Wednesday, November 9, 2022

OUR NEXT TWO GAMES ARE ON THE ROAD FRIDAY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PACIFIC TIGERS AND SUNDAY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS.

In their first game of the season UOP soundly defeated the UC Riverside Highlanders 83 to 61 in spite of suffering 22 turnovers. They held Riverside to 32% field goal shooting including 5 of 17 three pointers and they outrebounded Riverside 46 to 24. The Highlanders are coached by former Stanford Star Nicole Powell. Most of the minutes on Friday will go to the following Tigers:
                                                                                    REB.    POINTS
Anaya James             5'-9"    Sophomore    Guard          4            21
Liz Smith                  5'-9"    Junior             Guard          4            12
Elizabeth Elliot         6'-1"    Sophomore    Guard          4            10
Cecillia Holmberg    6'-2"    Junior             Forward      8              9
Madelene Ennis        5'-11"  Junior             Forward      1              9
Katie Deaton             5'-11"  Junior             Guard         3              7
Sam Ashby                5'-9"    Senior            Guard         6              6
(Sorry about the columns. They look fine in draft mode. When I hit "publish" they get all wiggly.)

On Sunday the Cardinal take on the University of Portland Pilots and the game will be on ESPN2 at 2PM. In their first game, the Pilots defeated the Willamette Bearcats 92 to 56. As a team, the Pilots shot 57% and outrebounded the Bearcats 41 to 20. They also turned the Bearcats over 24 times. Portland's top three scorers shot 71% on 22 of 31 shots taken. Ten of their players are from Australia or New Zealand.

On Tuesday, 14th ranked Ohio State upset the 5th ranked Tennessee Lady Vols in Columbus, Ohio 87 to 75 getting 29 turnovers from their terrific 40 minute fullcourt press. In the first half it appeared that the Lady Vols would win easily by twenty or more. Jordan Horston seemed unstoppable, driving relentlessly for acrobatic layups. The Buckeyes were missing most of their shots and went one for ten from beyond the line. Their press was working but their shots weren't.

Then came the second half. The Buckeyes turned up the heat on their press and started hitting shots. They turned the Vols over ten times  and scored thirty points in the third quarter. Taylor Mikesell and Jacy Sheldon were everywhere and the Vols melted under the pressure. 

Horston is a 6'-2" highflying scorer who appears unstoppable one on one. She's fast, quick, agile, and lethal. Unfortunately, in their game this week against UMass, Jordon injured her knee and had to be carried off the court. Jasmine Powell, their new point guard transfer from Minnesota is a terrific addition and can score.

Watched South Carolina dismantle East Tennessee, but didn't feel I learned much new. They're good, not great. 

LET'S BE GREAT ON THE 20TH!!

GO CARDINAL!!
      

Saturday, November 5, 2022

ON MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY WE GET OUR PRESEASON OFF TO A GREAT START AGAINST SDSU AND CSUN.

Our first two opponents this season are both reconstructed programs after going deep into the Transfer Portal after last season and finding strong additions to their 2022/2023 rosters.

The Aztecs from San Diego State brought in four players from all over America. It would appear that all four transfers and several returning players will see significant minutes Monday evening, but the portal didn't yield the size I would have expected and that the Aztecs sorely needed.

So, Yummy Morris, a 6'-2" graduate transfer from TCU, will be called on to patrol the paint Monday evening - and she only brought down three rebounds a game for the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth last season.

SDSU had better luck shopping for scorers in the portal and signed Adryana Quezada, the leading scorer from Utah State, and Sarah Borcello from Marist in Poughkeepsie, New York. They averaged 15 and 13 points respectively last season. 

The Aztecs can easily start a team of seniors and graduate students who have lots of experience, and are really fast and aggressive. 

California State University @ Northridge (CSUN) imported six players for their roster and definitely found some size. Arina Nikishina is a 6'-6" Russian post player who has a lot of experience playing for youth teams in her home country. Ana Carolina de Jesus is a 6'-3" forward from Portugal and has played all over.

The Matadors have two 6'-1" sisters who can both play. (Sound familiar?) Tess Amundsen has led the Matadors in scoring for the last two years. She's a grad student and her younger sister, Laney, was a junior college star last season.

