March 30, 2018

In the record book, 2017-18

Although the 2017-18 team fell two steps short of its Final Four goal, it was, Tara said, "perhaps the most-improved Stanford team ever," and earned a good many entries in the Stanford Record Book:
  • Kayl earned one entry in the Stanford Record Book this season and ends her college career with two records and an additional 11 entries in the Stanford Record Book
  • Britt earned many accolades for her excellent play and academic achievements and ends her career with one entry in the Stanford Record Book.
  • Alanna has earned five entries in the Stanford Record Book.
  • Marta earned no entries in the Stanford Record Book this season, but retains the three entries and the Pac-12 tournament record that she earned in the past two seasons.
  • Dijonai earned one entry in the Stanford Record Book.
  • Anna earned two entries in the Stanford Record Book.
  • Kiana set one record this season and earned five additional entries in the Stanford Record Book.
  • Maya earned one entry in the Stanford Record Book.
  • The team unfortunately set two downside records, but earned 15 other entries in the Stanford Record Book.
Note: You can see the complete Stanford Record Book online at Women's Basketball History, section Records, and the Pac-12 Record Book at Pac-12 Conference: 2017-18 Women's Basketball Media Guide, section Records (it has not yet been updated with records for the 2016-17 season).

Kaylee Johnson

Kaylee earned an entry in the Stanford Record Book in her senior season, and retains the entries she earned in her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Blocks

Kaylee blocked 166 shots in her career, which places her fifth in Career Blocks, behind Erica McCall in fourth.

She is in 14th place in Single-Season Blocks with the 54 she had in her sophomore season and in 16th place with the 51 she had in her freshman season.

She blocked six shots at Cal on February 17, 2018, which places her in a 12-way tie for fifth in Single-Game Blocks.

She is in third place in Freshman blocks with 51.

Rebounds

Kaylee snatched 992 rebounds in her career, which places her seventh in Career Rebounds, behind Val Whiting in sixth.

She averaged 7.4 per game, which places her eighth in Career Rebounds per Game, behind Jeanne Ruark Hoff in seventh.

She is tied with Jayne Appel for tenth place in Single-Season Rebounds and holds tenth place in Single-Season Rebounds Per Game.

She grabbed 22 rebounds twice in her freshman season, which places her in a tie with DiJonai Carrington and Mikaela Ruef for third in Single-Game Rebounds. She also grabbed 19 once in her sophomore season, which places her 19th in the category.

She holds the Freshman Rebounds record with 344 and the Freshman Rebounds Per Game record with 9.6.

Brittany McPhee

Points scored

Brittany scored 1,250 points in her career, which places her in a tie with Lili Thompson as 29th among the 40 members of All-Time Scoring Leaders (previously known as the 1,000/2,000 Point Club).

Alanna Smith

Points scored

Alanna has scored 1,004 points in her first three seasons and has crept into All-Time Scoring Leaders as the 40th member.

Blocks

Alanna has blocked 147 shots in her first three seasons and stands in eighth place in Career Blocks. She is in reach of taking over second place, which is held by Chiney Ogwumike with 202.

She blocked 62 shots this season, which places her in a tie with Chiney Ogwumike for seventh place in Single-Season Blocks. She is also in a tie with Jayne Appel for ninth place in this category with the 61 shots she blocked last season. (Appel is also in first and second place.)

She blocked six shots once last season, which places her in a 12-way tie for fifth in Single-Game Blocks. (The record is eight, held by Kristen Newlin).

Marta Sniezek

Assists

Marta dished 150 assists this season and has a career total to-date of 428, which do not earn places in the Stanford Record Book. But with another 150 next season she would displace Nicole Powell from fifth in Career Assists.

She retains the entries she earned in the past two seasons: A tie with Sonja Henning and Jennifer Azzi for third place in Single-Game Assists, eighth place in Freshman Assists, and ninth place in Freshman Assists Per Game.

And her 13 assists vs Washington in the 2016 Pac-12 Tournament still holds as the Pac-12 Tournament Single-Game record.

DiJonai Carrington

Rebounds

DiJonai increased her defensive skills this season with steals, rebounds, and other disruptive moves.

She grabbed 22 rebounds vs UC Riverside on November 17, 2017, which places her in a tie with Kaylee Johnson and Mikaela Ruef for third in Single-Game Rebounds.

Anna Wilson

3-Pointers

Anna displayed her prowess as a long-range shooter early this season before a foot injury took her out of the action.

She attempted 15 3-pointers vs. Western Illlinois on December 18, 2017, which places her in a five-way tie for second in Single-Game 3-Point Attempts. (The record is 16, held by Lindsey Yamasaki.)

She made seven 3-pointers vs. Ohio State on November 25, 2017, which places her in a nine-way tie for sixth in Single-Game 3-Pointers Made. (The record is nine, shared by Lindsey Yamasaki and Molly Goodenbour.)

