June 26, 2011

First look at 4 freshmen

Several dozen fans of Stanford women’s basketball got their first chance to see four of the six incoming freshmen in action as they played a SF Bay Area Pro-Am game June 25 at Kezar Pavilion. Their team, South Bay, defeated Bay City 85-81.

The win came in large part from the skills of junior forward Joslyn Tinkle, who scored 37 points, snared numerous rebounds, blocked several shots and seemed to serve as the floor general for her freshman teammates: guards Amber Orrange and Jasmine Camp and forwards Bonnie Samuelson and Taylor Greenfield. She was especially vocal on defense during the first half, shouting, “Rebound, rebound.”

Two other Stanford women on the South Bay roster were on the sidelines. Freshman forward Erica Payne had a sore ankle, while junior forward Chiney Ogwumike didn’t arrive until late in the first half. She said after the game that she won’t be playing in the recreational league. She and her senior forward sister, Nneka, hope to play with the USA Basketball team in the World University Games later this summer.

Joining them on the sidelines was incoming freshman guard Alex Green, who is recovering from an ACL injury in November.

Former Stanford player, guard Markisha Coleman, ’07, is on the South Bay roster, too. However, as game time neared, South Bay had 10 players, while Bay City had only two. Therefore, four Bay City players, including Markisha, were recruited to play for Bay City, giving each team six players.

(Markisha said after the game that she has completed her master’s degree in education with an emphasis on psychology at Pepperdine and is working as a probation officer for Santa Clara County. Her young niece was with her.)

With so few players on each team, everyone got lots of playing time. Joslyn played the entire 40 minutes, while her teammates had only brief breathers.

As mentioned, Joslyn led the scoring by Stanford women with 37 points. She was followed by Bonnie and Amber with 16 each, Jasmine with 12 and Taylor with two. I didn’t keep track of rebounds, but Taylor had several, as did the other Stanford women. Joslyn, Taylor and Bonnie got into foul trouble with four each, but they managed to stay in the game.

Markisha, who doesn’t seem to have lost a step since her Stanford days, had 10 points. Some of them came as a Bay City player would make a defensive rebound and lob a long pass to her as she streaked toward the basket. She also stole the ball several times.

Joslyn started the game with several unsuccessful 3-point attempts but soon found her footing by posting up under the basket. She did wind up with several 3s, but I didn’t keep track.

South Bay trailed by 11 points, 44-33, at the half, but Joslyn led a rally that brought her team to within 2 points, 70-68, with 7:15 left. At one point she scored several successive baskets, helping to put South Bay ahead 82-81 with 2:01 to go.

As the players warmed up before the game, fans tried to figure out who was who, aside from Joslyn and Markisha. The program was no help because it didn’t have jersey numbers. Finally, the scorekeeper went onto the floor and got them from the players.

Before the officials decided to send some South Bay players to the Bay City team for the afternoon, Joslyn came over to the Stanford fans and jokingly asked if anyone wanted to play.

It’s too early to predict how well this freshman class will do. The promise they show is awaiting Stanford coaching and collegiate competition. They’ll also benefit from the time they spend on the strength and conditioning regimen.

In the meantime, they all showed a good work ethic and sense of teamwork with some efficient ball movement. Both guards, Amber and Jasmine, are speedy, and neither is afraid to penetrate the defense and drive to the basket.

South Bay will play again at noon July 2, at 4 p.m. July 9, at 4 p.m. July 16 and at 3 p.m. on Sunday July 17.

The July 17th game, between South Bay and Mission Rec. Center, has been added to a schedule as a makeup game for the one which didn't exactly happen on June 18th. The original game did take place, but with four borrowed players for South Bay.

Playoffs are scheduled July 23 and 30 with championship games on Aug. 6 and 7 and, if necessary, Aug. 13.

Pro-Am games are played at Kezar Pavilion, 755 Stanyan St., at Waller, at the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Admission is free, and parking costs $2.50 an hour in the adjacent lot. There’s a North Beach Pizza just across the street, where several fans went after the game.