December 31, 2018

Non-Conference Confidence

Non-Conference Confidence
Warren Grimes
                Impressive.  That’s the right word to describe Stanford WBB, this season’s edition.  The team ended the non-conference schedule 10-1.  One has to go back 5 years to find a better beginning to the season.  And this team should get better.    
                They lost their one contest to a hot-shooting Gonzaga team, despite an inspiring fourth quarter rally.  Building off that defeat, they went on to defeat two undefeated top 10 teams: Number three ranked Baylor at home; and number nine ranked Tennessee on the road.  The victory in Knoxville was  record setting and an altogether inspiring performance. 
                Stanford scored 95 points, two short of a record for an opponent playing on Tennessee’s home court, and shot 58% from the three point line, a record for a Tennessee visiting opponent.   Two Stanford players set career highs for points in that game: DiJonai Carrington had 33 points and Lacie Hull had 14 on 4-5 shooting from three land.  
                When two Stanford players set career scoring highs in the same game, that’s good news.  The last time I can recall that happening was in Stanford’s upset victory over Maryland in a NCAA regional final during Candice Wiggins’ senior year.  She and JJ Hones both set career highs in that memorable game, and Stanford went on to defeat another number 1 seed, Connecticut, in the semifinals.
                It’s premature to suggest this year’s team will have that sort of success, but not premature to say that the team is, indeed, very, very good.  So why the step up from last year?  Gone are Brittany McPhee and Kaylee Johnson, but the returning players are stepping up.  Four of the five starters are veterans with substantial experience.   
                Fouls aside, Alanna Smith is getting it done on the offensive end, leading the team with just under 19 points per game and shooting more threes than anyone else (and at a remarkable 49% clip).  She’s also the team’s second best rebounder.  And Kiana Williams is continuing her strong point guard performance, leading the team with 50 assists and just under a 2:1 assist turnover ratio.  She has almost as many threes as Smith, and at a commendable .386 rate. 
                A number of vets are back with improved performance.  Maya Dodson’s 16 points against CSUN was the team high, a sign of the team’s blossoming versatility and balance.  She is showing confidence in her jump hook shot.  Dodson leads the team in blocks and is improving her rebounding. 
                But let’s talk about two starting players who have really stepped up this season.  First is DiJonai Carrington.  She has excelled in numerous ways, including moving up to the team’s number one rebounder (on a boards per minute basis, she’s a slight step ahead of Smith).  She’s shooting threes at a .379 clip, but she’s also scoring in the paint on creative drives and put backs.  Her eleven points per game average puts her in third place on the team, but, of late, as in the Tennessee game, she has been performing well above that level. 
                None of this is totally different from last year’s Carrington, but she’s no doubt been asked to step up her performance in McPhee’s absence.  Carrington is a fierce competitor and a chemistry player.  Her strength, athleticism and drive make her critical to Stanford’s success.  Stanford’s ability to stay on pace with Smith out of the game is due in significant part to Carrington, whose versatility makes her a nightmare for opponents to guard.
                Lacie Hull has also been quietly (but not so quiet of late) contributing to this team’s success.  She has started 5 games for the team for good reason.  She plays solid defense, leading the team with 20 steals.  Lexie is steady on the ball, with a 2:1 assist/turnover ratio.  And she can shoot the three ball, at a 40% rate overall.  Of late, she’s been rebounding strongly, with 5 boards against Buffalo and 4 against CSUN.  
                Lacie Hull won the Pac-12 freshman of the week distinction last week.  Well deserved but, I must say, something of a surprise.  At the season’s start, one would have guessed that the first Stanford freshman to get this award would be her twin, Lexie Hull, or perhaps Jenna Brown, the highly ranked point guard recruit.  Lexie Hull, however, has played in only three games because of her injury, and Brown has been making steady progress as a point guard, but has yet to start a game.
                There is something to be said for the fact that Lacie Hull won the freshman of the week competition before either of her more highly touted freshman teammates did.  That suggests that they are all very good players whose development will make Stanford an even better team. 
                Imagine a Stanford team at season’s end with Marta Sniezek, Lexie Hull, and Anna Wilson back, and with a more experienced Jenna Brown.   Some of that may happen as early as this weekend, when USC and UCLA visit Maples.

December 11, 2018

Seven Games In: What’s Working, What’s Not

            Going into the December exam break, Stanford is 6-1. Not perfect, but a far cry from the 5-4 record at the same point last year.  Some things are working well, others less so.

            On the positive side, senior Alanna Smith is averaging 18.1 points per game.  Her contributions don’t stop there, as Smith is averaging 6 boards, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 blocks per contest.  Her three point shooting percentage is the team’s best (16 threes at a .485 clip). And she is knocking down free throws at a much improved rate (.778 compared to last year’s disappointing .539).  Smith is critical to the team’s success, but has had to sit substantial periods because of foul trouble (against FGCU and Gonzaga). 

            Equally impressive, veteran sophomore Kiana Williams is tearing it up with points (averaging 15.3) and assists (averaging 5 assists against 3 turnovers per game).   Smith leads the team in threes with 20 (at an impressive .465 clip).  She’s a fierce competitor and (for now at least) the team’s point guard.  She’s a very good one, but could also dazzle as a shooting guard.

