"I'm just happy that I'm playing really well right now," said Alanna,

The audio press conference , with Tara and Alanna,

Cal's video press conference

And photos by Ben Margot (Associated Press):

February 15, 2017

Bird is finalist for Senior CLASS Award

Bird has been named as one of the ten finalists for the 2016-17 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 coaches and national media members.

We helped Nneka win the CLASS award in 2012 by giving her 9.6% of the fan vote. Let's do as much for Bird! Show your gratitude for Bird's leadership by helping her win the national recognition she has earned.

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 20th. That's 34 days, so you can cast at least 34 votes for Bird (or 68, or 102, or 136, or ... do the math).

Vote now: Click here

More information:

Battle of the Bay

Battle for the Bay nears as Cardinal look to continue success by Lorenzo Rosas (The Stanford Daily)

Cal women’s basketball hosts Bay Area rival No. 10 Stanford by Devang Prasad (The Daily Californian)

Bracketology -- Big Monday impact

In this week's bracketology, Charlie Creme discusses Texas's second consecutive upset of a top-five team: Big Monday results have big impact on Bracketology

In regard to the Pac-12, Cal who just moved into the bracket last week, moved out this week as a result of losing to Utah and Colorado. The seeding of the six Pac-12 teams that remain in the bracket is the same as last week:

Bridgeport Region
3 Washington
Oklahoma City Region
3 Oregon State
Lexington Region
7 Arizona State
Stockton Region
8 Oregon
3 Stanford
Here's the complete bracket:

February 12, 2017

Cardinal upends the Utes 87-51

This game was decided in the first quarter, which ended with Stanford up by 23, at 31-8.

Stanford was scoring, but their defense was also clicking, and it forced Utah into an absolutely disastrous scoring drought. Utah scored no field goals at all, from 7:59 in the first quarter until 4:52 in the second quarter: almost thirteen minutes with nothing but a couple of free throws.

Then the Utes (who had beaten Cal two days before) pulled themselves together and played the Cardinal almost even for most of the rest of the game, even at one point briefly reducing their deficit to fewer than twenty points. It is possible to climb out of a twenty-point hole — Stanford has done it — but to the relief of Cardinal fans this year's Utah team could not.

Alanna had an excellent game, leading all scorers with 16 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block, and only one foul in 20 minutes of play.

Brittany had 13 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.

Karlie also had 13 points, plus five rebounds.

Bri had ten points, including a three-point shot to open the scoring just seven seconds into the game. During the pregame talk, Tempe said they were encouraging Bri to take more shots, and that message seems to have been received — she sank another three-pointer and a jumper later in the game.

Kaylee scored four points, blocked two shots, and pulled in five O-boards in only 14 minutes on the floor.

Marta had five points plus dishing seven assists with only one turnover. One of the assists was on a play that brought the crowd to its feet. Marta fired an arcing pass from the left shoulder to just right of the basket. Brittany flew up from the floor to catch it and pop it into the basket. During the post-game talk, Tara said this was a play they practiced, called the "Tiger Lob". (This play is shown early in the Britt interview – link below.)

The big lead allowed Tara to put in a team consisting of Alexa, Anna, Dijonai, Nadia and Shannon for almost half of the fourth quarter. Everyone available played at least five minutes (Mikaela was out for personal reasons) and all but Anna scored.

Seven Cardinal sank three-pointers today. Shannon's was the first of her career.

In response to a question after the game, Amy said that you can't teach free throws, although the team practices them a lot. Some days they're on, some days not — today the Cardinal delighted their fans by sinking 18 of 20 for a sizzling 90%.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of Brittany

The audio press conference with Tara and Alanna,

And a few photos by Scott Strazzante (The Chonicle):

Kaylee protects the paint
Bird and Karlie bottle up Wendy Anae
Tara shouts instructions

February 11, 2017

Britt beats the Buffs

Two-thirds of this game were hard for Cardinal fans to watch as the Cardinal seemed unable to make any headway against a fast, clever Colorado defense that frequently alternated zone and player strategies. Then, suddenly, just into the fourth quarter, everything was all right again, largely thanks to Brittany McPhee.

The first quarter may have been the lowest-scoring quarter in forever, or certainly in the season. Both teams are known for defense; and neither team seemed able to score consistently; so the quarter ended in a tie, 9-9.

In the second quarter, the Buffaloes found some offense and pulled ahead by five, 16-21. Five felt like a seriously deep hole in such a low-scoring game. Then Brittany hit a jumper, and another, and another, to end the half with a more optimistic three-point deficit, 24-27.

In the third quarter Bri hit a three to tie the score; Brittany hit three more buckets, and the Cardinal finally got their first lead, 39-37, on a layup by Alanna. That quarter would have ended with Stanford down by one, except that Bird hit a three-pointer on the buzzer to make the score 46-44.

