March 11, 2008

Pac-10 All-Touranment Team

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Here are the members of the 2008 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament Team:

All-Tournament Team

Most Outstanding Player -- Candice Wiggins, Stanford (her second consecutive honor)

Dymond Simon, Arizona State
Jayne Appel, Stanford
Kayla Pedersen, Stanford
Taylor Lilley, Oregon
Devanei Hampton, California

That's it for me from San Jose!

Cardinal Rule

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- What was supposed to be a battle for the Bay Area in tonight's Pac-10 Championship Game ended up being no contest as Stanford handily beat Cal, 56-35.

Stanford is now not only the Pac-10 regular season champion, but als the conference tournament champion for the fifth time in the seven years the conference tournament has been played.

"I"m really proud of our team as our whole team has worked hard for this tournament and knew that Cal would give us a great game," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "We were a little bit more rested and more of the aggressor today."

Tonight's game was close for a little bit more than three minutes as Stanford only led by eight points. Yet with Stanford having the hot hands from all over the court, Cal never had a chance.

"Just disappointed in the outcome of the game and how we performed," said Cal coach Joanne Boyle. "I give total credit to Stanford. They are playing some great basketball right now and we just didn't compete tonight. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons and we can analyze the film, but I'm disappointed in the outcome."

Wiggins led all Stanford players with her 30 points and was followed by Kayla Pedersen's 13 points. Appel -- who set a new Pac-10 Tournament record with 12 blocks -- led the Cardinal on the boards with 14 rebounds.

Unfortunately for Cal, it just wasn't a good night to be a Golden Bear. The Bears shot 26.8% for the game from the field, 17.6% from three-point land and 33.3% from the free throw line. Leading scorers for the game were Alexis Gray-Lawson, Kelsey Adrian and Rama D'diaye wil six points each.

"You always think the shots are going to fall and then sometimes you just have a bad half," said Boyle. "In the first half they just got everything, including the tough shots. I racked my brain trying to figure out what to do to put ourselves in a position to score and it just did not happen."

There is a week to wait before Selection Monday, but Stanford being a No. 1 seed and in the Spokane Regional is a strong possibility. In addition, look for Cal and possibly Arizona State to also represent the Pac-10 as March Madness continues.

"I do," said VanDeveer when asked if she thought her team was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Stay tuned, All-Tournament Team to come.

Cardinal Sins

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Vatican announced today the addition of new sinful behaviors. These new behaviors include drugs, pollution, genetic manipulation and social and economic injustices.

After this weekend I think that the Stanford women's basketball team is going to add at least one new sin of their own -- you must show up to play. After yesterday's and today's Stanford games, if an opposing team does not show up to play then they will face the wrath of Wiggins and company. Personally, running lines never looked so easy compared to having to play against Stanford when they are in a zone.

Cal continues to look beat. Stanford on the other hand is barely breaking a sweat.

Stay tuned...

Cal 31
Stanford 56

Time: 3:40

March 10, 2008

Sensory Overload

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- This is the only way to describe so many aspects of this game.

First, I got a behind-the-scenes look at the Fox Sports Network production truck during Stanford's blistering 21-7 run since half time. The bank of TVs used to produce this game is a dream if you have attention deficit disorder. I just wondered if they had TiVo in the truck.

Second, I got up close and personal with one of the many San Jose Shark mobiles they have stored in the back area of the HP Pavilion and had a flashback to the first time I saw Jaws. I actually still have nightmares of that movie to this day.

Next, if you are a Stanford fan (Choops, are you watching AND reading my blog!!!) then it's hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store as Stanford is crushing Cal from just about every aspect of the game.

Stay tuned...

Cal 22
Stanford 50

Time: 8:58

The Better Half

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Was had by Stanford during the first half of this game.

The Cardinal did just about everything right as they poured it on against Cal.

Stanford shot 43.8% from the field and 50% from three-point land. Wiggins accounted for more than half of Stanford's 36 points with her 19 points.

Cal on the other hand, well, they are probably wishing they were home watching How I Met Your Mother right about now. The Bears are only shooting 19.4% from the field and their two leading scorers - Gray-Lawson and Rama N'diaye -- have four points each.

Stay tuned...

Cal 15
Stanford 36

Bear-ly Making It

There's less than four minutes left in the first half and Cal may be crawling to the finish line at the end of the game tonight.

The Bears are being humiliated in their backyard as Stanford is piling on the points in this first half. Granted that Cal is struggling with their shots and not getting second chance shots as they are being out-rebounded, but it's no longer interesting.

Stay tuned...

Cal 8
Stanford 31

Time: 3:53

Tournament Record Falls

We have our first tournament record fall for the night as Appel just recorded her ninth block of the tournament.

The last player to set the block record was Stanford Alum Kristen Newlin who had eight.

There's still time to see if Wiggins will set any new records tonight.

Stay tuned...

Cal 6
Stanford 21

Game Time!

We are moments away from the starting tip of the championship final and with the number of Stanford fans out-numbering the Cal fans about 30-1, I feel like I am at a Stanford home game instead of being at a neutral site.

Here are your starting line ups for tonight's game:

Cal Bears
Ashley Walker - F/C
Devanei Hampton - F/C
Natash Vital - G
Lauren Greif - G
Alexis Gray-Lawson - G

Stanford Cardinal
Candice Wiggins - G
Kayla Pedersen - F
Jayne Appel - F/C
JJ Hones - G
Roslyn Gold-Onwude - G

Stanford vs. Cal -- Round III

SAN JOSE, Calif -- Good evening and welcome to the Championship Game of the Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament also known as the Battle of the Bay III!

Considering that as of now, this is the last year that the Pac-10 women's tournament will be held here in the HP Pavilion, it's a fitting tribute that the two local Pac-10 schools and the No. 1 and No. 2 tournament seeds will be playing for the title tonight.

Top seed and No. 4 ranked Stanford (29-3, 16-2 Pac-10) comes in as the Pac-10 regular season champions, four-time conference tournament champions and are favored to win tonight. In addition to win giving the Cardinal the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament from the Pac-10, it will also give Stanford a perfect 3-0 record against Cal this season.

Why is Stanford so hot? Here's why:

Candice Wiggins
She's one of the elite in women's college basketball and has the numbers to prove it. First, she leads the Pac-10 in career points Cardinal in points (18.9 ppg), assists (97) and steals (68), so she knows how to share the ball nicely with the other kids. Probably every coach in the Pac-10 except one is happy that this is her last Pac-10 game.

Jayne Appel
Only a sophomore and one of the go-to players for the Cardinal. Appel was the 2007 Freshman of the Year and is not anywhere close to have a slump during her second season. With team-bests in blocks (75), rebounds (8.6 rpg) and other notable stats of 83 assists and 14.5 ppg (second behind Wiggins), Appel is not as sweet as she looks during game time.

Kayla Pedersen
Pederson is just the latest member of the Stanford program to earn 2008 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors and as the team's third best scorer (12.8 ppg), the torch is being passed to her to uphold Cardinal Law in the Pac-10 for the next three years.

After these three, you have your pick of talented players from the Stanford roster. Whether it's sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, senior Cissy Pierce, Sophomore JJ Hones or junior Jillian Harmon, Stanford has a deep bench that can be deadly for opponents.

The No. 8 ranked Golden Bears (26-5, 15-3 Pac-10) are not too shabby either. After all, they have their own roster full of talent that has nothing to lose tonight. Instead, Cal has an opportunity to claim a conference tournament title to help ease the pain of losing their share of the conference title when they dropped their final regular season game at Washington, 66-74.

Here's a look at what has made Cal so hot this season:

Devanei Hampton
At 6-foot-3, she is the anchor of the action in the paint for Cal and quite a force to be wreckon with. Hampton averages 14 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. She is the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year and is finding her way to award watch lists left and right.

Ashley Walker
As the team's leader in points (15.4 per game), rebounds (9.3) and blocks (45), she will be counted on to perform tonight. She's not the tallest of Cal's trees in the middle at 6-foot-1 but she has a big time game that frustrates opponents.

Alexis Gray-Lawson
She's only 5-foot-8, but as the team's third-best scorer (11.8 ppg) she is a main contributor to this team's success.

Rounding out the starting five are sophomores Natasha Vital (8 ppg) and Lauren Greif (6.1 ppg) who don't get banged around down low, but do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing the ball down the court and feeding the posts down low.

With tonight's game involving both local Pac-10 schools that are ranked in the Top 10, we should see some good hoops and have a good crowd in attendance.

Stay tuned, we start at 7:30 pm PT.

March 09, 2008

Stanford Rolls Into Championship Final

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With this being the last year that the HP Pavilion and the Bay Area will host the Pac-10 women's tournament, Stanford made sure that tomorrow's championship final would have a fitting match up. After convincingly beating UCLA, 78-45, it's the Battle of the Bay that will be the story as No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 2 seed Cal face off for the third time this season.

"I thought we came out with a great defensive mentality that started with Roz doing a great job for us in guarding either Campbell or Morris," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "Kayla guarding Pluimer did an excellent job while other people did an excellent job. Our defense really set the tone for the game."

The defense that VanDerveer is speaking of is the effort that prevented UCLA from scoring for the first four minutes of the game, only allowed UCLA's offense to score a total of 16 points in the first half and forced UCLA to turn the ball over 13 times in the first half.

"Stanford is a very good basketball team and they showed that today as defensively they were very aggressive," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "The first time we beat them we were the aggressors and today they attacked us. That was the difference in the game. They rebound very well when they are aggressive and have a lot of people step up so they have a lot of options. There's a reason why they are a top five team in the country."

With the game clearly out of reach for UCLA from the opening minutes, it was all the Bruins could do to not make the bleeding too bad. However Stanford had other plans in the way they focused on UCLA's individual strengths instead of weaknesses.

"We really focused a lot on taking away our opponents favorite moves," sadi VanDerveer. "Kayla worked really hard and I was really proud of the fact that when she was on Pluimer, she only got four points. Ros I thought did a great job on Morries, who had a great game last night against USC. Whether it was Candice guarding Campbell or Jayne guarding a variety of different post players. The best thing is that people did not get in foul trouble. They played smart, position defense and team defense. I think defense is a matter of will and they willed it that way."

If there is a will, there is a way, which is the best way to describe Wiggins' continuing to fire away despite not hitting her first basket of the game until 48 seconds left in the first half.

