December 30, 2008

Fans enjoy win over Davis, get caught up with Jeanette and Rocky

Fans of Stanford women’s basketball enjoyed a slightly belated Christmas present as the team overpowered UC Davis 84-49 on Dec. 28. It was the last game before the team was to open Pac-10 conference play, starting 2009 on the road at the two Arizona schools.

Before talking about the game and the grueling pre-Christmas road trip that preceded it, fans at the FBC’s tent had a chance to get reacquainted with sophomore guard Jeanette Pohlen. They were expecting freshman guard Lindy La Rocque, but associate head coach Amy Tucker was thinking that all of the freshmen had been introduced. One assumes Lindy will be the next guest.

In the meantime, “We are absolutely ecstatic about Jeanette’s improvement over the summer,” Amy said. Jeanette spent the summer training with her high school track coach, who worked with her on running and sprinting in what he calls his “speed burners” program. “It helped me so much,” Jeanette said. “I know now that I can play a full game without exhaustion.”

Her brothers and parents helped her work on shooting by rebounding for her. One brother works for the city, so she had access to a gym. And her mother walks 5 miles a day, so “that was an inspiration for me,” she said.

After starting point guard JJ Hones went down with a torn ACL in the Rutgers game, Jeanette was asked to help out at the point. That experience gave her a good perspective on the overall game, she said.

Amy noted that JJ was to have surgery on her knee the next morning. “Her spirits are excellent,” she said. She was with her teammates during the Davis game.

Although the players had an abbreviated holiday break after the 1-2 record on the Southeastern road trip, “we didn’t want to dwell on it” Jeanette said. Instead, they wanted to enjoy being home with their families. For Jeanette, that meant that even her pet turtle, Rocky, who’s hibernating, somehow had a chance to go shopping and buy her some gifts.

Reflecting on the Davis game, both Amy and head coach Tara VanDerveer agreed that point guards Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Melanie Murphy showed improvement but that their decision-making “is not exactly where it should be,” as Amy put it.

Tara said she was pleased that there were fewer turnovers, and she praised forward Michelle Harrison, who “came in and made some nice shots,” scoring three of the team’s nine three-pointers. Jeanette, Lindy and guard Hannah Donaghe each contributed two. In an apparent passing of the baton, freshman guard Grace Mashore rather than senior forward Morgan Clyburn did the honors in high-fiving the entire bench after each three-pointer.

One fan asked who this year’s team leader is. Jeanette and forward Kayla Pedersen lead by example, Tara said. Center Jayne Appel talks a lot to her teammates. Freshman forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Sarah Boothe have leadership potential, but they’re still learning. Forward Ashley Cimino has a good attitude. All the players “are leaders in their own way in how they handle themselves,” the coach said.

With a team like Davis, which had only eight healthy players (Hannah’s sister, Haylee, was one of the sidelined Aggies), Stanford players can make mistakes without affecting the final outcome, but that wasn’t the case on the road trip, Tara said. Teams back East are much more physical. “It hurt that Jill got hurt,” she said, referring to forward Jillian Harmon, who sprained her ankle in the Duke game. Jill, who makes things happen with her scrappy play and hustle, has since returned to action.

“We’ve seen as tough as it can be,” Tara said. Therefore, “we can get a lot of mileage out of those games and that road trip.” The experience was valuable. She was pleased that even though the players were disappointed, they didn’t let the losses get them down, and they didn’t play the blame game. Instead, each one looked inside to see how she could get better.

“We have a lot of improvement to make,” Tara said, but expressed optimism that the team would continue to make progress. “It’s gonna be fun.”

December 16, 2008

Fun for fans at Fresno game

One of this season’s goals for the folks who market Stanford women’s basketball is to increase attendance by making the games as much fun as possible.

Of course, the team does its share, too, as it did Dec. 13 when it defeated Fresno State 100-62. Such an easy win is fun, and it gives fans a chance to see the bench players in action – players who usually don’t get a lot of game time but who are always ready to step in. They played their part admirably, even creating some suspense as the score hit the 90s in the final minutes. Would it reach 100? It did, thanks to sophomore forward Ashley Cimino, who made three free throws in the final 30 seconds to reach the century mark. Also noteworthy – all 13 healthy players scored.

