Stanford WBB’s incoming crop of freshmen once again showed great promise in San Francisco Pro-Am play Saturday, July 3, at Kezar Pavilion.
Even though their Golden State team lost 83-76 to the Mission Recreation Center team, forward Chiney Ogwumike and guards Sara James and Toni Kokenis gave some three dozen Stanford fans reason to cheer.
According to my strictly unofficial count, Sara led the scoring with 26 points plus seven rebounds, followed by Chiney with 22 points, 12 rebounds and two steals, and Toni with 9 points and four rebounds. Sophomore forward Mikaela Ruef, who missed last week’s game, contributed 3 points, nine rebounds and one steal. All four of them started the game. Red-shirt sophomore center Sarah Boothe, who was so instrumental in the team’s victory last week, missed this game.
The buzz among fans before the game was that this was their first chance to see Chiney in Bay Area action. Last week she was busy leading her USA U18 team to a gold medal against Western Hemisphere teams in Colorado. After controlling the tipoff Sunday, she showed some nifty moves both offensively and defensively. She had to take a seat with 16:57 left in the first half because she picked up two quick fouls. The tenor of the game seemed to change after that, but improved when she returned later in the half. She had only one more foul after that.
She also contributed a 3-point shot, as did Toni, while Sara had three. Both guards showed a lot of hustle while taking the ball up the court, driving to the basket or dishing out assists. They also showed some tough defense. Sara fouled out with under 22 seconds left in the game, but it was an intentional foul when the score was 79-74 in Mission Rec’s favor.
Overall, though, Golden State had some problems. For one, only eight players showed up, while Mission Rec had 10. Moreover, Mission Rec appeared to field more experienced players. For example, its two leading scorers, both with 19 (according to the San Francisco Chronicle), were Santa Clara University alumna Whitney Sutak and Amanda Lassiter, listed with WNBA/Spain experience in the program.
Although I don’t have numbers, Mission Rec appeared to outrebound Golden State. Golden State also was plagued by turnovers, many of them from errant passes. Golden State’s defense often left Mission Rec players open for successful 3s.
The Stanford boosters included Sara’s parents, Mikaela’s mother and Chiney’s big sis, forward Nneka Ogwumike, who had celebrated her birthday the previous day. With her was junior classmate Lindy La Rocque, guard.
Golden State, now 2-1, plays again at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10, and at noon Saturday, July 17. Playoffs start July 24 and continue July 31, Aug. 7 and 8, and possibly Aug. 14.
The games are played at Kezar Pavilion, 755 Stanyan St. at Waller on the east end of Golden Gate Park. There’s paid parking next to the pavilion.
For details go to SF Bay Area Pro-Am.