While it ended too soon, this season’s team represented a great success by a wonderful team of players and coaches. Tara’s selection as Pac-12 Coach of the Year was recognition by her peers of her remarkable feat in teaching these young women and shaping this team. Chiney’s Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards honored her leadership, talent and skill-- and a huge amount of heart—as she rose from Nneka’s helper to shining star, while dazzling everyone with her enthusiasm and personality.
By making Stanford women’s basketball the highest priority in my life, and having the good fortune of both good weather and good health, I was able to attend every game played this season. The final season tally is 33 wins and 3 losses. That makes thirty-six games, plus a couple of exhibitions to get warmed up on. My longest trip was the one to South Carolina and Tennessee. That took five flights over six days.
So, was it worth it? Of course it was. It has been a privilege to support such a high-class endeavor and such wonderful people that have given me enormous pleasure year after year. I have been repaid many times over for my expenditure of time, money and emotion.
There were some great games, including picking off #1 Baylor in Hawaii. There was another Pac-12 championship and another Pac-12 Tournament victory to put in the record books. There was a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There was the nearly perfect Michigan game. There was the consistently outstanding defense up and down the roster. How many teams would be overjoyed to do half as well?
We have seen one of the best players to ever wear a Stanford uniform and, happily, Chiney will return for another season. We have seen quiet Amber grow into a reliable, versatile and confident point guard. We have seen Sara and Mikaela bloom lately but well.
We have seen Joslyn struggle through illnesses we didn’t know she had to end her career with a dazzling performance in her final game at Maples. We have seen Bonnie broaden her contributions and provide thrills with her quick-release threes. Toni’s illness was the only major health problem. All but Jos will return next year.
In the end there were shortcomings that couldn’t be eliminated or overcome. Too much reliance on too few. Too much inconsistency by too many. And maybe a few unlucky bounces of the ball. I had hoped for another trip to the Final Four, but it was not to be. The players gave their all, but in the end it was not enough.
Losing is never fun. Especially when Stanford fans are so used to winning. The loss to Georgia hurt, but not nearly as much as the loss two years ago to Texas A&M.
It’s been a great ride. I thank Tara, Amy, Kate, Trina, Kurtis, Marcella and Eileen. I thank every player from Chiney to Denia and Kiran for their individual and collective dedication, contributions and teamwork. I thank the band and the Dollies for their constant support. I thank my fellow fans.
It was great while it lasted. Next season it will begin again. There will be some exciting new players.
Don’t go away. Stanford women’s basketball will return once more and the future is bright with promise. I can hardly wait.