December 30, 2014

Team tunes up for Pac-12 with romp over UCSB

The Stanford women’s basketball team ended its pre-conference schedule with a 90-34 victory over winless UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 28 at Maples.

All 15 players were in uniform and played at least 5 minutes. The scoring was well balanced with four players in double figures: sophomore guard Lili Thompson with 12, sophomore guards Karlie Samuelson and Briana Roberson with 11 each, and freshman guard Brittany McPhee with 10.

In all, 12 players scored, but everyone contributed in some way.

Brittany leads team in playing time

Brittany’s 22 minutes of playing time was a high for the team. Everyone else played 19 minutes or less.

In addition to her 10 points, Brittany contributed five rebounds, three blocks and three steals, playing with energy and hustle that impressed the 4,041 people in attendance.

The Cardinal led in rebounds, 50-21; assists, 17-8; blocks, 6-2; and steals, 8-4. Stanford had only nine turnovers, while UCSB had 12. UCSB had 13 fouls to Stanford’s seven.

Besides Lili and Karlie, the starting lineup featured senior guard Amber Orrange, senior forward Bonnie Samuelson and freshman forward Kaylee Johnson.

“Bird” snares 12 rebounds

Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall had a team-high and career-high 12 rebounds to go with 8 points on 4-of-4 shooting.

Shooting at a 41.7 percent clip from beyond the arc, the Cardinal had 10 3’s with three each from Bonnie and Karlie, two from redshirt junior guard Jasmine Camp and one each from Briana and senior forward Taylor Greenfield. Jasmine’s two baskets were her first for the season.

The atmosphere at Maples was enlivened by the band, cheerleaders and Tree. Kaylee was the game’s featured player. The video board showed some Did You Know facts along with a brief interview. One of the facts was that she was a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year in her home state of Wyoming.

A Behind the Bench followed the game, with associate head coach Amy Tucker noting that the team was back after just a three-day break for Christmas.

She then introduced Jasmine, saying that the team co-captain “has been relentlessly positive and optimistic” in addition to being a good mentor to the younger players.

Jasmine applies to graduate business schools

Although she is a redshirt with another year of eligibility, she’s applying for graduate business schools and might consider going into coaching, Jasmine said. A psychology major, she’s not applying to Stanford because its business school doesn’t take students directly out of college. They need some business experience first.

She said the team’s three freshmen – Kaylee, Brittany and guard Taylor Rooks – “are taking everything in stride.” They’re “very well adjusted.”

She started playing basketball on a YMCA team when she was 4 years old.

Answering other questions, she said her most memorable moments with the team include her first Final Four her freshman year (in Denver in 2012) and the team’s trip to Italy in 2013.

Tara speaks to fans

As head coach Tara VanDerveer returned from her post-game press conference, Jasmine was asked for a favorite Taraism. She laughed and said that there are “too many to choose from.”

Tara began her comments by noting that Lili’s grandmother was visiting from Michigan and that Kaylee’s grandparents were making their first visit to Stanford.

“This is a great way to close out 2014,” she said. “We’ve played a really tough schedule.”

“It’s fun to see so many of our younger players do so well for us. It was a fun game for us. … We need this kind of game to allow younger players to make mistakes.”

Asked which Pac-12 team poses the biggest challenge, she answered, “It’s all about our team. We need everyone to continue to improve.”

Coaches continue to work on puzzle

As the coaches continue to work with the new offense, they face “a different puzzle to put together. ... It’s still evolving,” but the team has “mature, unselfish players.” The coaches are trying to take “advantage of our team’s strengths.”

She noted that “the guards are doing more,” and the team is “running more screening on the ball.”

The lineups have mostly been using one true post, with Bonnie and Taylor serving as stretch 4’s. That means that with their 3-point shooting ability, they stretch the defenses more to the perimeter. The offense is emphasizing more 3-point shooting and using more players off the bench.

The trip to Tennessee earlier in December resulted in losses to Tennessee and Chattanooga and showed that “we have a long way to go,” Tara said.

Still, “I’d rather learn what we need to work on earlier (rather) than later.”