With Stanford dominating today's second game, it was no surprise to see four players scoring double figures (Appel led with 14, followed by Wiggins with 13, Hones with 12 and Pohlen came off the bench to score 10), everyone getting at least one rebound and everyone scoring at least one basket to make it a total team win.

UCLA on the other hand struggled for the entire game.

"Stanford is a very good basketball team and they showed that today," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "They are very aggreesive and came out as more of the aggressors."

UCLA couldn't get much of anything going as they shot 26.7% from the field in the first half, 36.7% from the field in the second half and only hit 1-of-9 from three-point land and 6-17 from the free throw line.

The Bruins did not have any single player finish with double digits in scoring or rebounding.

That's it from the semifinal action today. Check back tomorrow for the championship final at 7:30 pm PT.

I'm Wrong

SAN JOSE, Calif -- This game can get worse.

First off, UCLA's Regina 'Gigi' Rogers has fouled out of the game. This is a huge loss for the Bruins as she does give the Cardinal a nice presence in the paint and she has the court vision of a guard even though she plays center.

Next, the refs seem to be helping this game move as fast as possible as they are not calling some obvious fouls. This always concerns me as at this point in the season, you don't want to see players getting hurt.

Lastly, Stanford just keeps pouring it on with points. The Cardinal have more than doubled UCLA's score, so the Stanford fans in attendance -- which out-number UCLA fans about 20-1 (which is understandable considering how close the HP Pavilion is to Palo Alto) -- are probably enjoying their school's exhibition-like game.

Meanwhile EVERYONE has now come off of Stanford's bench and I would bet that at least everyone on the roster will finish with at least one bucket in today's game.

Even though this game is pretty bad, I will give the Stanford band a little bit of credit as they are not being as obnoxious as they usually are.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 71
UCLA 31

Time: 6:32

Can it get any worse for UCLA?

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Yes, I am a USC alum and we never like to see UCLA excel in any sporting event, but I really don't think that things can get much worse for the Bruins today.

After the half was over, UCLA came back and tried to apply a full court press to stop the bleeding. It didn't even slow down Stanford as the one player they left open was found and easily in-bounded the ball to.
Since then it's been almost all Stanford as the Cardinal are on a 19-4 run in the first five minutes of the second half.

Making this run even worse for UCLA is that it is not just one player that is unstoppable, but all five players on the court for Stanford that are causing UCLA nightmares.

It's ugly, but stay tuned...

Stanford 53
UCLA 20

Time: 14:35

Half Time!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Here we are at the half of the second semifinal game and there really aren't any surprises as Stanford is dominating.

Stanford's Hones and Appel are both already in double figures with 10 points a piece and all but one Stanford player -- Hones -- has at least one rebound in the half. The Cardinal are shooting 37.1% from the field, have 25 boards and 10 steals.

UCLA seems to have put themselves in a hole that I am not sure they can get out of. The Bruins' leading scorer -- Lindsey Pluimer -- has only two points in the half and their leading scorer for the game is freshman guard Doreena Campbell with four points. UCLA is only shooting 26.7% from the field and have yet to make a three-point shot (0-of-3) and free throw (0-of 4). With numbers like these from UCLA, the win over Stanford two months ago is looking more and more like a distant memory.

Stay tuned, we are about to start the second half.

Stanford 34
UCLA 16

Panic at the basketball game

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Yes, this is a take off from the band Panic at the Disco, but considering that it is a team's ability not to panic, I am going to borrow.

UCLA (16-14, 10-8 Pac-10) was able to not panic yesterday against USC to help them make it to today. Now if UCLA can keep that up while also getting Stanford's biggies in trouble, the Bruins may have a chance. After all, it was just two months ago when UCLA pulled off one of the biggest upsets in women's college basketball and Pac-10 play with their 69-56 win over Stanford at home.

Staying cool and collected may help UCLA today, they are also going to need some devine intervention to make it a game.

Stanford is just too strong of a team (yes, Choops, I wrote it) with so many great players that their off weekend in LA in January may be the last time we see them have at least one off game.

First, Stanford has the shooting touch and leadership of Candice Wiggins (team best 19.1 ppg) -- the All-Time Leading Scorer in the Pac-10, a Naismith Award finalist, etc, etc, etc. Add to that the presense of Jayne Appel (14.5 ppg) and Kayla Pedersen (third best 12.9 ppg) -- the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (the second consecutive award for the Stanford program). If this wasn't enough, Stanford is deep. From Jillian Harmon (7.2 ppg), Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (4.9 ppg) and JJ Hones 6.2 ppg), just about any combination the Cardinal puts on the floor is deadly for opposing teams.

There's 3:50 left in the half and Stanford is not even letting UCLA get close to their lead.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 27
UCLA 14

Game on!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- We're half way through the first half and as expected, Stanford is owning UCLA.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 19
UCLA 8

Time: 8:51

Bears 3, Sun Devils 0

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With a 65-61 semifinal win, 3-0 is the final score of the meetings between Cal and ASU for the 2007-08 season.

After shaking of an slight ASU lead at the half, Cal came into the second half and opened up a shooting assault on the Sun Devils to take a comanding lead. With as much as ASU tried to fight back and stay in the game with a 14-6 run in the final four minutes of the game, Cal was able to hold on to secure the win.

"I'm just so proud of my team as this was one of those hard fought games that you play in March," said Cal coach Joanne Boyle. "To have two of them back-to-back, we are fortunate to have come out on top and looking forward to sitting in the stands and being able to watch as the first team to get to the championship game."

Cal got hot in the second half with their 46.2% shooting to help them be the first team in tomorrow nights championship game.

Leading all scorers for Cal was Hampton with 19 points and 16 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season. In addition, VItal shipped in with 14 points and three rebounds and Walker rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points and 10 rebound for her 13th double-double of the season (leading the Pac-10) in a highly physical game.

"There were times for Ashley and I when it was pretty hard down there, but we love the contact and the physical play," said Cal's Hampton.

ASU had the hot hands during the first half with their 48% shooting, but had too many problems connecting with the bottom of the net in the second half and shot a mere 32.3% from the field.

"We struggled to score in the second half and Cal did a great job in coming out and establishing their inside game more effectively," said ASU coach Thorne. "We got away from doing things we wanted to do defensively and the combination of those things led to our demise."

ASU was led by Simon's 22 points. January finished with 15 of her own and Noe capped off the ASU double-digit scorers with 11 points.

Stay tuned, our second semifinal game of the day between Stanford and UCLA is under way as Stanford is slowing building their lead with a15-8 run in the first half.

Welcome to Full Contact Basketball!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Whoever does not think that women's college basketball is not a full contact sport should be watching this game.

ASU's Jill Noe was chasing down a bad pass between two Cal players when she took a tumble on the floor with Cal's Lauren Greif. As Noe tipped the ball to ASU's January, while on a fast break, who got tangled up with Cal's Alexis Gray-Lawson.

I give ASU bonus points for style and grace during each rumble while Cal gets bonus points on the technical side.

Cal is running away with this game, 59-43, while ASU continues to get cold in their shooting.

Stay tuned...

Cal 59
ASU 43
Time: 5:11

Dymond Day!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- No, I do not have a typo in my title.

ASU's Dymond Simon, who is playing this year after sitting out last season with a torn ACL, is tearing up the net. She's now got 10 points trying her best to help her team cut into Cal's ever growing lead, a lead that is at an all time high of 12 points.

Stay tuned...
Cal 53
ASU 41

Time: 9:20

Feeling warm?

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- If you are on the Cal team than yes, you should be feeling warm in the home of the San Jose Sharks.

First off, it is cold in here. I realize that there is ice below us for the hockey rink that helps this facility be used through every indoor sports season, but even with a jacket on, I'm resorting to hot liquids in the form of coffee and tea to stay warm.

Second, Cal has come out playing with some fire. The Golden Bears are building on their lead with 4-of-7 shooting from the field and appearing to be too hot to handle for the Sun Devils.

Stay tuned...

Cal 43
ASU36

Time:14:40

There went the lead!

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- We are less than two minutes into the second half and Cal has come out ready to play with a 4-0 run to recaputre the lead.

Stay tuned...

Cal 37
ASU 34

Time: 18:39

Taking the lead

With 4.8 seconds left in the half, ASU's Jill Noe said 'No more lead Cal!' by sinking both of her free throws to give the Sun Devils a one-point lead heading into the half.

Cal's Hampton did not break the rebounding record for the Pac-10 tournament (at least not in this first half), but she'll get another chance in the second half.

Noteable stats from the first half include Hampton's 13 rebounds and Vital's 11 points. However it is their dismal 28.6% shooting from the field that is helping Hampton and her teammates (27 total) grab so many boards.

For ASU January is leading the team with 11 points. The Sun Devils have 14 total boards as a team, so if Hampton had grabbed one more board, she would have been doing the work of the 11 players on ASU.

Stay tuned...

Cal 33
ASU 34

Record Breaking Moment?

We're counting down the rebounds for Cal's Hampton as she currently has 13 boards for the half and the tournament record is 14 in a half.

She's on the bench catching her breath, but stay tuned as we could see a tournament record fall when she returns to the game.

Stay tuned...
Cal 29
ASU 25

Time: 1:39

Bring on January!

ASU has just cut deeper into Cal's lead thanks to a three-point shot just made by Briann January.

Ms. January has accounted for eight of the Sun Devils 25 points which has included some big time three-point shots.

ASU just did a mass substitution by replacing the entire lineup, so we'll see if some fresh feet on the court can help the Sun Devils take over the lead.

Stay tuned...

Cal 27
ASU 25

Time: 3:49

Man-o-man!

Cal is playing a tight man defense on ASU, so the Sun Devils are having, well, a devil of a time getting shots off, but that didn't just stop ASU's Noe from launching a three that is helping keep the game close.

Stay tuned...

Cal 17
ASU 12

Time: 11:33

First Five

We are at our first media time out with the score at 8-7 Cal with 15:27 on the clock.

In these first five minutes Cal's Hampton has grabbed five rebounds and doubled her made free throws from yesterday's game (she hit 1-of-10). Of course she has is having trouble making her shot from two feet from the basket, so Hampton may wish she was actually in the Hamptons instead of being here.

Stay tuned...

Starting up!

Clock updated, Check!

Coffee in hand, Check!

Starters announced, Checking...

Here are your starters for today's first semifinal game:

ASU
Sybil Dosty - C
Lauren Lacey - F
Reagan Pariseau - G
Briann January - G
Jill Noe - G

Cal
Devanei Hampton - F/C
Natasha Vital - G
Lauren Greif - G
Ashley Walker - F/C
Alexis Gray-Lawson - G

Stay tuned...

