November 17, 2018

Team chalks up win over USF


Wearing a turquoise uniform, Jenna goes in for a layup against USF. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Three things made the Stanford women’s basketball team’s 96-62 defeat of the Dons from the University of San Francisco special on Nov. 15 --- two of them positive, the other not so much.

The positive aspects were the honoring of Native American Heritage Month with turquoise uniforms trimmed in red and the signing of three players in the No. 3 nationally ranked (by espnWHoopGurlz) 2018 recruiting class.

Destined for the Farm next fall are Fran Belibi of Aurora, Colo., Hannah Jump of nearby Los Altos Hills and Ashten Prechtel of Colorado Springs, Colo. They signed letters of intent on Nov. 14.

Ohio State game canceled because of unhealthy air

The negative aspect was the Bay Area’s unhealthy air caused by the fire raging in Butte County. Some people wore masks as a precaution. Others  might have stayed home, for attendance was only 2,077. Many schools closed, including Stanford, and many athletic events were moved, postponed or canceled.

They included the Nov. 18 home game against Ohio State, according to a Nov. 16 announcement from Stanford. It will not be rescheduled this season. Games in other sports were affected, too. See the announcement at www.gostanford.com.

Now for the best part --- the win that gave the Cardinal a 3-0 record to start the season.
Once again the starters were senior forward Alanna Smith, junior forward Nadia Fingall, freshman forward Lexie Hull, junior guard DiJonai Carrington and sophomore guard Kiana Williams.

Sophomore forward Maya Dodson and freshman forward Lacie Hull were first off the bench, followed by junior guard Anna Wilson, freshman guard Jenna Brown and sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome in the first quarter.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, all 14 players had seen action. Three were in double figures: Kiana with 21, Alanna with 18 and Maya with 10. USF used its nine available players with eight scoring.

Seven players contribute to team’s 15 three’s

Boosting the host’s score were 15 three’s from seven players: Alanna with five, Kiana four and Lacie two. Nadia, DiJonai, Alyssa and sophomore forward Estella Moschkau had one each.

The team boasted 24 assists with only nine turnovers, while USF was eight and 15 in those categories.

Eleven blocks were impressive, too, with four each by Alanna and Maya, two by Alyssa and one by senior center Shannon Coffee.

Each team had four steals. However, in a stat unusual for Stanford, USF had 39 rebounds to Stanford’s 34. Many of the Dons’ rebounds seemed to come when Stanford missed a three and no Stanford players were close enough to the basket.

Quick start for the Cardinal

The Cardinal came out blazing. Alanna got the opening tip, and the team immediately made four three’s in a row, starting with DiJonai, followed by Alanna, Kiana and Nadia. Just slightly over three minutes into the quarter, Stanford led 14-4 with 100 percent shooting.

That total accuracy didn’t last. It ended at 51 percent for the game, compared with USF’s 33 percent. Free-throw shooting was 60 percent, compared with USF’s 73 percent.

Fans had a few minutes of anxiety when Kiana limped off the court and headed for the locker room shortly before the end the first quarter, but she quickly returned to action for the second quarter. She limped off again in the third quarter but returned to action.

Starters become fans for final 10 minutes

Like the other starters, she stayed on the bench to cheer her teammates during the fourth quarter with the game firmly in hand.

Only two kids showed up for Conga on the Court after the first quarter. Cardinal Categories in the second quarter featured a fan trying to name as many musical instruments as possible in 15 seconds, followed by a video of Mikaela doing the same.

A lucky fan won $100 by emulating Mikaela’s underhanded free throw as Copy the Cardinal started halftime. Next came Stanford’s Polynesian dance troupe of eight women and four men, one of whom lost his sarong but continued to dance the final moments in his black shorts.

The game was a mini-reunion for head coach Tara VanDerveer, as she welcomed two of her former players: USF head coach Molly Goodenbour, ’93, and associate head coach Katy Steding, ’90.

Next on the schedule is a three-game tournament in Hawaii on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.


November 13, 2018

Wide win over Idaho

Kiana soars on her way to 19 points against Idaho. (Karen Ambrose Hickey)

Head coach Tara VanDerveer was smiling when she came out to speak to Stanford women’s basketball fans at the Behind the Bench on Nov. 11.

