December 14, 2009

Doggone good fun at DePaul game

The Stanford women’s basketball team treated fans to another display of its prowess by defeating visiting DePaul 96-60 on Dec. 13. Besides all the game highlights, which are described in Stories of the Season, the fans welcomed the return of the agility dogs from Ace Dog Sports at halftime. Ranging from a Great Dane to a teacup poodle, the 12 dogs raced through tunnels, leapt over barriers and swiveled around poles as their owners ran with them. As they were last year, they were a huge crowd pleaser.

Besides the resounding victory, the game was notable for center Jayne Appel snaring her 1,000th rebound to join the illustrious company of Nicole Powell, ’04 and Val Whiting, ’93. Also on the plus side, freshman forward Joslyn Tinkle returned to action after missing several games with a stress reaction in her foot.

On the minus side, forward Michelle Harrison was sidelined again. She had missed several games with back spasms before returning. This time the problem was a concussion. It seems her head had an unexpected encounter with Jayne’s elbow in practice. She hopes to be back soon. Guard Hannah Donaghe (knee) and center Sarah Boothe (foot) are still unavailable.

After the game, fans ambled over to the annual Fast Break Club auction, the booster club’s biggest fundraiser.

In keeping with the theme of “Back in the Saddle,” auction volunteers wore Western garb and Dallmar Court was adorned with “Wanted” posters of each team member. For example, there were “Wanted – for long-range shootin’, Lightnin’ Lindy La Rocque, $$ Reward $$” and “Wanted – for bustin’ a move, Jeanette Pohlen, Bojangles, $$ Reward $$.”

As the players arrived, they willingly signed autographs. One enterprising young fan had Jayne sign his red victory ball.

A life-size black horse was stationed near the auctioneer’s stage. Eileen Roche, director of basketball operations, said that it was delivered to the WBB office unbeknownst to the coaches, who were more than a bit taken aback when they first saw it. It took five people to get it back downstairs, she said. On the horse’s saddle was a poster with the players’ numbers.

Next to the horse stood a life-size cutout of Dale Evans (Mrs. Roy Rogers) in her younger years. Hannah and forward Kayla Pedersen posed for a picture with it. Joslyn, who hails from the Big Sky country of Montana, got into the spirit of things by donning a cowboy hat lent to her by a fan.

The first item for the live portion of the auction was a football signed by football coach Jim Harbaugh and star running back Toby Gerhart. Sarah served as the auctioneer, starting the bidding at $200. It eventually went for $700 at Sarah’s urging.

Next up was a colorful team quilt made by Beverly La Rocque, Lindy’s mother. Lindy, wearing an ice pack on her hip after being knocked to the floor by an intentional foul, did the auctioneering honors. Held up by Sarah and Jeanette, “the quilt is authentic, handmade,” Lindy said. “It has all our pretty faces on it”. She added that there would be only one this year. The bidding was so intense for last year’s quilt, which sold for $800, that her mother agreed to make another one for the same bid.

Dale Schroedel of San Francisco won this year’s quilt with a bid of $975. In the meantime, the players agreed to autograph it for her.

Guard Mel Murphy, who later sported an elf hat, auctioned off a game jersey worn and autographed by Jayne. Bidding started at $100 as Mel reminded the crowd that Jayne could be “the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft. She has a bright future.” Two bidders went back and forth, eventually raising the price to $700. At that point, head coach Tara VanDerveer stepped in and said she’d make sure that each of them got a Jayne jersey for $700.

A chance to sit on the Stanford bench when the team hosts UConn next December sold for $500. A Final Four chair from St. Louis, autographed by the players, went for $500.

As the auction wound down, Dana Stewart, fundraising chair, announced that Tara would host a second Piano and Pie afternoon ($75 a person) at her home next spring.

Hats off to everyone who helped make this auction such a success and so much fun by soliciting donations and organizing everything. All the proceeds go toward the team. Last year’s auction, for example, helped finance the team’s trip to Italy in September.

(See Don Anderson's Photo Gallery for a slideshow of auction photos.)

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