Springing into the semifinals

Good morning from lovely San Jose, Ca, and the Pac-10 women's tournament!

It's a picturesque day outside where it is bright, clear and crisp on this first day of daylight savings time (did you remember to spring forward???). After an early morning flight, I am inside the HP Pavilion where I will be blogging about all of the action from today's semifinals.

First up, it's No. 3 seed Arizona State (21-9, 14-4 Pac-10) taking on Bay Area favorite No. 2 seed Cal (25-5, 15-3) at high noon today.

The Sun Devils are riding high into today's game on a five-game winning streak, which is also their longest of the season. Coach Charli Turner Thorne's Devils are here after a convincing 83-64 win over Washington in one of yesterday's quarterfinal games. All five of ASU's starters scored in double figures in that win and were led by 6-foot-3 junior Sybil Dosty's 17 points.

ASU may be the underdog in this first game of the day, but if they can get everyone firing on all cylinders today and catch Cal not playing a full 40 minute game again, ASU could find themselves in their second consecutive Pac-10 tournament championship.

Cal on the other hand would love nothing more than to represent the Bay Area in tomorrow's championship final. Before Cal thinks about tomorrow, they need to use the experience of their quarterfinal game to get through a pesky Sun Devil team. The Golden Bears edged out Oregon 67-60 yesterday by fending off the Ducks who came within three (57-54) with 1:30 left in the game. Thanks to solid shooting from the free throw line (10-of-12), Cal was able to stay alive.

Leading Cal into today's game is 6-foot-3 junior Devanei Hampton, 6-foot-1 junior Ashley Walker and 5-foot-8 junior Alexis Gray-Lawson. Another player to keep an eye on is 5-foot-8 sophomore Natasha Vital who almost had a triple-double yesterday with her 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

There's 45 minutes before we start, so stay tuned!

January 20, 2008

As tough as it gets

TEMPE, Ariz -- ASU football coach Dennis Erickson called this game before it even started when he told me that this was going to be a tough one.

Coach Erickson may know football, but it was his pre-game prediction of the 60-56 No. 7 Stanford (16-3, 6-2 Pac-10) victory over No. 25 ASU (11-7, 5-2 Pac-10) that is making him also look like his knows his women's college basketball.

"This is a tough place to play and coming in," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "I thought they had an enthusiastic crowd, they played hard, got us down, did things they really haven’t done since Charli has been here and we really struggled in the first half with finding the right shots we wanted."

It was the early minutes of the game where each team traded baskets which forshadowed a close game. Yet even after ASU jumped out to an eight point lead with 9:01 left in the first half, the Cardinal kept fighting back. ASU refused to let its lead slip away and even jumped out to as much as 14-points on Stanford, but it was a three-pointer by Stanford's JJ Hones with 1:06 in the half that was the beginning of Stanford getting the game back under control.

The first half was controlled by ASU, but it was the second half which would see Stanford take control of the game. The Cardinal took a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half and then ultimately took the lead with 8:09 left to play.

"The run at the beginning of the second half gave us the confidence and maybe shook their confidence," said VanDerveer. "We got right back in it immediately in the second half and then we were right there. We just battled point-by-point. I thought we did some nice things, got some good shots and made some hustle."

However the Cardinal could only see their lead grow to as much as six points as ASU never gave up on trying to not be swept at home this weekend. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, it was the Cardinal who gave them a devil of a time by holding onto the lead until it was solidified with a pair of freethrows by Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen with six-tenths of a second left on the clock.

"That's kind of the story of this team right now -- finishing things and staying with things consistently through the course of an entire basketball teams," said ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne, whose team has not been swept at home during Pac-10 play since the 2002-03 season against the Bay Area schools. "We can get away with some teams in playing 30 minutes or so, but obviously with a team like Stanford, it has to be 40 minutes. You have to finish out the game and keep your aggressiveness. Our goal was to stay energized and aggressive, and we didn't do that."

Statistical leaders for Stanford included Candice Wiggins with 18 points, Jayne Appel with 16 points and Kayla Pedersen with 12 points. Appel and Pedersen co-led the Cardinal with eight rebounds each.

ASU was paced by Briann January's 20 points and Kayli Murphy's 12 rebounds.

Stanford will next host No. 8/9 California on January 26 in what could be a preview of the Pac-10 tournament final while ASU travels up to face the Washington schools next weekend.

That's it for the Pac-10 blogapalooza this weekend!

Make the freebies!

TEMPE, Ariz -- Of all my pet peeves in women's basketball, ASU's Dymond Simon just illustrated one of them -- missing the free throw.

Yes, you've worked so hard to draw and get the foul called against the other team, so once you get to the free throw line, please make your shots! Instead, Simon missed the first of two and with Stanford widening its lead, this is not the time to miss those free shots.

Stay tuned...it's crunch time!

Stanford 53
ASU 47

Time: 1:29

Cold as ice

TEMPE, Ariz -- Stanford's Wiggins won the battle of 'ice vs. ace' last month when Stanford played Tennessee, but right now, she is shooting cold as ice in this game.

Wiggins is shooting a dismal 4-for-14 from the field and 2-for-7 from three-point land for the game.

Burr...

Stay tuned...

Stanford 47
ASU 42

Time: 3:55

Oh Noe You Don't!

TEMPE, Ariz -- ASU's Jill Noe (pronounced no) just drove the lane into Stanford's trees and was quickly shown to a seat on the floor.

After trading baskets, Stanford is enjoying the lead for the moment, 43-40.

Stay tuned...

Time: 6:59

It's all about the knees

TEMPE, Ariz -- ASU is currently up by four points during our time out and with so many ACL injuries in women's college basketball this season, it's about time to start a knee brace or taped knee count.

In this game ASU has 1 taped player (January) and two braces (Dymond Simon and Sybil Dosty) while Stanford is 0-2 in the count.

Since starting this entry Stanford has chopped-up ASU's lead and taking over with a slight edge.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 39
ASU 38

Time: 9:12

Running down a lead

TEMPE, Ariz -- It's the first time out of the second half and Stanford has come out with guns blazing.

The Cardinal are on a 7-0 run here in the first three minutes of the half and just warming up.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 27
ASU 31

Time: 17:00

What a yo-yo!

TEMPE, Ariz -- We are at halftime here in Tempe and ASU is holding on to a solid 11-point lead.

ASU is being led by Sybil Dosty who is working hard down low for every one of her eight points while Kayli Murphy is ASU's defensive specialist from the first half with her 10 total rebounds, seven of which are on the defensive end.

Stanford is currently being paced by Jayne Appel who is also battling it out down low to get her eight points.

For our halftime entertainment we have synchronized and choreographed yo-yo throwers of Allyoyo.com. It must be the heat of the Arizona sun that helps such a group exist.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 20
ASU 31

Bad Karma Boyko?

TEMPE, Ariz -- ASU's Briann January just took down Stanford's Candice Wiggins to the ground on an out-of-control layup. Everyone gasped, either in fear of one of the players being injured or to see how Wiggins would react. Instead, Wiggins quickly jumped up to her feet and moved away from January laying on the floor. While Wiggins was being surrounded by her teammates Hays raised an eyebrow in my direction.

Before the game I was telling Hays the story about the incident at the end of the UCLA at USC women's game yesterday when it was determined that if another altercation breaks out in today's game, I may be the bearer of bad karma in a game.

Yeah, I may have a few women's basketball sports information directors not allow me to cover the games if I go 2-for-2 this weekend in altercations.

ASU is on a high as they have extended their lead to 11 in this heated battle.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 17
ASU 28

Time: 1:38

Get rid of the lid

TEMPE, Ariz -- My title may be what is going through the mind of the Stanford players right now.

The Cardinal are shooting a sad 20% from the field while ASU is lighting up the scoreboard with its 44% shooting.

Yes, Stanford is taking some bad shots, but there have been more than a few shots that have gone in and out of the basket.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 11
ASU 17

Time: 7:27

The Yellow Submarine Strikes First

TEMPE, Ariz -- The Beatles are one of my favorite bands of all time and with the sea of ASU yellow in the crowd, I am reminded of a certain song by the Beatles that shares this color.

It early in the game and if these two teams can keep up their intensity for next 35 minutes, this may be another game this weekend that will come down to the wire.

After trading missed opening shots, ASU got on the board first and is currently holding a slight edge over Stanford.

Stanford has opted for a man defense in the opening minutes while ASU is in a 3-2 zone.

ASU just did its first mass substitution to keep fresh legs on the floor and we are at a time out.

Stay tuned...

Stanford 6
ASU 10

Supporting The Sun Devils

TEMPE, Ariz -- We still have a few minutes before starting here in the Wells Fargo Arena and while walking back from the press room with and savoring my last bites of pizza, I see ASU football coach Dennis Erickson walking down the ramp towards the court.

Yup, the Pac-10 Football Coach of the Year is on hand to support one of the other ASU teams.

Before he took his seat here is what Erickson told me of his impression of today's match-up:

"This is going to be a tough one."

Stay tuned...

Of Sun Devils and Trees

TEMPE, Ariz -- It's a blogapalooza for Pac-10 women's basketball this weekend as we are llive from downtown Tempe for No. 7/6 Stanford visiting No. 25 ASU.

This was supposed to be one of the biggest match-ups of the year in Pac-10 women's basketball, but with Stanford having dropped two Pac-10 games while in Los Angeles two weeks ago and ASU having a rough time during the preseason, both teams still have a lot of questions surrounding them.

Stanford is coming off a Thrusday night 89-64 blowout of Arizona in Tucson and looking to make it two weeks in a row of sweeping their opponents. In their last game the Cardinal were led by Arizona native and freshman Kayla Pedersen with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds. Sophomore Jayne Appel recorded her fifth double-double of the season with her 16 points and 11 rebounds. In total there were five Stanford players who finished with double-doubles (senior Candice Wiggings, sophomore JJ Hones and junior Morgan Clyburn rounded out the five) and the team finished with a season-high 60.7% shooting.

Yet with all of the momentum the Cardinal have coming in today, the Sun Devils are hoping to pick-up another Pac-10 win after losing to visiting Cal, 51-64, on Thursday. In addition, it was a year ago when these two teams duked it out through overtime only to see Stanford come out on top, 73-65.