Kiana Williams

Field Goals

Kiana took 309 shots this season, which places her eighth in Freshman Field Goals Attempted.

3-Pointers

Kiana took 185 of those shots from beyond the arc and now holds the Freshman 3-Pointers Attempted record. This also places her in a tie with Bonnie Samuelson for 12th in Single-Season 3-Pointers Attempted.

She made 71 of those attempts, which places her in a tie with Jamie Carey for second in Freshman 3-Pointers Made.

She made those 3-pointers at a rate of 38.4%, which places her ninth in Freshman 3-Point Field Goal Percentage.

Minutes played

Kiana played for 899 minutes, which places her eighth in Freshman Minutes Played,.

Maya Dodson

Blocks

Maya blocked 27 shots this season, which places her in a tie with Joslyn Tinkle for sixth in Freshman Blocks.

The Team

The 2017-18 team won 24 games, took second place in the Pac-12 season, placed second in the Pac-12 Tournament, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the 25th time.

The team allowed its opponents to make just 36.7% of their shots, which places it 13th in Team Single-Season Lowest Opponent Field-Goal Percentage.

The team was the best at long-range shooting in 14 years. It made 249 3-pointers, which places it third in Team Single-Season 3-Point Field Goals.

It blocked 186 shots, which places it sixth in Team Single-Season Blocked Shots

It grabbed 1,433 rebounds, which places it 13th in Team Single-Season Rebounds

The team also earned these entries in Team Single-Game Records:

Ninth in Fewest Points Allowed with 33 vs UNLV and eleventh with 34 vs Bakersfield.

Third in 3-Point Field Goals with 15 at San Francisco and ninth with 14 vs Arizona.

Second in 3-Point Attempts with 39 vs Arizona, fifth with 38 at Baylor, and eleventh with 34 vs Western Illinois.

Ninth in Rebounds with 59 vs UC Riverside.

Third in Blocked Shots with 12 vs New Mexico State and 14th with 10 at Arizona.

Tenth in Personal Fouls with 27 at Arizona State.

The team set two downside Stanford records:

It made just 42.4% of its field goal attempts, which breaks the Stanford record for Team Single-Season Lowest Field Goal Percentage — 42.6%, set in 2015-16.

It made just 64.2% of its free throws, which breaks the Stanford record for Team Single-Season Lowest Free Throw Percentage — 64.8%, set in 1978-79

The team extended Stanford's Pac-12 record for Most 20-Win Seasons to 29 and retained the record for Most Conference Championships (23).

March 29, 2018

Another honor for Britt

Brittany received WBCA All-America honorable mention recognition the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced Thursday afternoon.

Read more:

The Pac 12: Still Underappreciated?

By Warren Grimes

In the women’s tournament this year, three Pac 12 teams made it to the Elite Eight (none of them Stanford). All three lost, but one could deduce from this event that three of the top eight teams in the country came from the Pac 12 conference. Or, based on reaching the Sweet Sixteen, one could conclude that four of the top 16 teams were in the conference. These are credible assertions, but they were not accurately reflected in the tournament seedings.

For the third year running, Pac-12 teams outperformed their tournament seeding. That’s compelling evidence that the conference is still underrated by those who do the seedings. That underappreciation is surely linked to the national press and those who do the weekly national ratings of women’s teams.

Taking the longer view, the conference has a spotty record. Stanford won the national title in 1990 and in 1992. Since then, Stanford has been to ten additional final fours, and reached the championship game on two occasions (2008 and 2010). But for a 27 year period no other conference team has reached the end round (USC finished in the Final Four in 1986 and Cal in 2013). The conference was dominated by Stanford for two reasons: (1) Stanford was very good and (2) the other conference teams were not.

By 2013, the Pac-12's somnolence was ending. That year, the Cal Bears were given a second seed in the tournament and went all the way to the Final Four. More impressively, in 2016, two Pac-12 schools reached the final four for the first time (OSU and Washington). And in 2017, a second-seeded Stanford team butted its way back to Final Four. These events seemed to put the world on notice that the conference was for real.

Unfortunately, the tournament seedings of Pac-12 teams, at least over the past three years, have lagged behind performance. For example, in 2016, the year that two conference teams reached the Final Four, both Washington (given a #7 seed) and Oregon State (given a #2 seed) outperformed their seedings.

In 2017, seven Pac-12 teams headed for the tournament. Three of those schools performed better than their seed (and only one, OSU, underperformed — OSU was a second seed and lost to third-seeded Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen). Stanford was a #2 seed and bested #1 seed Notre Dame to get to the Final Four. Even more impressively, Oregon, a #10 seed, had three consecutive “upset” victories (including wins over #2- and #3-seeded teams) to get to the Elite Eight.