Entering the fourth quarter it still seemed like anyone's game and fan fingernails were down to the quick. But then Colorado's offense stalled; they stayed at 44 points for almost four minutes while Karlie, Erica and especially Brittany scored steadily. Suddenly fans looked up and realized Stanford was ahead by double digits with only a few minutes to play. Stanford out-scored Colorado 18-7 in that fourth quarter and that put the game decisively away.

Brittany led all scorers with 26 points, plus a career-high eleven rebounds for her first career double-double. (It wasn't quite her season-high scoring; that was 28 against Texas.)

Bird also had a double-double with 15 points (six of them on free throws) and ten rebounds.

Alanna had seven points and eight rebounds and five blocks.

Karlie scored only four points, but that was enough to make her the 38th member of the Stanford 2,000/1,000 Point Club.

Four other players scored a few in this low-scoring game. At this point in the season, any win is a good win; and this one kept Stanford in a three-way tie for the PAC-12 lead.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of Brittany, "We're tired of losing on our home court."

And the press conference with Tara and Brittany:

February 09, 2017

Awards keep coming ... and coming ... for Bird

Bird was recognized today by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as one of the top student athletes in the nation. She was selected to the 2016-17 Academic All-District Women’s Basketball Team, District 8.

Bird is a psychology major with a 3.58 cumulative GPA. This is the second consecutive season that she's been voted CoSIDA Academic All-District.

Yesterday, Bird was named to the Late Season Top 20 list for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award®, and she was also named one of 30 players still under consideration for the 2017 Naismith Women's College Player of the Year.

Also on the watch lists for the Wade Trophy and the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, Bird is currently 29th on Stanford's list of 1,000-point scorers with 1,211. Her 173 career blocks are fourth at Stanford and she is also ninth in school history with 833 career rebounds.

Read more:

CoSIDA announcement
John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy's announces 2016-17 late season top 20
2017 Naismith Top 30 Women’s Players List Announced

February 07, 2017

Bracketology -- upsets and changes

In this week's bracketology, Charlie Creme discusses the fluid nature of bracketology: Pair of top-10 upsets can change the bracket quickly

Of the upset at Maples, he said:

Stanford: The Cardinal had elevated to No. 8 in the committee's eyes, largely off a huge road win over Washington just over a week ago. However, after losing at home to UCLA just three hours after the reveal, Stanford slid back to No. 10.

UCLA: The Bruins' upset was enough to leapfrog Louisville, but no one else. Just three days before it beat Stanford, UCLA lost at Cal and still has the Washington State loss as a black eye.

Cal's sweep of the SoCal schools earned it the nod, and Creme now has seven Pac-12 teams in his bracket:
Bridgeport Region
3 Stanford (no change)
9 California (moved in)
Oklahoma City Region
2 Oregon State (no change)
8 Oregon (no change)
Lexington Region
4 UCLA (no change)
7 Arizona State (down from 6)
Stockton Region
3 Washington (down from 2)

Here's the complete bracket:

February 06, 2017

Cardinal caged by Bruins

Except for one quarter, the UCLA defense stymied Stanford's best moves, and the Cardinal couldn't stop the Bruins' three-point shooters, resulting in a frustrating loss before a small crowd on a rainy Monday evening.

The first quarter ended with the Cardinal trailing by ten, 12-22. Because that was almost the differential for the final score, one might think the game was settled then, and the teams played even-up the rest of the way -- but that was not the story at all.

In the second quarter, the Cardinal, in the persons of Brittany and Alanna, put a charge into the crowd with a streak of excellent play. Brittany made two of her driving layups. Then Alanna hit a long three from the top of the arc. Then there were made jumpers by Brittany, Alanna, and Karlie. And a layup by Alanna and a jumper by Karlie and a three from Bri and ... at the half, Stanford was ahead, 40-37.

Sadly, after that streak of splendid offense, the Cardinal went scoreless for the first four minutes of the third quarter while the Bruins caught up. The two teams played close for a while, with the third quarter ending with Stanford down only four, 51-55.

In the fourth, the Cardinal could not progress. On two consecutive possessions they stopped UCLA from scoring only to immediately turn the ball over on a bad pass. Those two turnovers squelched any chance of a last-minute comeback.

The Bruin defense denied Karlie all but a few three-point shots but, as usual, she found other ways to contribute. She played all 40 minutes of this grueling game. She dished the game-high seven assists and and never turned the ball over. She led the Cardinal scoring with 15 points, including two three-pointers (of five attempts).