ASU is being paced by junior transfer Lauren Lacey's 12.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg and junior Briann January's 11.8 ppg. The real key for the Sun Devils is how long it will take for them to find their identity for this season. The Sun Devils entered this season with lots of momentum after finishing in the Elite Eight -- the program's best finish in its history -- but not enjoying the same kind of success. ASU finished the preseason with a 6-5 record and has dropped to the bottom of the top 25 after being ranked No. 12 in the preseason Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll.

Today's game should be lively as it is part of the NCAA's "Pack the House Challenge" and there's a full house along press row. Along with sitting next to Graham Hays of ESPN.com, Fox Sports is to my right, the Sun Devil Sports Network radio is to my left and across the court there is media sitting on the floor among the officials.

Stay tuned, we are tipping off in 30 mintues...

January 19, 2008

It's A Good Day To Be A Trojan

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The rivalry between USC and UCLA in any sport or acadmic discipline is intense. Each school wants to be known as being better than the other and that intense nature between the two schools was proudly displayed in the 64-56 USC home win over UCLA.

"It was another great game and great crowd for southern California girls basketball," said USC coach Mark Trakh. "It came down to the end again like they all do. They are a hot team. They came in as a hot team and were playing really well. We knew they had a big front line and some athletic guards so we knew we had to come to play. The game was a lot of fun and entertaining with some great plays by both teams."

While all 40 minutes of the game was exciting to watch, it is the series of events with the score at 59-56 in USC's favor during the last six-tenths of the game which will keep everyone talking.

It was with less than a second on the clock when UCLA's senior forward Lindsey Pluimer took a last-hope three-point in the lshot to push the game into overtime when it was blocked by USC's junior center Nadia Parker. Parker's block was recovered by teammate and fifth-year senior Alison Jaskowiak who was trying to hold onto the ball. Jaskowiak got fouled and then it started to look ugly.

"I tried to foul because time was up," said Pluimer, who did catch an elbow in the left cheek. "We got tangled up and I think it looked bad in how we got tangled up. My teammates and their teammates came in trying to separate us out and that’s what happened."

It may have been messy to watch, but as USC and UCLA players started to come off their respective benches, that's what created a chaotic scene on the court.

After 15 minutes of review by the officials, Pluimer was assessed with a personal and technical foul, UCLA's Tierra Henderson and Chinyere Ibekwe were each given technical and personal fouls and Monique Alexander and Candice Brown were each ejected from the game for coming off the bench. On the USC side of the floor, Jaskowiak was issued a personal and technical foul while Jackie Gemelos (who is currently sitting out the season due to re-tearing her ACL) was also ejected from the game for coming off the bench. After the fouls stopped flying, Jaskowiak took to the free-throw line where she hit five out of the six free-throws she was given.

"It seemed like it got blown out of proportion for what it really was," said Jaskowiak. "They were trying to foul and we were trying to get the ball."

This captivating chain of events had all 8,545 in attendance on pins and needles at the end, but it was the toughness of these two teams battling it out through the previous 39.4 minutes that will be remembered in southern California women's basketball for years to come.

USC controlled the entire first half by running the score up to 33-16 going into half time. Highlights from the first half included a blocked shot by USC 5-foot-6 guard Camille LeNoir that led to a fastbreak and behind-the-back pass to teammate Heather Oliver for an easy two with 8:16 to go in the first half.

UCLA chipped away at USC's largest lead of 21 points early on in the second half, but at no point did USC become rattled by their lead diminishing. Instead, they stayed on-task and finished today's game with a win.

"I felt that at half time we were full of energy and were going to come out with the same intensity that we came out with in the first half," said Jaskowiak. "For the most part we did. We had a few lapses in defense and things like that. Their players stepped up, made some good shots and whenever we made errors they capitalized on it, which is what a good team should do. We just stayed level-headed and pushed through to the second half."

Leading the way for USC was Oliver with 15 points while Parker finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds and LeNoir finishing with 12 points.

UCLA was led once again by the senior leadership of Pluimer and her 15 points while Tierra Henderson followed close behind with 12 points.

UCLA will be without Alexander and Brown as an ejection is an automatic one-game suspension while USC will not lose any players for next game as Gemelos is not playing this year.

Complimenting USC's win in women's basketball was USC's men also upsetting the No. 4-ranked UCLA men's basketball team across town at UCLA. With two USC basketball wins today, it definitely is a good day to be a Trojan.

That's it from the Galen Center! Catch everyone tomorrow in Tempe!

Photo finish

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We've got an official time out here at the Galen Center as the refs are reviewing the last play of the game.

A fight was on the verge of breaking out here after UCLA's Pluimer got her shot blocked by USC's Parker. USC's Jaskowiak then got the ball and while trying to protect the ball, inadvertantly threw an elbow that clocked UCLA's Pluimer.

What happend next will need to be described in my post-game, but to keep everyone in suspense, I'll tease you with the following foul and ejection count - UCLA - three technicals, one personal foul and three players ejected vs. USC - one technical and one player ejected.

It's all over, USC 64, UCLA 56...

More to come...

Hold your breath...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's 10.6 seconds left and after getting a defensive rebound, UCLA just called a time out.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 56
USC 59

Two minute drill

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- There's less than two minutes left in the game and USC is holding on to their lead that started at the beginning of the game.

UCLA is playing a full court man press, but USC is able to break it.

UCLA in bear clawing their way in these final minutes.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 51
USC 58
Time: 1:50

Closing the gap

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We're in the last half of the second half and USC's lead has been whittling down.

UCLA may be owning the boards 39-30, but it's the Trojans who are in control of the game.

USC is shooting 43.4% for the game while UCLA continues to struggle with 33.9% shooting. UCLS is killing themselves from the free-throw line with 30% shooting.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 43
USC 58

Time: 5:20

Wait! That's a horse move!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- We are in the second half and USC is holding onto its first-half lead.

UCLS is still having problems finding the bottom of the net after three missed shots in a row turned the ball back over to USC. USC's Brynn Cameron just added an exclamation mark to those missed shots by hitting a three-pointer to extend the lead.

One of the best quotes all season came from USC coach Mark Trakh during Pac-10 media day back in November about Cameron:

"She's the best shooting mom in the country."

Cameron is back this season after sitting out last season due to being pregnant and delivering her first son, Cole.

Meanwhile USC's Simone Jelks just pulled off a reverse no look lay-up and got the foul. If this was a game of chicken, UCLA may think that something was fowl with that last play. However, since it's the game of horse that is played in basketball, UCLA just got a letter by allowing Jelks to pull off that move.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 35
USC 45
Time: 11:11

The ones to watch are not the men

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- No disrespect to my colleague Bob Holtzman who is across town covering the USC vs. UCLA men's game for Posting Up, but Westwood is not the place to be in LA right now. Instead, it is here at the Galen Center where USC's Camille LeNoir just blocked a shot by UCLA's Nina Earl and then on the fastbreak did a behind-the-back pass to teammate (and G'day mate) Heather Oliver for an easy two. It was a series of moves that you usually only see in one of the men's games, so it's making this game the one to watch.

It's halftime and USC is off to a comfortable 33-16 lead thanks USC's favorite Aussie Oliver leading the team with 10 points and just about everyone contributing with a couple of points. It also doesn't hurt that USC is shooting 43.8% from the field while UCLA is struggling at their 25% shooting percentage. UCLA is currently being paced by Cinyere Ibekwe's team-leading eight points.

Stay tuned, more to come after the half...

Air Ball Boyko No More

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- While I am embarrassed enough to have shot not just one, but two air balls during my game of horse with Kathy Olivier, after seeing UCLA's Doreena Campbell just throw up an air ball from beyond the three-point line and right in front of the USC bench, I am suddenly not feeling so bad.

USC is continuing to dominate this game by building up a nice lead 23-9 lead in the first half.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 8
USC 23

Time on the clock: 5:00

The Tenacious Trojans

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- USC is currently up and I like what I am seeing from the Women of Troy.

They are playing with a lot of energy, confidence and appear to be tireless as they are running the floor, boxing out and playing tough defense. On offense there is a fearless sense about them. They are staying calm, finding their shot and not afraid to shoot from anywhere on the court.

UCLA however is struggling.

They are shooting dismal 21% from the field and have yet to break the double-digit mark. Adding to the Bruin frustration is that lid that seems to be on the south end net they are shooting at.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 8
USC 13

Time to make some noise!

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- We've just tipped off here at the Galen Center and USC has started off by winning the tip.

It took just over a minute, but USC is striking first with a sole free-throw by Heather Olivier.

Following-up on that free-throw is USC endjoying a 9-2 run in the first five minutes of the game.

USC is playing a tough full court press, picking off passes and being successful on fast break opportunities against UCLA, the Bruins just took their first time-out of the game at 16:12 to try to cool off the Trojans who are shooting 57% from the field.

The fans are loud and proud here as it is pizza delivery time.

Stay tuned....

UCLA 2
USC 9

15:39

A Day In Troy

LOS ANGELES, Calif -- There's still 20 minutes to go, but today being 'A Day in Troy' on USC's campus where elementary and junior high aged kids come to spend a day on campus and attend the basketball game, UCLA may not get the crowd behind them during this game.

Yes, the kiddies are present and accounted for here at the Galen Center. The entire upper level looks like it is going to be full and as we wait for season ticket holders to arrive, there's already a good crowd forming.

While walking around the concourse a few minutes ago I was reminded how kids can say the darndest things. Well, it was actually a shirt that read "Life. Get One" that caught my attention, but still pretty funny. The young girl wearing the shirt looked to be about 8 years old and with the t-shirt itself being Tennessee Volunteer orange, it was hard to miss.

Stay tuned...

The Ladies of LA

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Forget about wanting all of the tea in China, it's all about the bragging rights in LA today!

UCLA (9-8, 4-2 Pac-10) has made the 15-mile trek over here to USC's (10-7, 3-3 Pac-10) Galen Center today. Since the history of the rivalry between the LA schools in the Pac-10 is full of heart-breaking and full-combat stories, today's match-up should be no exception.

First for the visitors from Westwood (who USC fans often refer to as that high school over in Westwood) there are the UCLA Bruins. UCLA is riding high at the moment after sweeping both Washington schools on the road and knocking off No. 2 Stanford at home earlier this month.