            Other veterans have also shown up.  DiJonai Carrington and Nadia Fingall are consistently putting up double figures, and Maya Dodson, coming off the bench, is not far behind.  

            None of this is wholly unexpected.  But the statistics do reveal some surprises.  For example, who is getting the most playing time? Here are the top four in average minutes per game:
            Kiana Williams - 30.7 minutes
            Lexie Hull         - 25.7 minutes (in the 3 games played)
             Lacie Hull        - 23.1 minutes
            Alanna Smith    - 22.6 minutes

            Given that Smith is the team’s most prolific scorer (averaging .804 points per minute  against second place Williams average of .500 points per minute), Alanna needs to minimize fouls so that she can be on the floor more.

            So why are the Hull twins getting so much playing time?  
            One answer is that they play defense and keep the offense flowing with few turnovers.  On the defensive side, the twins lead the team in steals per minute. Here are the stats:
                                                Lacie Hull                   - .105 steals per minute
                                                Lexie Hull                   - .104 steals per minute
                                                DiJonai Carrington     - .077 steals per minute

            In the turnover category, Lacie Hull is the best. Despite averaging the second highest number of minutes, Lacie has less than one turnover per game while averaging more than 2 assists.   So far, both twins are perfect from the foul line (Lexie 2-2 and Lacie 4-4).

            The twins may be identical, but they are different players.  With 10.7 points per game, Lexie has the third highest average on the team.  And there’s more.  Lexie is the team’s top rebounder in terms of boards per minute. Here are the top four players in that category.
                                                Lexie Hull                   - .273 per minute
                                                Alanna Smith              - .272 per minute
                                                Nadia Fingall              - .243 per minute
                                                DiJonai Carrington     - .240 per minute        

            Rebounding was an issue in the loss to Gonzaga. Lexie’s injury kept her out of the game, and the team’s other top rebounder, Alanna Smith, played only 25 minutes.  Other players need to step up their rebounding, among them Maya Dodson, who, while leading the team in shot blocks, is averaging just .188 boards per minute.  With her athletic moves, Dodson tends to get fouled a lot, and she also needs to convert more of her foul shots (so far she has made only 1/3 of her 15 attempts).   

            Three other players are averaging 10 minutes or more per game (Alyssa Jerome, Anna Wilson, and Jenna Brown).  If this trend continues, 10 Stanford players would be part of the rotation.  To be a great team, each of them must find how they can contribute.  With Baylor and Tennessee up next, the door is open for each to demonstrate what they can do.  

Warren Grimes, FBC Feature Writer

November 29, 2018

A Massive Astronomical Event Was Just Announced - the Haley Comet!

Lovers of Stanford Women's Basketball - a Massive Astronomical Event Was Just Announced that
will brighten our lives through early 2023!!!!

The Haley Comet will be visible to the naked eye in broad daylight next summer in Palo Alto - and will be closely watched for years!!

Sorry for the cheap stunt to get your attention - but now that I've got it, I'll let you know (as if you didn't already) that Haley Jones just committed to Stanford. Haley may not be a comet, but she's the next thing to it - she's the No. #1 ranked recruit in the 2019 class in the U.S. I've heard her compared to Maya Moore at sixteen. They're both the same size - 6'-1" and built strong.

Remember Tara and Amy's last No. #1 recruit? I knew you would - you're right, it was Chiney. And see, you don't even need a last name - besides I still can't spell it. So years from now, I'll just say Haley - and you'll know who I mean.

She's a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School in Santa Cruz - in case you want a preview. Also, I've included a link to the video of the Under 17 Basketball World Cup Gold Medal Game against France from last summer that I think you'll enjoy. I'm still having trouble with the technical aspects of blogging, so you'll need to put your cursor on this link and hit control/click to access the link.

Stanford's recruiting class national ranking just went from No.# 3 to No. #2. How does our coaching staff do it? I remember reading that when Tara asked her dad about taking the Stanford job, he told her "Nah, it's a coaching graveyard." Stanford had had decades of losing seasons and were the perennial doormat for the PAC10 conference. NCAA tournaments?  Forgetaboutit.

Most fans excused the previous coaching staff, figuring (like Tara's father) that the microscopically thin layer of star talent available would head directly to the established powers, i.e. Tennessee or Old Dominion. Coaching on the West Coast in the 80's was akin to coaching in Australia, as far as the national sports media was concerned. (Believe it or not, it's better these days.)

But Tara could envision it. One of the top five academically ranked universities in the world with a major endowment, incredible alumni base, and magnificent plans for the future. And Silicon Valley, Baby. You probably bought a Macintosh like I did in 1985, her first year.

So, in one of the bravest coaching decisions in WBB history, Tara left Ohio State where she had a major contender in hand, for an absolute non-contender (Jeanne Ruark Hoff, their only All American in decades had just graduated.) Then, somehow she signed Jennifer Azzi from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, from under Pat Summit's nose, and then Kate Starbird, then Molly Goodenbour and things began to change - big time. But that's another story.

Obviously they're still changing. It's almost like the WBB magnetic field has had a polar reversal. Haley didn't go to UConn! Instead of the 251st academically ranked university in the world, she decided to come to the 2nd - according to Reuters. (Of course, being a British rating agency, they list Oxford as still No. #1.) Anyway - smart decision, Haley.