The marketing team fulfilled its part of the equation with an enormously entertaining halftime show by agility-trained dogs. Ranging from a tiny teacup poodle to a stately Great Dane, they swiveled their hips through a series of closely spaced uprights, leapt barriers and raced through cloth tunnels.

Their appearance was part of the day’s focus on the Humane Society of the Santa Clara Valley and its adoptable pets. Photos of the animals along with photos of owners and pet look-alikes were displayed on the scoreboard throughout the game.

Yet another reason for the crowd to cheer came during a timeout, when Jason Pondexter accomplished a seldom-seen feat: He made a half-court shot and won a framed, autographed John Elway jersey.

A group of kids from the East Palo Alto Charter School got to see all this fun during the game. After the game, they enjoyed a meal and met the players at Jimmy V’s.

While they were doing that, the Fast Break Club was in Kissick meeting freshman guard Grace Mashore and hearing from head coach Tara VanDerveer, along with associate head coach Amy Tucker, who introduced Grace.

Grace lives in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., and attended Sidwell Friends School and National Cathedral School, both in Washington. The daughters of president-elect Barack Obama will attend Sidwell. Many of Grace’s classmates at both schools were the children of politicians and other officials. Her parents will attend Obama’s inauguration, and she would, too, if it weren’t for classes and basketball.

Even though her father is a Duke graduate and her 21-year-old brother attends Wake Forest, “I always wanted to come to Stanford,” she said. He father shifted his loyalties when he visited Stanford during a business trip and “fell in love with it,” she said. After Tara was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she cut it out and put it on her wall. She attended one of Tara’s hoops camps to get the coaches’ attention and committed to Stanford as soon as she was admitted.

Before starting this fall, she attended summer school and had a chance to become acquainted with fellow freshman Lindy La Rocque along with Melanie Murphy, Michelle Harrison and Morgan Clyburn. As she becomes more familiar with the campus and its people, “I’m surprised every day. Everyone here is great at what they do,” she said. Although she hasn’t yet declared a major, she’s leaning toward history and English.

On the basketball court, “I’m trying to learn a lot,” she said, adding that she wants to be aggressive and bring energy to the team.

She didn’t play against Fresno because of a sore groin muscle. She was hoping to start running the next day and to be back in action Tuesday or Wednesday during the road trip to Duke, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Tara then reported on the other sidelined players. Senior forward Jillian Harmon sat out after injuring her back during the tournament in Hawaii, where she was playing “the best she ever was playing,” the coach said. An MRI was negative, so Jill has been resting. She’s with the team on its road trip, but her return to play is on a day-to-day basis.

Junior point guard JJ Hones, who tore her left ACL in the Rutgers game, was to undergo surgery at Stanford before Christmas, but it was postponed until Dec. 29 so that she could go home to Oregon for the holiday.

Morgan, who had surgery on both feet after last season, “is coming along great. She’s working her way into basketball movements,” Tara said. “I’m really impressed with her dedication and loyalty to our team.”

As for the Fresno victory, the coach saw “too many turnovers today, and we need to be more aggressive.” On the other hand, Fresno “is tough to guard, so it was a good experience for us,” a preview of some of the tactics that can be expected on the road trip. “It’s (going to be) a great trip for us.”

She was pleased with many of the players. “People are gaining in confidence,” she said. Filling in for Jill and getting her first career start, freshman forward Nneka Ogwumike “did a great job,” she said. She praised Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Mel, who have replaced JJ at the point. Lindy, known for her high, arcing three-point shot, “gets the dust off the ceiling.” Ashley “had some good moments.” She also cited guard Jeanette Pohlen and forwards Kayla Pedersen and Michelle.

Although center Jayne Appel wasn’t the leading scorer, which she often is, she “gets her stats in the big games,” Tara said. She’s an unselfish player who’s willing to pass to an open teammate.

“This team has a great attitude and makes a great effort,” she concluded.

November 25, 2008

Lots of pluses but a big minus at Rutgers game

Fans of Stanford women’s basketball had many reasons to cheer Nov. 23 as the Cardinal defeated Rutgers 81-47. Nevertheless, they were dismayed and saddened to see junior point guard JJ Hones leave the game with a knee injury with about 3:10 to go in the first half. Her status was uncertain as of this writing. In the meantime, be sure to see the tributes to her in “With Love to JJ” under Stories of the Season. They’re all well deserved.