No wonder. The Cardinal had just soundly defeated the Idaho Vandals 115-71. That was the most points the team had scored since 1994 and “the fifth-highest point total ever and most since tying a school record of 122 against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 10, 1994”, Associated Press reported.

More accomplishments: The team’s 16 three’s matched a school record. And it hadn’t scored 100 points or more in two years.

Still, there might have been a slightly bittersweet flavor to the win since Idaho gave Tara her first head coaching job 40 years ago, when she went on to the first 42 wins of her career. She had never before coached against the school.

“It’s a little weird playing Idaho,” she said to fans. “I loved living there and coaching there” in Moscow, Idaho.

On the other hand, “I like scoring 100.”

She praised the team for its unselfishness and for the returning players’ so willingly helping the freshmen.

Zone defense doesn’t trouble this team

She noted that Idaho used a zone defense, something that had troubled last year’s team. “That didn’t work,” she said. “This year’s team is completely different from last year’s.”

It can play at a fast pace “because we have more people, and people are fast.” Even better, “I saw people making improvements during the game.”

She kept the same starting lineup as in past games with senior forward Alanna Smith, junior forward Nadia Fingall, freshman forward Lexie Hull, junior guard DiJonai Carrington and sophomore guard Kiana Williams.

Alanna and Kiana led the scoring with 19 points each, followed by Lexie with 17 and Nadia with 16. Scoring in double figures off the bench were junior guard Anna Wilson and sophomore forward Maya Dodson, each with 10.

Seven score from beyond the arc

Lexie accounted for five of the 16 three’s, followed by Kiana with four, Alanna and Anna with two each, and DiJonai, sophomore forward Estella Moschkau and freshman guard Jenna Brown with one each. One fan commented that Lexie reminds her of sharpshooter Karlie Samuelson, ’17.

Stanford dominated the board with 49 rebounds, compared with Idaho’s 20. Quick hands accounted for eight steals, compared with the visitors’ four. Stanford also had the advantage in assists, 26-14, and blocks, 7-2. The Cardinal had only 10 turnovers, the Vandals 16.

For the game, Stanford shot 53.6 percent, Idaho 42.4 percent. If it weren’t for Idaho’s 15 three’s, the score might have been even more lopsided.

Everyone gets into the game

Tara used all 14 available players (12 scored), while Idaho could use only 10. Senior guard Marta Sniezek is still recovering from a hand injury. It’s uncertain when she’ll return.

Official attendance was 2,582, including the band, Tree and cheerleaders, but no Dollies.

Stanford led from the very first, with Alanna winning the tipoff and then scoring a three followed by a two plus another two more on a putback.

When the first quarter ended 28-19, Tara had already used eight players, with Anna, Maya and freshman forward Lacie Hull getting the nod.

Alexa joins the action during the second quarter. (Stanford Athletics)
The second quarter began with the same starters and ended 56-33. By then, Jenna, junior forward Alyssa Jerome and senior guard Alexa Romano had joined in. The Cardinal had a 25-9 rebounding edge.

During a timeout in that quarter, the Hull twins, Lacie and Lexie, played Whisper Challenge on the videoboard. One had sound-deadening ear phones and had to figure out what the other was saying: first “Tara VanDerveer” and then “Cool as a cucumber.” That was the toughie.

Copy the Cardinal highlighted halftime. A fan had three chances to make a trick shot by a player. The video showed Anna making an over-the-backboard basket. The fan succeeded on the third try and won $100.

Third quarter’s 40 points assure victory

The third quarter essentially clinched the win as Stanford poured in 40 points, Idaho 23.

All starters relaxed during the fourth quarter while bench players took over. They 
included senior center Shannon Coffee, who had spent much of the game on an exercise bike. She had two points and a rebound.

Amazing Maya. (Stanford Athletics)
Besides her 10 points, Maya’s stat line showed five rebounds, a block and a steal. What the statistics don’t show are her speed, her athleticism, her long reach and her high leaps. I call her Amazing Maya. Tara agreed with a fan’s comment about her, saying she’s terrific.

The triplets, from left, Lacie, Jenna and Lexie (Stanford Athletics)
Kate introduces freshmen

Before Tara joined the Behind the Bench, associate head coach Kate Paye introduced the freshmen: Lacie, Lexie and Jenna. She said they’re called the triplets. “These three freshmen are doing awesome.” They’ve had an immediate impact.

