February 19, 2018

Not what we had hoped for

With only five players scoring, the Stanford women's basketball team couldn't overcome Cal's more balanced attack and lost 66-78 at Cal in the second round of the Battle of the Bay on Feb. 17.

Three starters shouldered most of the scoring load, 87.8 percent. Senior guard Brittany McPhee contributed 24 points in 38 minutes followed by junior forward Alanna Smith with 20 in 35 minutes and freshman guard Kiana William with 14 in 31 minutes.

The fourth starter who scored was senior forward Kaylee Johnson, who had six points in 31 minutes. The only bench player to score was sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington: two points in 17 minutes. Four other bench players got into the game but were scoreless.

Starting junior guard Marta Sniezek reverted to her reluctance to go to the basket and missed her only attempt in 31 minutes. She also missed both free throw attempts.

All eight Cal players to see action scored, cheered by the loudly partisan crowed of 4,211. Because they were scattered throughout Haas Pavilion, it was hard to guesstimate how many fans wore Cardinal red, perhaps 200. Fans also included the band (tucked into a corner), Dollies and Tree, but no cheerleaders.

Cal celebrates seniors

Because it was Cal's senior day, Kaylee and Britt received flowers before the game. So  did Cal's senior manager and its two senior players, Penina Davidson and Mikayla Cowling, who were joined at center court by their families. They were honored after the game, too, but most Stanford fans didn't stay.

In one especially moving pre-game gesture, the crowd was asked to stand for the national anthem of New Zealand, Penina's home country. As they stood at attention, her teammates on either side placed their hands on her shoulders as she sang along with the anthem.

The U.S. national anthem followed, well played by the Westlake Middle School band.

Most rebounds go to Cal

Stanford's stat line wasn't pretty. Besides the final score, perhaps the most glaring disparity came in rebounds, 47 by Cal and 32 by Stanford. Kaylee had the most with nine.

The Cardinal made five of 27 three's, or 18.5 percent. Alanna had three. Kiana and Britt each had one. Cal had seven of 20, or 35 percent, some coming as daggers in the game's final minutes.

Cal made 13 of 18 free throws, or 72.2 percent -- several when Stanford was deliberately fouling to regain possession toward the end. Stanford had 11 of 18 free throws, or 61.1 percent.

Otherwise, Stanford had 14 turnovers, Cal 16. Stanford had seven blocks to Cal's four. A painful turnover came in the final seconds of the first quarter. Britt was holding the ball for a last shot when a Bear player took it right out of her hands.

Cal led nearly all the way, coming out on top 21-16 after the first quarter, 36-34 at the half and 59-48 after the third quarter. Stanford led briefly during the first quarter and tied the game or came close several times but couldn't muster enough offense to win.

Thirteen Cardinal players were available. Sophomore guard Anna Wilson was in street clothes and wearing a boot.

Lion dancers honor Chinese New Year

In honor of Chinese New Year, the Cal VSA Lion Dance Team provided halftime entertainment. Three colorful lions propelled by two people each challenged each other as two percussionists provided sound effects.

It's uncertain how this loss to an unranked team will eventually affect Stanford's seeding in the NCAA tournament, when the top 16 teams have a chance to host the first two rounds. It did drop Stanford to 16 from 14 in the weekly AP poll.

Pac-12 standings and seeding for the conference tournament will be affected by how the top four teams -- Stanford, UCLA and the Oregon schools -- fare in their final conference games.

Stanford will wrap up its conference schedule by visiting Washington at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and Washington State at 1 p.m. Feb. 25. Both games will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.

February 16, 2018

Round one goes to Stanford


Players, coaches and fans have reason to celebrate during the game.. (Photos by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos)
In the first round of its cross-bay rivalry, the Stanford women’s basketball team prevailed over Cal 74-69 on Feb. 15 at Maples.

The Cardinal were led by freshman guard Kiana Williams, who scored a career-high 26 points.

Although the teams were nearly identical in most statistical categories, one question stands out: How important are free throws?

Free throws still could clinch a victory

Well, even if Stanford hadn’t made two more two-point baskets than Cal, the home team still would have eked out a one-point win because it made one more free throw, 16 of 21,  than Cal, 15 of 21.

