Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cal tickets available by phone or chat


Stanford plays at Cal on Thursday evening, February 16th. According to the Cal website, single-game tickets should be available now. However, we tramped through every available path and were not able to buy online.

Then we tried the "live chat" option found at the bottom of this page. The person on the other end of the chat was Patrick, at the Cal Ticket office, who was very helpful.

Try the chat first. If that fails, you might try calling Patrick at 510-642-2699. Be sure to tell him you hear he is super nice.

Monday, October 17, 2016

PAC-12 Tournament Pre-sale

Update:If you are internet-savvy, you can try the website described here. But if your human communication skills are better than your computer ones, you can call direct to Jaron Iwakami in the Storm organization, at 206.272.2553 and he will be happy to help you.

You can order your PAC-12 tournament seats now. Tickets are managed by the Seattle Storm from this URL but don't click yet!

When you click that link you get to a Ticketmaster/Storm page that we have found is a little flakey. First off, it uses Adobe Flash to display the available seat map from which you will choose your seats. Every browser is currently hatin' on Flash. Firefox and Chrome will try not to run it. You have to tell them that it is OK to run Flash on this URL. Look for some kind of popup saying that Flash has been blocked, and click the choice to let it run.

Also, if you run an ad-blocker, it is probably a good idea to disable it for this URL.

Then, you will want to log in to your Storm account, if you created one when buying tournament tickets in prior years. Even if you don't already have a Storm account you want to click the "log in" link in the upper right, because the resulting pop-up dialog is where the "create an account" link is hiding.

Oh, did I mention pop-up dialog? Because if you have your browser set to block pop-ups, the "log in" dialog will not appear because it's a pop-up dialog. So if it doesn't show up, that's why; or maybe it's your ad-blocker you forgot to disable.

With any luck you have managed to log in to your Storm account and the seat map has quit showing a busy-spinner icon and actually shows you a seat map. You will then find that only the center sections are available for reservation. The majority of pie-chunks are G.A. As of today there are plenty of seats low down in section 113, the section nearest the higher-seed's bench.

OK? Pour a fresh cup of beverage and go for it!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016-17 Travel page is up!

Our FBC Travel page has been updated for the coming season's road trips. Check our updated travel advice with links to the best websites and tips for air travel.

Who's for Cancun?

The first trip of the year is the Thanksgiving weekend Cancun Challenge. Are you going? If so, would you be willing to write some informal game reports? This blog could use a reporter on site. Just a few paragraphs to describe the experience for your fellow fans would be wonderful.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


A report by travelling fan Su Schaffer:

WOW! What other comment could one possibly make about the exciting and surprising win... of Washington over Kentucky. And DOUBLE WOW!! When you add the tremendous execution that led to the Stanford win over Notre Dame. This was an evening of basketball laced with drama... I was continually caught between holding my breath and cheering.

The scene was exciting. The Kentucky fans were loud and proud and lots of fun. Families brought hand crafted signs, the kids jumped and danced and were in awe of the Wildcat standing on the shoulders of the cheer squad. They were a reminder of how much the fans can create an atmosphere that brings out the entertainment of sport.

Washington held their poise, executed beautifully, and surprised a 6000+ crowd of Kentucky fans. Osahor was masterful on defense and her usual quirky self on offense. Between their zone and Osahor's size down low, Kentucky was baffled and certainly out-rebounded.

Su and Heidi Vanderveer enjoy the game.
We Stanford stalwarts numbered about 100. Most of the fans were players' families. Kaylee had 20 family members there. And then there was the band! One of Kentucky's finest marching bands subbed for the Stanford band which wasn't allowed to make the trip. While they didn't play our favorite songs, they rocked the place and, dressed in Stanford t-shirts, seemed to love doing it.

Stanford started their game allowing an "and one" which had some of us immediately going uh-oh. Silly us, the team proceeded to have a 69% shooting half, finishing it with more points than we had in several early games. Up by 11 at the half, we wondered how we would hold onto the lead as our scoring would surely slip.

It came down to focus and execution. Our attention never seemed to waver. We kept our poise and countered a three with a three. Our defense in the second half combined with Notre Dame's increasing frustration allowed us to contain them even in spite of Turner's production at the basket.