Lacie said the hardest adjustment she had to make was time management.  She chose Stanford because it’s “the best place in every aspect.”

Jenna essentially agreed, except for the smoke from the Butte County fire that made the air hazardous.

Although they don’t have to declare majors until their junior year, Jenna said she’s leaning toward public policy and economics. Both twins said they’re interested in engineering.

Because Lacie and Lexie are identical, it’s hard to tell them apart without their jerseys (Lexie 12, Lacie 24). As a trick for Halloween, they switched jerseys. “I figured it out right away,” Kate said, but some others needed more time.

Tara has been a head coach for 40 years and has been at Stanford since 1985. Answering a fan, she said what’s most important to her is “a great experience for our team.” She proud of its improvement and enjoys watching everyone mature.

Kaylee helps with broadcast

One of the many players who matured over the years is 2018 grad Kaylee Johnson. She was on the sidelines providing color commentary for the radio broadcast. She said she’s clerking at a law office in Mountain View and has been applying to law schools.

So far she has been accepted at three, but she’s hoping for Cal. Even though it’s Stanford’s major rival, its law school offers what she’s most interested in, she said.

She added that she misses playing basketball, but her knees feel better.

After the game, a group of fans went to the Fish Market in Palo Alto for dinner. Before long, they saw Maya, Nadia, junior guard Mikaela Brewer and Maya’s parents go to a 
nearby table. They graciously accepted congratulations.

The next games are at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 against USF and 1 p.m. Nov. 18 against Ohio State. The latter will be televised by the Pac 12 Network.

November 8, 2018

Finishing with a flourish

The Hull twins, freshman forwards Lacie (24) and Lexie (12), greet sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome.

Although it wasn’t always pretty when AP’s No. 7 Stanford women’s basketball team defeated UC Davis 71-43 in its season opener Nov. 7 in Maples, the Cardinal showed flashes of good times to come.

And as head coach Tara VanDerveer says, it’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish.

This was true in even in this game. The score was 17-14 after the first quarter, 36-24 after the second, 57-34 after the third and 71-43 after the fourth.

Abundant boards

The finish also yielded some impressive numbers beyond the final score, starting with rebounds, where the home team had a 50-25 advantage. Assists also were in the plus column, with 10 by Stanford and six by Davis.

The Cardinal shot a respectable but not great 42.6 percent, compared with 22.6 by the Aggies, in part due to tough defense. Shooting from the free-throw line was 72.2 percent by Stanford vs. 53.8 percent by Davis.

Davis shot 25.8 percent beyond the arc with eight three’s, while Stanford shot 25 percent with six. Sophomore guard Kiana Williams chipped in three, while senior forward Alanna Smith, senior guard Alexa Romano and freshman forward Lexie Hull had one each.

Moreover, Stanford racked up too many turnovers, 21 to the Aggies’ 19. Many of those turnovers came on errant passes.

Steals were close, 13 by Davis, 12 by Stanford (four by Lexie); as were fouls, 18 by Stanford, 17 by Davis.

Alanna, Nadia, DiJonai, Kiana, Lexie get the start

The starting lineup was the same as in the exhibition game against Vanguard, with Alanna, Kiana, Lexie, junior forward Nadia Fingall and junior guard DiJonai Carrington.

Sophomore forward Maya Dodson was first off the bench, followed by freshman guard Jenna Brown, freshman forward Lacie Hull and sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome, all in the first quarter.

All 14 available players got into the game by the time the final buzzer sounded. Four players were in double figures, led by Alanna with 16 even though she had four fouls, limiting her floor time to 15 minutes.

Injury sidelines Kiana in second half

Kiana followed with 14 points even though she missed the second half after a nasty fall and appeared to hit her face late in the second quarter. 

Playing the point, Kiana orchestrates the offense.
She stayed in action until the halftime break but didn’t emerge from the locker room until about four minutes into the third quarter. There was no official word on her injury.

Next came Lexie with 11 points to go with 11 rebounds for the team’s only double-double. Maya pitched in 10 points and led the team with three decisive blocks.

