October 31, 2014

Amber chosen by media for preseason All-Pac-12 team

Amber has been named to the five-person preseason All-Pac-12 Team as voted on by the media who regularly cover the conference’s women’s basketball teams

Amber enters her senior season With 425 career assists. She sits just behind a number of Stanford legends in that category and is aiming to become the seventh Cardinal to reach the 500-assist plateau, joining Sonja Henning (757), Jennifer Azzi (751), Milena Flores (644), Jamila Wideman (585), Nicole Powell (577) and Jeanette Pohlen (560). She’s also on track to crack Stanford’s career top 10 lists for both games and minutes played.

Stanford was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 Preseason Media Poll (read more here) and has been ranked #6 nationally in the preseason women’s basketball Associated Press Top 25 poll (read more here).

October 29, 2014

Evan Unrau returns with new job

By Judy Richter

After a one-year stint as video coordinator for the Stanford women’s basketball team starting seven years ago, Evan Unrau has returned to the Farm in a new capacity: She’s a special assistant to head coach Tara VanDerveer.

Calling her duties “ever-evolving,” Evan is helping Tara with some projects such as clinics and NCAA legislative matters – “a little bit of everything,” she said during a recent interview on campus.

For example, shortly after starting her Stanford assignment in September, she joined Tara and associate head coach Amy Tucker on a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, to conduct FIBA coaching clinics during the world championship tournament (won by the USA team with Nneka Ogwumike, ’12).

NCAA rules don’t allow her to work with the team or individual players, but she attends daily WBB staff meetings. They include film sessions and the chance to “share a thought or two.”

‘Part of that brain trust’

“Being part of that brain trust is beyond rewarding,” she said. “It’s a learning experience, (and) Tara is one of the best to do it.”

Among other things, Evan said she’s learning about leadership. Even though Tara is a Hall of Fame coach who’s considered one of the best ever, she always seeks input from the staff. “That’s a coaching style that I believe in,” Evan said. “Tara’s a learner.”

During practices she keeps statistics on an iPad and sends the results to the coaches. It’s a way of keeping objective track of what’s happening and augmenting the coaches’ evaluations of individual players and combinations of players.

Graduate of the University of Missouri

Originally from Fort Collins, Colo., Evan earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri in 2004. While there, the forward played basketball all four years and earned an All American honorable mention during her senior year.

Coincidentally, an assistant coach there had played for Tara when she was head coach at Ohio State. Evan also worked at Tara’s summer hoops camps while in college.

Her Stanford biography notes that as “a two-time first team all-league selection, (she) captained the Big 12 All-Star team that represented the United States at the 2003 World University Games in Daegu, South Korea.” She was drafted by the Washington Mystics in the third round of the 2004 WNBA draft and played professionally in Luxembourg in 2005 and again in the 2006-07 season.

Between those two overseas ventures, she earned her master’s in health education and promotion at her alma mater, where she was a graduate assistant with the women’s basketball team.

Six seasons as an assistant coach

She spent the 2007-08 season as the Stanford WBB video coordinator before becoming an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara for one season, followed by Santa Clara University for three seasons and by USC for two seasons, ending earlier this year.

It was then that Tara invited her to return to Stanford. “When a Hall of Fame coach says that, it’s hard to turn down,” Evan said.

Her goal is to return to coaching.

In the meantime, she’s like many fans in that she can’t venture a prediction of how this year’s team will fare after a succession of superstars that ended with Chiney Ogwumike’s graduation in June.

“It’s a different team (with) new exciting faces,” she said, adding that everyone is working hard and competing.

October 28, 2014

Outside of her comfort zone

Tara is an incomparable coach, and it's going to be such an interesting season!

Michelle Smith (espnW) writes:

Behind All-Americans like the Ogwumikes, Stanford's triangle offense has troubled foes for years. But Tara VanDerveer is changing it up this season — and it's making the coach a little cranky.

Read more: New look, new offense for Stanford

And read about the outlook of other Pac-12 coaches in Stanford women picked to win Pac-12 regular-season crown from KTVU.

October 22, 2014

Stanford picked to lead the Pac

Tara and Amber represented Stanford at Pac-12 Media Day this morning.

Unfortunately, there is no video of the telecast, but here are reports from various sources that cover much of what was said:

October 15, 2014

It's time to meet the newbies

The Cardinal has just three freshmen this season, but you may find it harder than usual to learn to recognize them.

Kaylee Johnson is a 6'3" forward with long dark hair. So is sophomore Kailee Johnson. If you didn't learn how to spell and pronounce Kailee's name last season, you're really going to be confused.

