Saturday, December 31, 2016

A good win in the desert

By Wally Mersereau

The afternoon of Friday, December 30 was a pleasant one in Phoenix. The temperature was in the low 70s, the sky was blue, the air was clear, the tram from the airport was clean and comfortable. All in all it was a good time and place for a women’s college basketball game.

I travelled light from SFO to PHX, carrying only my Stanford clear plastic bag with only a few more things in it than I generally take to Maples. Apparently the Pac-12 has adopted the clear bag policy for all of its major sports venues as it was required at ASU’s Wells Fargo Arena. My bag worked well as a sturdy but light carry-on for this one-day trip.

I made the same trip a year ago to watch what turned out to be a simply awful game--one of Stanford’s worst performances of all time. To add to the gloom that day, it rained. I hoped that the sunshine on this day was a good omen for a better outcome. I told Amy Tucker before the game that I had come to see a win. She was noncommittal, perhaps not wanting to create a jinx.

ASU has averaged a home attendance of less than 1700 so far this season. More than 2500 turned out to see Stanford play on Friday afternoon, of which about 40-50 were clad in red. There was a good-sized and loud band and a large group of ASU dancing girls. The singer of the national anthem was well above average. Charli Turner Thorne was more demurely dressed than for previous games.

Kaylee and Mikaela were not in uniform, but both were present. Mikaela was not wearing a boot as she did at the Yale game so perhaps her foot problem is a minor one.

The game was close and hard-fought. The eventual Stanford win was satisfying. ASU led most of the first half. Stanford led most of the second half, but the score was always close with the largest lead being 8 points in the fourth quarter, but that quickly shrank to one point in the last couple of minutes.

I would give the game ball to the eight Stanford players who got onto the court. It was a team effort. I give my Game Warrior award to Karlie who played her heart out for the full 40 minutes, excelling on offense with 16 points and on defense where she was tenacious, often diving or scrapping for loose balls or pulling the ball away from an ASU player. All eight Stanford players scored. Dijonai was in the game for the shortest time, only 6 minutes, but she made 5 points at a crucial time, giving her the highest per minute scoring.

All was not encouraging. Although Erica ended with a double-double, she took a long time getting going, missing a lot of layups and not seeming to have her usual energy. Not finishing was a common Stanford problem. This avoided being fatal because ASU was similarly troubled. Credit for Stanford’s troubles at close-in shooting should be given to ASU who packed the paint.

Sophie Brunner and Reili Richardson were the best players for the Sun Devils. As in the past, Brunner was a constant menace on defense and offense. Richardson did a fine job as point guard and has some secret way of finding seams and successfully driving for layups.

At the end, when the game could easily have gone either way, Stanford maintained more poise and composure than the Sun Devils who became somewhat inept in the final minutes and couldn’t seem to avoid fouling. The high point of this from a Stanford fan’s perspective was the astonishing fouling of Erica’s 3-point shot in front of the Stanford bench by Quinn Dornstauder. Erica, who played 37 minutes and had to be tired, calmly made all three free throws to guarantee the win.

Statistically, it was Stanford’s making 60% of 3-point attempts and 75% from the free throw line that provided the winning edge. Back at Sky Harbor Airport, waiting for my flight home, I celebrated the Stanford victory by consuming three green chile pork tacos followed by a scoop of plum raisin ice cream. That may not sound appealing, but, like the Cardinal players, it turned out to be a winning combination.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sale on PAC-12 tournament seats 12/12 only

There is a one-day special sale on PAC-12 tournament seats: $12/session for the semi-final and final games. If you mean to go and have not already bought an all-session pass, go to this Ticketmaster page.

As usual you need to allow Flash to run and turn off ad-blocking (if you have it on). Then click a session and the seat map will eventually appear, and it looks as if reserved seats in several decent sections are available at the discount price.

The sale ends at 10pm tonight, Monday December 12.

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.