The band, Tree and Dollies were all there to support the team, but not the cheerleaders. Attendance was reported as 2,471.

Senior forward Shannon Coffee, Alanna and Nadia sport their new Stanford socks.
Socks for socks

Game-goers who donated a new pair of socks for the homeless received a spiffy pair of red Stanford socks in exchange.

The yearbook, on sale at Roscoe’s Corner at the northwest entrance, costs $10 and covers both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Timeouts featured one old favorite and a new one. The old favorite was Copy the Cardinal, in which a fan tried to duplicate a player’s video feat. In this case, sophomore forward Estella Moschkau made two free throws while seated at the line.

The new one was Cardinal Category. This time a fan and Estella were each asked to name as many sights at a zoo as possible in 15 seconds. It was a draw with nine apiece.

Stanford has three more games at home -- Idaho at 2 p.m. Nov. 11, San Francisco at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and Ohio State at 1 p.m. Nov. 18 -- before going to Hawaii for a three-game tournament the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The Idaho game will feature a post-game Behind the Bench. The Ohio State game will be televised by the Pac 12 Network.

Photos by Stanford Athletics




November 2, 2018

Exhibition proves entertaining

Senior captains Alanna Smith (center) and Shannon Coffee do the pre-game greetings.

Although it was only an exhibition game that doesn’t count, the Stanford women’s basketball team’s 87-36 victory over visiting Vanguard on Nov. 1 provided plenty of entertainment.

It also provided some insight into what’s ahead as 13 players got onto the court and 12 scored.

The only ones who didn’t play were senior guard Marta Sniezek, who has a hand injury, and freshman guard Jenna Brown. She was in uniform and warmed up with the team, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported that she had a minor ankle injury.

Otherwise, it was full speed ahead, literally, as the Cardinal came out of the gate scoring early and often. It wasn’t until just under three minutes to go in the first quarter, with Stanford up 15-0, that the Lions scored their first two points on free throws.

Before the game began, fans entering Maples encountered new ticket-scanning machines in addition to the Red Coats’ handheld scanners.

Alanna, Shannon serve as captains

In the traditional pre-game handshakes by the refs and captains, Stanford was represented by two seniors, center Shannon Coffee and forward Alanna Smith.

Alanna was joined in the starting lineup by forwards Nadia Fingall, junior, and Lexie Hull, freshman; along with guards DiJonai Carrington, junior, and Kiana Williams, sophomore. Kiana did the honors at the point, while Alanna was the center.

Nadia scored the first 2 points on a tip-in, followed by Kiana with a trey.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer substituted early and often, first sending in junior guard Anna Wilson and sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome.

Maya, who had 10 points, goes for a layup. 
They were followed  in short order by sophomore forward Maya Dodson; freshman forward Lacie Hull, Lexie’s identical twin; Shannon; and senior guard Alexa Romano.

Stanford led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter. Sophomore forward Estella Moschkau came in during the second quarter, which ended 44-17. After the third quarter had ended 66-26, junior guard Mikaela Brewer saw her first action.

Numbers tell the story

The Cardinal dominated nearly every statistical category, such as rebounds, 52-26; assists, 23-3;  blocks, 10-2; steals, 7-3; and 3-pointers, 11-8. Both teams had 14 fouls. Stanford had nine turnovers to Vanguard’s 12.

Stanford’s 3’s came from eight players: Kiana with three and Anna with two, plus one each from Alanna, Lexie, DiJonai, Nadia, Alyssa and Estella.

Lexie, who led the team in scoring, drives to the basket.
Because no one played more than 24 minutes (Nadia), no one had gaudy scoring numbers. Lexie with 11 and Maya with 10 were the only ones in double figures.

Overall shooting was so-so, 46.7 percent (thanks to some missed bunnies); as were free throws, 6 of 10, or 60 percent.

Positives in passing, assists, pace

One might surmise that the frequent changes limited on-floor cohesiveness, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Mostly sharp passing, nifty assists and a fast pace were the team’s hallmarks.

Official attendance reported as 1,882. Because it was an exhibition game, the band, cheerleaders and Dollies weren’t there.

Presumably they will be there when competition starts for real with UC Davis at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 and Idaho at 2 p.m. Nov. 11, both at home.

