July 28, 2011

Summer seasoning for Cardinal players

Although summer provides a break from actual game competition, Stanford women’s basketball players are using the time to prepare for the next season.

As is traditional, the six incoming freshmen are getting a head start on the academic aspects of their Stanford careers by attending summer school. Except for guard Alex Green, who is rehabbing from knee surgery, they’re also working out and playing pickup games.

In addition, guards Jasmine Camp and Amber Orrange, along with forwards Taylor Greenfield, Erica Payne and Bonnie Samuelson played together on the South Bay team in the San Francisco Pro-Am recreational league. Joining them on that team and in summer school was junior forward Joslyn Tinkle.

Others attending summer school are r/s junior forward/center Sarah Boothe, junior forward Mikaela Ruef and sophomore forward Chiney Ogwumike. These veterans also worked at head coach Tara VanDerveer’s summer hoops camps. Sarah had shoulder surgery in the spring but is recovering well and is expected to be ready for the opening of the season, said associate head coach Amy Tucker.

Junior guard Lindy La Rocque wasn’t in summer school, but she was on campus quite a bit, working at the camps and joining her teammates in workouts and pickup games, Amy said. Sophomore guard Toni Kokenis worked at the final camp session after training at home in Illinois.

Senior guard Grace Mashore has spent her summer at home in the Washington, D.C., area while working at an internship.

Senior forward Nneka Ogwumike, although based at home in Houston, has been traveling a lot. She went to Nigeria with her family, went to the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles with Chiney and went to Washington, D.C., to watch her younger sisters play in a basketball tournament.

Next she and Chiney will be at the USA Basketball Women’s World University Team training camp in Colorado Springs from July 31 to Aug. 8 in hopes of making the final cut and playing in the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China, Aug. 14-22.

Sophomore guard Sara James spent two weeks in Europe with her family, then worked at Tara’s hoops camps.

In the meantime, Tara, Amy and assistant coach Kate Paye have been dividing their time between hoops camps and the recruiting trail. Besides helping with these responsibilities, their new colleague, assistant coach Trina Patterson, who started work earlier this summer, has been moving her family to the area and getting settled. The coaches will have some vacation time in August.

July 23, 2011

End of the line at Kezar

The Stanford-dominated South Bay team put up a good fight but in the end was dealt a 100-95 overtime loss at the hands of the bigger, stronger San Francisco team in the first playoff round of Pro-Am competition July 23 at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco.

South Bay sorely missed the presence of junior forward Joslyn Tinkle, its leading scorer and rebounder. The team captain, who has averaged more than 30 points per game, was in Las Vegas with her family.

Freshman forward Taylor Greenfield was there but not in uniform because of a sore back. Freshman guard Alex Green, rehabbing a knee injury, was there for moral support, as she has been throughout the summer. Some other stalwarts were absent, leaving South Bay with only seven players.

The game was played in front of a good turnout of Stanford fans, who saw several lead changes. At the half, the score favored South Bay 51-47. During the second half, the team led by as many as 13 points, but San Francisco kept whittling that down to pull ahead.

South Bay trailed 85-90 with just 55.5 seconds to go but narrowed the gap to 90-91 with 19.1 seconds to go. A San Francisco free throw and a 2-point basket by South Bay’s Jessica Kellogg, who has played professionally in Spain, tied the game at 92-92 just before the final buzzer.

By then South Bay was down to five players because guard Markisha Coleman, ’07, and freshman guard Jasmine Camp had fouled out during regulation play.

With 3:11 to go in overtime and the score knotted at 94-94, freshman forward Erica Payne fouled out, leaving South Bay with only four players on the floor. Besides Jessica, they were Kelsey Shea of Cal and two Stanford freshmen --guard Amber Orrange and forward Bonnie Samuelson.

Bonnie led the team with 30 points. She was six for seven on 3-point shooting. I didn’t keep track of free throws per se, but if she missed any, it was only one. She also had three rebounds and a block.

Among the other Stanford players, Amber was next in scoring with 15 points to go with three rebounds and a steal. Jasmine had 6 points, one rebound and four steals, while Erica had 5 points, nine rebounds, a steal and two blocks. Markisha contributed 4 points, two rebounds and a steal.

The starting lineup featured Jasmine, Bonnie, Jessica and Markisha with Erica at center. Jessica filled in for Joslyn as captain.

Besides Bonnie’s laser-like 3-point and free-throw shooting, the game was notable for how fearlessly Amber and Jasmine drove to the basket. Bonnie and Erica had the unenviable task of guarding Cal’s bigger and stronger Talia Caldwell. Other Cal women playing for San Francisco included Natasha Vital, Lindsay Sherbert and Brittany Boyd.

Stanford fans got a bit of a scare when Bonnie was fouled and landed on her knee under the basket, but she bounced back to make her free throws. An assistant coach applied an ice pack to it during a timeout. After the game, she said it was OK.

As has been true throughout the summer, South Bay was plagued by turnovers and poor rebounding.

Still, the team delivered a lot of fun, exciting basketball for fans. It also provided an enticing look at what might lie ahead for the Stanford Cardinal when the entire team gathers in September and head coach Tara VanDerveer and her colleagues take over.

July 18, 2011

Mixed bag for Stanford women in Pro-Am play

After coasting to a 98-65 victory over East Bay on Saturday, July 16, the Stanford-led South Bay team lost 91-87 to Mission Rec Center in overtime the next day in women’s SF Pro-Am play at Kezar Pavilion.