With two players -- senior Lindsey Pluimer and freshman Nina Earl -- averaging in double-figures and three other freshman on the cusp of also averaging double digit figures, UCLA is averaging 71.6 ppg and rankes second in the Pac-10. Right now UCLA is tied for third place with Stanford in the Pac-10, but with a win today, the Bruins can help put a little bit of distance between them and USC, which is currently all alone in fifth place.

Meanwhile, welcome to the home of the Trojans!

USC (which UCLA fans like to refer to as the University of Spoiled Children) may have home court advantage, but with the Trojans struggling through the season (they split their games at the Washington schools last weekend and split home games against the Bay area schools the weekend before), a win today could give the Women of Troy a much needed confidence boost before hosting the Oregon schools next weekend.

USC also has two players leading the team with double figures with juniors Nadia Parker and Camille LeNoir. Yet it is the emergence of one of the newbies on the team -- sophomore Heather Oliver with a team third-best 8.1 ppg -- that is making teams take notice of where she is at when on the floor.

While bragging rights are one thing to be earned in today's game, Lexus Gauntlet points are another. The winner of today's game will earn five points for their school in the year-long competition, but it's UCLA who is looking to narrow the gap in the 39-31 lead that USC has in the all time series. USC currently leads the 2007-08 Gauntlet competition with 22.5 points to UCLA's 12.5.

This match-up is so special not just because it's a rivalry game and USC having five straight wins over UCLA, but since six of the past seven games between these two schools have been decided by four or fewer points this is so much more than your average Pac-10 game taking place in a just over an hour.

On paper UCLA may have the edge in today's game, but whenever it's rivalry time in LA anything can and will happen.

Stay tuned, the challenge is about to begin...

January 06, 2008

An LA Story

The last time Stanford lost back-to-back Pac-10 games while in LA was in the 1993-94 season. History repeated itself this weekend as a new LA story was written thanks to a 73-72 win by USC.

"It’s such a big win, part of the reason is because I have so much respect for (Stanford coach) Tara VanDerveer as she is an awesome coach," said USC coach Mark Trakh who has never beaten a Stanford team in his 15 years of coaching at the Division I level. "I think this is why this means so much. Stanford is the benchmark for all of us. We are all reaching to be like Stanford."

Helping to make this LA story so exciting was the game-winning bucket by junior guard Camille LeNoir with eight seconds left and then fifth-year senior Allison Jaskowiak-Kennedy stopping a last-second shot by Stanford's senior Candice Wiggins. After the final buzzer sounded, it was an emotional scene on the court.

"I wasn't thinking of anything as the play was supposed to go to (junior) Nadia Parker, but she wasn't open so we set another pick-n-roll screen," described LeNoir. "I just let it go and it went in. I've never jumped this high in my life with my two bad hips."

From the USC team celebrating one of the biggest upsets of the year and Stanford suffering its first back-to-back conference loss on the road since the 2003-04 season when they lost at the Arizona schools, history was made in the Galen Center today.

"I thought we did a much better job this afternoon than Friday night against UCLA," said VanDerveer. "Credit USC, they made big plays when they needed to. We did not do a good job from the three-point line or the free-throw line. We did a great job rebounding (38) and took care of the ball. We played hard enough to win, but had some defensive breakdowns that hurt us and I thought they made a lot of big shots."

Helping USC hold on and win today was their ability to never let Stanford get too far ahead or make too much of a run during the game. The most Stanford led at any point in the game was five points and each time USC came through with clutch shots to keep it close.

"Both teams were scoring on each other and it was a matter of who was going to have the ball last," said Trakh. "(Sophomore) Jayne Appel was a monster down there and really had no answer for her or (freshman) Kayla Pedersen. This is big for us as if we want any NCAA [Tournament] consideration at the end of the year, we needed to win."

Unlike the last time USC and Stanford met during the Pac-10 women's tournament last March when Wiggins had a career and conference tournament record-breaking night by hitting eight three-point shots, it was the Women of Troy who were deadly from three-point land. USC hit 57.9% of their three-point shots while Stanford struggled from outside the arch by shooting 15%. In addition, USC also edged Stanford out at the free-throw line by
connecting on 57.1% of their shots as opposed to Stanford's 55% shooting from the line.

The big shot at the end by LeNoir capped off her team-leading 21 points for the night. Meanwhile sophomore Heather Oliver chipped-in with 13 points of her own and Parker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12. USC's bench contributed with a total of 12 points.

"Obviously everybody wearing cardinal and gold is happy tonight," said Trakh.

Meanwhile for Stanford it was Appel who paced the Cardinal with 22 points and 11 boards. Wiggins finished with 17 points while Pac-10 Freshman of the Year candidate Pedersen finished with 14 points of her own. Stanford's bench only accounted for five points, all by sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude.

USC will travel to the Washington schools next weekend with their current 9-6 and 2-2 Pac-10 records while Stanford gets to stay home to host the Oregon schools with their new 12-3 and 2-2 Pac-10 records.

That's it from LA where history was made all over town this weekend.

And the winner is...

USC 73-72...

OH MY...

Stay tuned...post-game report to come...

Alli J is in da house!

This game is far from over thanks to a nice three-pointer just hit by USC's Allison Jaskowiak-Kennedy.

Stanford is only ahead by two, but there's 1:31 left and the Trojans are heating things up.

It's 71-69 so it's far from being over.

Stay tuned...

Nothing against nothing

There's seven minutes left here and Stanford is up by one, 56-55.

Neither team is playing with a lot of confidence today and it is showing. From half-hearted and rushed shots to poor shooting percentages (neither team is shooting better than 50%). It's as if the gloom from outside has come inside to the Galen Center.

If I could sneak down to each bench and pass out some chocolate to give each team some energy I would as each team needs a shot of something to get something going before the final buzzer.

Stay tuned, something exciting has to happen here soon...

It's wacky out here in the west...

So who would've thought that UCLA would beat Stanford on Friday night and then take Cal to overtime and lose in the final minute on Sunday?

Meanwhile here at the Galen Center USC is now up 48-43 in the second half and this could be another legendary game in the making.

Stay tuned...

Wow, wow, wow...

It's halftime and we are all tied up here at the Galen Center.

USC's LeNoir is leading the Trojans with 13 points and Appel is leading Stanford with 10...

It's 32 all and time for a break.

Be back soon.

Upsetting news

Just heard that UCLA and Cal are in overtime over at Pauley Pavilion. If the Bruins can pull off a second upset of the weekend here in LA, the Pac-10 needs to start a coach of the week honors with Kathy Olivier as the first.

Meanwhile Stanford is now on top 24-21 here with seven minutes to play. Still lots of time, but if Wiggins gets hot with her shot this game will be uglier than LA traffic during Storm Watch 2008 (hint: us Angelenos can't drive in the rain very well because we don't see rain enough to know how to drive in it).

Who's in control?

It's six minutes into the game here at the Galen Center and neither team seems ready to take control of the game.

USC has a slight edge on Stanford with their 43% shooting from the field (Stanford is shooting a mere 38%), but with the score tied at 8, this could be a lot closer than expected.

Stay tuned...

I Love LA

We've still got a good 20+ minutes to go but with the curtains open on the north side of the Galen Center, it's a surreal feeling here today. With the curtains open one can see the downtown LA skyline up against a grey sky background and palm trees in the foreground. It's rare to have the curtains open during a game here, but pretty stunning none-the-less.

Just another reason why LA rocks.

Forecast: Good Game

It's overcast and dreary outside of the Galen Center on USC's campus today, but with tip-off between visiting Stanford (12-2, 2-1 Pac-10) and home team USC (8-6, 1-2 Pac-10) coming up, things are about to look a lot brighter in this part of town.

Stanford is coming off one of the most shocking losses of the year in women's college basketball. After getting handed their first conference loss at USC's cross-town rival UCLA on Friday night, it is still TBD whether or not the entire Cardinal team has found their mojo (energy) on the court during their day off. Players that should have a big game this afternoon for Stanford include CSTV.com Wade Watch Candidate Candice Wiggins who had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Jayne Appel with 17 points and eight rebounds against UCLA.

Meanwhile home team USC is getting ready to face their third consecutive ranked opponent this afternoon. The Trojans are on a two-game losing streak after falling to No. 10 Cal on Friday night 57-52, and No. 24 Arizona State 66-63 last weekend when conference play started, so a win against Stanford would help take some of the sting off these recent losses. Players to watch on this Trojan team that has been plagued with injury problems for too many years now include Nadia Parker (11.8 ppg), Camille LeNoir (10.4 ppg) and Morghan Medlock (8.4 ppg).

Stay tuned, we're waiting out the warm-ups...

January 04, 2008

A Legendary Night

UCLA has never in the history of its women's basketball program beaten a team ranked higher than No. 4. Yet considering that the Bruins play in the legendary Pauley Pavilion where John Wooden's success is immortalized, it's no surprise to see the women's program enjoy a legend making moment of their own.

That night was tonight as the unranked UCLA Bruins not just edged out, but solidly beat No. 2-ranked Stanford 69-56.

"This was a very good win for our program and I think our non-conference schedule prepared us for a team like Stanford," said UCLA coach Kathy Olivier. "Our team is fearless and out to play anyone. We are going to be ready for anyone."

The fearlessness of this UCLA team was seen early on when the Bruins enjoyed an 11-point lead twice in the first half. Yet instead of falling behind and letting their opponent make a run on them (as what Maryland did late in the second half), the Bruins stayed strong and shook off the Cardinal coming within four points both at the end of the first half.

"I thought our team did a great job of staying focused for 40 minutes," said Olivier. "We played for 40 minutes and when we do this, we can play against good people."

Part of UCLA being able to stay focused is the balanced attack of scoring and rebounding from all players on the court. UCLA was led by freshman Darxia Morris with 20 points and senior Lindsey Pluimer with 13. Yet when all players except one scored tonight and everyone who saw playing action grabbed at least one rebound, it was this team effort that enabled them to get the win.

"I think our team was sick of playing with teams at the top and not being able to finish," said Pluimer. "We learned from those games and you could tell at the end that we were slowing the ball down, using the clock and being patient which came from the Maryland and Tennessee games."

Despite getting within reaching distance many times during the game, Stanford's struggles were painfully obvious as their energy level was not where it should have been and not putting in a team effort for the night.

"We had trouble defensively and didn’t have the energy we needed as a team," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "I was very disappointed overall with our team effort and we missed an incredible number of point-blank shots and free throws. I thought we rebounded well and had a lot of good opportunities, just didn’t knock them down."

Stanford was led by senior Candice Wiggins and her 29 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Jayne Appel with 17 points and eight rebounds.