In 2018, six Pac-12 teams were selected (USC felt underappreciated). And once again, all but one of the six teams performed as well or better than their seed. California (a #7 seed) lost to #10-seeded Virginia, but that result could well have turned on Cal’s best player being held out of the game for medical reasons. Two teams bested higher-seeded rivals: UCLA, with a #3 seed, bested #2-seeded Texas; and OSU had a banner run to the Elite Eight — with a #6 seed, OSU beat #3-seeded Tennessee on its home court (The Vols first ever NCAA loss on their home court), then took down #2-seeded Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen. The remaining three Pac-12 teams, including Stanford, played to seed.

So for three consecutive years, the Pac-12 has outperformed its seedings. Is this a statistical anomaly? An accident?

I doubt it. The Pac-12 conference is as good or better than any conference in the country, with some really talented players, and the best lineup of coaches that I can recall. The conference is super competitive. So why this underappreciation?

To really get the conference on the map, the Pac-12 needs another national championship, lacking for the last 26 years. Recognizing UConn’s dominance, even a runner-up status would help — Stanford last played in the championship game 8 years ago (2010). No other Pac 12 team has reached the end game in decades. Teams like Stanford and Oregon have to assert themselves — and climb into the rarefied air of the top four teams in the country. That could happen soon, and I hope it does.

March 27, 2018

Britt honored by Associated Press

Brittany received Associated Press All-American honorable mention recognition the organization announced Monday.

Read more:

March 23, 2018

Stanford loses Sweet 16 game to Louisville, 59-86

The Stanford defense was good as usual and was clearly causing Louisville trouble, especially in the first half. Unfortunately for Stanford, the Louisville defense and offense were more athletic, more aggressive, more skilled, and sometimes luckier than Stanford's.

The game started out as a high-speed shooting match, with both teams hitting their shots. The score at the first media timeout was 10-13, with Stanford hitting 5 of 7 shots and Louisville 6 of 10. Alanna had hit all three of her first attempts. The quarter ended Louisville up 6, 19-25, but Stanford looking competitive.

In the second quarter it became apparent that Louisville was simply faster and more aggressive on both offense and defense. The most noticeable difference was in offensive rebounds, where by the end of the half Stanford had two, and Louisville, eight. The halftime score was 31-42.

If the coaches made any "adjustments" over halftime, Jeff Walz's were more effective. From the start of the second half, Stanford's offense simply stalled. There was one single possession on which Stanford had seven O-boards. That was the good news; the bad news was that they missed all eight shots before Louisville finally grabbed the ball. If you set aside that string of seven consecutive O-boards, the final count would be Stanford 3, Louisville 14.

The Cardinals completely shut Alanna down after her promising first quarter. From the mid-third quarter on, it seemed to a fan that everything Stanford put up, bounced, while everything Louisville put up, swished. It wasn't quite that bad, but the outcome was so clearly inevitable that Tara began to substitute bench players at the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter, and pulled the last starter, Kiana, before the 2:00 point. This was sad because Brittany and Kaylee left the floor for the last time well before the scattering of Stanford fans realized they were gone.

Brittany had 15 points, six rebounds, a steal and a block in her last game in a Stanford uniform.

Kaylee had two points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Next year's team had some good moments.

DiJonai had 14 points, four rebounds, and amid her usual disruptive defense, three steals.

Alanna had eight points, five rebounds and a block.

Kiana had an off-night (or maybe was well-scouted by the Cardinals) and scored seven points on 3-11 shooting.

Marta had four points and dished out five assists.

Maya played good defense and had two assists, a steal, and two solid blocks. Against the Louisville secondary in the closing minutes, Shannon sank a pretty three and Alexa went 3-3 for six points.

Stanford began this season with more losses than we are accustomed to having, and for a while didn't look as if they would rank high enough to host the first round, or even be competitive in their league. In the closing month they beat a string of quality teams — including UCLA and Oregon State, teams that are now in the Elite Eight after today's results — and contended for the league championship.

Next year's squad will add three promising freshmen to the base of players — Alanna, Kiana, Marta, DiJonai, Nadia and Alyssa — to name just the ones who played in regular minutes in this final game.

How will that team do? Will it start out winning? Will it reach the Sweet-16? Of course we can't know, but we can confidently expect that they will be, as always, confident, articulate young women who play with skill, who do astonishing things on the court, and who provide excitement and entertainment for their fans.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A transcript of the press conference with Tara, Britt and DiJonai,

The game highlights video.

And a gallery of photos by Adam Padgett (isiphoto.com),

March 22, 2018

The Dance continues in Lexington

Stanford heads to Rupp Arena for the third consecutive season to compete with Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen with Oregon State taking on Baylor in the other game.

Will the Cardinal face the Beavers in the Elite Eight? Not likely — Five Thirty Eight gives Stanford just a 13% chance of upsetting Louisville and Oregon State a 10% chance of upsetting Baylor.