Fans who donate a new pair of socks for the homeless on Nov. 7 will receive a pair of Stanford socks.

On Nov. 11, they can receive the first of three trading cards honoring Tara’s 40 years of coaching. This game will be followed by a Behind the Bench.

Photos by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com


October 28, 2018

Note for fans



Like all of you, I’m deeply saddened that Marian Cortesi is unable to continue the FBC site.

However, I will continue to report on SWBB events on my blog, http://fbceventnews.blogspot.com/.

I also will post notices and links on the Cardboard, www.thecardboard.org. It’s free, and it’s easy to register if you aren’t registered already.

My best wishes and thanks to all of you. Thank you in particular to Marian and Dave.

Judy Richter

October 21, 2018

Progress and promise in open practice

Tara introduces the team and staff after the open practice. (Photo by Dave Cortesi)

Stanford women’s basketball season ticket holders got a sneak peek at the 2018-19 team during an open practice Oct. 19 in Maples. It was a session that showed much promise with more progress to come.

After warmups, the team scrimmaged for two quarters. Head coach Tara VanDerveer coached one group while associate head coach Kate Paye coached the other. Assistant coaches Tempie Brown and Lindy La Rocque refereed.

Senior guard Marta Sniezek was out of action with a right hand injury. Without elaborating on the injury, Tara said later, “Marta will be ready,” presumably for the season.

Freshman forward Lexie Hull was in practice garb but remained on the sidelines running sprints under the supervision of trainer Katelin Knox and sports performance coach Brittany Keil.

Jenna, Anna play point position

Everyone else got into action as freshman guard Jenna Brown and junior guard Anna Wilson played mostly at the point for their respective sides.

The crowd of several hundred applauded the many good baskets, rebounds and assists. There also were some turnovers, not so good.

Although it’s difficult to single anyone out at this early stage, it was clear that all of the returning players have greatly improved and the two freshmen who did play – -Jenna and forward Lacie Hull, Lexie's identical twin –- have great potential.

After the scrimmage, the players went to the eight baskets arrayed around the court and practiced three-point shots at various points around the arc. I couldn’t see everyone from my vantage point, but I did observe senior forward Alanna Smith nailing most of her shots.

Next came free throws, a weakness of last year’s team. Again, I couldn’t see everyone, but I did count 10 in a row by junior guard Mikaela Brewer.

Everyone circles 'round after practice. (Photo by Dave Cortesi)
Finally, the team and staff gathered at center court for some last words from the coaches before lining up to be introduced to the fans.

Four gain international experience

Tara made fairly quick work on the intros, but pointed out international experiences by four players during the summer.

Jenna plays for USA U-18. (USA  Basketballphoto)
Jenna helped the USA U-18 team win gold in Mexico City. Alanna contributed to her native Australia’s silver medal performance in FIBA World Cup competition in Spain, losing to the USA team, which featured Nneka Ogwumike, ’12.

Sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome played for her native Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team in China and Japan. Senior guard Alexa Romano was in the Peruvian Andes on an archeological dig.

While Tara paid tribute to Marian and Dave Cortesi to their long devotion to SWBB by maintaining this Fast Break Club website, the four seniors went into the stands to give them a thank-you gift.

Finally, Tara had several comments about the team. “We have a really deep team,” she said, adding that she believes it’s “a little ahead” of where last year’s team was at this time.

She expressed gratitude that some players have returned to good health. She also praised the team’s hard work and “great camaraderie.”

Fans will have their next chance to see the team in action during the home exhibition game against Vanguard at 7 p.m. Nov. 1. It will be followed by the first game that counts: a home encounter with UC Davis at 7 p.m. Nov. 7.


July 7, 2018

Hail, hail, the gang's (almost) all here




Lindy La Rocque (left), Kate Paye and Tempie Brown (right ) welcome the freshmen to the Farm. 

By Judy Richter

It would be an understatement to say that associate head coach Kate Paye is enthusiastic about the upcoming Stanford women’s basketball season.

“We’re going to see a lot of improvement” by everyone with more up-tempo play. “Our team is really hungry,” Kate said by phone recently.

The players arrived for the June 25 start of summer school on June 23 and had dinner together that night to begin to foster the camaraderie that’s so important to a team’s success.