Except for JJ’s injury, things went well for the Cardinal. Center Jayne Appel recorded a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds in her 33 minutes of playing time. Her fellow big, forward Kayla Pedersen, chipped in 17 points and four rebounds in 37 minutes, while freshman forward Nneka Ogwumike came off the bench to rack up 11 points and six rebounds in her 30 minutes.

Nneka was the target of some of Rutgers’ most flagrant hits, absorbing at least two painful blows, but to her credit, she didn’t lose her poise. For that matter, all the players kept their poise and focus, not letting JJ’s injury or Rutgers’ aggressive play rattle them. Rutgers had 24 fouls to Stanford’s 13.

Before leaving the game, JJ contributed three three-pointers for nine points plus six assists. Also scoring the long shots were guard Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla with two each, and forward Jillian Harmon and guard Lindy La Rocque with one each for a total of nine. Jill’s three-pointer was the first Cardinal score of the game.

Those nine three-pointers fattened my tournament travel fund. I got the idea when Lindy unleashed seven in her Cardinal debut in the exhibition against Chico State and her teammates chipped in eight more a total of 15. For every three-pointer the team scores, I’m putting $1 in an envelope to build an expense fund for tournament travel.

The Vanguard game raised the fund to $19. Minnesota added $3, followed by $5 from Baylor, $12 from New Mexico and now $9 from Rutgers, raising the total thus far to $48. I don’t know how much there’ll be by the end of the season, but Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said after the New Mexico game that the team’s goal is to shoot at least 10 threes per game. I have high hopes that the team will exceed that goal and help me save for some of the travel costs all the way to St. Louis.

Besides the resounding win over Rutgers, the day was brightened by the annual Fast Break Club auction, which raised tens of thousands of dollars for the team. Congratulations to fund-raising chair Dana Stewart and her band of volunteers, who had everything so well organized. Dana also was an affable emcee.

She had some help at the microphone when guard Melanie Murphy served as the auctioneer soliciting bids for a chair used by the team at the Final Four tournament in Tampa last season. The bidding started at $200 and went up to $450.
Then Lindy oversaw the bidding for a quilt made by her mother, Beverly, and her mother’s friend Janet Weinberg. It has a square with each player’s name and number, along with the names of the coaches and a red ‘S’ dominating in the center. The bidding started at $300. Jeanette soon came forward to hold it up. Then Mel came along to help her. Then more players came up to touch it and enhance its value. As forward Sarah Boothe joined them, Mel commented, “Look at the subtle detailing of the ‘S’.” Along came Jayne and Kayla. “This is big time,” Lindy said. Soon the whole team was there.

Lindy then announced that if two people would bid $800 each, her mom and friend would make another one. Sure enough, two $800 bids came along, and the Las Vegas quilting team had another project ahead.

Nneka auctioned off a clinic conducted by the coaches and players for $200, and Assistant Coach Bobbie Kelsey got the bidding up to $775 for a bench seat at the Tennessee game.

Between the live auctions, the players circulated around the crowd, chatting with everyone, graciously signing autographs and posing for pictures. One shy but smiling little boy who looked to be about 6 or 7 years old started to kneel down next to 6-4 Jayne for his picture, but realized that might not work. Still smiling, he quickly stood as tall as he could – about tall enough for Jayne to pat him on the head without leaning over. It was a fleeting moment, but one that spoke volumes about the admiration that the Stanford women have earned from the younger set.

November 22, 2008

Cardinal women regain their winning ways

Morgan Clyburn got another workout Nov. 20 as the Stanford women coasted to an 84-46 win over the University of New Mexico. The senior forward, still recovering from foot surgery, high-fived her benchmates 12 times to celebrate three-point shots.

The fireworks started early as freshman guard Lindy La Rocque hit the first of her four three-pointers. Guard Jeanette Pohlen added two more, followed by two more from Lindy. Thus the duo treated the crowd to five consecutive threes to open the scoring. The tally was up to 10 at the half and 12 at the end. Like Lindy, Jeanette had four, guard JJ Hones had three and guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude had one.

Speaking to the Fast Break Club after the game, Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said the team has a goal of making at least 10 threes per game. Besides boosting the score in a hurry, the threes will open things up for center Jayne Appel, who has had to contend with a swarm of defenders under the basket, the coach said.