Coach praises Kaylee, Brittany

She said that Kaylee has been “a pleasant surprise. … Her rebounding is exceptional,” and she has a good basketball IQ. She also said that “I thought Brittany did a very nice job today,” especially since she missed several weeks of practice while recovering from an injury.

She was noncommittal about whether Jasmine and guard Alex Green, the other redshirt junior, would return next year. The other four seniors – Amber, Taylor, Bonnie and forward Erica Payne – will graduate. To date, the team has four freshmen coming in next fall.

She said she watches the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. “We do learn a lot from watching them.” Former Cardinal player Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, ’10, is a sideline commentator for the Oakland team. “She’s awesome,” funny and insightful, Tara said.

The team kicks off its Pac-12 season at home with games against Colorado at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 and Utah at 5 p.m. Jan. 5. Both will be televised on the Pac-12 network.

December 24, 2014

Players go home on a winning note

With senior forward Bonnie Samuelson and sophomore guard Karlie Samuelson accounting for more than half of its points, the Stanford women’s basketball team defeated UC Davis 71-59 in Maples on Dec. 22.

The victory was most welcome following a road trip on which the team lost 54-46 to Chattanooga on Dec. 17 and 59-40 to Tennessee on Dec. 20. Those losses dropped Stanford from No 7 to No. 16 in AP’s weekly poll.

Allowing for the trip back to Stanford, the team had little time to prepare for UC Davis. Hence, defeating the then 4-6 Aggies wasn’t as easy as one might expect. The Aggies stayed close and even led for much of the first half, which ended 34-30 in the Cardinal’s favor.

UCD edged close several times during the second half, but Stanford kept rallying. Both teams shot 46.2 percent in the first half, while Stanford came out ahead 46.4 percent compared with 35.7 percent in the second half.

Bonnie pours in 30 points

Bonnie, making her first start this season and the sixth of her career, scored a total of 30 points, including 18 on 3’s. She also had five rebounds, one block and two steals in her team-high 35 minutes.

She opened Stanford’s scoring with two 3’s, followed by one from Karlie, who also started. It was the first time that both sisters were in the starting lineup.

Bonnie’s total made her the first non-Ogwumike to score at least 30 points in a game since Jeanette Pohlen, ’11, had 31 in the memorable home win over UConn on Dec. 30, 2010.

Joining the Samuelsons in the starting lineup were senior guard Amber Orrange, sophomore guard Lili Thompson and freshman forward Kaylee Johnson.

Kaylee has a double-double

Besides Bonnie, the only other player to score in double figures was Kaylee, who had 11 points to go with 11 rebounds in 21 minutes of playing time before fouling out late in the second half.

Karlie had 9 points with her three 3’s plus two assists in 30 minutes. Amber was right behind with 8 points, four assists and four steals also in 30 minutes.

Altogether, the team had 10 3’s with six from Bonnie, three from Karlie and one from Lili, leading to a 58.8 percent success rate from beyond the arc on 10 of 17 shooting.

The team was outrebounded 35-30, but had a 13-10 edge in assists and a 6-5 edge in steals. It had 10 turnovers to UCD’s 14. UCD had 19 fouls, while Stanford had 13.

11 Cardinal players get into the game

Head coach Tara VanDerveer used 10 players in the first half and 11 for the game. All 15 players were available. UCD had 11 in uniform.

The official attendance was listed at 3,375 even though it was a work day during a busy holiday week. Students are on their holiday break, meaning no band or any other student contingent.

Senior forward Erica Payne, who has been getting more playing time lately, was the game’s featured player. The video board had a brief interview with her as well as trivia about her likes during some timeouts.

During some other timeouts, individual players wished the fans happy holidays.

The players will have only a brief visit with their families before returning. They’ll be back in action at home against UC Santa Barbara at 2 p.m. Dec. 28. It will be their last nonconference game before Pac-12 competition starts Jan. 3 against Colorado and Jan. 5 against Utah, both at home.

December 17, 2014

Back to work and a win after finals

After a two-week hiatus for finals, the Stanford women’s basketball team returned to action at home on Dec. 14 and came away with an 82-43 victory over neighboring Santa Clara University.