Here's how the four teams in the Lexington Regional match up statistically:

Stanford Louisville Baylor Oregon State
Points per game 71.7 76.9 86.7 73.6
Scoring margin 15.2 20.0 31.0 15.5
Field goal % .445 .484 .510 .485
Opponents field goal % .350 .372 .321 .345
3-pointers per game 6.2 6.2 4.6 8.4
3-point % .356 .378 .378 .403
Free throw % .692 .752 .721 .711
Rebounds per game 41.1 38.7 49.1 42.4
Rebounding margin 7.4 7.8 19.1 10.2
Assists per game 15.4 16.9 20.3 19.1
Turnovers per game 13.9 14.1 13.1 14.1
Assist/turnover ratio 1.1 1.2 1.5 1.4
Steals per game 7.2 8.1 6.9 4.0
Blocks per game 5.6 3.5 6.8 6.0
Overall record 24-10 34-2 33-1 25-7
Conference record 16-4 15-1 18-0 14-4
RPI 13 3 4 42
Schedule strength 4 13 21 73

  Stanford Cardinal


Tara begins at 1:40. Britt and Kayl at 18:55.

Stanford sends Florida Gulf Coast home, makes Sweet 16 date with Louisville

Five things to know about Louisville women's NCAA Sweet 16 opponent, Stanford

Stanford starts to shine ahead of another Lexington Sweet 16

After rough start to season and some doubt, Stanford is back

Alanna Smith’s shooting gives Stanford a shot in the arm in NCAA Tournament

Stanford wants to earn an "A" in aggressiveness in Lexington

A teammate’s struggles helped Stanford keep its perspective

Roster
Season Statistics
Game Notes

  Louisville Cardinals

Top-seeded Louisville women run past Marquette 90-72 in NCAA

Louisville braces for dangerous Stanford

Roster
Season Statistics
Game Notes

  Baylor Lady Bears

Baylor women to 10th Sweet 16 in row with win over Michigan

Kalani Brown looks to help lead Baylor back to the Final Four

Challenged post player helps Baylor women to Sweet 16 again

Oregon State, Baylor meet again in NCAA tourney

Roster
Season Statistics
Game Notes

  Oregon State Beavers

Tennessee loses in NCAAs for first time at home

Beavers one of four nonhosts to advance

Beavers take different journey to this Sweet 16

Baylor win brings back good memories

Preview: Oregon State battles Baylor in Sweet 16

Beavers have been building up Marie G├╝lich for this moment

Roster
Season Statistics
Game Notes

March 20, 2018

And the Best Three Point Shooting Team of the Sub-Regional Was?

By Warren Grimes

If you watched the games on TV, you could have no doubt about the answer to this question. The commentators, who were quite knowledgeable and balanced overall, could not say enough about Florida Gulf Coast University and its national record for long range bombing. The Eagle fans favorite T-shirt ("Raining Threes") was mentioned too many times to count.

And yes, it is true, midway through the fourth quarter, FGCU did in fact break the national season record for the number of converted three point shots. Against Stanford alone, FGCU launched a mind-numbing 47 three point attempts. They converted 36.2 % of these, or 17 in total. The percentage is not exceptional, but still very good. That's 51 points. That's 73% of the Eagles 70 point total. Throw in a bit of defense, and you will win most of your games with that sort of performance.

For the weekend, FGCU shot even better, or 37.5% from the three point line. But that figure does not even approach Stanford's weekend three point shooting percentage (51.3%). Against Gonzaga, Stanford was 11 for 22 (50%); Against FGCU, Stanford was 9 for 17, or 52.9%. Wow, that's pretty good shooting. Stanford shot three balls almost as well as it shoots free throws (ouch!).

The commentators had plenty of praise for Stanford, but I heard no acknowledgment of the team's three point shooting performance. In the Gonzaga game, one commentator declared flatly: “Stanford is not a good three-point shooting team.” Silly. She made the mistake of relying on season statistics.

The tournament is a new season. Want proof? Three Stanford players stood out in their three point shooting over the weekend. Kiana Williams was 6 for 10, or 60%. Alanna Smith was 7 for 13, or 53.8%. And DiJonai Carrington was 3 for 5, for 60%. Imagine what could have been if streaky-shooting Brittany McPhee had found her touch from outside.

Stanford's weekend long-range barrage may have been aided by the Maples factor. Stanford tends to shoot the three ball better at home, but seldom above 50%. Part of the high conversion rate doubtless stems from Stanford's well-executed Princeton offense, which leaves players with a lot of open shots. Stanford's ability to continue converting threes is a key for how they fare in the Lexington regional.

Another key to Stanford's victory over FGCU was the tactical decision to shut down the Eagles inside game. Against Missouri, FGCU had 32 attempts inside the three point arc, many of them layups. The Eagles converted 52.9% of these, for a total of 36 points. Not so against Stanford. The Eagles frequently could not even launch their interior shots. When they did, they missed more often than not, converting just 38.9 percent for 14 points. Stanford had 7 blocks.