“Jayne is a very unselfish player,” Associate Head Coach Amy Tucker said earlier, so when she can’t do her own shooting, she passes off to someone who can. That’s how she tallied a team-high seven assists against New Mexico. “We’re not worried about Jayne. She’ll come through,” Amy said.

Besides the lopsided score, the game was noteworthy for several other reasons. One is that Lindy got the first start of her career. She looked nervous when she was introduced, but obviously she shook the nerves off in a hurry. Tara said at a news conference after the game that Lindy got the nod because Ros was late for practice. She redeemed herself with her usual tenacious defense.

Also noteworthy is that JJ was able to play. She had been sidelined for two games with a stress reaction in her right foot. She didn’t start, but she came off the bench about seven minutes into the game and began providing her steady leadership at the point.

Finally, all 14 healthy players saw some playing time, and 13 of them scored. It was a balanced attack with five players in double figures: forward Jillian Harmon, 13; Lindy, Jeanette and JJ, 12 each; and forward Nneka Ogwumike, 11.

Some items of note emerged during the talk after the game. Asked about recruiting, Tara said the coaching staff is happy with its two recruits, both forwards. “They’re really talented players.” She has no plans to pursue anyone else. “That means Ros stays,” Tara said, referring to the additional year of eligibility the guard gets after missing much of her sophomore year with a knee injury. “Ros is excited about that,” she said.

Tara also said the team is going to Italy next fall, but provided no details. Amy said afterward that Stanford will play several Italian teams and “eat lotsa pasta.”

In keeping with tradition, FBC members met another freshman, forward/center Sarah Boothe, introduced by Amy. Sarah has an older brother at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and a younger brother in high school in their hometown, Gurnee, Ill., north of Chicago. Her family also has a pet albino rabbit, Sugar, living in the basement.

Her biggest adjustment to college life is sharing a room, she said, noting that with two brothers, she’d always had her own room. She was quick to add that she has a good roommate. Doing her own laundry for the first time has been another challenge. She has had to spend time on the phone getting tips from her mother.

As for basketball, “I like being physical,” she said. Amy agreed, saying, “Sarah is by far our most physical player in practice,” but she’s getting good experience by playing with Jayne and forward Kayla Pedersen. “You have yet to see Sarah play up to her abilities,” Amy said. To help her do so, her coaches are trying to get her to slow down for at least a second and look around before acting.

Tara had some final comments. “We’ve seen people improve a lot” since the tough home victory against Minnesota and the road loss to Baylor the previous week. “This is a very different team from last year. … The puzzle is not together yet.”

Losing to Baylor “was horrible,” but no one tried to make excuses. Instead players wanted to watch the video to see where they could improve. “We expect great things on Sunday,” against Rutgers, she said. “We’re going to play really hard.” The team is excited to meet an opponent that’s “really, really athletic.” Rutgers also is well coached by C. Vivian Stringer, whom Tara has known and liked for many years, she said.

November 16, 2008

Tara puts a tough win in perspective

Launching her 23rd season at the helm of the Stanford women’s basketball, Head Coach Tara VanDerveer knows how to take both the short- and the long-term view. She took both in talking to the Fast Break Club after the team toughed out a 68-55 home court win against the gritty Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big 10 on Nov. 14.

After two easy exhibition wins, the team’s season opener started with some adversity. Point guard JJ Hones was on the bench wearing a boot on her right foot because of a stress reaction, an injury usually caused by overuse. “She was just resting tonight,” the coach said, but it’s uncertain when she’ll be back. Rest is the recommended treatment.

With JJ sidelined, guard Jeanette Pohlen got the starting call along with center Jayne Appel, forwards Kayla Pedersen and Jillian Harmon, and guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. By the time the game was over, every healthy player except freshman guard Grace Mashore and sophomore forward Ashley Cimino saw some action.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Tara said. “It was a very physical game” that left freshman forward Sarah Boothe with a bloody nose, limiting her playing time. Nevertheless, “I was excited about how hard our team played.” She praised several players, including forward Michelle Harrison, who had suffered a season-ending knee injury last November.

With JJ out, “we need to develop other people. Things are not smooth just yet …. The guards are going to have to step up…. We’re a lot better with (JJ).” Still, “people did not back down” even though “we missed a lot of easy shots… We missed at least 10 layups.”

