July 20, 2017

Kate has high hopes

Associate head coach Kate Paye celebrates with Karlie Samuelson and Bri Roberson after the team's 76-75 regional upset of Notre Dame to advance to the Final Four last season. (Mark Mahan, SWBB Facebook) 
Associate head coach Kate Paye is enthusiastically optimistic about the upcoming Stanford women’s basketball season.

“We’re having a great summer” and laying the foundation for the season ahead, she said during a recent interview in her office.

Kate and the other three coaches have been working with the players as they practice during the NCAA-allowed two hours a week for eight weeks. Because the team is going to Italy later this summer, the NCAA allows 10 more practices over the summer.

In addition, the players can work up to six hours a week with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil. They also can play in informal pickup games that don’t involve the coaches.

As always, recruiting is on the four coaches’ agenda, too, a process now coordinated by assistant coach Tempie Brown.

Amy remains with SWBB program

Amy Tucker had had that responsibility for many years, but she retired from coaching at the end of last season. She remains with the program in an administrative capacity and is coordinating the team’s trip to Italy in September.

Tempie will continue working with the bigs while Kate and new assistant coach Lindy La Rocque, ’12, will work with the guards.

Stanford WBB welcomes Lindy (third from left) back to the Farm. (Jacob Rayburn, Cardinal Sports Report) 

Lindy, who is “passionate about Stanford,” Kate said, returns to her alma mater after earning her master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration at the University of Oklahoma, where she had a basketball internship. She then served as an assistant coach at Belmont University in Nashville for two years.

Except for incoming freshman forward Alyssa Jerome, the entire team has been on campus. Alyssa is on Canada’s U19 Women’s National Team, which will compete for the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2017 in Italy July 22-30 after an exhibition tournament in France July 15-17.

Alyssa will join her Stanford teammates in time to go to Italy with them.

The team’s other Canadian, sophomore guard Mikaela Brewer, had been invited to try out for the U19 team, but she chose to stay at Stanford for the summer to continue getting healthy after injuries last year. She has been cleared to play and has been practicing. “We’re excited to see what she can do,” Kate said.

Likewise, sophomore guard Anna Wilson, who missed much of last season, has been cleared to play

Alanna to play on Australian team

Junior forward Alanna Smith had been on campus until mid-July, when she joined her country’s Australian Opals team for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup in India July 23-29. She’ll then have a month at home before joining the Stanford women on their Italy trip.

Senior guard Brittany McPhee will leave campus later this month for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team training camp July 31-Aug. 4 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

She is one of 40 players who will vie for 12 spots on the first U23 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo in mid-August. The final roster is expected to be announced Aug. 4.

Her senior classmate, forward Kaylee Johnson, is rehabbing from knee problems and hasn’t been cleared to play yet. In the meantime, she has an internship with a law firm, Kate said.

Five games on tap in Italy

Summer school ends Aug. 17, giving the players some time off before they return to campus Sept. 4. The trip to Italy is slated Sept. 5-15 with a total of five games in Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice. In one of those games, the players will face recently graduated guard Karlie Samuelson, who’s playing professionally on an Italian team.

Another recent graduate, guard Briana Roberson, has been working out at Stanford before her professional gig in Hungary. The third graduate, forward Erica “Bird” McCall, is playing with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, then will play in Hungary, too, Kate said.

As head coach Tara VanDerveer did numerous times last season, Kate praised the leadership provided by Karlie, Bri and Bird and said she hopes this year’s seniors can follow their good example. “We had an unselfish team,” she said.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer welcomes Estella Moschkau (left), Maya Dodson and Kiana Williams on their first day.
The freshmen who are on campus – guard Kiana Williams and forwards Maya Dodson and Estella Moschkau – “are off to a good start. We’re counting on them,” Kate said. Each one has been assigned a big sister teammate to ease the transition to college.

The fall term starts Sept. 25. Looking ahead to that time, Kate said her goals for the new season are to “look at the talented returners and incoming freshmen.” She and her colleagues want to see who works hard and emerges as a leader, and they want the team to improve every day.

Then come March, another Pac-12 championship and a return trip to the Final Four are on their to-do list.

“We’re really excited about our team,” Kate concluded.