August 10, 2009

No more previews of Stanford’s talented tandem

It was a grueling weekend for Stanford freshmen Mikaela Ruef and Joslyn Tinkle as their Bay Pride team won its Aug. 8 game against the Lady Warriors 82-75 but lost its Aug. 9 game against San Francisco 73-65, thus being eliminated from Pro-Am contention at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco.

Joslyn scored 25 points in each game, while Mikaela added 5 on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. Joslyn also managed to stay out of foul trouble with three in each game. Mikaela had four in each game, but two of them on Sunday were intentional as BP staged a late rally against SF.

SF also had defeated BP earlier in the summer season. Sunday’s game was relatively close at the half as SF led 37-35. However, too many turnovers and ill-advised shots put BP too far behind to catch up despite the late rally. When BP’s athletic Nicolia Simmons of USF fouled out, the team’s chances dimmed, for she had been a solid team anchor along with the Stanford women.

Stanford fans in the small but loud BP cheering section got a preview of what could lie ahead for the next four years as SF’s Gennifer Brandon, a 6’3” Cal freshman, showed her considerable talents against Stanford’s two 6’3” freshmen. Cal freshman Talia Caldwell and junior Rachelle Federico were also on the SF roster. Then there was Cal’s Natasha Vital, whose point guard skills couldn’t be matched by either of the BP point guards. Her free-throw shooting also proved vital in the closing minutes.

Saturday’s game was surprisingly close even though the Lady Warriors had only five players to BP’s nine. In fact, the start of the game was delayed for 25 minutes as the LW waited for its fifth player to arrive. One reason why the game was so close is that Cal’s Alexis Gray-Lawson poured in 42 points, more than half of LW’s total of 75.

The cheering section for BP on Saturday included Stanford center Jayne Appel and guard JJ Hones, who are in summer school. The two seniors looked good, and both are looking forward to the team’s trip to Italy next month and the start of the season.

Mikaela’s parents and maternal grandparents were in the stands for both games. Her grandmother, who lives in Burlingame, sported a Stanford Grandma T-shirt. Mikaela’s mother said how pleased she is that her daughter and Joslyn have bonded as teammates and as friends. That rapport could serve the team well for the next four years.

August 4, 2009

Bay Pride falls short despite 21 from Mikaela

Incoming freshman Mikaela Ruef led her team with 21 points, including two 3-pointers, but they weren’t enough as Bay Pride fell 90-78 to San Francisco in the San Francisco Bay Area Pro-Am on Aug. 2 at Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco. Fellow Cardinal freshman Joslyn Tinkle had an atypical afternoon with only 8 points.

Bay Pride finished round-robin competition with a 4-2 record (the other loss came before Joslyn and Mikaela arrived), tying for second among the seven teams. The team will play the Lady Warriors, which it previously defeated 87-80, at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8. The winner of that game and an earlier playoff game will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9. The championship game is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Kezar Pavilion, 755 Stanyan St. at Waller on the far east end of Golden Gate Park.

In the Aug. 2 game against San Francisco, Joslyn went to the bench with three fouls with 9:54 to go in the first half. With only seven Bay Pride players dressed, however, she played the entire second half despite picking up another foul. One of the 15 or so Stanford fans at the game remarked that associate head coach Amy Tucker will have to make another “Thou shalt not foul” sign for Joslyn’s locker. Maybe Joslyn can pick up some pointers from senior center Jayne Appel, who found such a sign on her locker after facing her own fouling problems during her freshman year.

Even though the lids of the Kezar baskets seemed to be closed to Joslyn and several of her teammates, she had scored quite a few points in previous outings, as well as snaring a good share of rebounds, as she did Sunday. In the meantime, Mikaela has shown steady progress from game to game. Against San Francisco, she ran the floor well, played tough defense, grabbed rebounds, stole the ball and dished out assists.

Still, having to play all 40 minutes was tough for her. In addition, the coaching and other aspects in this recreational league are hardly representative of what lies ahead for the two Stanford women. There’s too much run and shoot, resulting in too much one and done at Kezar. Nevertheless, they got a taste of the caliber of competition thanks to the presence of Cal guard Natasha Vital. She was the game’s high scorer with 28. Incoming Cal freshmen Gennifer Brandon, Talia Caldwell and Rachelle Federico also are on the San Francisco roster.

Another challenge for Bay Pride was that USF’s Nicolia Simmons, one of the team’s top players, along with Joslyn and Mikaela, injured her ankle during the game but continued to play until fouling out during the second half.

Shortly before the end of the game, Cal’s Alexis Gray-Lawson arrived for the next game. Chatting with some of the Stanford fans, she commented that it will seem strange to play against Stanford juniors Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen. They were her teammates on the USA team that won the gold medal at the recent World University Games in Serbia. Alexis also said that Jeanette was even better this summer than during the 2008-09 season. That has to strike fear in the hearts of opponents and cheer in the hearts of Cardinal fans, especially since Jeanette won the most improved player award at the team’s honors banquet this spring.