Stanford had no baskets during the final 8:04 minutes, so free throws were huge with eight of 10 made in the final four minutes.

Cal had 25 fouls, while Stanford had 18. Senior forward Kaylee Johnson fouled out during the fourth quarter. Two Cal players fouled out.

Otherwise, both teams had eight three-pointers, but Stanford was better percentage-wise, eight of 19, or 42.1 percent, while Cal made eight of 22, or 36.4 percent. Overall, Stanford shot 40.3 percent, and Cal shot slightly better at 41.1 percent.

Kiana looks to add to her point total.
Kiana pours in five three’s

Stanford’s three’s came from Kiana, who made of five of seven; along with one each from senior guard Brittany McPhee, junior center Shannon Coffee and sophomore forward Nadia Fingall.

The Cardinal had 15 assists to Cal’s 10 and eight steals to Cal’s five. Stanford had 11 turnovers, while Cal had 16.

Kaylee works hard under the basket.
Cal’s biggest advantage came in rebounds: 40 versus Stanford’s 30. Kaylee had nine rebounds, while junior forward Alanna Smith had seven and Nadia had six.

The starting lineup featured the usual Alanna, Kaylee, Britt, Kiana and junior guard Marta Sniezek. They opened strong with an 18-7 lead with 3:12 to go in the first quarter. Alanna was first to score and had accounted for eight points by then. However, she mustered no more points after that.

Shannon is first-half heroine

Stanford finished the first quarter with a 22-13 lead, but Cal rallied during the second and was ahead with one second to go when Shannon made her trey to give her team a 37-35 halftime edge in her only minute on the floor. 

Her teammates mobbed her with hugs as they headed to the locker room.

The Farm team led 57-49 at the end of the third quarter and surged to its biggest lead of the game, 66-51 at the 4:22 mark of the fourth.

Bears foul the wrong player (for them)

That’s when things got tight with Cal opting for a full-court press and finally fouling intentionally during the waning moments. Unfortunately for the Bears, the player they fouled the most was Kiana, who made seven of nine free-throw attempts during the game.

Britt and Nadia like what just happened.
Besides Kiana with 26 points, the only other Stanford players in double figures were Britt with 17 and Nadia with 10.

Because it was Breast Cancer Awareness Night, Stanford’s white uniforms had pink accents and the Cal players wore pink uniforms. Many in the crowd of 3,074 also wore pink, including the man who always wears a pink tutu for this occasion.

During various timeouts, the women’s softball and gymnastics teams tossed pink T-shirts into the stands.

Jimmy V honored

In another timeout, Jimmy V (Viglizzo) was honored. The creator and owner of Jimmy V’s sports cafĂ©  in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center is retiring this year after serving the Farm since 1999. SWBB fans fondly recall events he catered for them.

This victory over Cal in the final home game of the regular season extended this season’s home winning streak to 9-0 and assured Stanford of a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle in early March. Stanford hopes to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament with a top 16 seed.

The win also put the team alone at the top of the conference, at least temporarily, because the other top teams, Oregon and UCLA, didn’t play. They face each other Feb. 19.

In the meantime, Stanford will travel to Berkeley for the second round of the Battle of the Bay at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.


February 13, 2018

Cheers, tears on Senior Day


Trainer Katelin Knox is always ready to help Stanford women’s basketball players whether it’s with a bandage, an ice pack or extra tape on the ankle.

She was ready again on Feb. 11 as the team and fans honored the two seniors on Senior Day, following the 62-53 victory over Colorado at Maples.

The waterworks started as junior forward Alanna Smith paid tribute to her senior counterpart, Kaylee Johnson. When Alanna, who hails from Australia, was a freshman, “Kayl was always the one I turned to,” she said. She praised Kaylee’s leadership and said, “You always put in 110 percent.”

Kaylee answers fans' questions during the Senior Day ceremony. (Dave Cortesi)
Kaylee remarked how fast four years go by, and she thanked the fans, her teammates, her family and the coaches. It was then that Katelin delivered a box of tissues for the emotional players.

Kaylee praised for determination

Head coach Tara VanDerveer said of Kaylee, “The first time I saw your picture, I said you’re going to Stanford … She doesn’t back down from anyone or anything.”