Among those arrivals were the three freshmen: guard Jenna Brown and twin forwards Lacie and Lexie Hull.

Upperclassmen help freshmen

Although the team doesn’t officially assign upperclassmen to serve as big sisters to the freshmen, “everybody is taking them under their wing,” Kate said. They’re helping the newcomers both on and off the court. The freshmen have “a lot of big sisters right now,” she said.

Adjusting to Stanford play and life, the “freshmen are doing awesome,” Kate said, adding that they’re mature and serious about basketball. They’ll contribute right away.
“Our fans are going to enjoy watching our three freshmen.”

Coaches set goals for summer

The coaches’ goals for the team this summer are to see everybody improving and staying healthy, to acclimate the freshmen and to “lay the foundation for a championship season.”

Conditioning is another major focus. In past summers, the players spent six hours a week with the coaches and two hours a week with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil.

New rules now have them working with the coaches for four hours and with Brittany for four hours. “It’s been great,” Kate said.

Thirteen of the team's 15 players are on campus. The exceptions are senior guard Alexa Romano and junior guard Anna Wilson.

Alexa spending summer in Peru

Alexa
Alexa, an anthropology major, is spending most of the summer with an archeological project in Peru.

Anna is at home in the Seattle area “trying to regroup” after two seasons marred by injuries. She has been cleared to play and is working with a skills coach. Kate praised her good attitude and high energy even when she had to sit out.

While working out with the team and taking a class, senior center Shannon Coffee has an internship with Stanford medicine. The human biology major is helping with a research project involving mouth guards and concussions in football.

Senior forward Alanna Smith is taking classes while awaiting word on whether she’ll play with a team for Australia, her homeland.

Five helping with hoops camp

In addition to everything else, five players are helping at head coach Tara VanDerveer’s summer hoops camp.

They are junior forward Nadia Fingall, junior guard DiJonai Carrington, sophomore forwards Maya Dodson and Estella Moschkau, and sophomore guard Kiana Williams.

The team’s two most recent grads, guard Brittany McPhee and forward Kaylee Johnson, have activities in the area. Britt has a job for a company doing medical research near the campus and is hoping to play professionally overseas. In August, Kaylee will start to work for a Silicon Valley law firm before applying to law school.

The freshmen and Nadia are playing in the San Francisco Pro-Am program at Kezar Pavilion. Jenna will play with the USA team in the FIBA Americas U18 championships in Mexico during the first week of August.

Coaches go recruiting

All four coaches were to be on the recruiting trail during the second week of July. “Recruiting is going well,” Kate said.

While the coaches are gone, the players will continue to work on their skills and play pick-up games.

Summer classes end Aug. 16 followed by two days of finals. The players will have some time off before returning for the start of fall classes on Sept. 24.  

“We have some exciting players. … I see a lot of players taking that (big) jump” from the past season, Kate concluded.

April 18, 2018

A look back at ’17-’18, Part 2 of 2


After ending 2017 and beginning the Pac-12 season with home wins over the SoCal teams, the Stanford women’s basketball team began 2018 in the desert.

The Cardinal defeated Arizona 61-46 on Jan. 5 but lost to Arizona State 66-73 on Jan. 7. After freshman guard Kiana Williams led the team in both games with 12 points against Arizona and 14 against ASU, she was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Jan. 8.

The Washington schools came calling for the next two games, and both left with losses. Washington State fell 70-57 on Jan. 12. The Farm team shot a sizzling 64.7 percent in the first quarter and 58.8 percent in the second to go into the locker room up 45-17.

Britt and Tara show off Britt's plaque from USA Basketball. (Bob Drebin/ISI Photos0
It was a nice way for senior guard Brittany McPhee to celebrate her 22nd birthday. In addition, head coach Tara VanDerveer gave her a plaque honoring her summer with USA Basketball and the U23 National Team in Japan.

Tara gives a shout-out to Kaylee

Washington fell next, 71-45, on Jan. 14. During the Behind the Bench, Tara said the team still had a long way to go, but she saluted senior forward Kaylee Johnson, who had 12 rebounds and eight points in this game and 10 points and 15 rebounds against Washington State.

During the Washington game, junior forward Alanna Smith had a game-high 19 points, while Britt had 15 and sophomore guard DiJonai Carrington had 11.

