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.

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