Kaylee’s mother, Sonjia, agreed. “She’s always been very determined,” noting that from the time she was 4 years old, Kaylee said she would play basketball.

When she was old enough, the two of them would leave their home in Casper, Wyo., at 2 p.m. and drive to Fort Collins, Colo., for her to practice and compete before returning at midnight.

Besides her mother, Kaylee was joined by her siblings and grandparents.

Alexa calls Britt “a game-changer”

Junior guard Alexa Romano saluted her roommate and senior counterpart, Brittany McPhee, calling her friendly with “so much to offer.” She’s the “hardest worker I know … She’s a game-changer,” Alexa said. “You are my best friend,” she added.

Britt gets a laugh from a fan's question after the game. (Dave Cortesi)
Britt said she chose Stanford for basketball and credited her twin sister, Jordan, for her fierceness on the court. Jordan plays at Seattle Pacific near their hometown of Normandy Park, Wash.

Their father, Bryce, added, “She really loves basketball.” He was among the family contingent that included their mother and two siblings.

Tara said she was impressed by how much Britt read.

Seniors have high hopes for future

Both seniors hope to play professionally after graduation. Kaylee, a political science major, is studying for the Law School Administration Test with the intent of going to law school. Britt majors in human biology and eventually will take the Medical College Admission Test, needed for med school.

During the victory over Colorado, Britt led the team with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Kaylee added five points and 10 rebounds.

They were part of the starting lineup that also included Alanna, junior guard Marta Sniezek and freshman guard Kiana Williams. Kiana was playing without the protective mask she had worn during the win over Utah on Feb. 8. It was needed because of the stitches she had after an on-court collision with Britt during the Oregon game the week before.

Britt and Nadia defend against a Colorado player. (Bob Drebin/isiphotos.com)
Tough defense was on display during the 70-49 victory over Utah, along with solid performances by Britt, Marta and sophomore forward Nadia Fingall. They had 18, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Fouls mar Colorado game

On the other hand, the highly physical Colorado game was notable for the number of fouls -- 18 against Stanford and 28 against the Buffaloes, giving Stanford 35 chances at the free-throw line. Success there was less than stellar, only 19 shots made for 54.3 percent.

The crowd of 3,838 often booed the three officials for calls or non-calls. Some of those boos followed the two technical fouls assessed to Alanna, who fouled out during the fourth quarter. Three Colorado players fouled out.

Kaylee and Alanna  wait at the scorers table as they and their teammates celebrate a good move. (Bob Drebin/isiphotos.com)
The game also was marred by 21 turnovers for each team. After scoring nine times from beyond the arc in the Utah game, the Cardinal could muster only three against Colorado. They came from Alanna, Marta and freshman forward Alyssa Jerome.

The crowd had ample reason to cheer during the first quarter when a video board announcement said this game was announcer Betty Ann Hagenau’s 300th behind the SWBB microphone.

Stanford rises in AP poll

This win brought the team’s winning streak to six and elevated it from 17th to 14th in the weekly AP poll. It remained tied for first with UCLA and Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference.

With only four conference games left, two against Cal and two at the Washington schools, the team is aiming to win them all. “That’s realistic with the way the team has been playing,” Tara said.

The wins, along with a strong showing at the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle in early March, could go a long way toward a top 16 seed in the NCAA tourney and the chance to host its first two rounds.

Fans cheer freshmen at restaurant

After the game, Kiana, freshman forward Maya Dodson and Maya’s parents, Karen and Darryl, visiting from Alpharetta, Ga., went to the Fish Market in Palo Alto for dinner. As they walked to their table, they were cheered by a neighboring table of eight fans.

Several of those fans, as well as others at the restaurant, stopped at their table to congratulate the players for how well they’re doing. Afterward, many of them posed for a photo with the Dodsons and Kiana.

The Cardinal host Cal at 7 p.m. Feb. 15, then journey across the bay to play the Bears again at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.








January 30, 2018

Fear the three's

The bench  celebrates yet another three scored against Arizona.
Fourteen three-pointers by six different players helped spark the Stanford women’s basketball team to a 79-42 victory over the visiting Arizona Wildcats on Jan. 28.