All told, it was a fantastic evening of basketball the likes of which I haven't seen in a long time. The excitement, the adrenaline rush, the win, and the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale to top it off!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lexington Travel Advice

Round one of the Lexington regional is on Friday, in the Lexington Center. The first game, Kentucky vs. Washington, is at 7pm. Stanford vs. Notre Dame is at 9:30pm. Order tickets through the Stanford ticket office or buy from Ticketmaster.

The Elite Eight game is on Sunday at 12pm1pm local/EDT (according to ticketmaster and other sources).

From Su Schaffer,

Just a few thoughts re travel to the Regionals.

Air travel is tight because of Spring Break and Easter.

Cincinnati is a larger airport than Lexington and is 73 miles away from Rupp Arena. Car rental rates are very favorable.

The Grand Hyatt and downtown Hilton are within 1/2 mile of Rupp.

Also, remember the right way to book for an uncertain playoff: plan to return after the first game; in this case, on Saturday. Book your flight using an option that lets you reschedule the return leg (best to call the airline and book through a human representative to be sure). If Stanford should upset Notre Dame you can reschedule your departure to Monday. Your hotel will not be averse to extending your stay; after all, a bunch of Notre Dame fans would be checking out at the same time.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tournament Bracket is Up

Go to this PAC-12 page to see the full tournament bracket and to get other info about the tournament.

Click their "History" link for a list of previous champions. The first tournament was in 2001. Were you there, at Mac Court in Eugene, to see ASU beat Stanford for the championship? (Did you perhaps perform in the "substitute band" when the real band had been banned?)

Here are some notable times:

  • Cal plays Utah on Thursday morning. If Cal can advance they will play ASU Friday at 11:30.
  • Stanford will play either Colorado or Washington on Friday at 8:30pm.
  • If Stanford wins, they will in all likelihood play Oregon State(!) at 8:30pm Saturday.

All these games are on PAC-12 networks. Only the final, 6pm Sunday, is on ESPN: set your DVR now!

You can go to the Official ticket site but they show so few good seats left that you would probably have better luck through the Stanford Ticket office.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2016 Thanksgiving Tournament in Cancun

Stanford typically travels to a pre-season tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend. Last fall it was in Fort Myers, FL. This year it will be to the Cancun Challenge, held at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, on the Gulf south of Cancun.

As detailed in the linked post, Stanford will play a three-game round-robin with Purdue, Northeastern (of Boston), and Wichita State on November 24th, 25th and 26th (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

If you fancy Thanksgiving at an all-inclusive luxury resort, contact the organizer, Triple Crown Sports. Contact info is at the end of the blog linked above.

If you call, or if you know anything about the resort, or Cancun, or any of those other teams, please add a comment!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tournament Tickets on sale

General-admission tickets for the PAC-12 Tournament in Seattle are now on sale, including single-session and weekend-session tickets. Click this link for GA weekend passes, $30 for three games, seating in the end zones.

If you would prefer to have reserved seats in the side sections, click here instead. That takes you to a page that loads a seating plan. (If it just says "Loading..." forever, you are blocking the Flash plugin. You may have tell your browser to allow Flash for this site.)

Scattered seats are still available in all the reserved sections, priced at $110 for a tournament pass; and also in VIP1 and VIP8 ($150 for a pass) which have close views of the higher-seed bench. (But this year, Stanford may not automatically be the higher seed in every game! In particular, one might imagine a tournament championship game with either OSU or ASU as the higher seed, and Stanford as the lower. Interesting times!)

The tournament in Seattle is a very pleasant experience. See the Travel Page for an extensive list of things to do and see besides the games.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Drubbing in the Desert

By Wally Mersereau

The same weather system bringing rain to the Bay Area extended to Arizona. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport this afternoon I found the same temperature and moisture as at SFO. Unfortunately, the gloom outside seemed to follow Stanford inside Wells Fargo Arena this evening to cast a pall over the entire game from a Stanford fan’s standpoint.

Going into the game I thought #9 Stanford had an excellent chance to come away with a win over #14 Arizona State. Just a solid performance on offense and defense would do it, but the Cardinal performance was stuck at the other end of the spectrum from the git-go, especially on offense, resulting in the poorest game of the season—so far.

