July 27, 2016

Summer produces high hopes for team

With the summer term more than half over, optimism runs high for the 2016-17 Stanford women’s basketball season.

“It’s been a good team to work with this spring and summer,” associate head coach Amy Tucker said.

Returning players had workouts after the most recent season and were joined by three of the four incoming freshmen for summer school. The only freshman not on campus is guard Mikaela Brewer of Canada, the team’s second international player after sophomore forward Alanna Smith of Australia.

Mikaela plays in Chile

Mikaela played for Team Canada and helped it win the silver medal in U18 competition in Chile this summer. (The USA won the gold.) She will join her new teammates this fall.

From left: Assistant coach Kate Paye, guard DiJonai Carrington, associate head coach Amy Tucker, forward Nadia Fingall, guard Anna Wilson, assstant coach Tempie Brown (Stanford Photo)
The other three freshmen are McDonald’s All-Americans.

Guard Anna Wilson is still recovering from a concussion sustained shortly before the McDonald’s game, so she’s working out but isn’t allowed any contact. The same is true of guard DiJonai Carrington, who is rehabbing from knee surgery. She’s expected to be able to play by September, Amy said.

Forward Nadia Fingall is playing in Pro-Am competition in San Francisco, where she impressed fans at a recent game. Amy expects big things from her.

All four sophomores are much improved, as one might expect, Amy said. Alanna and guard Marta Sniezek have been fully involved, while forward Shannon Coffee was just recently cleared for five-on-five play after foot surgery.

Alexa going to India 

Alexa (Stanford photo)
Sophomore guard Alexa Romano has been on campus but not taking classes because she’s going to Dakshinpuri, New Delhi, India, for three weeks in August.

She and 18 other Stanford athletes are taking part in the new Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement Program. It provides one-time funding for accepted Stanford and Duke University students to take part in summer service with an international partner.

Alexa and four other Stanford students will be among those in New Delhi, where they “will serve as teaching and coaching assistants for sports activities, English as a second language courses, and computer literacy initiatives for youth at a community center” there, according to Stanford  Athletics.

Of the two juniors, Amy said the coaches have high expectations for guard Brittany McPhee, who just “needs more time on the floor” as part of the regular rotation.

Forward Kaylee Johnson is doing great both athletically and academically. “You can count on her,” Amy said, adding that her offense has improved.

Kailee has internship

Three of the four seniors are on campus while forward Kailee Johnson, a science, technology and society major, is home for an internship in Portland, Ore.

Forward Erica “Bird” McCall is healthy after minor knee surgery. She’s Nadia’s teammate on a Pro-Am team. Both had double-doubles in a recent game.

Guards Karlie Samuelson and Briana Roberson are both doing well.

Amy confirmed unofficial reports that guard Lili Thompson is no longer on the team, but that she is returning to Stanford for her senior year on athletic scholarship.

Updating the class of 2016, Amy said guard Kiran Lakhian will be in graduate school at Southern Methodist University in her home state of Texas and will play basketball there this coming season.

Guard Alex Green is home in Texas and hoping to play overseas, and forward Tess Picknell is home in Oregon. Amy wasn’t sure what she was doing.

Rules for summer activities

During the summer, players are allowed eight hours a week of official activity. Two of them are basketball-related with coaches. The other six are spent with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil.

The players may work on skills on their own and play in informal pickup games that don’t involve the coaches.

Besides working with the players, the coaches have been overseeing head coach Tara VanDerveer’s annual summer camp. The various sessions started June 21 and ended July 26. Some players helped there when they had time, Amy said.

In addition, the coaches have been on the road recruiting. Assistant coach Kate Paye spent two days in June in Atlanta for the Women Basketball Coaches Association’s Center for Coaching Excellence program for assistant coaches.

Stanford summer session ends Aug. 13, giving everyone, coaches included, a break before returning to campus Sept. 15. Classes start Sept. 26.

Looking ahead, Amy praised the leadership provided by Bird, Karlie and Kaylee. Moreover, “there’s good chemistry among the players and coaches,” she concluded.