Monday, January 28, 2013

Planning for the PAC-12 Tournament

This year, as most know, the PAC-12 Women's Tournament will be held at the Key Arena in Seattle, a cozy venue, one-time home to the NBA Sonics and later, the WNBA Storm.

Dates and Schedules

The dates are Thursday March 7th through Sunday, March 10th. Here is a link to the PAC-12 Tournament page, which has a bracket with times, and current standings. Here's a recap:

  • Thursday: four games in two sessions (noon to 4:30, 6 to 10:30) among the lowest eight seeds, eliminating four of the twelve teams.
  • Friday: four games in two sessions (same times) among the remaining eight teams. The #1 seed plays in the first session, #2 in the second session.
  • Saturday: two semi-final games, 6pm and 8:30pm.
  • Sunday: the championship game, 5pm.

(Note that the late Sunday game-time means you can't fly home to the Bay Area Sunday night. With the game ending about 7pm, even if you don't stay for the net-cutting and general hooplah, the earliest departure you could schedule would be 9:30pm. The last nonstop to SFO departs at 8:50. So plan on an early Monday departure.)

Thursday and Friday are "iron-butt" days, many hours of basketball. Some fans, confident that their team won't play Thursday and wanting to save some time and money, will not arrive until Friday.

Saturday and Sunday afford plenty of free time to explore and enjoy Seattle's many attractions. For a list of some of those attractions see our Travel Page


Buy reserved seats near other Stanford fans through Stanford The Stanford ticket office has sold out its allotment.See next paragraph for a deal on GA seats. Or you could contact any other PAC-12 school's ticket office (see our main page for links to all of them) hoping for decent reserved seats. For instance one might hope that either Arizona school would have unsold tickets still.

The PAC-12 is also making general-admission seats available on a "flex plan": $32 gets you four vouchers that can be used for GA seating in any of the six sessions. The general admission seats include the areas directly behind the baskets as well as the usual corner and rafter seats. Click here to view the seating chart and purchase.


The PAC-12 has a deal with the Crown Plaza. Click this link and fill in your dates to book a room at the Crown Plaza for $139 to $179 a night. The Crown Plaza is a high-rise building in the center of downtown, at 6th and Seneca. It is a five-block walk to the start of the Monorail at 5th and Pine.

The Seattle Monorail runs between 5th and Pine and Seattle Center, location of the Key Arena, every 10 minutes until 9pm Thursday—and thus, shuts down before the end of the last game that day. It runs until 11pm Friday and Saturday.

There are many hotels much closer to Seattle Center. This link to TripAdvisor is a list of hotels centered on Seattle Center, sorted by distance. You can easily re-sort by price and by ratings. Here is a similar list from

Update: we have verbal recommendations from friends of FBC members for Hampton Inn and Suites, an easy walk to the arena; and for the Marqueen Hotel, which is even closer.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fan Plans for Oregon

Over on the Travel Page we have updated the Oregon Fan Plans section.

To recap:

  • We will have a block of seats behind the bench in Eugene, if you haven't asked for yours already, you need to email travel at right away!
  • Prior to the game we'll meet across the street from Knight Arena for drinks and snacks and schmoozing with Barb Arnold and the other Eugene Alums.
  • Sunday morning we're all invited to the Jennings' place in Corvallis for brunch before the game at Gill Coliseum.

To get to the Sunday brunch, follow instructions on the travel page to print out a nice map.

Oregon is maybe the nicest of the PAC-12 away weekends; hope you can make it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Unsettling the Utes

By Wally Mersereau

The team boarded its bus at the Boulder Marriott for the Denver airport at 9 am on Saturday morning. I moved to a hotel in Denver and stayed on in that city until Sunday morning.

The west side of the Rockies is colder and whiter than the east side. The Great Salt Lake Basin is heavily covered in snow, much more so than in the Denver-Boulder area. The temperature this morning when I arrived at the Salt Lake airport was 12 degrees and the sky was overcast. On my flight from Denver was the women’s basketball team from Weber State University, returning to its Ogden home after losing to Northern Colorado yesterday.

Red banners proclaiming “Home of the Utes” and showing the Pac-12 logo are on every lamp post along the main street between downtown and the university. All single game seating for Utah women’s games is general admission. After lunch at my favorite Salt Lake City restaurant I bought my ticket at the arena about the time the doors opened at 1 pm. Attendance was poor, in the USC range, at only 500-600 or so.

Utah is a good team—as good as Colorado, based on this weekend’s games. Not until almost halfway through the second half was Stanford able to achieve more than a four- or five-point lead. The Utes presented a strong defense and had a multi-pronged offense with many players scoring. With 11 ½ minutes left in the game Stanford got its first 10-point lead and then kept the difference between 9 and 12 points until the last minute when it was able to stretch it to 14 points. The final score was 70-56.