I can find nothing to praise. The team and every player played poorly. ASU, on the other hand, brought poise and, seemingly, every Sun Devil player stepped up, aided by quite a bit of luck with bounces and rolls that turned a disproportionate number of marginal baskets into ones that counted. The Cardinal seemed unable to do two good things in a row, producing only brief glimmers of competence now and then.

Stanford shooting, across the board, was pitiful. Shots of every type by every player were muffed and the Cardinal had no luck at all. Stanford scoring by quarter was: 1st = 7 points, 2nd = 6 points, 3rd = 9 points and 4th = 9 points. Arizona State didn’t do a whole lot better in the scoring department, but it led from start to finish and did more than enough to come away with a 49-31 win.

Lili was high scorer for the Card with 7 points. Nuff said. Some credit for Stanford’s poor shooting should go to the stellar ASU defense, but not all by any means. Stanford was just inept tonight.

Stanford passing was notable for the number of passes made to an ASU player. Stanford did not take care of the ball. The Devils were on their toes and deflected or stole the ball way too many times. The Devils were uber-pesky and seemed to be in constant motion. In a word, they were devilish.

Attendance on a Monday night at 6 pm, following the New Year weekend, was probably about 2,000. At least, theoretically, this helped to limit the home court advantage, but the Sun Devils had more than enough backing to dominate the game.

Losses are supposed to be learning experiences. There needs to be a whole lot of learning from this one.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Into the Storm

By Wally Mersereau

The forecast for Saturday night in Austin was for heavy thunderstorms, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the city dry when I arrived. The temperature at 9 pm was 74 degrees. Will things be this benign in the UT arena tomorrow?

The Texas game is the toughest matchup the team has had so far. Stanford lost to the Longhorns last season and was the underdog going into Sunday’s game at Frank Erwin Center on the campus. At this point in the out-of-conference season undefeated Texas is nationally ranked 5/6 with Stanford at 12/14. My limited pregame research suggests the Texas edge will primarily come from its two excellent post players, 6-7 Boyette and 6-5 Lang. Can the Card keep them under control while finding a way to score against one of the best defensive teams in the country? On a day of possible thunderstorms outside, the Stanford women will be up against a potential tornado on the court.

Texas beat Tennessee 64-53 two weeks ago at Knoxville. Tennessee is currently ranked 16/15. Stanford will play Tennessee on Wednesday at Maples. If we can hang with the Longhorns on the road we should be ready for the Vols at home.

My observations at the Florida tournament two weeks ago were that Stanford has lots of improving to do—across the board. The Cardinal had a bye last week because of final exams. I am hopeful the team will be rested, but not rusty, and will show growth and broad improvement. To win this one will take a strong team effort, especially on defense. This is going to be a test. The players have just finished dealing with finals in the classroom, presumably passing their academic tests.

On Sunday morning the temperature was in the low 50s and the sky was gray, but there was only a light rain as I walked past the state capitol to the arena from my downtown hotel. I hoped for a strong Stanford showing against the home team, including a smart, well executed game plan. Tara and the team had two weeks to prepare for this one.

Well, it turned out the deciding factor was not the two Texas posts, although they played well enough. The Texas Tornado Stanford was not able to tame was composed of the quick, dead-eye Longhorn guards. They put Stanford in a hole from the start and the Cardinal never was able to claw its way back. Texas led by 4 at the end of the first quarter, by 7 at the half, by 11 at the end of the third quarter and by 8 at game’s end: 69-77. Stanford made an especially game effort in the end, but it was not enough. The closest the Cardinal could get was two points on two brief occasions before it quickly fell back. One major difference was the rebound margin, where Texas had 8 more O-boards than Stanford. This is an area where improvement should be achievable.

Any Stanford improvement since Florida was negated by the overall superiority of the Longhorns. The greatest weakness was defense. For most of the game the teams traded goals. Stanford needed some unsuccessful Texas possessions, but got only an occasional stop. Texas is a strong team, ranked just out of the top four. It played outstanding defense today that it combined with its stellar guard play and superior rebounding. Stanford was not embarrassed at Austin, it just couldn’t put together enough to come away with a win.

