Stanford vs USA
Posted by Casey on November 19, 2007
The USA Basketball Senior Women’s National Team ended their two-week eight-game college tour Thursday night at Stanford.
It was an amazingly beautiful day, sunny with no fog and mild down there in Palo Alto. It was so clear, we could see the fog drifting over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. We had dinner at Hobee’s, a chain of restaurants south of SF. It has a nice mix of carnivore and herbivore food.
We got to Stanford about quarter to six and as the faculty and staff were escaping campus, we got a parking place right across from Maples Pavilion. People were already there waiting to get in and by the time they opened the doors at six, there was a nice crowd waiting. That was a good sign–people were there an hour before to see the warmups, etc. Showed real interest in women’s basketball.
A teenage girl in line in front of me had a UConn sweatshirt on. The woman sitting next to me had a Seattle Storm shirt on. Then the Monarchs fans showed up. Quite a few like us came on their own, but three bus loads arrived from Arco Arena and suddenly purple competed with Cardinal red as the dominant color.
The shoot around was very relaxed. The coaches and players stood around chatting. Something you never see in a WNBA game–a player chatting with the coach of the opposing team. Taurasi, who talks to everyone at any time, chatted with Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer.
All of a sudden the players gathered at mid-court stripping off their warmups for a group picture. The teams also exchanged gifts before the game. I wonder what they were.
It took a little getting used to having Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi introduced without any boos. Or them making points without any boos. In fact, both teams got equal applause and cheers, showing appreciation for good plays, no matter who made them. That was the best part about the game. It was a friendly and everyone was relaxed and just having a good time.
The three bus loads of Monarchs fans were there to see Kara Lawson play. When she took the court for the first time, she got the loudest cheers of any player. When she made a basket the mob of purple clad yelled her name, beat thundersticks, and one woman rang her cow bell–just like at a Monarchs game. The Stanford fans looked a little bemused by these displays.
Monarchs Ticha Penichiera, DeMya Walker, and former Monarch and Olympic gold medalist Ruthie Bolton also hopped the buses at Arco, so it was a mini-Monarchs reunion of sorts.
The anarchic Stanford band and the infamous Stanford Tree entertained during timeouts. The halftime entertainment were Irish dancers, who did a good job.
The game itself was one of the best I’ve seen in person. USA played like a well oiled machine. It was fun seeing in person Bird and Taurasi on the same team together. They ran a couple of fun plays they’ve probably been doing since their UConn days and could do in their sleep.
Bird played a perfect game. She had a game-high 19 points, plus 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. K-Law didn’t disappoint her faithful following with 15 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal. I think she’s done a good job of pleading her case for a permanent spot on the National Team. The final score was 97-62, USA all the way.
Something else you usually don’t see in a game–USA player Jamie Carey was called over to the Stanford bench during free throws in the second half, where Tara had a few words with her. Just like the old days for both of them when Jamie Carey was the point guard for the Stanford team.
The USA team went its separate ways after the game. Bird and Taurasi are off to Russia to join LJ, Tina Thompson, Izi Castro Marques, Kelly Mazzante, and Kelly Miller on the Spartak Moscow Region team. Pokey Chatman is now an assistant coach on that team. Wow that’s some team.
I ‘m starting something new. I’ve created a secondary blog for photo galleries and other things that are related to the posts here.