Although she couldn’t criticize the officiating, the crowd was unhappy when fouls were called on Stanford players who had made clean blocks, as verified by replays.

Assistant Coach Bobbie Kelsey, speaking before Tara’s arrival, noted that physical teams are good for the Cardinal. Looking ahead to the first away game against Baylor on Nov. 16, she said that with four starters back from last year, “they’re very physical. We need that.” Bobbie was responsible for scouting Baylor.

“Tonight we just couldn’t get a shot” despite some good looks, she said. Stanford finished with 45.8 percent shooting to Minnesota’s 35 percent. Three Stanford players – Kayla with 14 (plus 12 rebounds) Jane with 14 and freshman forward Nneka Ogwumike with 11 – finished in double figures.

It takes time to learn to play together, Tara said, but “this is a motivated and close team. It’s really exciting to see how much this team will improve.” She noted that she could schedule pushover teams before Pac-10 and tournament play begins, but they wouldn’t help the Cardinal improve. She relishes the tough competition that makes her team tougher.

As is customary, FBC members had their first chance to meet one of the freshmen. In this case, it was a smiling Nneka. “The team is wonderful. I’m having fun,” she said. She added that she was looking forward to the Baylor game because her family in Texas would be there. Her mother planned to see the team’s home games against New Mexico and Rutgers this week.

She wants to become an orthopedist, but she also wants to play professionally or overseas after graduation. While in high school, she volunteered as a coach for recreational basketball and volleyball teams. She also helped organized a marathon run by female athletes to benefit children in Darfur and helped raise money for the family of another school’s coach who died.

Nneka was actively recruited by a number of schools, including Baylor, but she appreciated the fact that the Stanford coaches “respected my schedule.” She played coy about where she’d go, Bobbie said, but “I felt good when she bought a (Stanford) T-shirt at the bookstore.”

So far she has found the academic demand to be “much easer than I thought it would be,” but she had learned how to be disciplined in high school, Nneka said. Bobbie added that Nneka’s Nigerian-born parents instilled that sense of discipline along with a sense of responsibility as Nneka helped her three younger sisters get ready for school every morning.

In playing for Stanford, “there are a lot of expectations” for a team with the No. 2 national ranking, but it’s a “motivation to strive for success,” Nneka said. She followed Stanford’s success last season and knew she wanted to be a part of it. She also likes the college game’s faster tempo.

October 21, 2008

Open practice and barbecue

More than 140 Fast Break Club members got a preview of the 2008-09 edition of the women’s basketball team at the open practice and barbecue Oct. 18. There was a lot to generate optimism for the season, which Head Coach Tara VanDerveer called “one of our most competitive ever” during remarks at the barbecue.

It was difficult to get a decisive fix on the team because not all of the bigs were participating. Sophomore Ashley Cimino was away on a personal matter, Coach Amy Tucker said later in an e-mail.

Three others – senior Morgan Clyburn (feet) and juniors Jayne Appel and Michelle Harrison (knees) – are recuperating from surgery, so their participation was limited. To their credit, however, they went through the opening stretches, worked out individually on the sidelines and joined in shooting practice. They were involved physically as much as possible, and emotionally 100 percent, or so it appeared. Jayne and Michelle are expected to be cleared for full practice shortly, but it’s not certain when Morgan can return, Tara said.

Amy’s e-mail pointed out that because this was an open practice, it wasn’t typical for this point in the season. “We played more full court than usual,” she wrote. “We will drill more early and break down our offense and defense.”

The three-hour practice began with the players stretching and going through flexibility and strength exercises, followed by running and shooting. In another phase, they divided into groups with Coach Kate Paye working with the guards and Coach Bobbie Kelsey and Amy working the forwards. Everyone took a water break every 20 minutes or so.

In one exercise, one player would dribble up the court while another tried to steal the ball. This was an area where experience showed as veteran guards like senior/redshirt junior Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, junior JJ Hones and junior/redshirt sophomore Melanie Murphy outfoxed their partners.

After a four-on-four scrimmage, it was time to run sprints, followed by more scrimmages, shooting exercises and fast-break exercises. Play stopped several times as the team formed a circle to hear Tara’s comments, which didn’t carry up to fans in the stands. Time was set aside for free throws and three-pointers. If this practice was any indication, fans can look forward to many of the latter from a variety of players, and yes, freshman Lindy La Rocque does have a keen eye for threes.