A great way to start the season!!

COME ON CARDINAL!! LET'S ROCK AND ROLL!!


 

Monday, October 31, 2022

AS A. PREVIEW OF OUR SEASON - WHAT DID SATURDAY'S INTERSQUAD SCRIMMAGE TELL US ABOUT OUR 2022/2023 TEAM ?

It told me we enjoy an amazing bounty of riches. From number one to number fifteen, so much talent! And not only talent - you could see the thousands of hours of hard work each player has invested to enable them to be out there on that practice floor. 

And since April there's been great improvement! Haley looks more like a Player of the Year candidate and a number one draft pick. Cameron is on her way to becoming a face the basket slasher, a mid-range jump shooter, and a spot up long distance threat. Hanna is more of a threat off the dribble, who can drive around and score against any defender who gets in her grill. Kiki looks to me like an All-Pac12 player!  

We have three weeks to get ready for the Gamecocks. In those three weeks we play one D2 Exhibition and five D1 games. We'll be ready. Of course, we miss the grit and urgency of Anna and the Hulls. On the other hand, Jones, Brink, Iriafen and Emma Nnopu played with the intensity those three brought every day. In the next three weeks, more of that intensity needs to infuse all fifteen of our players.

Fran wasn't able to play and I'm sure this season she's going to bring it every day.        

The five freshmen were a terrific surprise. Their skill level certainly shows the years of training and preparation that will enable them to contribute in the near term. Talana Lepolo appeared ready to bring the ball up the floor and initiate the offense against intense defensive pressure. Lauren Betts seemed to lack confidence and I'm hoping she gets enough playing time in the next three weeks to feel more comfortable out there. She's got all the strength and ability she needs.

As I watched, my thought of a starting five took shape:

Kiki

Hanna

Haley

Cam

Fran

What would your starting five look like?

And a second string might be:

Agnes

Talana

Ashten

Brooke

Lauren B.

I felt our second string could make it into ESPN's top twenty-five teams in the country. These next three weeks are going to be great. I can't wait to welcome the Gamecocks into Maples. 

Let the games begin!!

LET'S GO STANFORD!!





Saturday, October 15, 2022

OUR PRESEASON MATCHUPS WITH SOUTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE IN MAPLES COULD BE A PREVIEW OF OUR FINAL FOUR OPPONENTS!!


UT Lady Vols Logo

Charlie Creme has put out a revised bracket for the 2023 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. You may have seen it. The four Number One seeds in his projection are South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, and Tennessee. And as you know, we play South Carolina on November 20 and Tennessee on December 18 - both in Maples. I've previewed our game with the Gamecocks, so now I'll give you the lowdown on the Lady Volunteers. 

But first, since my preview of the Gamecocks, Dawn Staley went to the Transfer Portal shopping for a veteran replacement for Destanni Henderson and signed Kierra Fletcher, a 5'-9"point guard grad student transfer from Georgia Tech. 

It's taken Kellie Harper a few years to get the team from Rocky Top back into national contention, but believe you me - they're back. She went shopping in the Transfer Portal and has basically, rebuilt her team. 

1. Rickea Jackson is a 6'-2" senior forward transfer from Mississippi State. Is she good? She's better than good. She's All American good. Last season she averaged 20 points and 7 rebounds per game. She's quick and explodes off the floor. 

2. Jillian Hollingshead is a 6'-5" sophomore forward transfer from Georgia. As a freshman she played behind their All SEC post player Jenna Staiti. Averaged 12 minutes, 5 points and 4 rebounds. She's mega-talented and athletic. 

3. Jasmine Franklin is a 6'-1" grad student forward transfer from Missouri Valley. She was obviously their best player in the two tournament games we played them in recent years.

4. Jasmine Powell is a 5'-6" senior point guard transfer from Minnesota. Last season she averaged 6 assists and 5 points per game. She's the veteran point guard Kellie needed to pull all this talent together.

Among her starters from last year

1. Jordon Horston a 6'-2" senior guard is back from injury which caused her to miss most of last season.  She was the team's leading scorer before getting injured. Kellie Harper says this season she's better than ever.

