February 13, 2011

Cardinal in the pink

It was Cardinal and pink all over as the Stanford women’s basketball team handed Washington a 100-59 loss Feb. 10 at Maples Pavilion.

Because it was a night for breast cancer awareness, everyone was asked to wear pink. Continuing a practice started by Joe Appel, father of Jayne Appel, ’10, senior guard Jeanette Pohlen’s dad, John, wore a pink tutu over his pants. In fact, it was handed down to him by Jayne’s dad. The pink shower cap wasn’t included. Instead, John wore a pink scarf. In the meantime, junior guard Lindy La Rocque’s father, Alan, wore pink pants. Several other fans wore tutus, too.

The Washington team donned pink shoes and socks to go with pink T-shirts for their warmups. The Stanford women likewise wore the pink T-shirts and pink shoelaces, and some sported pink ribbons or pink headbands. Senior forward Kayla Pedersen and freshman guard Toni Kokenis went a bit further by adding pink streaks to their hair.

The streaks were perhaps symbolic of the streaks occurring that night. Stanford won its 49th consecutive Pac-10 game, breaking its own record. It defeated WSU for the 52nd time (against no losses). It notched its 57th home victory, closing in on its record of 59. The team moved up to 21-2 for the season and 12-0 in the conference. And, by the way, it was head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 814th career victory.

Seeing other sides of Tara

The game also gave fans a chance to see Tara in a way that’s different from her game-day persona. In a video promoting the wrestling team during halftime, she wore a Stanford wrestler’s uniform and took on wrestling coach Jason Borrelli, who dubbed her “Tara the Terror.” The wrestling team then came onto the court and was met with cheers and applause.

In a KerryCam video created by manager Kerry Blake during last week’s trip to the Arizona schools, Tara teamed with red-shirt sophomore forward Sarah Boothe to challenge assistant coach Kate Paye and senior forward Ashley Cimino in a two-on-two basketball matchup. Kate and Ashley prevailed.

This same video showed Tara stopping the team bus after dinner and treating everyone to ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins – something the players thoroughly enjoyed.

Meet the managers

The videos were shown again to the Fast Break Club after the game, when fans got to meet Kerry and her fellow manager, Dorothy Boakye-Donkor, who are both seniors. Kerry has been with the team for four years, while Dorothy has logged three years. “These two are the finest (managers) we’ve ever had,” associate head coach Amy Tucker said.

“It’s a really great job,” Dorothy said, adding that they both love basketball. Their duties include doing the laundry every day, setting things up for practices and video sessions, running the clock and rebounding for players during practice, and keeping statistics.

Kerry, a sociology major, hopes to work for Nike after graduation. Dorothy, a political science major, has set her sights on law school.

Another FBC guest was Jenny Claypool, director of championships. She reported that fewer than half of WBB season ticket holders have bought tickets for the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament at 1 and 3:30 p.m. March 19 and 6:30 p.m. March 21 at Stanford. Sales to all fans totaled 1,870 as of Feb. 10. Citing how well the team is doing this season, she urged fans to get their tickets. “They need our support,” said Jenny, who has been in her post for 11 years.

The time for Stanford’s first game won’t be announced until 4 p.m. March 16, when the NCAA reveals the tournament brackets. All-session tickets are on sale now. Individual game tickets go on sale March 16. To buy tickets online, click here.

Tara’s views on the game and team

Finally Tara had some comments and answered questions. Recalling the Washington road game earlier this season and looking to the rematch in Maples on Feb. 12, she said, “Washington was one of our more physical games, and our team hasn’t forgotten.”

As for the just-completed Washington State game, “We started out just a little casual,” she said – so casual that Stanford found itself in the unaccustomed spot of lagging 28-26 with 6:51 to go in the first half.

After that, the Cardinal began to pull ahead, leading 46-32 at the half. One noteworthy stat from the first half is that the Cardinal had only two fouls, the first at 9:49 to go.

The score continued to widen during the second half even after all the starters were resting on the bench with 9:51 to go and the score at 76-43. Everyone had seen action by the end of the game, when Sarah made the layup that pushed the Cardinal total to 100.

“We had to make some adjustments” after the first half, Tara said. Then “our depth and our confidence took over” in the second half. Ten of the 13 players recorded 10 minutes or more on the court.

Pleased that “everyone played, and nobody got hurt,” Tara dished out praise to each player. “It’s a wonderful group to work with. They’re very coachable. The leadership is outstanding,” she said.

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