Karlie now has 212 three-pointers in her career and stands alone in fourth place in the Stanford record book. She needs 26 more to move up past sister Bonnie into third place. At her current rate, she will get them if the Cardinal make it to the Pac-12 championship game and the NCAA Elite Eight (which, I daresay, would please Karlie more than beating Bonnie).

Bird ground out her ninth double-double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds) against the Bruin's aggressive post defense.

Alanna had 14 points ...

... and Brittany, 13.

Bri had 12 points from hitting four treys. The last two of these were in the final seconds when, twice in a row, Stanford got possession after a UCLA free throw and Bri sprinted down the court to hit a three.

This was all the more remarkable because near the end of the third quarter Bri had suffered a full-speed, bug-on-windshield collision with a UCLA screener, and had left the floor, shaken up. Yet she was back ten minutes later, hitting clutch threes.

However, the Bruins were making all their free throws, so the last-second heroics were for nothing.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphotos.com),

And Tara talks about a disappointing game ...

NCAA's second reveal

The NCAA women's basketball committee announced its current top 16 seeds for the second time tonight (before the Stanford/UCLA game). The top 16 seeds will be revealed once more this season on February 20 before the actual NCAA selection show which will be Monday March 13 (ESPN 4 p.m. PT).

The top 16 are:

1. UConn 
2. Baylor 
3. South Carolina 
4. Mississippi State 
5. Florida State 
6. Notre Dame 
7. Oregon State 
8. Stanford 
9. Maryland 
10. Washington 
11. Texas 
12. Duke 
13. Louisville 
14. UCLA 
15. NC State 
16. DePaul
In regard to Pac-12 teams:
  • Oregon State moved up to 7 from 8.
  • Stanford moved up to 8 from 12.
  • Washington moved down to 10 from 6.
  • UCLA stayed at 14.
  • Arizona State moved out.
Here is Mechelle Voepel's report: UConn remains in No. 1 overall spot NC State and DePaul new to list

February 04, 2017

February 03, 2017

Cardinal trounces Trojans for Tara's 1000th career win

The Trojans worked hard to avoid being the answer to a trivia question, but they didn't stand a chance.

The Cardinal, determined to get it for Tara, broke the game wide open toward the end of the third quarter and and carried on to a 58-42 victory.

There were noticeably more cars flowing into the Maples lot an hour before game-time, and more than usual at Kissick for Tempe's pre-game talk. (The final attendance count was 4,490, just ten shy of Uber-fan Wally Mersereau's half-time estimate).

The Cardinal started well, getting fouled and hitting four free-throws, followed by a drive and layup by Karlie. USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke called time at 7:40 with the score 6-0.

After that the Trojans got their defense together. Also, the basketball leprechauns crept in and put an invisible lid on both baskets. The remainder of the first half was full of intense, fast action, but little scoring.

The half was about to end with Stanford up six, but the Cardinal had the final possession. With four seconds on the clock, the ball squirted out of bounds off a Trojan player. Karlie inbound to Bird in the corner who hiked up a three that dropped into the net half a second short of the buzzer. Bird celebrated all the way down the court on the way to the locker room.

The Cardinal were still up by nine, 39-30, with 3:44 to play in the third quarter. Then Karlie found open floor for a fraction of a second and hit a three. A minute later she hit another. And a minute later, another. And to end the quarter, a jumper. That string of eleven points put the Cardinal up by 20, 52-32, and basically put the game away. The teams scored evenly through the fourth until the buzzer, and the celebration of Tara's 1000th victory.

Karlie's third-quarter outburst made her the leading scorer with 21 points: three treys three layups, and six of six free-throws. She has now made 210 treys in her career and is tied with Vanessa Nygaard for fourth place in the Stanford record book.

Bird had 18 points, including that end-of-the-half three, and five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Brittany had ten points. Four players had two points each: Marta, Nadia, Bri and Kaylee. Kaylee, who had to sit out much of the first half with two fouls, still managed to pull down eleven rebounds in 25 minutes of play.

Tara's final word to the crowd: "I'll always remember this, and I'm moving on to 1,001 on Monday night."

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

The postgame celebration highlights,

The complete postgame celebration

A video interview of Tara

A video press conference, first Karlie and Bird, then Tara,

Transcript of Tara's press conference,

A gallery of photos from isiphotos.com,

And more tomorrow about Tara and her milestone win.

February 02, 2017

Honoring Tara

Note: Newer articles are at end.