As she has throughout this summer program, junior forward Joslyn Tinkle led South Bay with 38 points (my unofficial tally) and 14 rebounds in the East Bay game. Stanford freshmen pitched in with 13 points each from guards Jasmine Camp and Amber Orrange, while forwards Erica Payne added 9 and Taylor Greenfield added 6.

Guard Markisha Coleman, ’07, completed the Stanford scoring with 7 points. The speedy little guard also had three rebounds and three steals. Freshman forward Bonnie Samuelson missed both games.

Among the interested observers both days was freshman guard Alex Green, who’s rehabbing a knee injury. The Ogwumike sisters – senior Nneka and sophomore Chiney, both forwards – watched the first game.

That game was marked by sharp passing and good teamwork by the Stanford women, but rebounding was a problem, especially on the offensive end.

Rebounding hurt the South Bay team in the July 17 loss to Mission Rec Center in a makeup game. The opponent’s speed also led to numerous costly turnovers by South Bay.

Whereas Saturday was quite foggy, Sunday was sunny, but parking around Kezar was tight because of the crowds participating in the annual AIDS Walk in Golden Gate Park. Inside Kezar, though, the South Bay fan turnout was light, perhaps because the game was scheduled to start shortly after the USA team lost the championship Women’s World Cup soccer match to Japan. Fan interest in that match was keen.

The game started late because it was preceded by an exhibition game between a Canadian team from Calgary and a group of Pro-Am players who have no more college eligibility. The Pro-Am players won.

The Kezar crowd included one new Stanford fan, Daisy, the nearly 4-year-old English bulldog that belongs to Erica and her East Bay family. The gregarious canine was accompanied by Erica’s parents, Laurie and Harry, and watched the whole game.

South Bay opened a lead that varied between 10 and 11 points during most of the first half, but turnovers began to take their toll, cutting the lead to 47-43 at halftime.

The game was tied 78-78 with 2:11 left. Both teams eked out another 6 points each to make the score 84-84 at the final buzzer and send it into overtime. Joslyn prevented a possible loss with a timely defensive rebound with 1.5 seconds left in regulation play.

She finished the game with a team-leading 28 points (unofficial), her first under-30 tally this summer. She also hauled in 10 rebounds and had three steals and five blocks.

She was closely followed by Erica with 26 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Amber added 8 points, six rebounds and two steals, while Jasmine had 6 points, two rebounds and a steal. Markisha had 2 points, three rebounds and four steals, but she fouled out with 4:11 left. Taylor played only a few minutes in the first half and had no points.

South Bay, which fell to second place in the six-team league, will face fifth-place San Francisco in a playoff game at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 23. If it wins that game, it will play the winner of the Bay City-Golden State game at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30.

Championship games (two out of three) are scheduled at 2 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7 with a final game – if needed – at 2 p.m. Aug. 13. Stanford’s summer term ends that day with the last day of finals.

All games are at Kezar Pavilion, which is on Stanyan Street at the east end of Golden Gate Park. Paid parking is available in an adjacent lot.

July 2, 2011

Joslyn leads rout at Kezar

Junior forward/center Joslyn Tinkle led South Bay, “the Stanford team,” to a 111-81 victory over San Francisco in Pro-Am play at SF’s Kezar Pavilion on July 2.

Joslyn scored 38 points – including four 3’s – and hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double. She also accounted for a steal, several assists and some blocks.

The Stanford freshmen also acquitted themselves well. Guard Jasmine Camp had 15 points and three rebounds. Forward Bonnie Samuelson, had 14 points, including four 3’s, plus four rebounds and a steal. Forward Taylor Greenfield had 8 points and two rebounds. Guard Amber Orrange and forward Erica Payne had 6 points each. Amber also had two rebounds and a steal while Erica had three rebounds and two steals. Guard Markisha Coleman, ’07, had 3 points from a 3, plus a rebound. (Rebound and steal numbers are unofficial.)

This was Erica’s first action at Kezar after missing last week’s game with a sore ankle. She impressed the 15 or so Stanford fans on hand with her hustle and scrappiness, as did Jasmine. All of the Stanford players displayed good teamwork and willingness to share the ball, traits that will serve them well when the season starts.

One area where the South Bay team could use more work is rebounding. I didn’t keep track, but it seemed that San Francisco consistently dominated the glass both offensively and defensively.

The start of the game was delayed a few minutes because the jerseys for San Francisco – which has several Cal players on its roster – hadn’t arrived. South Bay used the time well by going through a shooting drill similar to the one that precedes Stanford games.

South Bay’s starters were Joslyn, the team captain, along with Bonnie, Jasmine, Markisha and Jessica Kellogg, a San Jose State grad who has played in Spain. During the course of the game, all of the 10 or so South Bay players saw action.

The score stayed fairly close during the first few minutes as South Bay seemed to have a low shooting percentage. As the half wore on, however, South Bay inched ahead, taking a 47-38 lead into the half.

Sitting at the end of the South Bay bench was freshman guard Alex Green, who is recuperating from a torn ACL suffered during her senior year in high school. She said she hopes to be ready to play this fall.

South Bay will play again at 4 p.m. July 9, 4 p.m. July 16 and 3 p.m. July 17 (a makeup game against Mission Rec). 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.

A weather word to the wise: Even if it’s hot elsewhere in the Bay Area, the Kezar neighborhood can be chilly, windy and foggy, so dress in layers.