But that's not all! While you're watching the U17 game link, check out one of Haley's teammates who is also coming with her to Stanford next year, and is the No. #23 recruit in the nation - Fran Belibi. Her dunking videos on youtube have gone viral and she's 6'-1". How many 6'-1" people do you know that can dunk? 
Not on the U17 US team, but the No. #16 recruit in the nation, also coming to Stanford next year is 6'-5" post player Ashten Prechtel. And fourth, but certainly not least, Hannah Jump has also signed and is the 50th ranked recruit in the nation (that's out of tens of thousands). She stars at Pinewood in Los Altos. Her coach was recently quoted as saying, that in his unbiased opinion, she's the best three point shooter in the nation - currently playing in high school. The three point beat goes on.

A handful of recruits in the 2020 Class have already committed and two are coming to Stanford. No. #2 Cameron Brink is a 6'-4" All American wing out of Oregon and No. #37 Jana Van Gytenbeek is a point guard from Colorado who, I'm told, committed to Stanford in the seventh grade.

Don't you figure the WBB world is noticing. Something really big is going on out West. If you were one of those fabulously talented players on the 2020 list of the top 100 recruits in the U.S. - wouldn't you be erasing the top choice on your list of schools and writing in Stanford? Would you want to play against Stanford for the next four years? I didn't think so. 

So, sit back and buckle up fans! The thirty-four years of work by Tara et al are coming to fruition. Big Mo is moving into Maples. You think Gino hasn't noticed? 2020's No. #1 ranked recruit, Paige Bueckers, who also stars in the above link on last summer's gold medal winning U.S. team, is uncommitted. Don't you figure she's leaning toward Stanford? She's from Minnesota. Lindsey Whelan is probably sitting in her living room recruiting her this afternoon and it's 23 degrees outside. Paige is thinking, right now it's 75 in Palo Alto. They've got palm trees and everyone's drinking iced latte outside a sidewalk cafe in tank tops and flip flops. Besides, Tara's building a juggernaut out there in the sunshine. Hmmm. Think I'll join Haley and Fran.

Anyway. It's happening. I can feel it. 

Malcolm McFall

November 26, 2018

Three Days After Baylor - Stanford Takes On Tennessee In Knoxville

That's what you sign up for when you come to Stanford. After a maximum effort on Saturday and a long flight, you suit up on Tuesday to do battle in one of America's toughest venues - Thompson Boling Arena where 15,000 rabid fans decked out in garish orange await in full voice. The decibels assault your senses like few college players ever experience - one reason the Lady Vols rarely lose at Rocky Top.

It takes a special kind of athlete to meet this massive back-to-back  challenge - two of America's best in three days. Then, with self-assurance and a joyful heart, you embrace this battle on Pat Summit's court and enjoy the environment their fans, band and spirit squad create. Those special athletes come to Stanford - and a tough venue brings out the best in them.

The Lady Vols are rebuilding this year, but they're tough. Few teams could lose what they lost from last year and be ranked #9. In their game against the Texas Longhorns on Sunday their guards, Meme Jackson and Evina Westbrook, went off for 56 points. They're not going to give anything to anybody - you've got to go in there and beat them. Press Control/Click to access the link below:

We'll have to play especially tough on their home floor. Nothing comes easy in Thompson - Boling Arena.

Everyone needs to be on.

We can do it.

November 23, 2018

Cardinal heads north to play the 4-1 Gonzaga Lady Bulldogs on Dec. 2nd

Gonzaga Logo - Link to homepage

On December 2 the Stanford Women's Basketball Team Heads up to Spokane to take on the Gonzaga Lady Bulldogs (4 - 1). On the same day that their men's team defeated No.#1 Duke, the Lady Bulldogs lost to No.#1 Notre Dame in a Thanksgiving Tournament in Vancouver. They played the Irish tough early, but ended up losing by sixteen - too much rebounding, points in the paint, and fast break scoring. John Stockton's daughter, Laura, had eight points and seven assists while Zykera (look for blue hair) Rice had sixteen points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. A freshman named Melody Kempton had fourteen points.
Zykera Rice
Gonzaga has a pair of identical twins also - Jenn and Leeanne Wirth. It sounds like Lexie Hull will be missing in action again due to her foot problem. We sure feel her absence. Maybe this will be the game her twin, Lacie, gets rolling offensively. That would be a big help. She always plays great on the defensive end.

The Zags always fill that building when the Cardinal come to town and they play well in front of their home crowd. This will be another strong challenge for the Stanford women, who show flashes of the power we're hoping to see manifested for entire games sometime soon.

November 22, 2018

Baylor is coming to Maples in two weeks.

Some large hungry  bears are coming to Maples on December 15th.  Stanford’s biggest challenge of the pre-conference season will be the No.#4 Baylor Bears from Waco, Texas. That Saturday game will be the first big test for the 2018/2019 Cardinal women’s basketball team and will answer some important questions. How tough are they? What kind of fight do they have in them? How determined are they? It isn’t easy to face down a bear, and that game is going to show the nation this Cardinal team’s true colors.

The Bears have the biggest and best high/low post combination in the country – hand’s down. Lauren Cox and Kalani Brown come in at a stout 6’-4” and 6’-7” – both loaded with talent, strength, and skill. Last year, Baylor easily handled the Cardinal down in Central Texas. Between them Kalani and Lauren had 43 points. Sounds pretty grim doesn’t it? Our leading scorer was Shannon Coffee who hit four threes. Oh yeah, Brittany didn’t play and Kiana hadn’t really come into her own yet. 