Senior guard Brittany McPhee, junior forward Alanna Smith and freshman guard Kiana Williams had three each. Junior guard Marta Sniezek and sophomore guard Anna Wilson had two each, while freshman forward Alyssa Jerome added one.

Kiana got the crowd of 3,136 going right away with a trey for Stanford’s first score. Just 3.5 minutes into the game, the trey total had risen to three. With slightly more than 4 minutes to go in the quarter, the score was 16-4 thanks to five three’s and a free throw.

Marta was first to score from inside the arc with less than a minute to go in the quarter.
As was true in the victory over Arizona State two days earlier, all 14 players were available, and all got into the game.

Bench finalizes win in fourth

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the game was safely in hand at 66-29, leaving bench players to wrap things up.

Starters again were Britt, Alanna, Kiana, Marta and senior forward Kaylee Johnson. Marta logged the most minutes with 24.

DiJonai and Nadia go after a loose ball.
Besides the three-pointers, other notable stats were that the Cardinal committed only seven turnovers while having 27 assists.

The home team dominated in nearly every other statistical category, including rebounds, 48-34; blocks, 4-3; and steals, 9-2. The only laggard area was free throws, five of nine, or 55.6 percent, while the Wildcats made seven of 10, or 70 percent.

Scoring was relatively balanced with 15 each from Britt and Alanna, 11 from Kiana and 10 from freshman forward Maya Dodson. By about midway through the third quarter, Maya had scored six points in quick succession.

Joined by her fan club and others, Amy  holds the plaque she got from Tara.
Amy honored for 32 years at Stanford

Before tipoff and after singing of the national anthem by Ragazzi Boys Chorus, members of the Amy Tucker Fan Club as well as former SWBB players went to center court to join in honoring Amy for her 32 years with the team. She was associate head coach until retiring from that post at the end of last season to become women’s basketball administrator.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer, whose mother was at the game, gave Amy a framed collection of photo highlights from her career. The team brought Amy into its pre-tipoff huddle, and several players hugged her as she returned to her seat at the scorers table.

According to an interview in 2007, Amy said the club “probably started as a lark a little bit, kind of a joke. They were giving me a hard time about not having a window in my office and were saying, ‘Don’t you rank at all? You’re the only assistant coach without a window. Can we do something about that?’

“So they drafted this letter to (then Athletic Director) Ted Leland. They actually sent it to Ted, I think, about how I needed to have a window, etc. It evolved from there, and they got a little serious about it. Actually, they’ve done some really nice fundraising for our program. They sponsor at least four or five lockers.”

Her fan club is still “the only fan club for an associate head coach in the nation before Amy’s retirement,” longtime member Lily Wong said in an email. It still sponsors lockers.

Stanford returns to rankings at 24

The weekend sweep over the Arizona teams returned the Cardinal to AP’s top 25 teams, coming in at 24. It also left the team still tied with UCLA for second in the Pac-12 Conference at 8-2 in league play. Oregon is first at 9-1.

Britt’s 24 points in the ASU game led ESPN-W to name her National Player of the Week.


Coming up, the Cardinal travel north to face Oregon State at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 and Oregon at noon Feb. 4.

(Photos by Bob Drebin, isiphoto.com)

January 27, 2018

Magnificent McPhee

Enroute to 24 points, Britt drives to the basket.
Scoring 24 points, Brittany McPhee led the Stanford women’s basketball team to a 74-50 home victory over Arizona State before a cheering crowd of 2,905 on Jan. 26.

In the process, the senior guard joined an elite group, becoming the 39th player in SWBB history to notch 1,000 points.

Needing just 14 points to reach that mark, she hit it early in the fourth quarter. She had scored a buzzer-beater in the third and then hit the team’s next three shots in the fourth. 
In all, she hit nine of 11 shots, including 1-1 on threes, while notching three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and no turnovers in 32 minutes.

Also recording threes were freshman guard Kiana Williams with two and junior guard Marta Sniezek and sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington with one each.

Team takes care of the ball

Overall, the team did well in the turnover department, committing only nine to ASU’s 14 while dishing out 12 assists to ASU’s eight. Eleven steals by the Cardinal accounted for most of ASU’s turnovers. The Cardinal also recorded 4 blocks while ASU had none.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer once again started two seniors, Britt and forward Kaylee Johnson; two juniors, Marta and forward Alanna Smith; and Kiana.