2. Tamari Key, their 6'-6" post player decided to return for her fifth season because she knew she needed more seasoning before entering the WNBA draft. She's been an up and down player during her career, but this could be her big year. She's long both in physique and experience. 

The Vols will be a great challenge for the Cardinal. If the tournament goes as Charlie Creme predicts - we're playing both our semi-final and our championship game opponents in the pre-season. Let's beat'em both!     

LET'S GO STANFORD!!

 

Friday, June 3, 2022

NEXT SEASON HALEY JONES WILL EMERGE AS THE NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR!

Since I'm in the "Preview" blog business, my most significant predictions for next season are that Stanford will once again finish the season as National Champions and Haley Jones will emerge as the National Player of the Year. From day one she'll be the point-forward, running the best offense in the country - making sizzling bounce passes to numerous cutters each game and high-velocity zingers to shooters, hitting them in hands ready to deliver three after three.

I'm well aware that Aliyah Boston of South Carolina has pretty much already been given this award for next season and that she plays on the East Coast under the constant adoration of the eastern sports writers. But I'm predicting that after Stanford's defeat of the Gamecocks in December in Maples - and then again in the Final Four in April of 2023, the women's basketball establishment will be forced to recognize Haley Jones as the best player in America.

Her own offense will be much like her best games of the past three seasons, but next season she'll start out with a dialed-in three-point-shot - swishing over 40%. The magic of her game around the basket will be better then ever, and her pull-up from 15' will be softer quicker and unstoppable. Her free-throws will fall at a rate pushing 90% and she'll average 25 points per game and 10 assists.

But, perhaps the biggest change will be her Lexiesque defense - the result of a conditioning level that will propel her to the number one spot in the WNBA draft next April. Her motor will be turned up several notches on defense resulting in steals and deflections that turn into tons of fast-break points next season. 

Her season-long Steph Curry dribbling drills will result in a lower profile dribbling position, fewer turnovers, and the more rapid ball movement when she dribbles will lead to even quicker one-handed passes off the dribble - using her remarkable hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision.

She'll end the season on the first string of every All American team in the land and again be given The Key to the City by Santa Cruz, CA her home town (and mine.)

Don't delay in putting down your season ticket deposit. This will be a season you'll want to witness in person. Get on the bandwagon!

COME ON STANFORD! LET'S WIN IT ALL - AGAIN!

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

IN NOVEMBER WE'LL WELCOME THE GAMECOCKS TO A JAMB-PACKED MAPLES PAVILION AND SHOW THE NATION WHO THE REAL #1 TEAM IS!!

For the 2022/2023 women's basketball season Charlie Creme, in his Way Too Early Top 25, once again anoints the Gamecocks as the number one team in the nation - and Stanford #2.

Charlie - you're going to have to come out west for this showdown.

In November, we'll welcome the Gamecocks to a jamb-packed Maples Pavilion and show Charlie and the rest of the country who the real #1 is. If you'll allow me, I'd like to make some predictions about what I see as the biggest pre-season game of the year.

A front court to beat the Gamecocks:  

Center                      Ashten Prechtel    6'-5"    Senior

Power Forward        Lauren Betts        6'-7"    Freshman       

Small Forward        Cameron Brink    6'-4"    Junior 

The projected front court for the Gamecocks:  

Center                    Aliyah Boston        6'-5"    Senior

Power Forward      Kamilla Cordoso    6'-7"    Junior

Small Forward       Laeticia Amihere    6'-4"    Senior       

Ashten has dealt effectively with Aliyah Boston on defense because she refuses to get shoved back under the basket, but establishes a defensive position away from the basket and is strong enough to hold her ground. She blocks some of Aliyah's shots, bothers others, and generally makes it tough for their star to score. 

Lauren Betts has had experience in big games playing for the USA U17 team and in the summer of 2021 in Hungary on the U19 team, when she had just finished her junior year of high school. At 17 she was the youngest player in the tournament. In the championship game she guarded the Australian post player who was 20, and Lauren turned out to be a key factor in the USA team winning the gold medal. She'll be able to effectively check Cardoso. 