Here is a sampling of some player evaluations at this point:

Lili – the heart and soul of the team. The most reliable. The only player able to consistently convert dedication into effectiveness. Sometimes a bit slow to start, but always strong down the stretch. The one player at or near her potential, game after game: today was the fourth time this year that she scored 21 points.

Erica – able to achieve consistent double-digit scoring -- today she had another double-double -- but still lots of room for improvement in finishing and rebounding.

Bri – her strength is also her weakness. Her speed and effort often results in solid or even brilliant play, but occasionally puts her out of control on offense and defense.

Karlie – smart, with a balanced game, but not yet consistent enough.

Kailee – improving enough to be a starter -- as she was today -- and to stay in for major minutes. Beginning to score a few points -- today she had four, on one basket and two free throws -- but better scoring needed. Seems to be gaining confidence.

Brittany – for some time she has seemed tantalizingly poised to breakout, but still short of her potential. Had a very good game today, shooting 4 of 4 from three.

Alanna – shows flashes of brilliance, but lacks consistency. Has improved a lot in staying out of foul trouble. Almost certain to be an excellent player, but not there yet.

Kaylee – has lost her starting spot and played only 3 minutes today. Seems to lack confidence.

Marta – after not looking like a freshman, she now looks like a freshman.

This is a young team with diverse talents. It has stayed nationally ranked in the mid-teens. I think it will slowly and steadily improve, but it isn’t there yet.

Lili had a nice rooting section in her Texas homeland. Alex, another Texan, was given two brief appearances, her first of the season.

Tennessee lost to Texas by 11 points. Stanford lost to Texas by 8 points. Wednesday’s game looks like a toss-up. Maybe that game will show us some clear improvement. Hope springs eternal. Go Stanford!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tournament Champion

By Wally Mersereau

It was not pretty. It was not impressive. It was not encouraging. It was lackluster, non-urgent, maddening and frustrating. Maybe the team was tired in this third game in three days. There was an abundance of sloppy play by both teams and a general lack of vim and vigor by Stanford.

But the job got done, completing a 3-game Stanford sweep of the Florida tournament and bringing the tournament championship home to the Farm.

The final game on Sunday against Purdue was won in overtime 71-65 after regulation play ended at 59-59.

Some aspects of the game were remarkable, such as free throw shooting, such as Kailee making a crucial 3-point shot in overtime to keep Stanford in the game, such as Alanna going scoreless after putting up 22 points in the previous game, such as Bri making five of six 3-pointers.

Stanford got off to a fine start and led most of the game. But after the start it was touch and go with Purdue hanging doggedly just a bit behind. Lili was the most consistent player, in keeping with her being selected as tournament MVP.

Looking back from the end of the tournament, Stanford bounced back from its loss to Santa Clara to prove itself the best of the 8 tournament teams in Florida. There were some fine performances, but there was plenty of evidence of the need for improvement by the team and by each player.

The three games were a good test and should serve as a guide going forward for coaches and players.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Two Thrilling Games in Florida

By Wally Mersereau

Fort Myers is the largest city in Southwest Florida, the term the locals here use as we do Bay Area. The primary airport is known as the Southwest Florida International Airport. The population of the city is about 65,000. The fort named Myers was established on the Caloosahatchee River immediately after the Civil War as part of the national campaign to control Indian tribes, in this case the Seminoles. Fort Myers is the county seat of Lee County, located northwest of the Everglades. Thomas Edison first visited in 1885, liked it so much he established a winter home in Fort Myers and spent the last 40 winters of his life in the town. Edison’s buddy Henry Ford set up a winter home for himself next door. By the start of the 20th century Fort Myers was well known as a winter resort. Edison paid to add many palm trees along city streets, helping to establish this place as the City of Palms.

The Germain Arena, where the tournament is being held, and the Hyatt Regency resort are actually located in the city of Bonita Springs, a suburb of Fort Myers about 20 miles south. The arena is the home of the Everblades ice hockey team. Bonita Springs also is the home of Miromar Outlets, a collection of 140 outlet stores and assorted supporting retail uses in a center next to the arena. On Black Friday the center was crowded and was providing a shuttle bus to connect to overflow parking at the arena.

