July 27, 2014

Bird soars as Pro-Am team wins

By Judy Richter

Playing the full 40 minutes, sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall led her South Bay team to an 82-72 victory over Golden State in a playoff game in the SF Bay Area Pro-Am women’s tournament at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco on July 26.

Bird scored a team-high 33 points, according to my unofficial tally. Her Stanford teammate, guard Briana Roberson, contributed an unofficial 20 points. My tally doesn’t agree with the official scorekeeper’s, who was going by the players’ uniform numbers in the program, but those numbers bore little resemblance to reality.

South Bay led 40-33 at the half and stayed ahead most of the second half until Golden State pulled even at 65-65 with 5:08 to go. South Bay held a narrow edge until Briana iced the victory by hitting nine consecutive free throws, most after being intentionally fouled. She missed a 10th FT, but by then she had put the game in the bag.

The game was to have started at 1:30 p.m., but with six minutes to go, only two South Bay players had arrived. Golden State had six.

Traffic delays arrivals

So just before 1:30, the countdown clock was reset and stopped at 20 minutes. At 1:52 p.m., Bird and Briana arrived with another South Bay woman, so the clock started. About two minutes before the new tipoff, guard Markisha Coleman, ’07, and another SB player arrived. All had been delayed by heavy traffic.

Bird and Briana, who was at the point, started the game. Briana played most of the game, and Markisha saw lots of action, often at the point. She finished with an unofficial 2 points.

The game was hardly high caliber with lots of turnovers and missed chances on both sides, but some nifty plays by the two Stanford players might have been previews of coming attractions. Many of them involved quick assists by Briana to Bird as she soared toward the basket.

Fewer than a dozen Stanford fans were on hand to cheer the Cardinal women. Sophomore guard Lili Thompson, her parents, a brother and two nieces, ages 2 and 4, bolstered that cheering section.

Lili optimistic after surgery

Lili, who had surgery in the offseason, said her recuperation is going well. She hopes to be cleared to play by the time the new season starts.

South Bay will play Mission Rec at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 2. The winner of that game will play for the championship against Bay City at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 10.

Kezar Pavilion is at 755 Stanyan at Waller on the far east end of Golden Gate Park. Paid parking is available next door. Allow ample time for traffic.

July 23, 2014

Summer on the Farm

By Judy Richter

There’s little summer down time for the Stanford women’s basketball team with all 15 players on campus.

Thirteen of them are in summer school, while the other two, senior forwards Bonnie Samuelson and Erica Payne, are doing internships, associate head coach Amy Tucker said in a recent phone interview. Bonnie majors in human biology, while Erica majors in science, technology and society.

NCAA rules allow the players to practice two hours a week with the coaches. They also spend six hours a week with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil.

Bonnie, sophomore guards Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson and sophomore forward Kailee Johnson are limited in their activities because they’re rehabbing from off-season surgery, Amy said.

In addition, players may work at head coach Tara VanDerveer’s hoops camp for youngsters depending on their class schedule. Hoops camp sessions began June 24 and will end July 26.

In their off hours, the players may play in pick-up games on their own, Amy said. Among those joining them for the games and hoops camp is Mikaela Ruef, ’13. She has returned to campus for the engineering job she held while playing on the 2013-14 team and completing her master’s degree in management science and engineering.

Mikaela left that job in the spring for a short stint with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm after being selected in the third round of the draft. She’s hoping to play basketball overseas in the upcoming season, Amy said.

In addition, two sophomores, guard Briana Roberson and forward Erica McCall, have been playing in San Francisco’s Pro-Am program at Kezar Pavilion. They’re both on the South Bay team along with Stanford WBB alum Markisha Coleman, ’07.

Coaches keep busy

Besides working with the team and hoops camp, the coaches have been recruiting. During the summer, they’re allowed to recruit for seven days before taking 10 days off, Amy said. The next week of recruiting was to begin July 23. There’s no recruiting in August. It resumes Sept. 9.

Both the women’s and men’s coaches spent a day on campus hearing from NBA coach Mike D’Antoni, most recently with the L.A. Lakers. D’Antoni talked about his motion offense and the pick and roll, Amy said.

According to Wikipedia, “the pick and roll …is an offensive play in which a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then slips behind the defender (rolls) to accept a pass.”

Assistant coaches Kate Paye and Tempie Brown plus video coordinator Lauren Greif attended a two-day session of CoachingULive at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas in mid-July.

The program featured such speakers as UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, whose topic was “Inside a Championship Program,” and L.A. Lakers coach Doc Rivers, whose topic was “Coaching: The Most Important Things I Do.” Rivers talked about zone defense and offensive concepts, according to the CoachingULive website.

The name game

With the arrival of the three freshmen — forwards Taylor Rooks of New Jersey, forward Brittany McPhee of Washington and guard/forward Kaylee Johnson of Wyoming –— fans might be forgiven if they sometimes get mixed up on names.

The closest match is Kaylee Johnson (with a long ‘a’) and sophomore forward Kailee (with a long ‘i’) Johnson. They’ve resolved that confusion with Kailee going as K.J., Amy said. (And don’t forget about Karlie Samuelson for a similar sound.)

Taylor Rooks is the team’s second Taylor, joining senior forward Taylor Greenfield. No word on how they’ll be distinguished.

And Brittany McPhee shares the same first name, even the same spelling, with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil.

Last year was a little easier, when there were just Erica Payne and Erica McCall. That was resolved when the younger player became known as Bird.

Fabulous freshmen

“The freshmen are doing fabulously,” Amy said. “They’re working well and more than holding their own.”

Summer school, which began June 23, ends with the last day of finals on Aug. 16. The fall term starts Sept. 22, but the players will return to campus on Sept. 15, having had a month off.

The coaches and staff will have most of that time off, too.

Although the 2014-15 schedule hasn’t been released, the season usually begins in early November with at least one exhibition game.