"It's hard to explain a game like this," said Wiggins. "We knew what to expect and that they were a great team who had played great teams close and they are very good at home. Unfortunately bad shooting and getting in the hole early, we were unable to fight out of this one."

Knock-off!

That's it, UCLA has knocked-off No. 2 Stanford 69-56.

Post game wrap-up to come...

Upsetting situation

There's less than a minute left and UCLA is up 67-56.

Stanford is forcing shots and making bad decisions which are two good signs that they are going down to this unranked UCLA team that has been unpredictable for the last month.

Stay tuned...

Crunch time

There's three minutes left and Stanford may be in trouble.

UCLA is up 63-54 and with the Cardinal shooting touch only being luke warm at 32.8%, we may have an upset brewing here at UCLA.

Stay tuned...

It's Wiggins' World

Candice Wiggins just scored a nice lay-up on a fast-break pass and now has 21 points for the game.

I am guessing that she finishes with at least 30 points which will give her a second 30-point game.

In addition, she's getting hotter as the game goes on. With Wiggins' last three-pointer, the Cardinal are back in this by only being down seven with seven minutes to go.

Seeing her score either from NBA three-point land or under control on a fast-break reminds me that out west it is Wiggins' world and we are all just watching.

Stay tuned...

Now is the time!!!

Not sure if that is exactly what Wiggins just said to her teammates as they returned to the floor from their second time out of the half, but the expression on her face tells me that it was something along those lines as she was trying to fire up her teammates to get back in this game.

Stanford needs to find their mojo real quick here if they are going to walk away winners tonight.

UCLA on the other hand is saying the same thing, but in a much more positive light as they are trying to preserve their 13-point lead.

There's a lot of time left, so stay tuned...

UCLA 50
Stanford 37

And we're back...

We're not even two minutes into the second half and Stanford has taken a time out. Considering that UCLA has come out of halftime on fire and regained a 10-point lead, I'm not surprised to see Stanford using a time out to cool off the Bruins.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 44
Stanford 34

Not the halftime score expected

It's 38-34 and UCLA is still in the lead.

Granted, this is not the halftime score that I think ANYONE expected, but that's the reality of this wet and wacky night here in LA.

Stanford is being paced by Wiggins and her 16 points (which include two three-pointers) and Jayne Appel's 13 points. On the boards, the Cardinal's Jillian Harmon is leading the way with eight and Appel with five.

UCLA is led by Darxia Morris' 11 points and Chinyere Ibekwe's four boards.

The secret to UCLA's success of the first half, solid shooting. The Bruins are shooting 48.3% from the field which is edging out Stanford's 40.5% shooting from the field.

For our halftime entertainment we have two pee-wee girls basketball teams making their debut here at Pauley Pavilion. Makes me remember the good old days of when all I needed was basketball and water to live on.

Stay tuned...

UCLA 38
Stanford 34

Honing in!

That's the only way to describe the three-point shot just made by Stanford's JJ Hones. She was so focused and in control of her shot that there was no way she was going to miss it.

UCLA's lead had now been cut to four points as we head into halftime.

Stay tuned, halftime report to come...

Pouring it on

Usually the only thing I like to watch being poured on is hot fudge on top of ice cream.

However, since there is no ice cream to be found and it's game time, the only thing being poured on is the points by UCLA. That's right, the unranked Bruins have built a healthy 21-12 lead on Stanford at the halfway point of the first half.

The Cardinal are shooting a dismal 26.7% while the Bruins are pouring it on with their 58.3% shooting from the field. Not helping the Stanford fight to stay No. 2 in the country is the seven turnovers that they have now committed. Helping add some emphasis to these turnovers is the UCLA band chanting "We're No. 1 in turnovers!" Gotta love the band (especailly since they are directly behind me and I get to hear every smart remark coming from this peanut gallery).

Stay tuned...

What's hot and cold

It's so chilly here in LA tonight that I actually wore a scarf and heavy coat to brave the rain (yes, that means it is below 65 here).

However the only thing in LA that is chilly is the temperature outside as the UCLA Bruins are playing pretty hot during the opening minutes.

UCLA is now up 9-4 and with Staford's Appel just getting called for a traveling violation in the paint and Kayla Pedersen missing her first two free-throws it's taking a while for the Cardinal to warm up.

Stay tuned...

Cardinal Storm into LA

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Storm watch 2008 is in effect here in Los Angeles this weekend because of heavy rain that is expected.

The same could also be said in the world of women's college basketball as Stanford storms into town for games against UCLA tonight and USC on Sunday afternoon.

First things first as the Bruins host the No. 2-ranked Cardinal in 30 minutes.

Stanford comes to LA riding a nine-game win streak that is highlighted by their upset of then No. 1-ranked Tennessee (73-69 (ot)) on December 22.

It should come as no surprise that the Cardinal are led by senior Candice Wiggins (aka Superwoman of the West) with 17.5 ppg. On the boards for the Cardinal it is one of the freshmen on the team Kayla Pedersen with 8.9 rpg. Yet with other players such as sophomore Jayne Appel, junior Jillian Harmon and sophomore Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, the Cardinal are ready to pour it on from all over the court.

UCLA on the other side continues to struggle. Ever since losing to No. 3 Maryland in November, the Bruins are hoping that the new year will bring more wins than losses their way. UCLA finished the month of December with a 3-5 record. The Bruins are led by senior Lindsey Pluimer (13.9 ppg and 7.5 rbg). Freshmen that have made their presence known early in their career include Regina 'Gigi' Rogers, Nina Earl and Doreena Campbell.

Stanford seems unstoppable right now, but the Bruins would love to start off the year with an upset of their own.

Stay tuned...

December 23, 2007

STANFORD FINALLY BEATS TENNESSEE

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Of all the players to have the potential to put the nail in the coffin of Tennessee's 16-game winning streak, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude wouldn't be the first player to come to mind.

But in a thrilling 73-69 Stanford (10-1) overtime victory over visitng No. 1 Tennessee (10-1) Saturday night, Gold-Onwude was the difference maker in the final seconds.

Continue reading "STANFORD FINALLY BEATS TENNESSEE" »

STANFORD FINALLY BEATS TENNESSEE

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Of all the players to have the potential to put the nail in the coffin of Tennessee's 16-game winning streak, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude wouldn't be the first player to come to mind.

But in a thrilling 73-69 Stanford (10-1) overtime victory over visitng No. 1 Tennessee (10-1) Saturday night, Gold-Onwude was the difference maker in the final seconds.

Continue reading "STANFORD FINALLY BEATS TENNESSEE" »

STANFORD PULLS IT OUT

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The crowd is still here waving its towels and going crazy and they have every right to do so. The Cardnial held on for a 73-69 win over No. 1 Tennessee in one of the best women's basketball games of the year.

Tennessee had the ball down two and everyone expected Parker to take the game-tying or game-winning shot, but instead she kicked the ball to the arc, and after a couple of passes Shannon Bobbit lost the ball and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude hit two free throws to ice the game.

Stay tuned for reaction to the game.

TENNESSEE UP ONE

PALO ALTO, Calif - Jayne Apepel (who has otherwise been exceptional tonight) misses a layup and going the other way Alexis Hornbuckle misses a layup which would have put Tennessee up three.

Stanford is down one, with the ball with 1:35 left.

PARKER COMES THROUGH, GOING TO OVERTIME

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Candice Wiggins was at the line with a chance to ice the game, but she missed both of her free throws (she was 10-12 from the line before those misses).

Candace Parker then grabbed the rebound, took it herself, and from seven feet out bounced home the game tying shot.

Stanford couldn't get a shot off and you could literally hear the air go out of the Cardnial fans.

Five more minutes (at least), and the Vol are in serious foul trouble (they are already without Anosike).

STANFORD UP TWO WITH THE BALL, 22.6 left

PALO ALTO, Calif - Wiggens got a steal and made two free throws to put the Cardnial up four but Parker came right back down and drove to the hols to close the deficit to two, at 63-61.

Stanford looks in good shape, but Tennessee's 16-game winning streak isn't over yet.

CANDICE PUTS STANFORD ON TOP, FOR NOW

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The "Go Stanford" chant is rattling throughout Maples after Candice Wiggins made ajumper from the free throw line with 44.4 seconds left to put Stanford up 61-59.

Now is it Candace's turn?

OH MY, ALL TIED WITH 1:32 LEFT.

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Candice Wiggins just made two free throws to give her 17 for the game and tie the game at 59.

Tennessee has three players on the court with four fouls and Maples is shaking.

BOBBITT SILENCES CROWD

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Shannon Bobbit hadn't made a 3-pointer all game, but she just sunk one to put the Vols back on top at 58-56.

Parker just made a free throw to put Tennessee up 59-56.

Stanford hasn't made a shot from the field since the 6:30 mark.

THIS JUST IN: SUMMITT IS SMART

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Alexis Hornbuckle picked up her fourth personal foul with 5:30 left, but Summitt kept her in and on the next Tennessee possesion the senior sunk a 3-pointer to make 54-53 Stanford.

It's now 56-53 Cardnial at the last T.V. timeout with 3:45 left. Here we go.....

December 22, 2007

WHEN WILL PARKER TAKE OVER?

PALO ALTO, Calif. - You can almost feel it coming.

Parker is having a good game, with 16 points, but she by no means looks like the greatest women's college basketball player ever tonight. Although, she just might in the final 7 minutes, 16 seconds.

The Vols have stuggled shooting the ball in the second half, going 5-20 from the floor. The Vols went 15-27 in the first half.

The two team are trading baskets, and Stanford now leads 53-48 with 6:04 left.

ANOSIKE PICKS UP FOURTH FOUL

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Wiggins hits two free throws to make 47-45 Stanford, but what might hurt more for Vol fans is that Nicky Anosike will have to sit for much of the rest of game with four fouls.

Tennessee's Hornbuckle and Bjorklund will have to be careful because they have three fouls each.

There is 8:16 left and it is still 47-45.

STANFORD UP TWO

PALO ALTO, Calif - Jayne Apple is holding her own with Tennessee's trees inside, scoring 14 points, which included the last basket which put the Cardnial up 43-41.

As I type Stanford made a couple of free throws to make it 45-41 and the Vols need to be careful that this game doesn't get away from them.

Stanford has outscored Tennessee 18-10 in the second half.

The final 10 minutes should be a danzy.