Enough said. From here on out, every opponent will be higher seeded, starting with the region's number 1 seed Louisville. From here on out, I hope it will not be said of Stanford, that they "rained three balls." Rain falls all over the place. Instead, I hope it is said that Stanford continued to "launch well-aimed guided missiles."

March 19, 2018

Cardinal cages Eagles 90-70 to advance to Sweet Sixteen

In the pregame press conference Tara spoke generously of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles' abilities, and how despite their "raining threes" slogan they also scored well in the paint — which in fact we had seen in their upset of Missouri in Friday's game.

In this game, the Cardinal defense caged the Eagle's inside game so effectively that of their 70 points, exactly 14 came from two-point field goals. Time and again an FGCU player would drive and find herself fenced off from the basket by two larger players, and have to pass the ball out.

In the early minutes the game seemed close, with FGCU hitting timely threes to stay in the game. However, almost every time an Eagle dropped a three, a Cardinal would respond soon after. For example, around the 3-minute mark, the Eagles' Lisa Zderadicka hit a three, bringing the Eagles within four at 19-15. Seconds later, DiJonai hit a three to restore the prior lead, and a possession later, Kiana hit one.

An exciting, entertaining first quarter ended with Stanford up 33-17. At this point the Eagles' 17 points comprised five three-pointers and two free-throws — nothing in the paint.

In the second quarter, Stanford's offense sputtered while FSGU kept shooting threes and making enough of them to catch up to within five, 40-35, with a minute left. The teams went to their locker rooms at 43-35 and the Eagles, presumably, felt they had a chance at the upset.

A few minutes into the third quarter came the highlight of the game. With the Eagles on offense, Brittany poked the ball away from their guard. Marta grabbed the loose ball and fired a three-quarter-court outlet pass toward Kiana racing toward the opposite goal. The pass was a bit too long and it looked as if it would go out of bounds, but Kiana overtook it and, while leaping over the end-line, fired backward behind her to Brittany for an easy layup.

(If video clip doesn't appear, click here to view it.)

This quarter ended with Stanford up 66-48. In the fourth, the Eagles hung on behind four three-pointers by China Dow, but Alanna, Brittany and DiJonai kept scoring to hold them off to the final minute, when both coaches put in their subs and the crowd stood to applaud the starters coming off the floor.

Alanna dominated the scoring early and late, with 28 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. She hit four of seven three-point shots and hit 11-21 overall (and incurred only two personal fouls).

Brittany had 17 points on 6-13 shooting, plus nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

DiJonai had 14 points in only 20 minutes of playing time, hitting 5 of 9 tries, including two of two three-point shots. She disrupted the Eagle's offense with three gaudy steals.

Kiana scored 12 points and recorded six assists (one of them, the highlight-reel save described earlier) against one turnover.

Marta had eight points, from hitting one three-pointer and five of six free throws. She had four assists against three turnovers.

Kaylee had six points, collected 12 rebounds and had two assists and two blocks.

Stanford now heads to Lexington KY to play Louisville on Friday evening. For the first time ever: Cardinal vs Cardinals!

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The video press conference with Tara, Alanna and Britt,

The game highlights video,

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

March 17, 2018

Cardinal advances to second round with a shower of 3's

The first half of this game was fast and somewhat sloppy with frequent steals and turnovers. And it was close at first, with Stanford up only four, 22-18, at the end of the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter Alanna hit a three, Kiana hit a three, Alanna had a layup, and the Gonzaga coach, suddenly facing a 32-20 deficit, had to call time. The teams played even the rest of the period and at the half it was Stanford by 11, 47-36.

In the third quarter the Zags made a bit of a run, coming within eight, but then, starting at the 4:00 mark, Alanna made a three, Kiana made a three, and Nadia made a three. Meanwhile Gonzaga went scoreless. The 9-0 swing closed the quarter at 65-48 and the game was pretty well decided.

Kiana just edged Alanna for top scorer, hitting 5-8 threes and 8-16 shots in all for 21 points. She caught two rebounds, and recorded two assists and two steals, against one turnover.

Alanna hit 3 of 6 threes, 8-13 overall, for 20 points, and recorded six rebounds, two steals and four blocks.

Brittany had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, plus six assists and two steals.

DiJonai had 11 points on 4-8 shooting, and five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in limited minutes.

Kaylee went 3-4 to get six points, plus eight rebounds a steal and three blocks.

The team as a whole hit 50.8% of their shots, and exactly 50% of their long shots (11-22). Unfortunately they hit almost the same proportion of free throws, at 55% (11-20). For a brief while, the field goal percentage was higher than the free throw percentage, but they did better at the stripe the second half.

In the closing minutes, Gonzaga fouled repeatedly to get the ball. Even so, there were a total of 39 fouls called in this game. Note that number for contrast to the other game of the day.