So forget about last year. In early October when asked about goals for her final season at Stanford, the first four words out of Alanna's mouth was, "Winning the National Championship" – and she meant it. So, this mid-December rumble is going to give America a clear indication of just how serious our Senior Aussie and her mates are this time around.

What’ll it take?

You probably know, one of Tara’s former point guards coaches down in the desert – and Charlie always has her undersized Devils primed for big challenges. Two weeks ago, ASU held Baylor to 65 points in Waco, and lost by six. They had a lead at halftime and fought hard the whole way. Their offense put all five players above the free throw line and forced the Baylor bigs to play away from the basket.  That opened up driving lanes, mid-range jump shots and offensive rebounds. Kalani was forced to guard guards off of screens and that's not her specialty. She picked up her second foul in the middle of the first quarter and left the game for the rest of the first half. 

ASU fronted Kalani with someone tall and quick off the floor. They face-guarded Lauren and made shots and entry passes tough for her. Help defense and double-teaming were critical and kept both bigs under their season average. Consistent effective blocking out was imperative. 

Neither of the Baylor bigs are fast and ASU did a lot of scoring before they got down the floor. Once the bigs got there ASU still attacked and caused foul problems.  Turns out Baylor is not as potent when their star is on the bench. The Bear’s coach Kim asked her, “How are you going to be an All American sitting next to me?” That was how the Devils ended the half in the lead – they hit mid-range jumpers, they drove and made the bigs commit, then dished to who was open underneath. Their defense was tough, scrappy, and effective. Basically, to beat the Bears you have to be aggressive and tough as hell. 

If the Sun Devils had had Alanna – they would have won.The good news is we have her – and Tara, and a whole host of other dangerous women. Oh, and this time we’re playing in Maples. Come and see. We're gonna win.  

Malcolm McFall

November 19, 2018

Preview of the Rainbow Wahini Showdown

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Nov. 19, 2018

On Friday in Hawaii the Cardinal take on the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast from Fort Meyers, Florida.

Stanford WBB fans may remember Florida Gulf Coast from Stanford’s second round opponent in last year’s NCAA tournament played in Maples. Their tallest player was 6’-0” and they were fresh off of an upset win in the first round game against the  Missouri Tigers. FGCU is all about three point shooting and team speed and Missouri didn’t appear to have read the scouting report. The whole evening was small strong girls in green and blue either shooting and hitting a lot of their three point shots, or faking the three and driving the paint and making acrobatic layups. Stanford watched and prepared. The first half saw Alanna working down low and either scoring or getting fouled over and over by smaller defenders. The Cardinal players were in their face all night making it tough to hit their usual fifteen three’s, and played great help defense to stop most of their drives to the basket. It was a long night for the Eagles.
FGCU lost most of their starters from last year and have reloaded with graduate transfers. They’re still undersized and still depend on three’s and speed. It’ll be an interesting game, but FGCU isn’t used to playing an opponent capable of hitting fifteen three’s themselves.

The Hawaiian Tournament is three games in three days. On Saturday the Cardinal will play American University - AU is located in Washington D.C., was founded in 1893, and has 8137 undergrad students (plus about 5000 grad students.) They’re in the Patriot League and compete quite well against the likes of Navy, Bucknell, Lehigh, and Boston U.   

The Eagles have won 22 straight home games and recently beat George Mason by fifteen, so take them lightly at your peril.

On Sunday Stanford will take on the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahines (which has to be one of the great mascots). The Bows have had a tough preseason so far and play in the Big West Conference, so things won’t get much easier going forward. Sure is a great way to escape hazardous air quality and watch some good women’s basketball. University of Hawaii website -

Malcolm  McFall, FBC Feature Writer

November 12, 2018

Stanford Wins Central Valley High School Reunion

Stanford Wins Central Valley High School Reunion

Warren Grimes, Stanford FBC Feature Writer

It was a reunion of three starting players on what may have been last year’s best high school team.   Central Valley High School, in the Spokane Valley, went undefeated last season, winning their state tournament; they also won the GEICO post season tournament in NYC, defeating two of the nation’s other top teams.  

Senior starters and stars on that team were the Hull twins, Lexie and Lacie, and Hailey Christopher, now playing as a guard/forward for Idaho.  In the reunion, Lexie stole the show.  She started, played 25 minutes, and scored 17 points while converting 5 of 8 three point shots, grabbing 5 boards, blocking 2 shots, and stealing the ball twice.  Lexie’s outside shooting was reminiscent of the Karlie Samuelson, but perhaps a Karlie Samuelson plus because of other strengths of her game. Lexie’s numbers were emblematic of her team’s performance.  Stanford won 115 to 71.  

The other Central Valley alums were also notable contributors.  Lacie played just 13 minutes, scored no points, but had 2 boards, an assist and a block.  Neither of the Hulls had any turnovers. Hailey Christopher played 19 minutes for Idaho, scored six on 3-4 shooting and had 3 assists for an Idaho team that could not get boards but shot 60% from the three point line.  Oh, and Christopher blocked one shot – one of former teammate Lexie Hull’s efforts.

