January 21, 2017

Tara's canine coaching session

Sunday's game vs Arizona State will feature Stanford's annual halftime show featuring Ace Dog Sports.

January 20, 2017

Cardinal crushes Wildcats with big first quarter, 73-46

This game was decided by the first quarter, at the end of which Stanford was ahead 28-6. The final score makes the game look like a romp, but if you subtract the first quarter, the scoring in the other three-fourths of the game was 45-40, merely a narrow win for the Cardinal.

Bird began the scoring with a three, but the star of the first quarter was Brittany, who had a layup, two jumpers, and a three-pointer, and had pulled down three rebounds, all by the first media timeout.

Kaylee, Alanna, Karlie and Bri also scored to create the 22-point first quarter lead. It was one of those streaks when everything seems to drop in; the Cardinal as a team shot 80% in that quarter.

Arizona is not that bad a team, and they regrouped, stiffened their defense (playing a zone for much of the second half), and began to make baskets.

In the latter part of the game Stanford had spells of sloppy play and gave up too many fouls, but Arizona was never able to close that early gap.

Karlie led all scorers with 15 points, including four of five from long range. She now has 201 career three-pointers and is tied with Nicole Powell at seventh in the Stanford record book. Her percentage for the season is up to 51.1%, third-best in the nation.

Brittany finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. She could easily have had more but her long-range shot was not falling. She made only the one in five tries.

Bird also had 13 points.

Kaylee scored nine points, plus seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal. At the pregame chalk talk, Kate said that Kaylee thinks she's not quite back to 100%, but she looked close to it tonight.

Alanna also had nine points.

DiJonai had four points, plus one brilliant assist in which she fired a pass two-thirds the length of the court to Brittany for an easy layup.

Marta contributed seven assists with just two turnovers

The Cardinal must hope to repeat that opening streak against the more challenging ASU team on Sunday.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

The video press conference, first Arizona coach Adia Barnes, then Tara and Karlie,

And Karlie's pregame half-court heave:

January 19, 2017

Next up: Visitors from Arizona

The Arizona schools that were defeated by the Cardinal in the first round of the conference season come to Maples for a rematch next weekend.

  University of Arizona Wildcats

Arizona is up first on Friday evening at 7:00:

Alert: There's going to be an Inauguration Day Protest at Town & Country Vilage (Embarcadero and El Camino) from 5:00 to 7:00 on Friday. Allow for congestion on your way to Maples.

Do you know that Arizona used to be one of the top teams in the Pac-10/12?

Do you remember Polkey? It sometimes seems that the program has never recovered from the shocking death of Shawntinice Polk in 2005. Except for one season, they've placed among the bottom three in the conference since then.

So it's good to see them starting this season well under the guidance of new head coach Adia Barnes, who is the leading scorer in Arizona women's basketball history.

As is typical of a season with a new coach, they had an easy non-conference schedule and went 9-2.

They stand at 2-4 in conference play, as do California, Oregon and Utah. They defeated Washington State and Utah and lost to California, Stanford, Colorado and Washington.

Here are Arizona's roster and season statistics.

  Arizona State Sun Devils

Then it's Stanford vs Arizona State on Sunday afternoon at 3:00

The agility dogs will perform at halftime, and there will be a behind-the-bench session after the game.

ASU would have likely beaten us in Tempe three weeks ago if Quinn Dornstauder hadn't inadvertantly fouled Bird in the last 20 seconds of the game. I'm sure that Charli and her Sun Devils will come to Maples determined to avenge that infuriating loss.

ASU has defeated Cal, Colorado, Utah and WSU since then and lost only to Washington. They stand at fourth in the conference, tied with UCLA.

The Cardinal will be equally determined to protect their home court this time around, remembering Sophie Brunner's buzzer-beater last season.

Here are Arizona State's roster and season statistics.

Bird's got good genes

Generations: Why is Stanford’s Erica McCall so good? Take a look at who’s in her family, from Excelle Sports

January 18, 2017

Tara's 1000th win is in sight

The Cardinal's next two games are at home vs the Arizonas, then a pair in Washington, then four at home vs SoCal and the Mountain teams.

With just five wins to go, Tara is certain (barring a disaster) to notch the 1000th win of her career at home in Maples Pavilion.

