December 01, 2016

Cardinal fends off the Roadrunners

The Icardo center at Cal State Bakersfield is a small square building, very reminiscent of McKeon pavilion at St. Mary's or Firestone Pavilion at Pepperdine.

This was a feel-good game for the McCall family. A number of local fans greeted Bird when the team took the floor with large banners and cheers.

Greg McCall, Bird's father and coach of the CSUB Roadrunners, said before the game that his team would "play tough, physical and aggressive". That the Roadrunners did, swarming any Stanford player who brought the ball toward the basket, and in the process committing a lot of fouls, many of which were called. In the end Stanford shot 23 free throws and CSUB only two.

In the first quarter the Roadrunners' defense seemed to bother Stanford; the Cardinal missed a lot of shots and turned the ball over several times. That quarter ended at a tie, 11-all.

In the second quarter Stanford pulled their own defense together and stifled the CSUB offense. That quarter ended with Stanford up 40-26, the Roadrunners having scored only six to Stanford's 20. Stanford continued to out-score CSUB in the following quarters, although not by such a margin.

The Cardinal's size and skills showed clearly in rebounding where they dominated, 51-22. That was the only stat in which the Cardinal dominated this opponent. The Roadrunners showed good abilities in defense and in ball movement, and in the end they shot the ball almost as well as the Cardinal, 40% to 47%. They made six three-pointers to Stanford's four, and committed fewer turnovers.

The 21-point victory margin includes 13 points from free throws. Without the generous contribution of fouls from the Roadrunner defense, the game would have been much closer.

Bird had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Karlie had 14 points. Nadia came off the bench to make 13. Alanna almost had a double-double, with 10 points and 9 rebounds, and Brittany rounded out the high scorers with 9 points.

Following the game, the team was to have a late supper prepared by Bird's mother and grandmother and then a long bus ride home.

Here are game reports and commentary:

And the game statistics.

A family affair

By Jeff Evans (The Bakersfield Californian): CSUB-Stanford showdown a family affair for McCalls

November 29, 2016

Up next: Roadrunners and Aggies

The Cardinal have returned from Mexico to what should be a pair of fairly easy games before finals break.

It's McCall vs McCall again as the Cardinal pay a return visit to Bird's dad's team in Bakersfield on Thursday evening at 7:00.

Then it's back to Maples for a game against the UC Davis Aggies on Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

  CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners

The Roadrunners play in the WAC and are the only California team in the conference. The other members are all over the western half of the country — Seattle, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Kansas City, Chicago. The Roadrunners not only travel a lot — they also play some very tough teams.

Coach McCall likes to challenge his team in the non-conference season. The Roadrunners played five Top25 teams last season and have already played Oregon and Cal this season.

Junior guard/forward Aja Williams had a record game at Cal a week ago. She scored 35 points, including 9-of-14 from beyond the arc, tying CSUB's record for 3-pointers made, setting a new record for 3-pointers attempted, and falling just one short of the record points per game.

The Cardinal's perimeter defense will also have to keep an eye on redshirt-senior forward Erika Williams (not related to Aja) and sophomore guard Addi Walters. They both shoot the three and average just short of ten points per game.

Here are the Roadrunners' roster and season statistics.

Here is the media coverage of the game:

  UC Davis Aggies

UC Davis plays in the Big West Conference, along with Cal Poly and CSU Northridge who played at Maples earlier this season.

The Cardinal and the Aggies are familiar opponents. They've played each other for nine consecutive seasons. The Cardinal have won all those games, but the Aggies always show up ready to play and looking for a win. They were down by less than six points at the half in the previous two games.

Last season the Aggies advanced to the Big West championship game for only the fourth time in the program's history. They return seven players and three starters from that squad and have been picked to finish second this season.

The Aggies are led by redshirt sophomore forward Morgan Bertsch, who led the team in scoring at 13.9 ppg and ranked among the top-10 shooters in the nation with a .582 field goal percentage last season. She's averaging 16.2 points this season and is joined in the starting lineup by three other double-digit scorers — junior forward Pele Gianotti, junior guard/forward Dani Nafekh, and junior guard Rachel Nagel.

Here are the Aggies' roster and season statistics.

Here is the media coverage of the game:

The Cardinal will wear their N7-inspired turquoise uniforms at this game in celebration of Honor Native American Heritage Month. The N7 philosophy embraces the Native philosophy: "In every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Read more about N7 in: Stanford partners with N7.

There will be a chalk talk before the game and a "Behind the Bench" session after. The postgame session is not actually behind the bench this time. It will take place in Dallmar Court and is by invitation only to season ticket members. Light refreshments will be served.