Hailey Christopher is a very good player, but, at least in high school, not the equal of Lacie Hull, the less productive of the two twins on Sunday. Coach VanDerveer clearly has confidence in Lacie – she was one of the first players off the bench.  The thing about Lacie is that, like her twin, she plays hard and intensive defense, takes care of the ball (and steals it from opponents), passing wisely, and potentially shooting very well (from distance, she shot better than Lexie in high school).  Lexie shot 63% from the three point line against Idaho.  Lacie can do that too.  I’m waiting for her break out game.

The Hulls are just the right players for this year’s high potency offense with quick ball movement and lots of transition points.  Against Idaho, with the wide open Princeton offense clicking, Lexie Hull was just one six players to score in double digits.  Alana Smith and Kiana Williams led the way with 19 points each, while Nadia Fingall was close behind with 16 points. Stanford scored over 100 points for the first time since 2016.  This offensive balance will be difficult to defend and suggests that the team has the potential to climb from its current number 7 national ranking. 

Kiana Williams played the point most of the time she was in the game (28 minutes), and she played it very well (9 assists).  But Stanford’s other highly touted freshman, Jenna Brown, came in off the bench to play 13 minutes, contributing 7 points, 3 assists and 3 boards. Jenna can score from anywhere: three pointers, pull ups, and creative lay ups.  She demonstrated that on Sunday.  She’s gonna play.

This is a very good, very talented, and very deep Stanford team. They can shoot from the three point line and the free throw line, defend, run with the ball, score in transition, and put up points, lots and lots of them.   More 100 point games in the making.  What fun to watch!

November 09, 2018

Unhullstering Stanford’s Freshmen Weapons

Unhullstering Stanford’s Freshmen Weapons 

By:  Warren Grimes, longtime Stanford Women's Basketball fan

             Stanford played its first regular season game on Wednesday.  All three of the team’s freshmen played: Twins Lexie and Lacie Hull and Jenna Brown. They came to Stanford with sterling credentials.  The Hull twins were co-players of the year in Washington State.  Jenna Brown was very highly rated by all the recruiting services, played in high school all star games, and was a key member of a U.S. youth team in international competition over the Summer.

            The addition of the Hull twins continues a tradition of top Washington State players on the Farm, including Kate Starbird and Brittany McPhee.  If memory serves, all of these players had state POY status as high schoolers. McPhee was a Stanford senior last year, so comparisons between the Hulls and McPhee are inevitable.  They are all roughly the same size (6' or 6'1"), all were gym rats, prolific scorers in high school, strong rebounders, and fun to watch.   

            Brittany McPhee dazzled fans with her acrobatic, how-did-she-make-that shots in the paint.  She also became a steady defender.  As a freshman at Stanford, McPhee averaged 3.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, but did not earn a starting role until the last 8 games of the season.  By her junior year, McPhee was a star, putting up big numbers in that come-from-behind victory against Notre Dame in the NCAA regional final.  In her senior year, McPhee averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 boards per game, while playing an average of 31.7 minutes.  She was a mainstay and a fan favorite.

            Last Spring, Lexie Hull’s high school coach, reflecting on how his player stacked up against McPhee, said that Lexie was a more developed player as a high school senior.  That judgement may have been borne out in Lexie’s performance in the season opener.   She started, played 27 minutes (the most of any player on the team) and got a double-double (11 points and 11 boards) while contributing 3 steals and a block. That’s very promising.  And Lexie is likely to be a superior free throw shooter, an area where McPhee sometimes struggled.  Both Lexie and Lacie were deadly from the charity stripe in high school.  

            Lacie Hull played just 17 minutes, but contributed a basket, 3 boards and 2 steals.  In high school, Lacie was the better twin in three point shooting, but she missed her first three attempts against UC Davis.  I’m expecting improvement there.  Both of the Hulls are high energy, never-lose-focus players. Lacie may not start, but she is for real and will contribute.

            Jenna Brown had the highest recruitment rankings of the three freshmen.  After missing the preseason game with an injury, Brown came off the bench against UC Davis, playing for 18 minutes and converting both of her field goal attempts. Brown also chalked up 2 assists and 3 boards.  She has an opportunity to be a starting point guard, particularly while Marta Sniezek is recovering from injury.  Brown is smart, focused, unselfish, and brings athleticism to the team.  Her potential is great, particularly if she can be a scoring threat as a point guard.   

            It’s way too early to draw conclusions about these three freshmen.  But the arrows point sharply upwards. 

Warren Grimes

October 29, 2018

Tara's Season Preview

as Tara reflects on last year's run, expectations for this season, player progression, and more!

October 27, 2018

Keep an eye on Smith

Alanna joins Kiana on the list of Cardinals to watch in the 2018-19 season: Keep an eye on Smith

October 24, 2018

Farewell to the FBC website

Dave and I have been avid fans of Stanford women's basketball since March 26, 1994. We live near Stanford and had no plans for that weekend. On a whim, we decided to go to the women's basketball game at Maples Pavilion. It was the NCAA Elite Eight game and we came away smitten with the sport and with the Cardinal.

They've been a major presence in our lives — giving us much excitement and joy (and occasional despair) — for more than 20 years.

That pleasure has been enhanced for me by the FBC Website, which I began managing in the 2005-6 season. I briefly resigned from my self-appointed job a couple of years ago, but quickly returned to it when I realized how much I would miss it.