In the first game of the day, #12 FGCU upset #5 Missouri, 80-70.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have a team slogan, "Raining Threes" and that is supposed to be their offensive style -- and one would think appropriately so, as none of the team are taller than 5-11, while at least a third of the Missouri Tigers are over 6 feet. However, right from the start of this game, the Eagles took the ball inside again and again, and succeeded, either scoring or getting fouled. Their defense was also disruptive, causing many more turnovers than they conceded.

It is not clear if the referee squad for this game was calling it very tightly, or if both teams were being intentionally physical. At any rate, there were a total of 56 fouls whistled in this game (as against 39 in the Stanford-Gonzaga game). Both teams were in the bonus in every quarter, and many free throws were shot.

The Eagles did attempt 17 threes, making 7 of them (compare to Stanfords' 11-22 in their game). Meanwhile the Tigers had an abysmal shooting day, going 4-24 on threes. The Floridians pulled out a 9-point lead in the first half. Despite a heroic effort by Missouri's Sophie Cunningham -- who played 40 minutes and ended with 35 points, 14 of them from free-throws -- the Eagles held on to their lead to the end of the game to secure the upset.

Stanford and FGCU will play for the right to advance to the Lexington Regional at 6pm Monday.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video from the Pac-12,

The game highlights video from Stanford Athletics,

The video press conference with Tara, Alanna, and Kiana,

And a gallery of photos by Al Chang and Don Feria (isiphoto.com),

March 16, 2018

On the eve of The Dance

Press Conference: Tara, Kaylee, Britt

Stories about the Stanford pod

A guide to the women’s NCAA Tournament’s Stanford subregional by Eric Lee (The Missourian)

Upsets upcoming at Stanford on Saturday? by Alex Simon (Summitt Hoops)

Stories about Stanford and Gonzaga

Stanford, Gonzaga meet again but in NCAA Tournament by Fox Sports

Nostalgia aside, Stanford women ready to play by Rick Eymer (Palo Alto Online)

Stanford's VanDerveer had a moment of doubt on NCAA chances by Janie McCauley (Associated Press)

Stanford women face a point guard from Gonzaga named Stockton by Tom Fitzgerald (San Francisco Chronicle)

Gonzaga faces tough test of stopping Stanford’s Brittany McPhee by Jim Allen (The Spokesman Review)

Stanford's Kiana Williams eyes Final Four by Michelle Smith (Pac-12 Conference)

Wagner alum Williams gets her shot at Stanford by David Hinojosa (San Antonio Express-News)

Stories about Missouri and FGCU

Tigers hope offense heats up on West Coast by Daniel Jones (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Can Mizzou finally break through to Sweet 16 in NCAA women's tournament? by Aaron Reiss (Kansas City Star)

FGCU women very confident vs. much taller Mizzou in NCAA first-rounder by Dana Caldwell (Naples Daily News)

FGCU focused on slowing down Missouri's Sophie Cunningham by Do-Hyoung Park (Naples Daily News)

March 15, 2018

The Dance begins at Maples

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

Stanford Gonzaga Missouri FGCU
Points per game 68.0 72.4 69.7 78.4
Scoring margin +6.5 +13.7 +9.4 +19.1
Field goal % .419 .437 .459 .441
3-pointers per game 7.0 4.8 7.9 12.0
3-point % .309 .294 .379 .361
Free throw % .639 .733 .757 .691
Rebounds per game 40.9 39.7 39.2 36.6
Rebounding margin +4.4 +4.9 +8.7 +1.7
Assists per game 13.7 14.5 16.0 16.7
Turnovers per game 14.5 13.5 14.8 12.1
Assist/turnover ratio 0.94 1.07 1.08 1.38
Steals per game 7.4 9.5 4.9 9.5
Blocks per game 5.2 3.6 3.9 1.6
Overall record 22-10 27-5 24-7 30-4
Conference record 14.3 17-1 11-5 13-1
RPI 13 34 24 47
Schedule strength 4 94 43 188

FiveThirtyEight gives Stanford an 89% chance of defeating Gonzaga and gives Missouri an 80% chance of defeating FGCU. The chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 is 74% for Stanford and 19% for Missouri.

  Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Zags earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the West Coast Conference (WCC) tournament. This is the second consecutive year that they've won both the tournament and regular-season titles.

They've been to the NCAA tournament nine times in the past 10 years, with four trips to the Sweet 16 and one to the Elite Eight.

The Zags are led by head coach Lisa Fortier, who took the reins from Kelly Graves four years ago. She has been named the WCC Coach of the Year three times.

The Zags and the Cardinal have played each other almost every season for the past nine years. The Zags won for the first time, 68-63, at Maples last season.

The Zag's leading scorer, redshirt junior forward Jill Barta, laid 26 points on the Cardinal that day and is looking forward to the rematch. Barta averages 18.8 points per game on 49% shooting. She also leads her team in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and blocks (1.0 bpg).