November 26, 2016

Cardinal sweeps with tough win over Purdue

For three quarters, this was about as close as a game can be: after one quarter the game was tied 17-17; at the half Purdue was up 39-42; with one minute left in the third quarter the score was tied 55-55.

Then things began to turn Stanford's way. With a three by Bri and a McCall layup, the quarter ended at 60-57. Although Purdue twice brought the lead down to three, Stanford never trailed again. In the closing minutes Marta and Bird made their free throws to seal the game.

Both teams shot well at 50% and 45% respectively. Stanford had a team edge in rebounds (30-28) and in blocks (5-2). The teams were virtually equal in three-point shooting (47.4% vs. 46.7%) but Stanford took a few more shots, making 9-19 vs. 7-15 for Purdue.

Purdue's main scoring threat was their point guard, Ashley Morrisette, who ended up with 23 points. Stanford matched her with 22 points by Brittany and 20 by Karlie.

Karlie in particular matched her career high of three-point shots, making six of eight. (She had made six in New Mexico in her freshman season.)

Brittany made 10 of 18 attempted goals, including multiple times when she drove in a semicircle under the basket and flipped the ball up for a reverse layup.

Three other Cardinal players scored — Bird had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds; Bri had 11 points including two of four three-pointers; and Marta was 2-7 on field goal attempts, but also 5 of 6 on free throws for 9 points in all.

All told, this was a tough, hard-earned win that should give the team confidence going forward.

The Cardinal are the champs ... Bird is the MVP ... she and Karlie are named to the All-Tourney team.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A gallery of photos from Purdue Athletics,

And two videos tweeted by Stanford Athletics:



November 25, 2016

Cardinal harvests win from Shockers

Remote fans did not have even a silent video for this game. The stream window showed "about to start" for the entire game. An email at halftime to the organizers was promptly and politely answered with, "We currently have a crew trying to get it back up online as quickly as possible," but that crew apparently failed.

Fortunately the live stats page worked and the play-by-play gave a sense of the game, which was simply a romp for Stanford over a thoroughly overmatched opponent to a final score of 87-39.

Among the starters, Brittany had 13 points, a block and a steal; Erica had 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Alanna started again today in place of Kaylee, who is reported to be wearing a boot. Alanna greatly improved over her prior game, getting 11 points on 4-7 shooting, as well as eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and just two fouls.

In this type of game everyone gets playing time and the bench gets a chance to shine. All 11 available players got at least 13 minutes today, and the bench scored 47% of Stanford's total points.

In this game, Shannon got a career high of 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and 3-4 free throws, and a career-high seven rebounds.

Marta was able to break out offensively, equalling her career high of 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, along with five assists and four steals.

Nadia had eleven points on 5-5 shooting, along with three assists.

It's good that our starters could take it pretty easy today. Tomorrow's game is against the Purdue Boilermakers, a much stronger team that will really challenge the Cardinal.

The video stream for the Purdue/Northeastern game has just begun. Hope the crew can keep streaming up for the remaining games of the tournament.

Here are game reports and commentary:

And the game statistics.

November 24, 2016

Cardinal squelches Northeastern

Stanford fans at home watched this game as a silent movie: the live video stream from the tournament was smooth and of good quality but had no sound-track. Get used to it; looking ahead, all the women's games from this tournament are noted as "no audio".

What fans saw in silence was a defensive stifling of a weaker team. Stanford held Northeastern to 32% shooting for the game, and kept their top three shooters to 19 points, 24 below their season average.

The defensive element was important because the Cardinal started out cold and only began to take a lead late in the first quarter, and even as late as the second half held only a ten-point lead over a team that was obviously not of their calibre.

Alanna scores the first Cardinal point

Bird scores the first Cardinal basket

The final score was a comfortable 74-45.

Two Stanford players did most of the scoring. Erica tied her career high with 27 points on 11 of 14 shooting (including 2 for 2 from outside the arc), and Karlie had 18, going 6-13 on threes.

Alanna started in place of Kaylee (who was not suited up) and played 21 minutes during which she was a major contributor to the defense, with nine rebounds, four blocks and a steal. She had a frustrating offensive day, however. She was clearly focused on playing under the basket, where she took eight shots but hit only one, although she was often fouled and made 5 of 6 free throws.

To round out the starters, Brittany also had a frustrating offensive day, hitting only one of seven shots (going 0-4 from three), and Bri was 0-5.

Major contributors off the bench were Dijonai with six points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes; Nadia was five and five in 23 minutes; Shannon scored seven points in six minutes; and Marta scored once and assisted five times in 20 minutes.