IT'S WIGGINS TIME

PALO ATLO, Calif. - After a poor first half, Wiggins has scored seven points so far in the second half and Stanford has taken its first lead at 39-38 at the 14:00 mark.

Maples is finally rocking and Tennessee looks flustered.

STANFORD GETS CLOSER, VOLS IN FOUL TROUBLE

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Wiggins scores a layup and is fouled, to make it 33-30 TENN . Seconds earlier Alexis Hornbuckle picked up third personal foul.

Right now, Candace Parker has two fouls and Angie Bjorklund is with Hornbuckle with three fouls.

The crowd is starting to show some more life and Standord is only down four, at 38-34 with 15:21 left.

STANFORD STAYS CLOSE

PALO ALTO, Calif - Stanford scored the last five points of the first half to clse the deficit to six, at 33-27.

The Cardnial's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude got her only points of the half in the final minute, when she got a steal and layed it in.

Overall, it was (and I know this is a shock) the Candace Parker show in the first half, leading all scorers with 10 points. On the other hand, Candice Wiggins had six points, but went 1-4 from behind the arc. It goes without saying she will have to do better in the second half if Stanford is going to pull off the upset.

The Black Eyed Peas song, "Let's Get it Started" is playing in Maples and that is what Stanford needs.

VOLS UP DOUBLE DIGITS

PALO ALTO, Calif - Candice Wiggins hit her first 3-pointer of the game and the crowd started twirling its towels, but Tennessee keeps getting inside and making baskets.

Parker is queitly having a good half, with 10 points (5-8 from the field) and Tennessee leads 33-22 with 1:30 left in the half.

TENNESSEE CAN'T MISS

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Vols are shooting 68 percent (11-16) to start the game and hold a 23-17 lead.

The crowd (which is 90-10 Stanford fans) has been a non-factorm - this is by no means a hostile environment.

But what should really scare Cardnial fans is that Wiggins only has two points in the first 14 minutes.

TRYING TO CONTAIN CANDACE

PALO ALTO, Calif. - At the second T.V. timeout, thanks to seven points from Alexis Hornbuckle the Vols lead 13-9.

It seems clear that the strategy Stanford has to stop Parker is to not let her get the ball in the first place. The Cardnial are putting their two big women, Jayne Appel and Kayla Pederson, on her to try and deny the ball. So far Parker has four points. Scratch that, she just made one to make it six :).

Stanford is shoot 4-12 from the field, and that clearly won't cut it.

Update as I type: Tennessee 17, Stanford 11

NOT PRETTY BUT EXCITING

PALO ALTO, Calif. - There were seven turnovers and the two teams have combined to go 5-15 from the field in the first five minutes, but it sure has been up and down basketball.

Alexis Hornbuckley has scored four points to lead Tennessee to an early 6-4 lead.

GAME TIME

PALO ALTO, Calif - The national anthem has been sung and Maples is filled to capacity.

You know it's a big sporting event when the athletic department hands out "Rally Towels." It also makes it easy to see where the Tennessee fans are because they are the only people not slinging around thier towel like a helicopter.

The atmosphere here is a little different than a regular Stanford game. Usually students are packed in by the floor, but with it being Christmans break, they got old people by the floor instead (not that there is anything wrong with old people).

Anyway, here we go...

MAPLES IS FILLING UP

PALO ALTO, Calif - We are still 25 minutes before tip-off, but Maples Pavillion is filling up with Cardnial red and Rocky Top orange.

Candace Parker might be on the opposing team for a majority of fans, but it didn't stop some teenage girls from yelling, "Candace we love you," during pregame warmups.

What will be interesting is to see is if Parker will matchup against the other Candice (Wiggins) on defense. Something to look for.

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT: TENNESSEE VS. STANFORD

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The best of the West will go up against the best in the South Saturday in what has the potential to be an absolute classic at The Farm.

Two of college basketball's best players, two of college basketball's best coaches, and two of the most storied programs of all college sports will meet when No. 1 Tennessee (10-0) goes up against No. 4 Stanford (9-1) at 7:30 p.m. PST.

Continue reading "AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT: TENNESSEE VS. STANFORD" »

December 10, 2007

DID THEY WIN OR LOSE?

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Where do you draw the line between Rutgers winning tonight's game at the Rutgers Athletic Center and the California Golden Bears losing it?

To start each half, the Bears started hot, jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the first and outscoring the Scarlet Knights 16-7 to open the second. Cal, who falls to 8-2 on the season, even started the second half shooting 8-for-10 from the field.

Rutgers went into the half up 30-20, and Cal came all the way back to take a lead after shooting 80 percent to start the second. The Bears showed fight, heart and determination. But that didn't make up for all the missed shots.

What started at 80 percent plummeted to 42.9 percent as the Bears finished the night making just four of their final 18 shots to lose the game 56-51 in front of 2,911 screaming Rutgers fans.

Continue reading "DID THEY WIN OR LOSE?" »

RUTGERS PULLS IT OUT

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Cal Bears missed out on a big opportunity tonight at the Rutgers Athletic Center, finishing the game on a 4-for-15 run after starting the second half hot and losing to the No. 6 Scarlet Knights, 56-51 in front of 2,911 fans.

Cal falls to 8-2 with the loss and Rutgers moves to 7-2.

BACK FOR MORE WITH POSTGAME RECAP AND QUOTES...

HOME STRETCH RUN

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - An Alexis Gray-Lawson three just made the score 47-45 Rutgers with 6:30 to play. Before that, it looked like Rutgers would be able to coast to victory paced by their strong D.

Give Cal a lot of credit. They are scrappy, they play tough and they have some excellent talent on the floor. A 100 percent healthy Devanei Hampton and I am not sure Rutgers would have a two-point lead right now.

Kia Vaughn has woken up offensively for Rutgers and now has a double-double to help the Knights gain back the lead after Cal had taken it shortly. With 6:00 to play, coach Stringer pulled Vaughn for a breather. One has to wonder if this isn't the wrong time, but Vaughn needs a bit of a rest anyway.

Continue reading "HOME STRETCH RUN" »

RUTGERS MISSING ESSENCE

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With 11:59 to play, the score is Cal 40, Rutgers 39.

Looks like we might get a close finish tonight afterall.

For Rutgers, their problems might be stemmed from finding Essence Carson. The senior forward is playing, but not like her usual self. She has three fouls to go with two points and two rebounds on 1-for-8 shooting. Ouch.

On the other side of the ball, Ashley Walker, Cal's leading scorer and rebounder is doing what her Bears teammates expect of her. Namely 13 points, because she only has three boards. Walker looks very athletic for someone standing 6-foot-1 and playing the post. She has beautiful Crystal Langhorne-like footwork down low.

CAL HEATING UP

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Cal team that started the first half is back at the beginning of the second.

All of a sudden, the Bears are putting up baskets in bunches, going on a 14-5 run to start the half.

Ashley Walker and Lauren Greif, who hit a three, have been the big second-half contributors thus far and it just seems that to start each half Cal has had some extra bounce in its step.

Hopefully for them, they don't lose it again and let the Scarlet Knights go on another run, because at 35-34 with 15:48 to play, this has gotten good again.

AT THE HALF

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers leads Cal 30-20 at the half.

The first half was a half just like many others I have witnessed here at the RAC at the State University of New Jersey.

Defense. Defense. There was some defense played. And Rutgers played a lot of defense.

Continue reading "AT THE HALF" »

HOLLA AJAVON

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Amidst a 14-0 Rutgers run, this is quickly looking like the type of game everyone here at the RAC expected.

The Cal Bears jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Rutgers starters out, and built upon it shortly after they returned. But once they hit their stride, boy did they hit it hard.

Matee Ajavon has been everywhere, getting offensive rebounds, put backs, and ones, you name it. The senior has 10 points, sophomore Brittany Ray has two threes for a total of eight points and Rutgers leads 24-12 with 7 minutes to play in the half.

RAY OF SUNSHINE

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Halftime score 20-16? Brittany Ray does her best Lee Corso impression, saying, "Not so fast."

Ray hit back-to-back baskets, including a corner three, followed by a layup and the foul by Matee Ajavon and the Scarlet Knights now lead 18-12 with 8:29 left to play.

Now we are on pace for a much more obese score at the break. Maybe something like 28-22.

ON PACE

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - At the 10 minute mark, the score is 10-8 Cal.

That means we are looking at a possible 20-16 halftime score.

Yes, this is a sure fire Rutgers contest folks. And even though the Bears hold the small advantage and look very solid right now, the Knights will find their rhythm if Cal continues to let them dictate pace of play.

RUTGERS STYLE

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With the normal starters sitting on the bench, No. 11 Cal got out to a quick 6-0 run. Rama N'diaye, who has done a fantastic job in the absence of Devanei Hampton, Hampton herself and Ashley Walker all scored for the Bears.

The crowd yelled for the starters. C. Viv delivered and there was a line change at the RAC, but not before a Katie Adams three cut Cal's lead in half.

Thus far, even with the reserves in, this is a Rutgers style game. Slow, steady, defense and few baskets.

DEVANEI HAMPTON

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Pac-10 Player of the Year last season, Devanei Hampton, is playing in just her second game back from right knee surgery.

After playing just 12 minutes in the first, I found out you can pretty much expect the same minute total tonight, meaning Cal will have to rely on Ashley Walker again.

For Rutgers, this is the second game in a row C. Vivian Stringer has decided to start her reserve lineup of Katie Adams, Rashidat Junaid, Heather Zurich, Myia McCurdy and freshman Khadijah Rushdan.

One Trio Against Another

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The fate of the No. 11 California Golden Bears rests in the hands - and on the surgically-repaired right knee - of reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year Devanei Hampton when they meet No. 6 Rutgers as part of the East Coast swing.

In the first game of their cross-country trip, the Bears defeated Princeton, 68-42, and Hampton saw her first action since her Nov. 9 surgery. In 12 minutes of play, Hampton scored nine points and grabbed two rebounds.

If Cal is to upset the Scarlet Knights at their home at the RAC, Hampton's production in her second game will have to significantly improve from her first.

Continue reading "One Trio Against Another" »

December 02, 2007

A good day for California

BERKELEY, Calif - After the Golden Bears beat Vanderbilt 67-59, a large group of fans gathered around the a television at Haas Pavilion to watch CSTV's coverage of the NCAA men's water polo championship game.

Just like the women's basketball team, the men's water polo team also go the win, beating USC 8-5.

Nothing like a national championship to get over losing to Stanford in The BIg Game, right?

