Monday, November 22, 2010

Zigging through the Zags

By Wally Mersereau, Cardinal fan and intrepid traveler

The Utah game was good. The Gonzaga game was great.

The Big Two were back as the Big Three and all three were essential to the win. Nneka had more tape on her fingers than at Utah, but it did not seem to affect her excellent play. I did not learn the mystery reason for Nneka not playing at Utah. Gonzaga was Mikaela's breakout game, in minutes played and in performance. As a Gonzaga fan seated behind me said: "#3 off the bench has been outstanding for Stanford". Chiney had an off day and early foul trouble.

Gonzaga is an excellent team and USC's win over the Bulldogs, even at Galen Center, now seems more significant than it did at the time. Without knowing about other WCC teams, I predict Gonzaga will handily win its conference. It has lots of good players and good coaching. It would rank in the center of the Pac-10.

It snowed in Spokane in the morning and lightly during the game, providing a winter wonderland setting. The sold-out McCarthey Center was rocking with enthusiasm. Before each half everyone stood and participated in an impressive rhythmic clapping and chanting to recorded music. When Gonzaga came back from 12 points down to tie the game with 5 minutes left, the arena exploded. But, as Tara said, Stanford kept its poise and put the game away, thanks primarily to Jeanette's clutch shooting. Tara used an 8-player rotation, plus a couple of minutes for Sara James. Sarah Boothe continued to be inconsistent in her play.

Joslyn's father had an early Sunday Montana men's practice and then drove three hours from Missoula to attend the game. Joslyn's resemblance to her father is remarkable.

The McCarthey Center is a nice, near-new venue with free parking. Above-average concessions included a stand offering several prepared-as-you-watch Asian stir frys. Despite the weather outside being frightful there was a long line at the Ben & Jerry's stand where waffle cones outsold cups eight to one.

Besides the two games, highlights of my trip included getting reacquainted with the Bunyan-size blocks in downtown Salt Lake City, the snow in Spokane, sitting next to and being surrounded by the Stanford team on the flight to Spokane and chatting with Amy Tucker at baggage claim. Travel to away games provides an up-close-and-personal contact with the team and coaches, a chance to experience different venues and the opportunity to see our team deal with someone else's home court advantage.


  1. That's sounds so much better than the jerky, pixelated all access feed. The camera angles were horrible, ignored the Stanford squad and there was some fascination with a chubby guy with no shirt!

  2. I'm loving Wally's take on the away games. Keep it up!!