Between now and our battle with the Gamecocks in November, Cameron Brink is going to become a face-the-basket driver/slasher with a right and left hook at close range, a deadly pull-up mid-range jump shot, and a consistent three-point shot. Her first step will be so looong and so quick that defenders will have no other choice than to foul her - and next season she'll shoot foul shots in the mid-80% range. In other words, Cam is going to become the most dangerous offensive player in Division 1 next season - and she'll realize she has to play defense without fouling to stay on the floor and score.  

Our guards will be two of the best:

Point Guard            Haley Jones          6'-1"    Senior

Shooting Guard      Hannah Jump       6'-0"    Senior

The Gamecock's backcourt:

Point Guard            Zia Cooke            5'-9"    Senior

Shooting Guard      Brea Beal             6'-1"    Senior  

It's going to be a night of fierce back cuts and great passing to open shooters. Hannah, Haley, Ashten, and Cameron will hit a total of thirteen threes. Hannah will get switching help off of screens and hold Cooke to under 20 points. Haley will be at her passing/shooting best. 

Our backup players will be:

Center                Kiki Iriafen                   6'-3"    Sophomore

Power Forward  Fran Belibi                    6'-1"    Senior

Small Forward    Brooke Demetre          6'-3"    Sophomore

Point Guard        Jzaniya Harriel             5'-10"  R/S Freshman

                           Talana Lepolo               5'-6"    Freshman

                            Indya Nivar                  5'-9"    Freshman 

Shooting Guard  Agnes Emma-Nnopu    5'-11"  Senior 

                            Elena Bosgana             6'-2"    Sophomore 

                            Stavi Papadaki            5'-11"   Freshman

                            Lauren Green              5'-8"     Freshman

It's going to be a titanic battle and a great victory for the Cardinal. 

I can't wait! 

LET'S GO STANFORD!! 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

If you missed the 2022 Women's Basketball Team Banquet last Sunday afternoon, you made a mistake you need to correct next season. It was rare. I've been witness to a number of highly successful human organizations in my life, but this coach, her staff, and her players seem to be quality personified - which was clearly on display Sunday afternoon. 

During my playing years - junior high, high school, college and city league - I played on all kinds of basketball teams, and none of them had anything close to the level of closeness, selflessness, and affection I sensed in this group. These players love each other. Tara speaks of a "sisterhood" and on Sunday you could see it and feel it. 

On most teams there are one or two highly talented players and that usually leads to major stress and division. On this team Haley, Cameron, and Lexie get most of the awards, press, and notoriety, but it doesn't seem to cause any stress or division. Their teammates are their greatest fans. And when Anna, or Lacie, or Hannah, or Ashten or Agnes, or Kiki make a great play, all their "sisters" erupt in heartfelt celebration.

When you say this stuff it sounds natural, like why wouldn't they? Believe me, the depth of their sincerity is very rare.  

In interviews with our players, when asked about so-and-so having a big scoring night, they answer as though so-and-so was truly one of their sisters, "Wasn't she fantastic! When she gets hot, we all set screens for her and feed her the ball!"

Carol and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cameron and could feel the depth of her sincerity in cheering and supporting all of her teammates. During the afternoon she expressed enthusiasm for the possibility of playing power forward down the road and developing her game facing the basket a la Elena Della Donne (her favorite player.) 

As she spoke, she set my mind racing - thinking of the possibilities of what she could bring to the table over the next two seasons and beyond. The sky is obviously the limit. I can see she's barely scratched the surface of what her game will become by the end of her senior season, in 2024. I can't wait to watch those explosive long first strides to layups above the rim - and all those pull-up jumpshots with her bewildered defender watching helplessly from below.

I'll continue through the off-season previewing the incredible possibilities awaiting us in November and beyond. Basically, we ain't seen nothin yet. Next season is going to be awesome! If you haven't put down the deposit on your season tickets yet - you need to!

GO CARDINAL! LET'S GO GET ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP!! 


     

 

   


    

OUR NEXT TWO GAMES ARE ON THE ROAD FRIDAY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PACIFIC TIGERS AND SUNDAY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS.

In their first game of the season UOP soundly defeated the UC Riverside Highlanders 83 to 61 in spite of suffering 22 turnovers. They held R...