Junior forward Zykera Rice also scores in double digits at an average of 12.0 points per game and grabs 5.3 rebounds per game.

Here are Gonzaga's season statistics and roster

  Missouri Tigers

Mizzou earned its third consecutive at-large bid to the Big Dance by placing fourth in the tough Southeastern Conference (SEC) behind Mississippi State, South Carolina and Georgia.

This is its fifth invitation to the Big Dance. It advanced to the second round the past two seasons and to the Sweet Sixteen in 2001.

Mizzou is led by head coach Robin Pingeton, now in her eight season at the helm.

Junior guard Sophie Cunningham might be the best shooter at Maples this weekend. She averages 18.0 points per game at a rate of 53.8%. She takes almost half her shots from beyond the arc, sinking 2.3 per game at a rate of 46.6%, the third-best 3-point field goal percentage in the nation. And she makes 83% of her free throws — just under four per game.

Cunningham may also be the toughest player. She's received negative comments about her playing style in the social media, but her mother says, "Dang it, she’s not a dirty player. She’s hard-nosed. With that said, she’s feisty ... She won’t back down from a physical fight or a verbal fight. Even as a little girl Sophie always had to have the last word. And it's frustrating being on the other side."

Junior forward Cierra Porter leads the team in rebounding with 7.7 per game. She is just short of being their third double-digit scorer with 9.9 points per game.

Redshirt senior forward Jordan Frericks is Mizzou's second-best scorer and rebounder with 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Here are Mizzou's season statistics and roster.

   Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Eagles

Florida Gulf Coast has been a Division I program in the Atlanta Sun (ASUN) conference since the 2007-08 season, and has been eligible for postseason play since 2011-12. It has dominated the conference in those past seven years.

This is the fifth time that the Eagles have earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the ASUN tournament. They've advanced to the second round just once, in 2015.

The Eagles are also the ASUN regular season champion, which they have been for all but one of the past seven years.

Karl Smesko has been the head coach at FGCU ever since 2002-03, the program's first year (when it played in Division II). He has been named the ASUN Coach of the Year nine times in the eleven years that FGCU has been a member of the conference.

The Eagles' social media mantra is #RAININGTHREES. It's a style that Smesko has been preaching since he started coaching.

The Eagles have attempted 1126 3-pointers this season and made 407 of them — more than any other team in the nation. They've averaged the second-most 3-pointers per game (12.0, just shy of DePaul's 12.1).

The Eagles' barrage of treys is a team-wide performance.

Redshirt senior guard Taylor Gradinjan makes the most — 2.7 per game at a rate of 38.9%. This is Gradinjan's sixth season at FGCU. She has suffered two ACL tears, but has played more minutes this season than any FGCU player and has at least one 3-pointer in all but two games.

Senior forward Rosemarie Julien is close behind with 2.1 3-pointers per game at a rate of 35%, and is the team's top scorer with an average of 13.4 points per game.

Reshirt senior guard Jessica Cattani is the Eagles' most accurate 3-point shooter. She comes off the bench for about 14 minutes per game to sink 1.6 treys at a rate of 43.5%.

Sophomore forward Tytionia Adderly leads the team in rebounding with an average of 9.1 per game.

Here are FGCU's season statistics and roster.

March 14, 2018

How long will the Cardinal dance?

FiveThirtyEight, the statistical analysis website, in article 2018 March Madness Predictions gives Stanford:

A 74% chance of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.
A 12% chance of upsetting Louisville and advancing to the Elite Eight
A 2% chance of advancing to the Final Four.

ESPN in article UConn is favored in NCAA tournament, but BPI likes field uses ESPN's brand-new Basketball Power Index (BPI) for women's college basketball to give Stanford:

A 45% chance of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen
A 14% chance of advancing to the Elite Eight
a 4% chance of advancing to the Final Four

Charlie Creme (ESPN) in article UConn leads way in 1-64 NCAA tournament power rankings sizes up the chances of the other 63 contenders. For Stanford:

Best case: The NCAA tournament and Stanford can't be discussed without "Final Four" entering the conversation -- and the Cardinal do it again. Brittany McPhee catches a hot streak like she did in the regionals last March and Stanford shocks Louisville and Baylor to get to its third Final Four in five years and the 14th in program history.

Worst case: The Cardinal reach the Sweet 16, but the season ends there because this is the game Louisville's Asia Durr finds her stroke again. The Cardinal have no answer even after massive halftime adjustments by coach Tara VanDerveer.

Graham Hays (ESPN) in article Five burning questions for the women's NCAA tournament bracket thinks that Louisville has the most difficult road to Columbus:

It might be the shortest path to Columbus, barely 250 miles even with a slight detour to Rupp Arena along the way, but Louisville will feel every one of those miles if it emerges unscathed.