Marta is interviewed by former guard  Ros Gold-Onwude, '10, of the Pac 12 Network after the game. .
Marta’s 13 points were a career high, and she dished out six assists, half of the team’s total.

The third player in double figures was DiJonai, who had 13 points plus eight rebounds. Her rebounds were second only to Alanna’s nine. In all, the team had 33 rebounds to ASU’s 27.

Everyone was in uniform, and everyone had a chance to play.

Britt, Alanna score four quick points to start game

The very first play was a harbinger of what was to come. Rather than tipping the ball to Marta in the visitors’ court as usual, Alanna sent it in the opposite direction to Britt, who streaked to the basket for an easy layup.

Alanna then added a basket after stealing the ball, and it was off to the races on both sides of the court. ASU didn’t score its first basket until about four minutes into the first quarter, which ended with Stanford ahead 17-12. It never trailed.

With less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne drew a technical. Britt made one of two of the resulting free throws before scoring another basket as Stanford won possession.

DiJonai, a solid defender, looks for an opportunity against ASU.
Defense was stingy, often preventing ASU from shooting until very late in the shot clock. Several times, however, the Cardinal bailed out their visitors by committing a foul and giving them a fresh clock or free throws.

In total, Stanford had 19 fouls to ASU’s 17. Kaylee accounted for five of them and had to leave the game with less than five minutes to go.

Nadia favors the band

During the first quarter, sophomore forward Nadia Fingall, who was the game’s featured player, was shown in the Get to Know the Cardinal video being asked what fires her up. The choices were Tara, dancing in the locker room, or the band. She named the band, bringing a cheer from the musicians.

A second-quarter time out honored the Stanford Graduate School of Education for its 100th anniversary. The video board subsequently named several SWBB alumnae who earned their master’s degree at the school.

The Northern California Special Olympics basketball team, comprised mainly of young adults, provided halftime entertainment.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “No other team in the country has played as many games against ranked teams as Stanford, but Friday’s win was just its second against the top-25.” It also avenged the team’s 66-73 loss at ASU on Jan. 7.

Next up is Arizona at 5 p.m. Jan. 28.

(Photos by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com)


January 16, 2018

Tara pleased after win over Washington


Although the 11-7 Stanford women’s basketball team soundly defeated visiting 6-11 Washington 71-45 on Jan. 14, head coach Tara VanDerveer said it still has a long way to go.

Britt talks with her teammates. (Bob Drebin (isiphoto.com)
Nevertheless, “I really love coaching this team,” she said during the Behind the Bench that followed the game. “Our team is taking pride in their defense, (and) our upperclassmen are leading the way.”

One of those upperclassmen is senior forward Kaylee Johnson, who contributed a game-leading 12 rebounds plus eight points and five blocks in 27 minutes.

She scored her team’s first six points. Tara called her the player of the week after she had notched 10 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Washington State two days earlier.

Alanna, Britt make their marks

Two other upperclassmen making big contributions were junior forward Alanna Smith with a game-high 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks; and senior guard Brittany McPhee with 15 points and three rebounds.

Also in double figures was sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington, who added 11 points, five rebounds and three steals while showing lots of hustle.

Kaylee, Alanna and Britt were the starters along with freshman guard Kiana Williams and junior guard Marta Sniezek. Marta played 26 minutes even though she had to endure being knocked to the floor seven times plus one other near-fall. As one fan said during the game, there’s “a lot of chaos under the basket.”

Marta also spent some time on the bicycle before the team entered for its final warmups, late in the first quarter and again as the second quarter started.

Twelve players of the 14 were in uniform, including sophomore guard Mikaela Brewer. She didn’t dress for the WSU game. However, she was the only player who didn’t get into this game. Apparently referring to Mikaela, Tara said that everyone who had been cleared to play got in and that some were cleared only for warmups.

Sophomore guard Anna Wilson was in street clothes again, as she was against WSU, but this time she wasn’t wearing a boot. Freshman forward Maya Dodson was in street clothes, too.

Turnovers still an issue

Once again turnovers were a problem –- 20 in all –- but Washington managed only 13 points off those turnovers.