The earliest it could happen is on Friday February 3rd.

If the stars align, Stanford will have lost to Washington and the 1000th win will come on Monday February 6th when the game is on national television (ESPN2).

If the Cardinal has a streak of bad luck, it will be on Friday February 10th or Sunday February 12th.

I dare say that Tara would just as soon have her achievement pass unremarked, but her fans and all who love women's basketball will rejoice for her.

It will be a grand celebration
Plan to be there!

January 16, 2017

Bracketology - Cardinal will have to hit the road

Charlie Creme (espnW) has updated his bracket with comments about how conference play changes everything.

His report includes this disappointing information, "Stanford will not be able to host first- and second-round games. The Pac-12 gymnastics championships will be rolling into Maples Pavilion on March 18, so the Cardinal were unable to bid on NCAA tournament basketball games."

He now has seven Pac-12 teams in the bracket:

Bridgeport Region
2 Washington (up from 4)
8 California (down from 5)
Oklahoma City Region
3 Stanford (no change)
4 Arizona State (up from 5)
Lexington Region
3 UCLA (down from 2)
9 Oregon (moved back in)
Stockton Region
3 Oregon State (up from 4)
Utah (was 8) and USC (was 10) have been moved out.

Click here for Creme's story and here for the complete bracket.

January 15, 2017

Cardinal out-shoots the Buffs 84-70

This game started close, with both teams hitting threes seemingly at will: The first quarter saw eight three-point shots made in all, four for each team. The Cardinal's threes were by Karlie (two), Bird, and Marta. Marta's shot was especially encouraging; she caught the ball and fired the three in a single motion.

Stanford was hampered by making six turnovers in the quarter, which ended with the Buffs ahead, 20-23.

The game remained close through the second quarter, with Stanford again hampered by five more turnovers, so the first half ended with the host Buffaloes up by a point, 41-42.

This quarter also featured three-point shooting, with six made in all; Stanford had two of them, both by Dijonai. At the half, each team had scored three-point shots by four different players apiece.

Once again the Cardinal broke open a close game in the third quarter, this time largely on the efforts of Karlie and Brittany. In the quarter Brittany scorched the Buffs with five layups and a three-point shot, for thirteen points plus three rebounds, a steal, and an assist to Karlie for one of her three, three-point makes. At the buzzer Stanford was ahead 69-60.

Early in the third quarter, Marta suffered a frightening injury. In a scramble for a rebound she fell, and then a Colorado player fell on her, dropping directly on her head and driving her face into the floor. She left the game bleeding from a cut over her right eye and retreated to the locker room for a few stitches, but returned to play, apparently unfazed, near the end of the game.

The teams played about even throughout the fourth quarter, Colorado never closing the gap to less than nine points.

Karlie led the Cardinal with 20 points, having hit five of seven three-point attempts and five of five free throws -- and playing 38 minutes.

Brittany had eighteen points, having hit seven of eight layups and one of three long shots to go with five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and a block.

Bird had twelve points on 50% shooting. Alanna and Kaylee each had eight points.

It was a great balanced performance — six Cardinal players hit three-point shots (Karlie (5), DiJonai (2), Brittany, Bird, Bri and Marta (1 apiece)), eight of the nine who played scored at least five points, and five led the rebounding with five apiece (Karlie, Brittany, Bird, Kaylee and Marta).

The team should feel fairly confident flying back for a home stand against the Arizonas.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A gallery of photos from Boulder Daily Camera,

And a video interview of Karlie

Some of the Boulder Daily Camera photos feature the Cardinal defense:

Samuelsons past and present

Samuelsons Know UConn Streak From Both Sides
by Jeff Jacobs (Hartford Courant)

January 13, 2017

Cardinal pulls away from the Utes 77-58

The Utes have never beaten Stanford and are a strong defensive team. Could they break their streak, as OSU did five days before?

Spoiler alert: No, they couldn't; but they made a game of it for a while.

Utah came out defending in a matchup zone that they used throughout the game. Stanford has had problems against the zone this season but seemed not to be so bothered by it now, especially in the first quarter when they had a quick start aided by Utah's turning the ball over eight times. Marta had two near-identical steals on consecutive Utah possessions. Karlie hit three of four three-point shots. Alanna blocked the Ute's final shot to end the first quarter at 20-7.