So Stanford topped the Utes by 14 compared to Cal’s 5-point win on Friday. And Stanford beat Colorado by 17 on Friday compared to Cal’s 4-point win in Boulder today. Pretty much the same results, but with Stanford clearly doing better against both Rocky Mountain teams.

Toni did not play, with no explanation announced, and Taylor again started in her place. But it was Sara who soared in this game. At Colorado Sara bumbled with two successive turnovers and not much else of note. Today was completely different. Sara was red hot and her accomplishments kept her in the game for 31 minutes—a personal record to go along with new personal bests of 18 points and 4 assists. Sara’s scoring included three confidence-building 3-pointers.This was a long overdue breakout game for Ms. James, earning her my game ball for her inspirational performance.

Three other Cardinal players scored in double digits—Chiney with 20, Amber with 16 and Jos with 12. While topping Stanford scorers, Chiney did not have her typical double-double. Amber continued her aggressive play on offense and defense and showed no lingering effects from her ankle injury on Friday. Jos had 2 blocks and 3 steals and was essential for the win.

This trip to the Mountain West was satisfying and fulfilling. Stanford rebounded nicely from its UConn loss and won two hard-fought games, doing better than Cal in both of them, to set the stage for next week’s two meetings with the Golden Bears. There were some impressive individual performances and no one, with the possible exception of Toni, was injured. The Stanford Pac-12 win-streak remains intact.

To cap the trip, the team was on my flight back to San Francisco from Salt Lake City. Nice.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rounding up the Buffaloes

By Wally Mersereau

The high temperature in Boulder today was 39 degrees under sunny skies. The ground is generally covered in snow with streets and most sidewalks clear. There is no wind, making it seem relatively balmy in the afternoon.

Boulder is dramatically located at the foot of the Front Range with snow-covered peaks of the Rockies visible to the west. From here the Great Plains start their gradual descent east to the Mississippi.

I’m staying at the Boulder Marriott that also is the team hotel. It’s a brisk 30-minute walk to the Coors Events Center on the CU campus. Going up inclines or a long flight of stairs leaves me a little breathless—a reminder of the official elevation of this city of 5,344 feet above sea level. The elevation provides an extra home-team advantage for the locally acclimated CU student-athletes.

The Coors Events Center was built in 1979 and was renamed in 1990 after a gift from the Adolph Coors Foundation. It is home to CU men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. Women’s basketball has been more successful than the other sports, winning 74.4% of its home games. The arena seats just over 11,000.

Colorado is a good team and deserves its ranking. Its strength is defense—plus Chucky Jeffery. Chucky is the real thing, a determined scorer and able to produce some amazing, twisting drives to the basket. CU played Stanford even in the second half, really battling at times, requiring Tara to keep her top players in until the end. Chucky ended with 17 points, 6 rebounds and a steal in 35 minutes.

Highlights for Stanford included another double-double by Chiney, Jos returning to the scoring column, Jasmine’s best game of the season and a top-notch, gritty game by Amber.

The top stat lines for the Cardinal were Chiney with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal in 35 minutes. Amber with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists/2 turnovers and 2 steals in 34 minutes. Joslyn with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal in 32 minutes. Mikaela with only 2 points, but 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in 27 minutes.

Stanford had a 17-point lead at the half, 31-14, and a 17-point lead at the final, 57-40. The second half was 26-26 in a really hard fought game. Colorado deserves a tip of the hat for its second half effort. I didn’t observe any adverse high altitude effects on the Cardinal. The Buffaloes had great fan support. Attendance was 5,880—a more than half-full arena—and the crowd got really loud when encouraged by the scoreboard to do so.

This was not Stanford’s finest game, but it was reassuring to get this comeback win after the UConn defeat. Stanford shot 47.9% from the field, only 20% from outside the arc (2 of 10, with Jasmine and Jos being successful), 75% free throw shooting (9 of 12) and had 8 blocks and 5 steals. In the first half Stanford seemed to get a block on just about every CU possession.

Taylor played 21 minutes and Bonnie 13 minutes, with both of them being in the game at times. But neither made a 3 and Bonnie was scoreless. Taylor had 4 points and 2 steals.

Colorado was only 28.8% from the field, 8.3% from 3, and 47.4% from the line, largely due to Stanford’s outstanding defensive game. The Cardinal outrebounded 41-27, but Colorado outstole 13-5. Stanford’s team assists/turnovers were a disappointing 13/18, but Colorado’s were a more lop-sided 6/16.

Amber injured an ankle in the second half and was hobbling on the floor before she came out. But she went back in after a quick taping job by Marcella and looked fine.

There is something wrong with Toni. She started, but played only 10 minutes in the first half. She did not play at all in the second half. I did not see any injury and she appeared normal except for not playing. Toni’s absence gave Amber and Jasmine a lot of playing time together and both did well as point guard.

Ros Gold-Onwude was in the Pac-12 TV commentator chair, looking spiffy in a red blouse.