The Cardinal are up bright and early again tomorrow to play the Wichita State Shockers at 8:00. The Shockers probably lost to Purdue today — they were down 48-25 at the half.

Here are game recaps and some commentary:

AND the game statistics.

November 22, 2016

Up next: Thanksgiving in Cancun

The Cardinal will be playing in the Cancun Challenge over the Thanksgiving weekend against:

We can hope that history continues to repeat itself. Last season, the Cardinal followed up a win over a ranked team (George Washington) with a home loss to a West Coast Conference opponent (Santa Clara), then went on to sweep their Thanksgiving tournament (in Florida).

All the games will be streamed live by Triple Crown Sports, the tournament organizer. The streamed games will be on YouTube, so you can watch them at your leisure. You can find the link to each live stream (and to live stats) in the FBC schedule.

Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston.

The Northeastern Huskies have played in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for eleven years, placing in the middle or bottom. The Huskies' performance last season was the biggest surprise in the CAA. They had an impressive turnaround, going 15-16 overall and 9-9 in conference play after winning just four games the previous season.

The Huskies lost their leading player to graduation, but returned three starters: 5-5 sophomore guard Jess Genco, 6-0 sophomore forward Gabby Giacone, and 6-2 senior center Francesca Sally. The trio are the Huskies' leading scorers so far this season with a cumulative average of 42.6 points per game.

The Cardinal have never played any team in the CAA.

This is Northeastern's roster and statistics.

Incidentally, Northeastern is where Toni Kokenis is in her second year of studying for a law degree. I'm guessing that her schedule and budget don't allow for a trip to Cancun.

The Wichita State Shockers play in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). They have played the Cardinal just once – way back in the pre-Tara era.

They had never won an MVC title or an MVC tournament title, never made an NCAA appearance until Jody Adams-Birch took over as head coach eight years ago. She transformed the program and led the team to three glorious seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015) when they won the MVC regular-season championship and the MVC tournament title and advanced to the NCAAs.

Last season was the first one for all but four of the Shockers (freshmen or transfers) and they had no seniors — the run of success ended with a crash.

Adams-Birch is looking for success again this season as she works to rebuild her gaggle of young players into a team. She's depending on junior forward Rangie Bessard, last year’s MVC Newcomer of the Year and their leading scorer (15.5 ppg) and rebounder (7.8 rpg) to lead the way

This is Wichita State's roster and statistics.

This will be the third time in four years that the Cardinal and the Boilermakers have spent Thanksgiving together.

They played in Puerto Vallarta in 2013 – the Cardinal came away with Tara's 899th career win.

And they played a very close game in the final round in Florida last year. The Cardinal pulled out a victory thanks to a startling last-second three-point shot by Kailee Johnson that put Purdue two possessions down late in overtime. Bri, who scored a career-high 26 points that day, iced the win with five free throws.

The Boilermakers are not quite as strong this season as last. They lost April Wilson, their starting point guard and top shooter, to graduation. They have just four upperclassmen on the roster and are 1-3 for the season.

This is Purdue's roster and statistics.

November 20, 2016

Matadors subdued in productive win

The Cal State Northridge Matadors provided Stanford with a pleasant scrimmage and tune-up before next week's Thanksgiving tournament. The final score of 88-54 makes it look perhaps a little easier than it actually was; everyone had to work hard.

The difference was more in the relative defenses than in the offensive attacks. During the first quarter the Matadors were fresh and feisty on defense, and the Cardinal offense was anything but dominating. At the first media time-out, the Stanford starters were shooting a combined 2-10. However, the Cardinal defense was even tighter, so at that point the score was 7-3, and the Matadors were never in danger of taking a lead thereafter.

Even in the second quarter, Tara began subbing in other players. By half-time, Nadia, Dijonai, Alexa and Mikaela had all seen some minutes. In the second half, with the Matadors tiring and perhaps a bit discouraged, Nadia, Dijonai and Shannon had good stretches of play and established career marks for points:

* Nadia showed a promising ability to score in the post with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting ... and she grabbed seven rebounds.

* Shannon exceeded her prior best (five points at UC Davis last fall) with eight points in just seven minutes.

* Dijonai bested her prior mark (five points against Cal Poly) with seven points and five rebounds.

Of the starters, Erica had 17 points and five rebounds; Brittany had 14 points and Karlie had six. Kaylee had seven rebounds, but only 4 points on 1-9 shooting.

Prior to the game, Tempe told the fans in Kissick auditorium that Marta would not be starting, and when asked why, said she would start again "when she can shoot as well as she does in practice." Marta may have gotten the message: although she did not start, she played 20 minutes and scored four points on 2-5 shooting.

