Last night against UC San Diego, C and R couldn’t wait to see what the six Stanford Women’s Basketball freshmen could do, and apparently, neither could head coach Tara VanDerveer. Tara wasted no time in inserting the freshmen into the lineup, usually at a pace of 3 freshmen to 2 veterans, which is the configuration she used on the court. What C and R took away from the game was the freshmen are talented and bring a different skill set to the team, some of which have been missing for awhile, but boy, are those rookies raw.
Freshmen guards Jasmine Camp and Amber Orrange (not a typo and pronounced O rahnge, not orange the fruit) both had blinding speed and were not afraid to drive to the basket, usually beating the defense, skills we haven’t had in a point guard since, well, Candice Wiggins. Tara also has some tall freshmen in the line up, but they were not brought in to bang around and play center, witness Bonnie Samuelson, who probably weights 98 pounds soaking wet. They were both brought in as 3-point specialist and Bonnie wasted no time going off. She made five, count ’em, five 3-pointers, three in the space of two minutes. Very quick release, although C and R wish she shot the ball a little more from her shoulder, not her hip. She might be easy to block with a quicker team, but hey, you can’t argue her accuracy; she made her five out of seven shots, all taken from the 3-point range.
But there were rookie mistakes. A lot of rookie mistakes. Mostly in the form of ill advised passes.
Veterans shined early on, when they got to touch the floor. The first few minutes or so, it was the Nneka and Chiney show, not that Maples minded. The Ogwumike sisters scored 36 of the 105 points. (Oh, did we forget to mention that Stanford broke a hundred? They did, even with the freshmen getting ample playing time. Final score was 106-56. Well, Tennessee won their first exhibition game by 65 points, and we only won by 50, but who’s counting?). Senior Nneka scored 17 and sophomore Chiney got 19, one of the few times Chiney outscored Nneka. Chiney also gobbled up 14 rebounds, 12 of them defensively. Junior Joslyn Tinkle was third in scoring with 16 and grabbed 11 rebounds, eight of them defensively, although if you look at UC San Diego’s size, we don’t think they even tried to rebound on offense, instead using quick play to try and dislodge the ball whenever they could, even after Stanford might have secured the rebound. Tinkle also had two crowd-pleasing blocks, sending one ball well into the first row. Emboldened by the blocks, she took more chances on swiping on defense and then got called for two quick fouls. Coach won’t be happy with that.
Speaking of fouls, Sarah Boothe fouled out in just 12 minutes of play, scoring just two points, and oh, C and R wouldn’t like to be in Sarah’s shoes after Tara breaks down the game film (Oh yes we would, good or bad, to hear Tara impart her wisdom, even if dressing you down… priceless).
Mikaela Ruef was the only Stanford player not to see any action. She looked like she was limping a little. Hope her injury is minor.
One last thing, want to give a big shout out to the UC San Diego supporters who painted their stomachs with their former high school teammates names. Oh, did we forget to mention they were all young ladies. They had painted stomachs and sports bras and C and R aren’t sure if they lost some bet or just felt empowered and a little bit crazy. Usually the painting of stomachs at sporting events is displayed only by beer-bellied men, so hats off to them for showing their support in a festive way.
Second exhibition game Saturday, 2 PM vs. Vanguard. Bet we get to see even more of the freshmen.