Geography obviously helps the ACC champions. Should the Cardinals reach the regional round in nearby Lexington, no other No. 1 seed will likely be as well supported -- the opportunity to cut down nets on a rival's court all the sweeter in a season in which Kentucky missed the tournament.

But that is about all Louisville has going for it in its draw.

A No. 1 seed hasn't lost in the second round or earlier (sorry, Stanford) since 2009, so the first weekend should be a foregone conclusion. That said, Louisville failed to defend its own court in the NCAA tournament before, in a regional final against Maryland in 2014 and a second-round game against DePaul in 2016. It also lost a tournament game against Dayton in 2015, and while the players and even the coach are different this time, the Flyers are still bigger and more athletic than most mid-majors. It's worth noting if those teams should meet in the second round.

It's the weekend at Rupp Arena that gets tricky. Potential Sweet 16 opponent Stanford would be playing in Lexington for the third year in a row. A year ago, the Cardinal upset top-seeded Notre Dame in the regional final. The year before that? They upset top-seeded Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. You get the feeling the Cardinal wouldn't be overwhelmed by the surroundings, even with the kind of partisan crowd that was missing the past two years.

Stanford [is] a potential thorn in Louisville's side, but that involves the Cardinal getting through a loaded bracket in the first two rounds. A win at Stanford could be another step toward stardom for Missouri's Sophie Cunningham, but both favorites face difficult openers against mid-majors with athleticism and experience playing big games. Keep an eye on Gonzaga's Jill Barta, who might be the most talented player in the building.

Jim Oxley (Hero Sports) in article Lexington Region Predictions predicts:

Cardinal (no 's') all the way: That battle between the Cardinal and the Cardinals in the Sweet 16 is what will ultimately decide the region.

Stanford are winners of 10 of their last 12, including wins against ranked Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State teams. They did lose badly to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament championship, but they've got veteran leadership in the form of Brittany McPhee and Alanna Smith, among others, while the performance of freshman Kianna Williams (8.4 points, 5.7 rebounds per game) has been a strong addition.

In my predictions they would get Louisville in the Sweet 16 and Tennessee in the Elite Eight, a team who beat them in California back at the beginning of the season. Five of Stanford's 10 losses on the season (including the Tennessee loss) came in the Cardinal's first 11 games. They were a different group to finish the season.

This Stanford squad made it to the Final Four as a two seed in the Lexington region just a year ago. Can they get back again this season? I like their chances.

March 12, 2018

The Road to Columbus

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The Cardinal has been seeded No. 4 in the Lexington region and its road to Columbus will begin at home in Maples against No. 13 Gonzaga on Saturday, March 17 at 3:00 pm PT.

IF the Cardinal wins that game, its second-round game will be against either No. 5 Missouri or No. 12 FGCU on Monday, March 19 at time tbd.

IF the Cardinal wins its first and second round games, its next game[s] will be at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky (map) on Friday, March 23 and Sunday, March 25.

IF the seedings hold true, Stanford will play Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.

IF Stanford upsets Louisville, it will likely play Baylor in the Elite Eight (although, with a couple more upsets, its opponent could be Oregon State).

IF the seedings hold true, the Final Four at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus (map) on Friday, March 31 will be UConn vs Notre Dame and Louisville vs MIssissippi State.

In regard to the rest of the Pac-12:

  • Oregon is the No. 2 seed in the Spokane region. Its first game will be at home in Matthew Knight Arena against No. 15 Seattle.
  • UCLA is the No. 3 seed in the Kansas City region. Its first game will be at home in Pauley Pavilion against No. 14 American.
  • Oregon State is the No. 6 seed in the Lexington region. Its first game will be in Knoxville, TN against No. 11 Western Kentucky.
  • Arizona State is the No. 7 seed in the Kansas City region. Its first game will be in Austin, TX against No. 10 Nebraska.
  • California is the No. 7 seed in the Albany region. Its first game will be in Columbus, SC against No. 10 Virginia.

  • Utah has been selected to play in the WNIT. Its first game is at home agains UNLV on Thursday, Mar 15 at a time to be announced. As the Pac-12 No. 7 seed, USC qualified automatically, but declined the invitation. Here is the WNIT bracket.
Here is the NCAA tournament bracket.

Ticket Information

See Stanford Athletics article More Basketball in Maples for information about buying first and second round tickets.

IF the Cardinal advances to the regionals, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the second round is completed.

IF the Cardinal advances to the Final Four, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the Elite Eight is completed.

Regardless of the Cardinal's progress through the tournament, you can buy tickets now, as available, for any of the postseason games from TicketMaster (click here for details and links).

Brittany is Academic All-American

Brittany has been named to the 2017-18 Academic All-American Division I second team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Brittany is the ninth academic All-American in program history, joining Erica McCall, Chiney Ogwumike, Kristin Folkl, Kate Starbird, Chris MacMurdo, Julie Zeilstra, Jeanne Ruark Hoff and Louise Smith.

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