Now there is no turning back. I have a medical condition that will, I hope, allow me to enjoy another season of being a Cardinal fan, but that leaves me insufficient energy to continue the website. So I'm going to delete it next week before the first game of the upcoming season.

Another of my great pleasures has been knowing that the website has also enhanced the joy of being a Stanford women's basketball fan for many of you.

Go Cardinal!!

October 23, 2018

Watch Williams

Kiana begins the list of Cardinals to watch in the 2018-19 season: Watch Williams

October 20, 2018

Alexa's Andean Adventure

Alexa spent her summer in Peru as part of an archaeological excavation and research team at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Andes.

October 12, 2018

October 11, 2018

Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day

The major news each Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day is the Coaches' Poll, although it's seldom a surprise. This year, Oregon was picked to finish first and Stanford second:

Here are more stories about Media Day:

And a video featuring Tara, Kiana and Dijonai.

October 10, 2018

High expectations of Jenna

Stanford’s coaches and players can’t help but smile when asked about Jenna Brown, this season's dynamic freshman guard.

Kiana Williams,last season's dynamic freshman guard, said, "Oh man, Jenna is going to be a fantastic player. I'm excited for her first year. She is so smart. She has a really high basketball IQ. She’s a hard worker and loves the game. I'm really excited she came here. It’s going to be a fun three years with her, for sure."

Read more by Jacob Rayburn (Cardinal Sports Report): Jenna Brown will be tough to stop during her freshman season

October 05, 2018

Complete 2018-19 schedule announced

Stanford Women's Basketball announced its complete 2018-19 schedule yesterday.

The Cardinal is scheduled for 30 regular-season games. 19 of them will be televised — 17 on the Pac-12 Networks and two on the ESPN family of networks.

In conference play, Stanford plays Oregon and Oregon State only at home and Colorado and Utah only away. It plays the other seven Pac-12 teams both at home and away. As has been the case since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12, traditional rivals meet twice in a single week. Stanford and Cal play each other midway through the conference season.

The conference schedule is quite user-friendly. All the conference games are scheduled for Friday/Sunday, except for the Cal games which are Thursday/Saturday. However, the time varies from week to week.

This is the schedule from the FBC. Game information includes links to each opponent's women's basketball website, maps of the venues and media coverage.Links to FBC post-game events will be added as soon as the information is available. Event information includes pre-game chalk talks and post-game behind-the-bench sessions.

This is the announcement and the schedule from Stanford Athletics.

October 04, 2018

'Rebounding' is the word

It's a quick one-word answer when you ask Stanford's coaches what the focus is in practices as the Cardinal get ready for the season: Rebounding.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer said that generally she wants the team to be more physical than the version that was pushed around at times last season, so rebounding is an obvious tell of whether that's improving.

Tara and Kate offer their takes on the development of a number of players in Jacob Rayburn's (Cardinal Sports Report): Stanford has exciting potential; focused rebounding, toughness

September 30, 2018

Team USA wins the gold

The USA took down Australia 73-56 and took home their third-straight FIBA Women's World Cup gold medal today.

The USA began play with a 10-0 run and kept the lead all the way.

Australian defense held the USA to only 33% field goal shooting, but also committed 24 fouls, which gave the USA 17 points in free throws.

But USA defense (primarily Brittney Griner) held Liz Cambage (the tournament's leading scorer with 23.8 points per game) to just seven points on 20% shooting and three free throws.

With Cambage stifled, Australia called on its bench.

Alanna came in for 18 minutes and responded with the team-high 10 points, two blocks, an assist and a steal.

Nneka was not a major factor in the USA's victories, but, as one of the game commentators said today, "She played her role as center off the bench to perfection." For the tournament she averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 15 minutes per game.

Breanna Stewart officially is MVP of Everything after winning the Tissot MVP of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 trophy, and she was joined in the All-Star Five by Diana Taurasi, Astou Ndour (Spain), Emma Meesseman (Belgium), and Liz Cambage. Honorable mention, Brittney Griner, was TCL Player of the Game in the Final.

USA crowned world champions for third time in a row, secure Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ticket, FIBA game report.

U.S. women beat Australia to win third straight World Cup title, Associated Pres game report.

USA Downs Australia to Claim Third-Straight FIBA World Cup Gold, USA Basketball game report.

Silver medal caps incredible FIBA World Cup campaign for ... Opals, Basketball Australia game report.

September 29, 2018

World Cup semifinals

USA 93, Belgium 77

Belgium, in its first-ever FIBA Women's World Cup gave the USA almost more than it could handle for 25 minutes. The score was tied nine times — the last time midway through the third quarter at 51-51.

Then the USA's superior depth became a major factor and the Belgian women couldn't match the pace for the remaining 15 minutes.

Taurasi shines as holders USA slip past Belgium to make 11th Final, FIBA game report

USA Advances to FIBA World Cup Gold Medal Game With 93-77 Win Over Belgium, USA Basketball game report

Australia 72, Spain 66

Spain started out cold and gave up a 16-point lead to Australia in the first three minutes of the game. But they pulled themselves together and led by one at the end of the half,

All of Spain's defensive efforts couldn't slow down Liz Cambage, who got 33 points and 15 rebounds.