Two male practice players took part in the scrimmages, playing the post positions and challenging the women with their rebounding and shooting. Still, several plays by the women drew applause from the fans.

It was an intense, focused practice with no slacking off. One could sense that this is a team on a mission to do as well as or better than last year, which saw the Cardinal advance all the way to the NCAA national championship game.

After the practice, the players showered, dressed and joined the fans enjoying the barbecue at Jimmy V’s. Then, in keeping with tradition, Tara introduced them, starting with the freshmen:
  • Lindy – “She’s a three-point shooter with great energy and great hustle.”
  • Forward Nneka Ogwumike – She was a captain and the leading scorer on the USA under-18 team that played in Argentina this summer. “She’s a rebounder, too,” but “I told her no back flips,” Tara said, referring to Nneka’s participation in gymnastics until she got too tall.
  • Forward/center Sarah Boothe – She was Nneka’s teammate on the USA team. Because they add so much depth to the post rotation, Amy can take the “Thou shalt not foul” sign off Jayne’s locker.
  • Guard Grace Mashore – “She’s making good adjustment” to the college game and has good players to help her.
Going onto the sophomores:
  • Guard Hannah Donaghe -- “She’s working real hard.”
  • Guard Jeanette Pohlen – “I’m really proud of how hard Jeanette worked in the off-season.”
  • Forward Kayla Pedersen – “She never was a freshman anyway. She’s extremely competitive, a bright player.”
And the juniors:
  • Mel – She’s healthy after suffering a torn ACL early last season.
  • Michelle – She’s a sophomore-junior after missing most of last season with a torn ACL. She sustained a torn meniscus during the summer, but “she’s in great shape” and should be practicing in a few days.
  • JJ – “Already I’m seeing JJ doing things I’ve never seen her do.” She’s also in better shape than she was at this time last year, when she returned from a torn ACL during her freshman year.
  • Jayne – “She’s halfway through her Stanford career,” and should be practicing shortly. “She’s an absolutely phenomenal player and an equally phenomenal person.”
And finally the seniors:
  • Ros – “We don’t know yet whether she’s a senior or a junior.” (She missed most of her sophomore year with a torn ACL.) Either way, “she’s a positive leader.”
  • Morgan – “It’s incredible the type of surgery she’s gone through, yet she has retained a positive attitude” and has been able to do a little more each day.
  • Forward Jillian Harmon – “Our Tall Fern,” the coach called her, referring to Jill’s playing with New Zealand’s team at the Beijing Olympics this summer.

Tara then turned the microphone over to Jill, who answered questions. The first came from Tara, who asked about her goals for this year. “I’d just like us to build on what we did last year and have fun along the way,” Jill said.

Regarding her Olympics experience, “I lucked out on that one,” she said, adding that she had a chance to visit relatives in New Zealand. She said she was impressed by the international players’ conditioning. “They’re all in such great shape.” The forwards are as fast as the guards.

She enjoyed seeing internationally renowned athletes like Roger Federer. Some of the events she got to see were the men’s and women’s gold medal basketball games, the men’s 100-meter track final and, for the first time, handball.

Tara then spoke some more, noting that “every game will be intense competition” this season. “We want to play more up-tempo.”

The team will miss the recently graduated Cissy Pierce and Candice Wiggins, she said. Candice, who rewrote the record books for scoring, can’t be replaced, but “the lessons (from her style of play) were not wasted on this team.”

Candice attended the practice and barbecue because she’s on campus this fall to complete her course requirements. She’s also recuperating from surgery to repair a torn meniscus sustained late in the WNBA season.

The Stanford players came back in good shape, the coach said, and they’re working well together. As for the Final Four, “We want it again,” she said. “What last year’s team can teach this year’s team is that we wanted to keep playing together. We were … committed to each other.”

Noting that she plans to write letters and take tickets to her neighbors, the coach asked FBC members to “bring some new people to the games” and show them this great team.

One other item of note: FBC members who hadn’t been on campus since last season were surprised to find that the part of the parking lot south of Maples and the lot across the street to the west are closed for construction.

Eileen Roche, director of basketball operations, said that shuttles will be available and that she’ll send specifics to everyone. Information also has been posted at the Stanford women’s basketball site.

Here are more pictures, and you can find still more in Don Anderson's photo gallery.