Continue reading "A good day for California" »

Cal closes it out

BERKELEY, Calif - It wasn't pretty at the end with the Bears not being able to hit a free throw if thier lives depended on it, but the Bears held on for a 67-59 win.

As the final seconds ticked away, about 15 students in the student section started to cheer:

You know it
You know the story
This is Bear territory

Today it was.

More to come, including reaction, later.

Did I speak too soon?

BERKELEY, Calif - Vandy hits a 3, to make it 63-57 with 35 seconds left, and Cal keeps missing free throws. Stay tuned....

CAL looks primed for its biggest win of the year

BERKELEY, Calif - Vanderbilt did get within eight points, but Cal is now up 10 with 93 seconds left.

Cal has rised in the rankings this year without really beating anyone, until today.

They are big, strong and athletic. And if they can stay out of foul trouble and avoid anymore injuries as the season goes on, they will be a team to watch out for this year.

There is 1:08 left and the Bears still lead by 10.

Commodores hit some 3s, but Cal responds

BERKELEY, Calif. - Jessica Mooney (off the glass) and Chanel Chisholm both hit 3s on back-to-back possesions for Vandy to close the deficit to 11.

But Cal's sharp-shooter, Alexis Gray-Lawson, hit a 3-pointer of her own, to push the lead right back to 14.

Boyle just called a timeout at the 4:02 mark, with the Bears up 57-45.

Cal in complete control

BERKELEY, Calif. - The game isn't over, but it's getting close.

The Bears lead by 18 (51-33) with 7:46 left. Vandy does not look like they are capable of any kind of last minute scoring spree and it seems like just a matter of time now.

Commodores need to make a move - now

BERKELEY, Calif. - There is 11:23 left and the Bears lead 47-30.

The Bears don't look as sharpe as they did the first half, but Vaderbilt isn't taking advantage as they continue to miss open shots from behid the arc.

Vandy guard Lauren Lueders just yelled to here team, "Let's Go!," and Vandy needs to go right now.

As I type, Lueders just hit a 3-pointer, so it's 47-33 with 10:19 left.

N'diaye leaves with injury, then returns

BERKELEY, Calif. - The Haas Pavilion crowd held its breat watching center Rama N'diaye hold her back as she stumbled off the floor early in the second half.

But after getting some treatment behind the bench, she quickly returned to the game and looks fine. With 15:27 left, Cal is still in control, up 42-25.

Cal is doing everything right, Vandy isn't

BERKELEY, Calif - The halflime entertainment here at Cal is four modern dancers led by a guy with a red mohawk - only in Berkeley :).

Continue reading "Cal is doing everything right, Vandy isn't" »

Walker gets the crowd roaring, Vandy looks lost

BERKELEY, Calif - Askhel;y Walker, who leads the Pac-10 in scoring (21.6), has seven points today but it is her defense that got the crowd on its feet.

Continue reading "Walker gets the crowd roaring, Vandy looks lost" »

Another Vandy Timeout, Cal keeps it going

BERKELEY, Calif - Turnovers are killing the Commodores right now and Bears transition game is producing easy buckets. The band is playing, the the crowd is cheering and the Bears are up 17-7.

Senegal represented in California

The highlight of Senegal sports was when its soccer team beat France in the 2002 World Cup, but the African country also plays a little basketball and Rama N'diaye is proving it today.

Continue reading "Senegal represented in California" »

Cal gets hot

Vaderbilt misses a a layup and Cal point guard Natasha Vital bolts down the floor and finds Lauren Greif for a jumper to put the bears up 11-5.

Melanie Balcomb calls timeout.

Both teams look sluggish

Neither team is in a groove early, with bodies flying and balls droping every which way in the first four minutes. Thanks to a Lauren Lueders 3-pointer, the Comodores lead 5-4 at the 15:23 mark.

Continue reading "Both teams look sluggish" »

No. 12 Bears battle No. 18 Vanderbilt

BERKELEY, Calif - It's a day of morning here at Berkeley after the Bears handed over the axe to Stanford yesterday, but forget about football, it's women's basketball time.

Continue reading "No. 12 Bears battle No. 18 Vanderbilt" »

November 22, 2007

The rout is on

UConn is starting to pull away, leading 60-43 with 7:16 to play.
The Huskies are turning Stanford's missed shots into easy transition baskets. The Cardinal just don't have an answer. It doesn't make Stanford a bad team. In fact, the Cardinal are solid. It's just that Stanford is playing UConn tonight.
I'll be surprised if UConn doesn't breeze through this tournament. The only challenge might come from Duke, which did struggle to beat an undermanned Purdue team in the first game.

Run away

Just when you thought Stanford was going to a run, the Huskies reel off six straight points.
It's UConn 45-28.
Stanford's Candice Wiggins picked up two quick fouls in the second half and she's on the bench. The Cardinal need Wiggins to have hope in the final 12 minutes.

November 11, 2007

Finish For A Season

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Don't believe in fate? Rutgers does now.

The last time the Scarlet Knights played in a game that was decided by free throws it was in last year's Sweet 16 against then top-ranked Duke. In that game, Duke's Lindsey Harding stood on the charity stripe with .01 seconds remaining, only to miss, sending Rutgers ultimatley into the Final Four.

Fast forward to the first game of the 2007-08 season for No. 3 Rutgers, this time against No. 7 Stanford in the friendly confines of the RAC, and again free throws determined the outcome of the game.

But this time they were made, and not missed, and this time it was Rutgers who must go to bed with that empty feeling of losing their opening game of the year.

Again with .01 seconds on the game clock, All-American Candice Wiggins had the ball for Stanford near her own team's three point line, seemingly resigned to let the game go into overtime, when it happened.

Continue reading "Finish For A Season" »

Down To The Wire

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - This game is going down to the wire.

With 8 mins to play and the score 47-46 in favor of Rutgers - for this moment, at least - the Scarlet Knights will try to hold on.

Every time Rutgers takes a lead though, Stanford answers. The duo of Appel and Pedersen - who are playing with three and four fouls, respectively - has been dominant. Both players have a double double tonight, with Appel sitting on 16 points, 12 rebounds, and Pedersen, 13 points and 11.

Continue reading "Down To The Wire" »

Average Car, Star Player

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - As a consumer motorist I don't know if I'm buying myself a Kia, as a women's basketball writer, Kia is definitely the way to go.

Vaughn is an All-American and Wade Trophy candidate, but as of 13:51 to go in the game, Vaughn had zero points and three fouls in her first game of the new season.

Continue reading "Average Car, Star Player" »

Ticky Tacky

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The fouls are starting to mount up for both teams as Stanford leads by one, 38-37, with under 18 minutes to play in the game.

First Stanford's Kayla Pedersen, who was leading the team in scoring and rebounding, pikced up her third foul with 19;29 to go in the.

Seconds later, Rutgers' Kia Vaughn picked up her third.

Both centers will need to be careful the rest of the way as both are vital to their team's success. The refs are calling a tough game, not afraid to blow their whistles and the RU crowd - and C. Viv especially - are getting a little testy.

Continue reading "Ticky Tacky" »

Scarlet Half

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - After the first half of the first game I have seen live in 2007-08, I can safely say that I am winded already.

What a fast-paced tempo to this game featuring two Top 10 teams. After one frame, Rutgers takes a 37-36 lead on an Essence Carson three with seconds to go.

Continue reading "Scarlet Half" »

Baby Cardinal

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With 11:14 remaining in the first half, and the score Stanford 15, Rutgers 13, by far the most impressive player on the court thus far is playing in only her second collegiate game.

Stanford's center Kayla Pedersen has nine points and four boards already and has been everywhere for the Cardinal, even hitting a three. Pedersen leads all scorers and rebounders.

Continue reading "Baby Cardinal" »

Rings And Things

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Before tonight's game, Rutgers team members, players and coaches who were apart of last year's Final Four run will receive their NCAA Final Four rings.

Tonight also sees the official raising of the new National Finalist banner that now hangs in the RAC next to the Scarlet Knights' 2000 Final Four banner.

Continue reading "Rings And Things" »

Three Days Old

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With the season only three days old, already we've seen some top matches across the country.

None can be bigger than what will take place in New Jersey Sunday night when the Pac-10's No. 7 Stanford Cardinal and the national runners-up, No. 3 Rutgers tangle at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, AKA the RAC.

Continue reading "Three Days Old" »

Carolina pulls away for win vs. ASU

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- As the second half started, North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell could be heard above the noise of the Smith Center crowd as she implored her team to play better defense than it did in the game's first 20 minutes.

Continue reading "Carolina pulls away for win vs. ASU" »

Tar Heels taking control late

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The wheels are starting to fall off of Arizona State. There might not be any further proof needed than the fact that they just forgot entirely to guard Erlana Larkins.

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Heels coming together, Devils struggling

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- It seems like every time the Sun Devils hit a big 3-pointer to cut Carolina's lead to a point, something happens to the Tar Heels, and they respond by remembering how to make good passes and play together on offense -- something that wasn't happening very much in the first half.

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Baptism by fire for UNC freshmen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell has certainly been getting her freshmen some big-time game experience, at times without veteran help around them.

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Carolina has slight edge at half

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Tar Heels had worked their way to a double-digit lead briefly in the later moments of the first half, but Arizona State kept pushing back and trailed by just a point, 43-42, at halftime.

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Random sights and sounds

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- What else is there to do during the final television timeout of the first half other than watch what's going on around you? Not much, really. Luckily, there are a few funny things going on.

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Back and Forth

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Even though it's the Tar Heels who are known for running the floor with the best of them, the Sun Devils are giving UNC a taste of its own medicine.

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Carolina big early on boards

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina started its scoring with a Heather Claytor 3-pointer, but since then, most of the Tar Heels work has been inside.

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Tar Heels, Sun Devils set for showdown

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Smith Center has seen plenty of great games as the home to the North Carolina men, but it's going to be quite a showing of women's basketball here today with four ranked teams squaring off. Things get started with No. 12 Arizona State taking on the host Tar Heels, who are ranked seventh.

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November 01, 2007

From Downtown Goes Live

NEW YORK - Welcome fans of women's college basketball to From Downtown, your home for live in-game coverage of the best matchups across the country.

We'll be blogging live from the places that rule women's college basketball. Whether it's seeing the Lady Vols in Knoxville, the Huskies in Storrs, Conn., or Candice Wiggins in Palo Alto, Calif., From Downtown will be there covering the action.

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