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 Facebook.com/USABasketball 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.

USA U18 women sweep group play with victory over Puerto Rico

The USA U18 women swept group play with a 103-59 victory over Puerto Rico and earned the No. 1 seed in their group

Jenna came off the bench for 21 minutes and tallied nine points, three rebounds, three assists and five steals.

The USA U18 women will meet El Salvador, the No. 4 seed out of Group B, in the quarter-final round on Sunday.

August 04, 2018

Farewell to Cully

By Harriet Benson

Bob Cullenbine (Cully), a long-time supporter of Stanford Women’s Basketball has died. When I interviewed for my book him several years ago, Cully spoke of the immediate excitement he felt when he watched his first game. He noted that he had thought himself a good player in high school, but “these women were so much better.” His active support was appreciated from the late 1980’s, when there were only a handful of boosters, and especially during our formative Fast Break Club days in the 1990’s. He sat behind the team bench during games for nearly 30 years.

In addition to our common bond with women’s basketball, Cully was my neighbor and friend. I was happy to help him during the early years of Family Giving Tree, founded by his daughter Jennifer, and I admired his ability to identify priorities for how he lived his life. He will be missed by many.

Celebration of Cully’s life: Aug 11, 2pm, 1315 Hollenbeck, Sunnyvale.

Cully's obituary

August 03, 2018

USA U18 women win second round of group play

The USA U18 Women raced past Chile 115-39 in the second round of group play.

Jenna started for the USA today and again played for 18 minutes. She tallied five points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals.

August 02, 2018

USA U18 women win opening round of group play

The USA U18 women won the opening round of group play with an 87-42 rout over Argentina.

Jenna played for 18 minutes during which she delivered the game-high five assists, scored five points and grabbed two rebounds.

She said, “I think our chemistry is definitely getting there. We haven’t played a ton of games together yet; we’ve only been together for about two weeks, but it was feeling good, especially in the second half.”

August 01, 2018

Alanna named to Basketball Australia selection camp

Alanna Smith is one of 20 players named by Basketball Australia to its selection camp for the upcoming 2018 FIBA World Cup.

The camp, which runs from August 10-17 in Canberra, will help determine the 12-player squad that will travel to Spain for the FIBA Women's World Cup in late September.

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