With most students – except for the band -- home for the holiday break, several youth groups, along with regular fans, helped make up for their absence, leading to an official attendance of 3,527.

Except for senior forward Taylor Greenfield, who reportedly was held out as a precaution because of a sore foot, everyone got in on the fun, and everyone contributed in some way.

Amber leads with 20 points

The biggest contribution point-wise came from senior guard Amber Orrange with 20 points in 26 minutes, in addition to four rebounds, three assists, one block and three steals.

The only other players in double figures were freshman guard Brittany McPhee with 11 points, four rebounds, a block and two steals in just 15 minutes; and senior forward Bonnie Samuelson with 11 points and two rebounds, also in 15 minutes.

Each of them had one three-pointer to her credit, while Amber had two. The total of four 3’s on 21.1 percent shooting was below the team’s usual production.

Kaylee has her 2nd 22-rebound game

Under the boards, the biggest contribution came from freshman forward Kaylee Johnson, who had 22 rebounds for the second time in her fledgling career. As one fan noted, she just seems to know where the ball will be. Kaylee also had nine points, one assist, two blocks and two steals in a team-high 27 minutes.

Starters for the game were Amber and Kaylee along with sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall and sophomore guards Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson. Karlie played 25 minutes and had 7 points, four assists, one block and one steal.

The game started slowly with Stanford lagging for the first few minutes even though SCU couldn’t match the Cardinal in height. Its tallest starter was only 6 feet, while starters Kaylee and Bird both are 6’3”.

Stanford inched ahead in the subsequent minutes, ending the first half with a 40-21 advantage. By then head coach Tara VanDerveer had used 10 players.

SCU maintains enthusiasm

Despite being overmatched on the basketball court, SCU was big in enthusiasm, starting with warmups, when the players were quite vocal. Their enthusiasm and support for one another never flagged. Even when it was apparent that Stanford would win big, SCU players on the bench jumped up and cheered for every basket or anything else in their team’s favor.

Besides lagging in 3-point shooting, the Cardinal also was subpar in overall field goals, making just 29 of 72, or 40.3 percent. Free-throw shooting was somewhat better, 20 of 34, or 58.8 percent. On the other hand, Bonnie made all four of her FT’s, while Brittany made four of five.

SCU shot just 30.8 percent on field goals for the game. It made only one of four free throws for 25 percent. Stanford had more opportunities at the charity stripe because SCU had 27 fouls while the Cardinal had 13.

Thanks in large part to Kaylee, the Cardinal dominated the boards with 57 rebounds compared with SCU’s 33.

Toni helps girls through BAWSI

Among youth groups at the game was a large delegation of girls from the Sunnyvale branch of Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative. According to its website, “BAWSI is a free, weekly after-school program in which elementary school girls develop self-esteem and good health practices from role models they can admire and emulate – female athletes drawn from college, university and high school teams from all over the Bay Area.”

Women from several Stanford teams are involved. Among them is WBB alum Toni Kokenis, ’14, who was one of the leaders with the Sunnyvale group. Toni is a Stanford grad student.

The game’s featured player was freshman guard Taylor Rooks. During the game, the video board flashed “did you know” trivia about Taylor, such as pizza is her favorite food.

Something new in Maples is the updated banner reflecting the women’s volleyball team’s 2014 Pac-12 championship. The team has advanced to the Final Four in Oklahoma City, with its first game on Dec. 18.

Although the WBB win was a nice way to start the holiday break, the players didn’t have much time to celebrate. They were scheduled to board the bus for the airport at about 5:45 a.m. the next day in order to fly to Tennessee. There they’ll face presumably stiffer competition from Chattanooga at 3 p.m. PST Dec. 17 and Tennessee at 10 a.m. Dec. PST 20.

Then it’s back to campus for one more game, UC Davis on Dec. 22, before finally getting a holiday break. It’ll be a quick one, though, because the next game is Dec. 28 at home against UC Santa Barbara before Pac-12 competition starts in the new year.