Other stats were more favorable, with the Cardinal having a 43-28 advantage in rebounding, a 16-9 edge in assists and an 8-3 edge in blocks.

The team shot 49 percent for the game versus the Huskies’ 29.3 percent. Free-throw shooting was a semi-respectable 68.4 percent.

The team was 44.4 percent on three-pointers, eight of 18. Alanna and DiJonai had two each. The others came from Britt, Kiana and freshman forwards Alyssa Jerome and Estella Moschkau.

Anna meets fans at the Behind the Bench. (Dave Cortesi photo)
Anna meets fans during Behind the Bench

Before Tara joined the Behind the Bench, associate head coach Kate Paye brought Anna out to meet the fans. Kate said Anna had tweaked her ankle in practice during the week, but called her “a great teammate … a beloved teammate.”

She also noted that Anna had decided on Stanford when she was a high school sophomore. Now that she’s a Stanford sophomore, she hasn’t yet had to declare a major, but Kate said she has a passion for photography and is leaning toward communications and journalism.

As for her basketball skills, Anna said in response to a question that she’s working on all aspects of her game, especially defense.

Amy “still very invested in the team”

Kate then invited her predecessor, Amy Tucker, to join her. Amy stepped down from her post at the end of last season and now is the women’s basketball administrator.

Amy Tucker (Stanford Athletics)
She said her duties including managing the Nike apparel contract for the team and helping Tara with correspondence and engagements. Although she no longer works with the team, she watches game video at night in case anyone is interested in her insight.

She sits at the scorers’ table during games, but she can’t say anything to the coaches or players while she’s there. “I get to be an objective observer while still very invested in the team,” she said.

Nevertheless, she has more spare time, so she rides her new bicycle more and reads more at home and during her travels with the team.

With a 5-1 record in the Pac-12, Stanford has sole possession of second place (to 6-0 Oregon) in the conference.

It faces its next tests in Southern California, meeting USC at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 and UCLA at 3 p.m. Jan. 21. The Cardinal defeated both teams during their games in Maples to open the conference season in late December.


January 13, 2018

A tale of two halves in win

It’s too bad the Stanford women’s basketball team can’t bottle the first half of its 70-57 victory over the visiting Washington State Cougars on Jan. 12.

The Cardinal shot a sizzling 64.7 percent in the first quarter and 58.8 percent in the second to go into the locker room with a 45-17 advantage.

The second half was a different story as the Cougars outscored their hosts 40-25. For the game the Cardinal shot 46.9 percent, while the Cougars shot 33.8 percent. The overall advantage, especially in the first half, was enough to assure the win and celebrate senior guard Brittany McPhee’s 22nd birthday.

Brittany displays the plaque she received from Tara for her summer with USA Basketball and the U23 National Team.
Brittany honored on her birthday

Britt contributed to the effort by recording 12 points, five assists and three steals. Before the game, head coach Tara VanDerveer gave her a plaque commemorating her summer with USA Basketball and the U23 National Team in Japan.  

Junior forward Alanna Smith was the game’s high-scorer with 20 points plus nine rebounds and two steals.

Freshman guard Kiana Williams kicked in 15 points, including three of the team’s four 3-pointers (sophomore forward Nadia Fingall had the other). 

Britt and Kaylee battle for a rebound.
Kaylee records a double-double 

Senior forward Kaylee Johnson made her mark with a double-double: 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Britt, Alanna, Kiana and Kaylee were the starters along with junior guard Marta Sniezek.

All 12 available players got into the game. Sophomore guards Mikaela Brewer and Anna Wilson, who was in a boot, were both in street clothes.

Rebounds a plus, but turnovers a minus

Stanford recorded a big plus in rebounds, 53-31, but 22 turnovers compared with WSU’s 12 were a big minus.

It was a fast, physical game that saw two Cougars being helped to the locker room. The referees said sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington was responsible for the second one when she collided with the player while going for a rebound under the WSU basket during the fourth quarter. The refs charged her with a technical for an unsportsmanlike foul.

The Cougars were without head coach June Daugherty, who reportedly had undergone a minor medical procedure earlier in the week. Her husband, Mike, the associate head coach, took over the reins.