The team leaves early Tuesday for a Thanksgiving tournament in Cancun, where they will play three games in three days. This game was a good tune-up for that marathon, where it will be important to field lots of bodies.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The press conference audio with Tara and Nadia,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphotos.com)

November 18, 2016

Cardinal zagged at home

The Gonzaga Bulldogs came into Maples 0-7 against Stanford, but they rode a combined 44 points from Jill Barta and Elle Tinkle to what for them was a historic first victory.

"If someone had to steal a win in Maples, I'm glad it was her."

The game was mostly close: the Zags were ahead by one, 15-16, after the first quarter; and at the half they were still ahead by one, 27-28.

The game seemed to take a decisive turn in the opening of the second half, when Barta and Tinkle combined for fifteen points in three minutes, forcing Tara to call time at 6:16 with the Cardinal trailing by 10, 33-43. But, following the timeout, Stanford put on a defensive clinic that held the Zags to only one point in the next four minutes, while the Cardinal slowly climbed back into the game to take a lead of 46-44. This quarter that had started so badly ended with Stanford ahead 51-46.

Gonzaga closed that gap in the fourth quarter, and with 0:27 were again up by one, 63-64. The Cardinal did the usual last-minute fouling but were unable to score on any possession, and the Zags sealed the game with free-throws, 63-68.

Brittany had another excellent outing with 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a block.

Bird had her first double-double of the season — 17 points and eleven rebounds.

Karlie had ten points , three assists and three steals, and showed her usual intense defense.

Bri was a fierce defender and dished six assists. She shot only 2-8, but one of her two hits was a morale-boosting three-point shot that answered one by Gonzaga.

Alanna made some nice plays and tallied five points and four rebounds.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The press conference audio with Tara and Bird,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphotos.com). Bob Drebin/isiphotos.com

November 17, 2016

Up next: Bulldogs and Matadors

Updated Nov 17: Added link to Spokesman Review article.

The Cardinal are still at home this week to play the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Friday at 7:00 pm and the CSU Northridge Matadors on Sunday at 11:30 am.

The Zags stumbled a bit at the end of last season. They lost two of their last three regular season games by one point, ended at #5 in the West Coast Conference, and then lost to Santa Clara by one point in the conference playoffs.

They're expected to do better this season with Elle Tinkle (Joslyn's younger sister) returning for her fifth season after tearing her ACL in November 2015. After the medical waiver was announced, Elle said, "I'm thrilled to know I have another year to play the game I love — beyond excited and ready to get back to work."

Graham Hayes (espnW) ranks Gonzaga eighth in the mid-majors with this evaluation:

A loss against Utah in the WNIT snapped Gonzaga's streak of nine consecutive 20-win seasons, a stretch that included four trips to the Sweet 16.

Some might see that as a sign of decline, but a healthy Elle Tinkle and a lot of backcourt depth might instead make it an aberration. Eligible transfers Chandler Smith (Nebraska) and Makenlee Williams (Utah State) could help. The Bulldogs play Stanford, Michigan and Florida State in the span of eight days in November.

Name to know: Jill Barta. Did the versatile, 6-3 Barta emerge late in the season as the next in a line of standouts, or did she feast on weak competition? We'll see, but she was fantastic in the WCC as a redshirt freshman.

Jim Allen (Spokesman Review) reports that the Zags have been scouting the Cardinal: Zags face tough stretch starting Friday at Stanford

Here is the Bulldogs' roster.

There will be a chalk talk before the game in Kissick Auditorium.

If you can't make it to Maples, you can watch the game on Pac-12 Networks, listen to the KZSU broadcast, and check live stats.

Bird puts it in over a gaggle of Zags last season

Cal State University Northridge (CSUN) plays in the Big West conference, as does our last-week's opponents Cal Poly. CSUN was picked to place one step ahead of Cal Poly in the Big West coach and media polls.

The Matadors are capable of providing another challenge to the Cardinal. They too have several players taller than six feet, most notably 6-4 sophomore center Channon Fluker, who was Big West Freshman of the Year and named to First Team All-Big-West this season.

The Cardinal has played the Matadors twice before — in 1979 and two years ago in the first round of the NCAAs. The Cardinal won both games. The NCAA game was the Cardinal's 500th win at Maples and Tara's 800th Stanford win.

Here is the Matadors' roster.

There will be a chalk talk before the game in Kissick Auditorium, but you may want to go right into Maples instead, where a pancake breakfast will be served to the first 250 fans.

If you can't make it to Maples, you can watch the live stream, listen to the KZSU broadcast, and check live stats.