Cambage and Opals break Spanish hearts to set up Final against USA, FIBA game report

FIBA World Cup gold medal beckoning Australia after semifinal comeback vs Spain, Basketball Australia game report

Gold Medal Game

The gold medal game is at noon PT on Sunday. It will be televised by ESPN.

Can Team USA topple Liz Cambage, Australia in gold-medal game?, by Mechelle Voepel (espnW)

Will the Opals beat USA to the Women's World Cup title? 5 reasons why they can

September 28, 2018

World Cup quarterfinals

USA 71, Nigeria 40

Nigeria, the first African nation to reach a quarterfinal in World Cup history, came out blazing and led by eight points at the end of the first quarter. But they couldn't sustain the pressure and the USA gained control and went on to a sizeable victory.

U.S. tops Nigeria in Women's Basketball World Cup quarterfinals , theAssociated Press game report.

Defense Propels USA Past Nigeria, 71-40, and Into Semifinals, the USA Basketball game report.

The USA will play Belgium in the semifinals at 9:30am PT on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNEWS.

Australia 83, China 42

Australia led all the way in their quarterfinal game. Alanna contributed seven points, five rebounds. two assists and a block to the victory.

... Opals stay hot with QF win over China at FIBA World Cup, the Basketball Australia game report.

Australia will play Spain (which upset Canada in the quarterfinals) in the semifinals at noon PT on Saturday. The game will be streamed to ESPN+.

September 27, 2018

World Cup quarterfinals preview

Mechelle Voepel (espnW) previews all four quarterfinals in: Nneka Ogwumike leads U.S. women into FIBA World Cup quarterfinals

USA/Nigeria leads off the quarterfinals very early on Friday morning at 3:00am PT. The game will be streamed to ESPN3, and televised later at 11:00am PT on ESPNU.

Preview from USA Basketball: USA vs. Nigeria.

The Australia/China game follows at 6:00am PT. It will be streamed to ESPN+.

Preview from Basketball Australia": Australia vs China

You can watch any of the games later. They're all archived on YouTube. You can find the links here.

Shannon's busy, rewarding summer

September 26, 2018

World Cup great experience for Alanna

Alanna and a half dozen other college players are getting quite the education on the court playing against the best players at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

Tara is happy about Alanna's getting the opportunity to play.

"Alanna is a senior and one of our leaders and we’re going to depend on her a lot this season," she said. "For her to have this experience playing alongside and against the world's best players is absolutely invaluable and the lessons she's learning will serve our team well. We’ve been having some great workouts and can't wait to get her back on campus and in the mix."

Read more by Doug Feinberg (AP): College players get education on court at women’s World Cup

September 25, 2018

Women's World Cup, day 3

The USA and Australia wrapped up group play with dominating wins today.

Australia 90, Turkey 64

Game report from Basketball Australia: ... Opals advance directly to FIBA World Cup quarter-finals

USA 102, Latvia 76

Brittney Griner was back on the court today, while Sue Bird and Elena Della Donne got a rest.

Seven of the ten USA players scored in double digits. Nneka scored 10 points and added five rebounds.

Game report from USA Basketball: USA Downs Latvia 102-76 to Wrap Up Group Play

Medal play begins on Friday. Pairings, times and television coverage will be announced on Wednesday after the last four qualifiers for the quarter-finals have been determined.

September 23, 2018

Women's World Cup, day 2

Australia and the USA chalked up their second wins in group play today — an easy one for Australia against #15 Argentina and a challenging one for the USA against #10 China.

Australia 84, Argentina 43

Alanna was one of Australia's four double-digit scorers. She tallied ten points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Game report from Basketball Australia:Argentina no match for ... Opals at 2018 FIBA World Cup

USA 100, China 88

This tough win was made more so by the absence of Brittney Griner, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury.

Game report from USA Basketball:USA Earns Hard-Fought 100-88 Win Over China

Group play wraps up on Tuesday with Australia facing its strongest group opponent (#7 Turkey) and the USA its weakest (#26 Latvia). Regardless of the outcome, both have already won places in the quarter-finals.

September 22, 2018

Women's World Cup, day 1

As expected, the USA and Australia had a fairly easy first day of group play against their weaker opponents.

Australia 86, Nigeria 68

Game report from Basketball Australia: ... Opals shine in opening game of FIBA World Cup

Tomorrow's game should be somewhat more challenging for the Opals. They play Argentina, whose FIBA world ranking is #15 (Australia is #4).

USA 87, Senegal 67

Nneka had a perfect shooting day — 6 of 6 field goals and 4 of 4 free throws. Her 16 points were second to Elena Della Donne's 19 for the USA.

Game report from USA Basketball: USA Opens FIBA World Cup with 87-67 Victory Over Senegal

The USA will face its toughest group opponent tomorrow — China, which is ranked #10 (the USA is #1).

September 21, 2018

Nneka and Alanna and the World Cup

The 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup begins tomorrow in Tenerife, Spain.

Two Stanford hoopsters will participate — alumna Nneka Ogwumike ('12) with USA Basketball and senior Alanna Smith ('19) with Basketball Australia.