Also during the Behind the Bench, former associate head coach Amy Tucker said her duties as women’s basketball administrator include managing the Nike apparel contract and helping Tara with correspondence and engagements.

Split decision in SoCal

A trip to SoCal gave Stanford a 59-55 victory over USC on Jan. 19 but a 53-64 loss to UCLA on Jan. 21. DiJonai had a team-high 15 points against USC, while Kiana had 14 against UCLA.

Britt became the 39th player in SWBB history to notch 1,000 points during her team’s 74-50 home victory over Arizona State on Jan. 26. Needing just 14 to reach that mark, she hit it early in the fourth quarter. She had scored a buzzer-beater in the third and then hit the team’s next three shots in the fourth. In all, she scored 24 points.

Ros Gold-Onwude, '10, of Pac-12 Networks, interviews Marta after the ASU game .(Bob Drebin/ISI Photos)
Junior guard Marta Sniezek’s 13 points were a career high, and she dished out six assists, half of the team’s total. DiJonai also was in double figures with 13 points.

Reporting on the game, the San Francisco Chronicle said, “No other team in the country has played as many games against ranked teams as Stanford, but (this) win was just its second against the top 25.”

Fourteen three-pointers by six different players sparked the team to a 79-42 victory over the visiting Arizona on Jan. 28. Britt, Alanna and Kiana had three each. Marta and sophomore guard Anna Wilson had two each, while freshman forward Alyssa Jerome added one. Another notable stat was that the team had only seven turnovers.

Season’s peak: Upset over Oregon

Traveling to Oregon, the team notched two major wins by defeating Oregon State 60-57 on Feb. 2 and upsetting No. 6 Oregon 78-65 on Feb. 4.

In the tight Oregon State win, DiJonai (nine points) sealed the victory with a steal in the final seconds. Britt had 18 points, Kiana 14 and Alanna 11.

Against Oregon, Britt poured in 33 points, while Alanna and Kiana had 14 each. Kiana suffered a cut on her nose after a collision with Britt. She had to have stitches, but returned to play in the fourth quarter. Oregon didn’t score during the final 6:29 minutes.

These weekend victories vaulted Stanford to 17th from 24th in the AP poll, its largest jump in SWBB history.

Honors for Britt, Kiana

They also gave Britt the honors of ESPNW National Player of the Week, Pac-12 Player of the Week, U.S. Basketball Writers Association Player of the Week and a Naismith Trophy finalist. Kiana was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

The Cardinal breezed to a 70-49 win over visiting Utah on Feb. 9. Tough defense played a role again, as did 18 points from Britt, 11 from Marta and 10 from sophomore forward Nadia Fingall. Nadia’s total came from 4-4 shooting, including 2-2 from beyond the arc.

Kaylee and Britt, with freshman forward Estella Moschkau, in the locker room. (Bob Drebin/ISI Photos)
Senior Day was celebrated with a Feb. 11 victory over Colorado, 62-53. During the post-game ceremony, Kaylee and Britt said they hope to play professionally after graduation. Kaylee then hopes to go to law school, while Britt aims for med school. It later was reported that knee issues would end Kaylee’s pro hopes.

The game brought the team’s winning streak to six and elevated it to 14th from 17th in the weekly AP poll. It remained tied for first with UCLA and Oregon in the Pac-12.

Split decision for cross-bay rivals

The annual Battle of the Bay ended in a split decision, with Stanford taking the first round at home against Cal 74-69 on Feb. 15. Kiana led the team with a career-high 26 points, including five three’s in this final home game of the regular season.

Cal got revenge on its Senior Day, defeating its visitors 66-78 on Feb. 17. Three Cardinal starters shouldered most of the scoring load, 87.8 percent.

Britt had 24 points, followed by Alanna with 20 and Kiana with 14. The fourth starter who scored was Kaylee with six. The loss bumped Stanford down to 16 from 14 in the AP poll.

Washington win ends regular season

Going north, the Cardinal prevailed 86-79 over Washington on Feb. 23.  Although only seven players saw action, they were productive. Four scored in double figures: Britt 25, Alanna 15, Marta 13 and Nadia 10 (on 5-5 shooting). Kaylee’s 13 rebounds contributed to the Cardinal’s 38-22 advantage on the boards.