During halftime, the crowd of 3,696 saluted the dozens of youngsters from swim clubs who had watched the women’s swimming team practice earlier in the day.

Then girls from San Juan Dance took to the floor with their modern dance routines, 
starting with the eight youngest, followed by four preteens and finally eight teenagers.

WSU winless against Stanford

Stanford’s victory upped its all-time record to 63-0 over the Cougars.

WSU’s roster is quite international with seven players from other countries. One of them is Australian Louise Brown, who hails from Alanna’s hometown of Melbourne. They smiled warmly at each other before going for the opening tip, which Alanna won, a fitting opening to the game.

Ros interviews Alanna for the Pac 12 TV networks.
Afterward Alanna was interviewed by Ros Gold-Onwude, ’10, back on her home court as a Pac 12 TV commentator.

Photos by Bob Drebin (isiphoto.com)


January 8, 2018

Keeping track of the student in student-athlete


After the Stanford women’s basketball team won its regional final against Kansas State in Manhattan on March 20 last season, it had planned to fly back to Stanford before going to the Final Four in Lexington, Ky.

However, the team’s charter plane didn’t arrive. Instead, the team spent another night in Kansas before flying directly to Lexington, where players had to take their finals in the hotel.

Shannon Reader (Gonzaga Athletics)
That change required Shannon Reader, the team’s academic adviser, to spring into action, administering finals over a span of four days. Part of this effort involved coordinating practices and other activities with the coaches because each exam needed a block of three hours.

Mindful that something like this might happen, the players had already notified their professors about this possibility two weeks beforehand.

Spread sheets help with process

When it became a reality, Shannon created a spread sheet for the players and their professors. Thanks to emailing and scanning, everything got where it was supposed to go.

To top it off, this was Shannon’s first official week with the team. “We became really close really quickly,” she said during a recent interview on campus.

According to the Stanford Athletic Academic Resource Center (AARC), a team’s academic adviser “provides academic advising, programming and support for students as they shape their Stanford education.”

When a player arrives as a freshman, Shannon explains various courses and encourages exploration of potential interests and majors. Stanford’s quarter system helps this process.

Shannon keeps players engaged in class

As insisted by the coaches, all freshmen must spend time in a study hall at the AARC.
Shannon also makes sure the players are engaged in the classroom.

If a player is having problems with a particular class, the professor or her dorm’s resident adviser contacts Shannon. Shannon in turn contacts the player’s academic coach and head coach Tara VanDerveer.

Academic coaches encourage the players and offer strategies for improving study techniques and managing time, according to the vice provost for teaching and learning.

Advisers track players’ academic progress. At the end of each quarter, Shannon must certify that a player has maintained at least a 2.0 grade point average to remain eligible.

Besides working with women’s basketball, Shannon works with seven other teams for a total of 175 students. The other sports are men’s and women’s crew, field hockey, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s gymnastics.

Gonzaga grad played against Stanford

Originally from the Portland area, Shannon is a 2012 graduate of Gonzaga University, where she played basketball. As a 6’ 2” senior, she was named to the West Coast Conference all-academic women’s basketball team with a 3.26 GPA in public relations and served as president of the student-athlete advisory committee.

Shannon (31) and her teammates wave to their fans after losing to Stanford 83-60 in the Spokane regional on March 28, 2011. (Colin Mulvany, The Spokesman Review)
During her four years at Gonzaga, her team lost five times to Stanford. “Part of that’s on Lindy,” she said, referring to assistant coach Lindy La Rocque, who played at Stanford during those years.

After receiving her degree in public relations at Gonzaga, Shannon stayed on as a graduate intern for men’s and women’s basketball. She was promoted to academic coordinator in June 2014, working with women’s basketball and baseball. She started working at Stanford in October 2016.

As she learned the ropes, she shadowed Lauren Reid, who was serving as SWBB’s adviser, and sat in on every meeting that Lauren had with the players. Lauren is still with Stanford as an adviser to other teams.

The team’s frequent travel schedule requires the players to do much of their studying online while waiting in airports or flying. “They keep up with it,” Shannon said.

She added that the faculty is supportive of this process.

Undoubtedly making her job easier, it also helps that “we have extremely bright students,” Shannon said.