Kailee is spelled with an 'I' and pronounced with a long 'I', rhymes with 'Riley'. Kaylee is spelled with a 'Y' instead and pronounced with a long 'A', rhymes with 'daily'.

Their uniforms will both say 'K Johnson'. Kaylee is #5, Kailee is #32. Kaylee's nickname is Kayl, Kailee's is K.J.

Kaylee was a three-time Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year. Her high school coach says, “Kaylee is a very selfless teammate. She is also very coachable and an extremely competitive kid. She just keeps developing her game, as she demonstrated this year by leading the state [Wyoming] in assists.”

Tara says, “Kaylee is a shot blocker and a very energetic post player. She has proven that she can score and rebound, but we are very excited about her defensive skill and how that will boost us on that end of the floor.”

Taylor Rooks is a brunette 6'0" guard from New Jersey. There's no confusion in appearance with 6'3" senior forward Taylor Greenfield, just in their names. Ms Rooks' nickname is Rex.

Taylor was a two-time Gatorade New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year. There have been only four others — Kelley Suminski ('05) was one of them.

New Jersey high school coach Mary Coyles describes Taylor as, “... a very athletic scorer who can shoot the 3-pointer or slash to the basket. She's extremely quick and she does whatever it takes to win.”

Tara says, “Taylor is a versatile, strong body that can play the two or the three positions. She can rebound and score at a fast pace, and she also brings a solid defensive game into our fold.”

Brittany McPhee is a blond 6'0" guard from Washington. Although they look alike, you're not likely to confuse her and the Cardinal's other blond Brittany — sports performance coach Brittany Keil.

Brittany is a three-time Washington Gatorade Player of the Year. Washington high school coach Keith Wasburg says, “She improved at every aspect of the game (as a senior) even though she was already the best player in the state. Her intelligence impresses me the most. It's beyond a basketball IQ. My defensive strategy was to trap her and leave perimeter players open, every time."

Tara says, “Brittany is a scoring machine, and we look forward to having her here at Stanford. She’s hard-nosed, runs the floor well and we’re really excited about the way she plays.”

* * * * *

You can see more photos of the newbies in this Stanford Photo Gallery and action from newbies and oldies in this video. Better yet — come to open practice at Maples at 5:00 on Friday and see them all in person.

* * * * *

There are three newbies on the staff too:

Evan Unrau, who was video co-ordinator for the Cardinal in 2007-08, has returned to the staff as Special Assistant to the Head Coach.

Hana Potter, who graduated from WSU last season, has joined the staff as an intern.

John Cantalupi has joined the Stanford Athletics Media Relations staff, with responsibility for women's basketball. He replaces Aaron Juarez, who has moved to Idaho where he is an Assistant Sports Information Director at Boise State University.

October 10, 2014

Ros previews the 2014-15 season

Ros chatted with Pac-12 Networks' JB Long and Ashley Adamson about the emerging players and teams poised to break out during the 2014-15 Pac-12 women's basketball season. There will be many serious challenges to Stanford's long-standing dominance of the league.

October 07, 2014

First day of practice

Stanford officially opened its 2014-15 season yesterday afternoon with its first practice in Maples Pavilion. To watch interviews with senior Bonnie Samuelson and sophomore Lili Thompson and highlights from the workout, click the play button below:

October 02, 2014

The ZU needs You

What do you do when you can’t attend a game and ...
  • It’s not televised?
  • Or your provider doesn’t provide it?
  • Or the online-video is worse than nothing?
  • Or you can’t stand listening to commentary about everything except the ongoing game for another minute?
You turn to KZSU, of course.

KZSU is almost always there, ready to help you join the fun. It covered every single Stanford women’s basketball game last season — the exhibition games, the home games, the away games, the post-season games. It even went to Puerto Vallarta, although technical difficulties prevented it from broadcasting.

KZSU is only there when it can afford to be. KZSU is a non-commercial station that relies on listener contributions and business underwriting to support its broadcast operations.

Ashley Westhem, who has been the broadcaster for the team for the past two years, is looking forward to providing as much coverage this season as fiscally possible.

KZSU co-sports director Vihan Lakshman says, “Currently, we are planning on covering the two exhibition games in November as well as most (hopefully all) of the Pac-12 away games. We likely won't be able to travel to all of the early season non-conference games. KZSU Sports has had its travel budget reduced significantly, but we are working on fundraising to cover a full season of Stanford women's basketball.“

Can you help KZSU and Ashley continue to be the voice of Stanford Women’s Basketball?

Click here to donate online, or send your check to:

KZSU Radio (attn. Sports)
P.O. Box 20190
Stanford, CA 94309

You can specify on the check or online that your donation is to go towards women’s basketball.