The victory marked the program’s 500th in the Pac-12 and the 17th straight season with at least 20 wins.

Washington State was scheduled for Feb. 25, but the sudden death of its strength coach led to the game’s cancellation.

Hence Stanford’s regular season record remained at 20-9 and 14-3 in the conference, cementing a two seed for the Pac-12 tournament and keeping the team at No. 16 in AP rankings.

Honors for Tara, players

In the meantime, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Assn. gave Tara its annual Carol Eckman Integrity in Coaching Award. She also was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

At the same time, Britt was named Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was named to the All Pac-12 Team along with Alanna. Kiana was honorable mention for that team and named to the all-freshman team. Kaylee and Marta were honorable mention for the all-defensive team.

Traveling to Seattle for the Pac-12 Tournament, Stanford defeated USC 69-59 on March 2, led by Kiana’s 18 points. Arizona State fell to the Cardinal 58-46 on March 3, when Kiana led with 24 points.

In the championship game on March 4, Stanford lost 57-77 to Oregon. Kiana was named to the all-tournament team, and the Cardinal moved up to 15 in the March 5 AP poll.

Britt garnered another honor, being named to the USA Today Women’s Basketball All-America third team on March 7.

She and six teammates also were honored by the Pac-12 for their academic achievements on March 12. She and Kaylee were named to the All-Academic first team. DiJonai, Nadia, Alanna, junior forward Shannon Coffee and junior guard Alexa Romano received honorable mention.

Team hosts first two rounds of NCAA

The team’s record entitled it to a four seed and the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The bench celebrates one of Stanford's 11 three's against Gonzaga. (Stanford Athletics)
The home environment proved advantageous as the team defeated 13 seed Gonzaga 82-68 on March 17.

Tara used the same starting lineup that had carried the team through the past several games; Kaylee, Alanna, Britt, Marta and Kiana. They did most of the scoring, led by Kiana with 21, Alanna with 20, Britt with 11, Marta with seven and Kaylee with six.

Home wins send squad to Sweet 16

Next to fall was 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast, 90-70, sending Stanford to the Sweet 16 for the 11th straight season.

Alanna poured in nearly a third of the team’s scoring, with 28 points plus 12 rebounds. Her 28 points were the most for a Stanford player in the tournament since Chiney Ogwumike, ’14, scored 29 against Penn State on March 30, 2014. It was Alanna’s seventh double-double of the season.

Alanna leads the team in celebrating the Florida Gulf Coast win. (Bob Drebin/ISI Photos)
Thus Alanna made sure that Britt and Kaylee had happy memories of their last game at Maples.

Their last game ever wasn’t quite as happy as the Cardinal fell 59-86 to one-seeded Louisville on March 23 in Lexington, Ky. Despite shooting 72.7 percent in the first quarter and 43.4 percent for the game, Stanford was undone by 19 turnovers and by a better team.  Louisville went on to defeat Oregon State to advance to the Final Four.

Thus the season ended with a 24-11 record.

The players had some time off between the Sweet 16 and the start of spring classes on April 2.

Players and coaches gather for one last photo session after the banquet. (Stanford Athletics)
Banquet wraps up the season

The team, coaches and fans then had one final get-together, the annual spring banquet April 8 at Arrillaga Alumni Center. Unlike past banquets, it was a brunch rather than dinner.

With Tara as emcee, the crowd of 160 heard praise for team and individual accomplishments.

The afternoon ended with a nostalgic video showing highlights of the season starting with the team’s trip to Italy and ending with the Sweet 16.

“This team has been really special,” Tara said.

Looking ahead

Returning players gathered for a team meeting right after the banquet. The next day, April 9, they began working with strength and conditioning coach Brittany Keil for six hours a week and with the coaches on the court for two hours a week.

Spring finals are June 8-13. After a break, the three incoming freshmen will join their new teammates for summer school, which starts June 25 and ends with finals Aug. 17-18. Workouts and practices will be part of the routine.

Fall classes start Sept. 24.

The pre-conference schedule will include home games against Baylor and Ohio State and away games at Tennessee and Gonzaga. In honor of its two Canadians, Alyssa and sophomore guard Mikaela Brewer, the team also will travel to Toronto to play Buffalo.