Sunday, December 19, 2010

Which hurt more?

By Wally Mersereau

There is no doubt that losing both games on this road trip is indeed a downer. As we left Thompson-Boling Arena, the Halfs and I voted on which loss was the most painful. Cherie and I voted for DePaul, Fred abstained. My reasoning was that the DePaul loss was more unexpected, especially by such a margin--a really major upset--a shocker, with DePaul out-playing Stanford from start to finish. I was numb after the DePaul game, but only disappointed after the Tennessee loss.

Tennessee is always tough, especially at home. The program showed that the cumulative results over the years before this game was Tennessee with 21 wins to Stanford's 6. In tonight's game, Stanford was down by 14 at one point in the first half, made up the half-time deficit of 8 points with about 9 minutes to go in the game and hung in there for the 70-70 tie in regulation. That was a very nice comeback. But the overtime was all Tennessee, out-scoring Stanford 12-2. Jeanette fouling out when the score was still 70-70 pretty much ended any hope, especially with Tennessee into the free-throw bonus.

Tennessee lost its last game to Baylor (having previously lost to Georgetown) and was admitting in the press that it didn't yet have its team well organized. Pat Summitt was reported to have forcefully displayed her unhappiness with her team and this may have had some effect. I didn't notice any lack of organization by the Lady Vols tonight.

There were about 60 or so Stanford fans in attendance among the thousands and thousands of orange-clad Volunteer rooters. Stanford tried to change its luck by switching to red uniforms from the black worn at DePaul. I thought we had been told that only one color of uniforms were taken on road trips, so this might have been a first from an attire standpoint.

Apart from the game, there were two unusual features: the Star Spangled Banner was sung by a Nashville pro who produced the twangiest version of our anthem that I've ever heard. And the half-time entertainment was provided by a talking parrot on a perch. I haven't seen that before.

It would have been sweet if Tara could have obtained her 800th win by beating Pat Summitt. It looked possible for about four minutes in the second half. But it was not to be. If the team learns from these losses, happier days may lie ahead. At least the Xavier and UConn games will be at Maples.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Demons demolish discombobulated Cardinal

By Wally Mersereau

It was a cold night in Chicago--21 degrees to be exact--and a few snowflakes were drifting downward. But inside McGrath Arena on the DePaul campus the Blue Demons were fired up and red hot. They out-played visiting Stanford from start to finish. Stanford's black uniforms did not intimidate DePaul in the slightest. The Blue Demons were better on both sides of the ball for the entire game, playing non-stop aggressive defense and making heart-breaking shot after heart-breaking shot. In comparison, Stanford looked pretty inept over-all. DePaul answered basket for basket and then some.

Halfway through the first half Stanford managed to catch up and take a two-point lead, but it lasted less than a minute. Stanford struggled back again to get within two points at the half, 37-35. The closest Stanford could get in the second half was one point with about 15 minutes to go, but it was all down hill from there as DePaul dominated and ran away with the game to a final score of 91-71. This was just a plain old fashioned thrashing. I haven't looked at the stats, but I'm sure they will favor DePaul in every category.

And this happened in front of one of the largest collection of Stanford fans ever for an early-season road game because of the absolutely great turn-out of supporters for Chicago-area players Sarah Boothe and Toni Kokenis and near-by Ohioan Mikaela Ruef. I sat behind Sarah's high school coach and beside Mikaela's grandfather. There were hundreds of Sarah, Toni and Mikaela fans, but they had little to cheer for. The Fast Break Club had five members present: Fred and Cherie Half, Kellee Noonan, Douglas Lee and me.

I may have jinxed Stanford by optimistically having a banner prepared to celebrate Tara's 800th win. But that will have to gather dust until another, brighter day.

What else? Well, Kayla did not play, apparently being saved for Sunday's game at Tennessee, and, of course, she was missed. Jeanette made many clutch shots to end with, I think, 23 points as Stanford's top scorer. Chiney appeared to be seriously injured with just under 14 minutes left in the game when a DePaul player fell hard on her as she lay on the floor. She could not put any weight on one leg as she was assisted from the floor and went to the locker room. She reappeared with about 10 minutes to play with an ice pack in her hand and almost at once went back in the game and played most of the remaining minutes without showing any limitations. Joslyn made some nice 3-pointers. Toni started, but didn't score her first basket until the waning minutes.

That's about it, folks. What more is there to say? Stanford came and DePaul conquered. Time to regroup. End of story.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time to Order Oregon Tickets

It's time to order a block of seats at the new Matthew Knight Arena and at Oregon State.

To review, our game at OU in Eugene is at 6pm Thursday January 27. There may be a social event of some type following the game hosted by the Oregon Stanford alums.

Our game at OSU in Corvallis is at 2pm Saturday January 29. For logistics and travel notes, see the Travel page.

If you are going to attend either game, and want to sit with other FBC members, please send an email to travel at saying which game(s) you want tickets for.

We need this input next week, by December 17th.