Tara VanDerveer’s climb to 1,000 wins: An oral history by Ron Kroichick (San Francisco Chronicla)

Tara VanDerveer goes after 1,000 victories–a milestone worth many “wows” by Marc Purdy (Mercury News)-- story and video

One win shy of 1,000, Tara VanDerveer continues to cement her legacy at Stanford by Vytas Maxeika (Mercury News)

The Cardinal Rule by Scott Kindberg (The Post-Journal)

On brink of history, Tara VanDerveer still puts peers and players first by Michelle Smith (espnw)

Tara VanDerveer chases more history, 1,000th career win by Janie McCauley (Associated Press)

Top 10 moments of Tara VanDerveer's coaching career by Michelle Smith (espnW)

Tara VanDerveer’s legacy: Players tell coach stories as 1,000th victory nears by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer gave women a chance by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

The day Chiney Ogwumike knocked out Tara VanDerveer by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Former Stanford star and current Duck assistant Nicole Powell reflects on Tara VanDerveer’s success BY Jonathan Hawthorne (Daily Emerald)

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer approaching win No. 1,000 - What others are saying about her achievement from the Associated Pressround

Ms 1000? - Around the Rim with LaChina Robinson (espnW)

From humble start, a legendary career by Ann Killion (San Francisco Chronicle)

Tara VanDerveer: First Chance at History, video from Stanford Athletics

Former Players On Stanford Basketball's Tara VanDerveer On the Precipice of 1,000 Wins by R.J. Abeytia

February 01, 2017

Some Great Story Lines for Tara VanDerveer’s 999th Win: Some Others Not So Good

By Warren Grimes

It was a memorable 999th victory for Tara VanDerveer. Down by 18 points midway through the second quarter, Kelsey Plum had made all six of her three point shot attempts. She finished the half with 26 points, and Washington had 45, apparently on its way to a 90 point game that could leave Stanford in the dust. Oh, and add the10,000 screaming Husky fans supporting the nation’s #7 ranked team and expecting a big win. On top of that, Stanford’s three point shooting was dismal (0-10) until Nadia Fingall converted at the end of the half.

The last 25 minutes of the game were a different story. Stanford clamped down on UW while ramping up its own offense, outscoring the Huskies by 22 points to take a great come-from-behind win against a top ten team.

Brittany McPhee is another great story line. Playing 37 minutes in her home state, McPhee racked up 17 points (the most of any Stanford player) along with 7 boards, 2 blocks and 3 steals. She played with focus and hustle throughout the game. Emblematic of McPhee’s performance — two come-from-behind swipes to knock the ball away when Kelsey Plum was running hard in transition. McPhee’s end of game moves made the difference. First, McPhee stole the ball at mid court and ran for a lay up. Then McPhee blocked a Plum shot attempt.

Still another story line would be that the win was a quintessential team victory. All three seniors contributed mightily (McCall, Roberson, and Samuelson). McCall had 16 points in a rejuvenated second half effort. Roberson made 3 of 6 three point attempts, all in the critical second half comeback. Samuelson did not convert any threes, but still managed a hard fought 10 points, including critical end of game free throws. And Sniezek made the only three she attempted, and penetrated on several plays to produce a lay up and three points from the charity stripe.

Candidly, a lot of other possible story lines did not work out so well. Here are some of the failures.

To Win In Seattle, Stanford Needs Three Point Shooters to Step Up

After all, that’s how Stanford bested the Huskies last year in Maples. Experienced three point shooters like Karlie Samuelson, Brittany McPhee, and Alanna Smith have to make the Huskies pay.

Well . . . uhm . . . these three players were 0-10 from three point territory.

To Win Against the Huskies, Stanford Must Start Strong

Stanford did this last year in Maples, but not this time.

Stanford Must Hold Kelsey Plum to 30 Points

Darn, missed again on that one. But only by 14 points. And Stanford did hold Plum to a mere 18 points in the second half.

Natalie Romeo on her way to Player of Week Honor

Romeo scored a career high 32 points against Cal on Friday and seemed on her way to weekly conference recognition for the two weekend games. To win POW, Romeo probably needed something more modest like another 16 points against Stanford. Well, that one did not work out either. But, do the math, Romeo did average 16 points for the two weekend games.

UW is a deeper and more balanced team than last year

Hmm. Maybe so, but not on Sunday. It was Kelsey Plum 44 - rest of team 24.

Stanford makes “unexpected” comeback against UW

These words were on the Stanford sports web site. But was the comeback genuinely unexpected? I suppose at the 15 minute mark in the game, one’s confidence in the Stanford team might have been severely tested, but I thought the team looked focused and hungry throughout the game. They had already shaved 6 points off the 18-point margin before the end of the half. With nine minutes left in the game, Stanford had already tied the score.

Besides, this is a Hall of Fame coach who knows how to get her teams ready to fight back. I’ve watched a Stanford team overcome a 26 point first half deficit (against Oregon in February of 2000 ). They won that game by 16 points. That’s a 42 point turn around. I’ve watched a number of critical games against UCLA when Stanford has overcome double digit deficits.

There are good reasons why TVD is about to win her 1000th game.