The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team opened their one game exhibition season with a win over lightly regarded Vanguard. As expected, the fans were treated to a view of the Five Fab Freshmen, well, make that Four Fab Freshmen, as freshie Briana Robison was injured (we believe) and did not play.
First of all, a big Shout out to all our Stanford friends (and even one CAL friend who came down for the day) who we saw at the game. It was an excited energy we felt at Maples.
Second of all, the final score was no surprise, a lop-sided Stanford win of 79-47. Stanford senior Chiney Ogwumike continued her double-double ways with 27 points and 15 rebounds in 21 minutes. At one point it was Vanguard 27, Chiney 27!
Stanford Women's Basketball Freshmen -Courtesy StanfordPhoto.com
Third thing third, betcha all want to know about the four freshmen. Well, with injuries to some juniors, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer had to start one of them, Kailee Johnson, who we have now nick-named KJ. She scored 13 and got nine boards, almost a double-double. Great job, KJ!
She was joined in double figures by fellow freshie Erica McCall, who goes by the nickname Bird, and Bird is the Word. She looks good, another great rebounding body to help Chiney and good instincts posting up around the basket. She scored 14 points coming off the bench. Speaking of Bird, someone on Twitter said they saw the bench hop on one foot and flap their wings after one of Erica’ scores, but we didn’t see it. That could be a fun tradition next to one person running down the bench slapping hands after a made three.
Freshmen Guard Lili Thompson, which we found out through the PA system is pronounced Lee-Lee, we have been pronouncing it Lily all summer long. She looked good as a point guard.. She constantly had her eyes down court and gave two great long passes to Chiney Ogwumike for lay ups. On one play, she smiled so broadly seeing a sprinting Chiney and then threw the long pass that it was almost intercepted. Rookie Mistake! Next time the freshman will fire first and smile after Chiney makes the basket. Hope to see more of her at PG.
Karlie Samuelson, sister of three-point specialist (and injured) Bonnie, said in a video on the scoreboard that TVD told her to find her shot, find her shot, find her shot. She also got extensive playing time and shot the three, making one. Unfortunately it was out of nine tries. And some of her threes were four feet behind the arc. Someone needs to tell her she can step all the way up to the line! Hope she can find her range.
Tare VanDerveer at first had three freshies and a time with two veterans such as Chiney or Mikaela Ruef, who should know the Stanford system by now, as she is in her fifth year. Then in the second half TVD played with the line up of Erica McCall. KJ, Karlie Samuelson, and red shirt sophomores Jasmine Camp and Alex Green. Tara really wanted to get a good look because the next game counts for real, is on the road, and is one game away from defending champs UConn, at their house.
Stanford opened the game playing their typical man-to-man (player to player?) defense, but for a twist the players picked up their wo-man full court. Stanford even did some trapping and forced Vanguard into a ten-second backcourt violation, new to women’s college basketball this year. Let’s hope that is the first of many.
Tess, (who puts the Pick in) Picknell is back for her second season and C and R were anxious to see her improvement from last year. It appears she has it in her head to contribute by setting picks and helping others to score. A great team mentality, especially when you have a Chiney Ogwumike, but she gives up the scoring-first mentality. Once she caught the ball on the low blocks, and could have easily turned and scored a lay up (she is 6’5), but kicked it back out. Hope to see her score more in the future.
Speaking of Ms. Chiney, our inside and rebounding specialist, she said she is working on her outside shot (like her sister Nneka before her) and took one long jumper and made it. So far, she is 100% outside the key. Also saw Chiney and Ruef do a Nneka (catch the ball in the air, shoot the ball while still in the air without landing and make the basket), and Ruef gave a wonderful touch pass in the air back to Chiney for the score. That’s why we see them play live and in person!
After the game, Coach Tara introduced the players and coaches. Someone asked about the new rules, in particular the ten second back court rule (Stanford forced one on Vanguard) and the hand checking. A defensive player is allowed to hand check an offensive player once, but if she touches her again, leans in with her forearm and makes contact, that is a foul. There were a lot of tight calls in this game; Jasmine Camp got called for two small contact ones. Coach added, she wondered how long the refs will continue to call the games that tightly.
And do they call it that tightly back East? We shall see in Boston and UConn. Carry on…and cheer for Stanford Women’s Basketball.
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