A resident told me yesterday that Snowbirds from the frigid north pour into this area in the months of January through April, substantially increasing the population and traffic congestion. In advance of this influx area freeways and major boulevards are more than adequate and seem to always be free-flowing. This apparently changes during the first months of the year. I didn’t ask where these seasonal visitors are housed, but I presume in various ways including hotels and resorts and, to some degree, in winter homes. There are quite a number of upscale, gated communities here, many built around golf courses. There is a lot of new residential construction of various types evident in Lee County. It seems to be a boom time in Southwest Florida.

During the tournament the weather has been perfect, with highs in the low 80s, lows in the mid-60s and no humidity. There has been a light wind each day.

Further up the west coast of Florida, roughly west of Orlando, is the large metropolitan area of Tampa-St. Petersburg, the dominant urban area on the coast.

Rita VanDerveer, Tara’s mother, is attending the tournament with Tara’s sister Beth. If you haven’t talked to Rita up close and personal, you should do so. You will be struck by the strong resemblance between Rita and Tara in appearance, in facial expressions and in voice and manner of speaking. The mother-daughter resemblance is inescapable. Rita often attends games at Maples and is happy to talk with any Stanford fan, or anyone else for that matter. She currently lives in Colorado Springs. She and Tara’s father were teachers in Chautauqua in western New York State where Tara and her siblings grew up. Tara often remarks that she considers herself to be a teacher, carrying on her family’s traditional line of work.

The last Friday game produced a win by Purdue over LSU, putting the Boilermakers into a semi-final game against Louisville on Saturday. The first semi-final game was between Stanford and Dayton. Both games turned out to be thrilling with both ending with outcomes highly desirable for Stanford fans.

Dayton brought a 30-piece pep band, male and female cheerleaders and a burly Flyer mascot wearing early aviator goggles, the only one of the eight tournament teams to do this. About 60 Dayton fans were present along with about 20 Stanford fans. Because there were few unaffiliated fans, total attendance was less than 100 at the start of the game. Attendance grew during the game as Louisville and Purdue fans arrived.

The Stanford game started poorly with a discouraging first quarter that ended with Stanford trailing Dayton 14-24. Stanford shot poorly, had too many turnovers and showed only a fair defense. It was not apparent until the end of the game, but the Stanford turnaround began in the second quarter and accelerated slowly through the rest of the game with each quarter better than the previous one.

Stanford was outscored by 10 in the first quarter and then outscored Dayton in each of the remaining quarters--by 3 in the second quarter, by 6 in the third quarter and by 9 in the fourth quarter. The cumulative effect of this superior play by the Cardinal was to gradually shrink the Flyer lead. At the half Stanford was down by 7, at the end of the third quarter it was down by 1, after briefly taking its first lead with 4 ½ minutes left in the quarter. The fourth quarter was the opposite of the first. Stanford built an 8-point lead with 7 minutes left that turned out to be the final winning margin with the final score being 74-66.

The turnaround was another excellent team effort. Lili had only four points in the first half, but racked up 15 points in the second half, a truly heroic effort. Alanna had the hot hand through out the game with six 3s contributing to her game total of 22 points. Erica had 16 points for the game. Karlie had clutch shooting at the end to put the game out of Dayton’s reach. In the second half Stanford improved its defense along with its scoring gains and was able to get some drives to the basket. After the dismal first quarter the Cardinal outplayed Dayton more and more to the final splendid win.

The final game of Day Two was Purdue vs. #22/26 Louisville. All four Stanford coaches scouted the entire game. Louisville is a dangerous, aggressive, opportunistic, disruptive team with strong teamwork. It is well-coached and does really well at the free throw line. Purdue is a more “normal” team, much to be desired as an opponent rather than Louisville.

Louisville led at the end of the first quarter 11-9, at the half 28-20, and at the end of the third quarter 42-38, setting the scene for an amazing upset by Purdue in the final minute. In the last 1:20 of the game the lead changed 7 times with Purdue somehow able to make two free throws with 21 seconds left to win the game 62-60.

And so the final game on Sunday will be between Stanford and Purdue. This is much better than having to play Louisville. Purdue has played well in this tournament, beating LSU and Louisville, but I’m convinced the Boilermakers are the opponent to be desired in the championship game of this tournament. Stanford will need to play really well tomorrow, but its task was made easier by Purdue’s great win tonight.