This will be Nneka's second appearance in the Women's World Cup. She was on the 2014 team that won the gold medal,

Alanna played for Basketball Australia in the FIBA U17 and U19 Basketball World Cups, but this is her first Women's World Cup. She is one of the players making her debut featured by FIBA in: Our 12 exciting players ready to take their first #FIBAWWC footsteps

Australia have been one of the first nations to confirm their final roster for the event and Smith was always likely to be a lock after what she produced at her first senior tournament last year. The forward was superb at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup and while disappointed her team were edged out in agonizing fashion by Japan in the title game, Smith had to be satisfied with a productive 10.8 points and 5.3 boards per outing. She is one of the most exciting players that are pushing the Opals into a new chapter and we already know her skills from her displays at the FIBA U17 and U19 Basketball World Cups.

All of the games will be streamed to ESPN+ (an ESPN service that costs $4.99 a month) and to LiveBasketball.TV (A service that costs $9.99 a month). The quarterfinals and semifinals will be on one of the ESPN channels to be determined and the finals will be carried by ESPN.

The USA and Australia are in different groups, so they won't meet (if at all) until the playoffs.

Follow all the action on the FIBA World Cup website. Note that you may choose to have game times shown in your local time.

Read more:

August 22, 2018

Alanna on Australia's World Cup team

Alanna Smith has been named to Australia's 12-player roster for the 2018 FIBA World Cup.

Read more from Stanford Athletics: Smith makes World Cup roster

August 10, 2018

Women’s Hoops: Summer Reflections

By Warren Grimes

Summer is slow news time for women’s college hoops. Yes, there are announcements about future recruits, team schedules, coaching changes, and activities for the athletes. Among those activities is participation in international team events. This year, those activities should be of interest fpr Stanford fans.

Stanford now has three team members who are playing for national teams. Freshman recruit Jenna Brown is playing on the US U18 team. Rising senior Alanna Smith looks to be a key player for the Australian national team. And Alyssa Jerome has been selected to play for the Canadian national team.

Having three players play for a national team in a single summer is unique for Stanford and probably unusual for any college team. The shine from this accomplishment may be dimmed a bit because getting on a non-US team is not as difficult as playing for the United States. Still, playing for Australia (currently the 4th best team according to FIBA rankings) and Canada (currently the 5th ranked team) is no small accomplishment. Those who follow international competitions will recall that Australia has won its share of medals, and the Canadian team is on the march with its number 5 ranking.

Also of note: two of the players selected for national teams did not start for Stanford last year. Only Alanna Smith was a starter (albeit a key one) on last year’s Stanford team. Jenna Brown was still in high school; and Alyssa Jerome, although contributing in the rotation, came off the bench. It is significant that these players were still selected by national team coaches. That’s a clear sign of their potential. Brown has been playing steadily and productively for the U18 team, with a team high in points in the semi-final game.

There’s more. Kiana Williams, not playing for any national team this summer, was a contender for best player on the team in the last portion of the season. If she were a Canadian or an Australian, Williams would almost certainly be playing internationally. And who’s to say Williams won’t be on the US teams in the future. She has All American potential.

Another starter from last year’s team, Marta Sniezek, is a gutsy and steady performer. Sniezek, even if she won’t make a national team, is a valuable puzzle piece for next year’s team. Nadia Fingall and DiJonai Carrington, each of whom got more minutes than Alyssa Jerome, are players that could make the roster of most international teams. Finally, there’s Maya Dodson, who has had international experience playing for a US national youth team (a teammate of Jenna Brown on one such team). If Dodson makes the sophomore leap, watch out.

I have yet to mention the Hull twins, Washington State players of the year last year, who many national teams would covet. Putting all these talented players together to make a national contender is another matter. But the Summer’s events are cause for optimism, something already reflected in summer interviews with the coaching staff.

August 09, 2018

Disappointing Exhibition Series for Team Canada

The Canada Senior Women's National Team needs to step up their preparation for FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018. They took home a lot of valuable lessons from the Asia Exhibition Series, where they lost all four games — two to China and two to Japan.

Alyssa got a lot of valuable experience which will serve her well in the upcoming college season. She played an average of 17 minutes per game and tallied 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 points and 1.5 assists.

August 07, 2018

USA wins ninth-straight FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medal

Canada won the first quarter by four points and kept the score close for another five minutes. Then the USA began to take control with a 14-3 run and opened the second half with an 18-5 run that led to an 84-60 victory and their ninth-straight gold medal.

Jenna did a little bit of everything in the title game: four points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals. For the tournament, she averaged 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists (8th-best) and 2.0 steals (9th-best) per game.

Jenna leads USA to gold medal game

Columbia kept it close until midway through the second quarter when they led 26-25. Then the USA went on a 17-0 run that led to an 83-47 victory and the gold medal game.

Jenna said, “That is what I was impressed with – when it was a little tight in the beginning, we just kept pushing forward and kept sticking to our principles. We knew what we needed to do to win the game.”

Jenna scored the game-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 three-pointers.

By virtue of their top four finishes, the USA, Argentina , Canada and Colombia have all qualified for next summer’s 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

The USA will meet also-undefeated Canada (5-0) in the gold medal contest at 6:30pm PT on Aug. 7, which will be available to watch live on and on YouTube (link available here at game time).

August 05, 2018

USA U18 women cruise into semifinals

The USA U18 women overwhelmed El Salvador in the quarterfinals, defeating them 87-27; rebounds were 58-8! (The USA women were, on average, six inches taller than their opponents.)

Jenna had a quiet game — five points, three rebounds and two assists

The USA U18 women will meet Colombia in the semifinals on Monday.