Utah pulled together offensively and kept pace with Stanford in the second quarter. Kaylee had good minutes in this quarter, hitting shots and getting rebounds. The half ended 35-24.

The Utes made progress in the third quarter and for a while looked as if they were going to be back in the game, coming within 6 points for several minutes before falling back.

The opening minutes of the fourth quarter, however, put a decisive end to their hopes. Nine seconds in, Bri hit a three. Shortly, Karlie hit a mid-range jumper, then Alanna hit a three and, a minute later, hit another. In less than four minutes, the lead went from eight points to fifteen, and the game was effectively over.

Karlie led the team with fourteen points, hitting four of seven three-point shots while playing "only" 34 minutes, more than anyone else.

The rest of the scoring was almost evenly split among Bird (11), Alanna (10), Brittany (9), Marta (9), Nadia (8) and Bri (7). The Cardinal should feel some confidence with such a balanced attack.

The Cardinal challenged the Utes' standing among the top ten in the nation in 3-point field goal defense by making 38% of their shots from beyond the arc — in addition to Karlie's four, Alanna sank two, Bri and DiJonai each had one.

The Utes are a strong defensive team, but the Cardinal was stronger today. They snagged more O-boards (15-11), more total rebounds (44-37), and blocked more shots (10-7).

Marta ran the point for most of the game and had seven assists to two turnovers. In this game Marta showed a new offensive skill: Previously her offense had consisted almost entirely of drives to the basket, with a rare 3-point attempt. In this game she twice stepped in and took mid-range jump shots, hitting both.

On Sunday it's on to Boulder to play the Buffaloes.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

And a video interview of Karlie, "We came alive in the 4th."

January 12, 2017

Up next : A trip to the Rockies

The Cardinal heads east this weekend to play the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City on Friday evening at 5:00 PT and the Colorado Buffs in Boulder on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PT.

The media coverage for the games is:

  University of Utah Utes

Utah has a mature, experienced team in its second season under head coach Lynne Roberts.

Four of this season's starters also started every game last season: redshirt junior forward Emily Potter, senior wing Paige Crozon, redshirt junior wing Malia Nawahine, junior wing Tanaeya Boclair

Potter is the Utes' best everything — scorer (16.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.577), rebounder (9.6 rpg), and shot blocker (3.1 bpg). She's tallied six double-doubles this season and ranks tenth in the nation in blocked shots.

Boclair averages 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Nawahine averages 11.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. Crozon averages 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.

The Utes' offense is led by sophomore point guard Erika Bean, who averages 4.6 assists per game with a good assist/turnover ratio of 1.7.

The Utes are a great defensive team. They rank among the top ten in the nation in four defensive categories: 3-pt field goal defense (24.0, #3) , defensive rebounds per game (32.0, #6), rebounds per game (45.2, #10), and blocks per game (6.2, #10).

The Utes had a moderately strong nonconference schedule and won every game. They have since defeated USC and lost to UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State. They are not ranked, but Charlie Creme has them as a No. 8 seed in his bracket.

Here are Utah's roster and season statistics.

  University of Colorado Buffs

The Colorado Buffs are doing surprisingly well under a new coaching staff headed by JR Payne. Payne is new to Colorado, but not to West Coast basketball. She came to Colorado from Santa Clara, which she led to its first winning season in eight years. She played at St. Mary's under now Oregon Coach Kelly Graves and was his assistant at Gonzaga in her first coaching job.

The Buffs lost just one game in non-conference play, but have faltered since with losses to Arizona State, UCLA, USC. Their only conference win is against Arizona. Nonetheless, they already have four more wins than they had all of last season.

They are not ranked in the AP Top 25, but received enough votes this week to put them at No. 28.

The Buffs are not strong defenders, but they have a very efficient offense, with a pair of skilled sophomore guards who like to push the ball. Kennedy Leonard leads the team with 19.0 points and 5.7 assists per game. Alexis Robinson is second with 10.9 points and 3.3 assists.

Senior forward Haley Smith also scores in double digits (10.9) and is the best rebounder with 5.7 per game.

All three of them shoot the long ball. Collectively, they make about five treys per game.

The Buffs rank fifth in the nation in steals, with 13.1 per game.

Here are Colorado's roster and season statistics.