November 20, 2010

Q & A with Candice Wiggins

Sports Media Watch spoke to Lynx guard Candice Wiggins on Thursday, in advance of her appearance at Friday's Ivy Sports Symposium at Princeton. Topics of conversation include the most pertinent issues facing college athletes, the state of the WNBA, and the objectification of female athletes. Read more...

November 10, 2010

Ros impresses with her commentary

In addition to her job at Tesla Motors, Ros will be working for ESPN as a color commentator game analyst for women's basketball games. Her first game will be Oklahoma at Texas on January 16.

She is also doing color commentary for women's basketball games on Stanford All*Access webcasts.

Long-time Cardinal fan Warren Grimes had the pleasure of hearing Ros' commentary on the Stanford vs UCSD game. He was very impressed:

I watched the video feed of Stanford’s game against UC San Diego and had the great pleasure of hearing Ros Gold-Onwude’s color commentary. It wasn’t perfect – but it was so full of enthusiasm and informative insights that I would say without hesitation – the best basketball commentary I’ve heard in a long time – and maybe ever.

Ros is eloquent and knows the team and the coaches. I had the sense that she was telling us the very same things that Tara VanDerveer was telling the team in the huddle. Some quick examples:

In the first half, Nneka was called for a screening foul because she wasn’t firmly set. Ros observed that these little mistakes don’t matter in a one-sided game, but could be difference makers in a closely fought game.

In the second half, when UC San Diego’s Chelsea Carlisle made a string of three pointers, Ros questioned the lack of intensity on the perimeter defense. She observed that TVD would find this unacceptable; within nanoseconds after Ros’ remark, TVD had called a time out. Ros’ take on perimeter defense – the defensive player must commit to total and unfaltering concentration, with never a second of lapse.

When asked about the team’s focus for the UC San Diego game, Ros did not hesitate to say, “Defense.” Overall, I think Stanford’s defense was better on Tuesday night. Vanguard shot 47% from the three-point line last week, but UC San Diego was held to 33%.

Ros also had nice things to say about Toni Kokenis’ performance in getting the ball up court. She noted the relative difficulty that Stanford had late in the second half when neither Kokenis nor Pohlen was in the game.

Overall, one had the sense that Gold-Onwude’s comments were the same things that TVD or Kate Paye would be saying to the team. Color me impressed.

Go Ros!

November 8, 2010

Coach Azzi's debut

Q McCall [Swish Appeal] writes about Jennifer Azzi's debut as a college coach, USF's 61-34 home win against Sonoma State last Friday.

When asked about her first game as a coach, Azzi said, "Now no one will tell me anymore that I haven't done it before."

Her next challenge is to build a winning team at USF, which was picked to finish last in the WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll.

But for now, she is focussed on making this season the best experience possible for her players. "It's gonna take time," said Azzi. "But one of the things that I don't want to do is kinda take for granted the players that are here now because we've got some talent on this team and, like I said, they've been working very, very hard. So I want to - and I have, from day one - treated them as if we recruited them because they get their college experience one time and as much as college athletics is about winning and losing it is an experience for these young women and I want them to have a good one." Read more...

    November 3, 2010

    Alumnae abroad 2010-11

    The 2010-2011 season is underway for women's professional basketball teams in Europe. Here is a report of six Stanford alumnae who are playing abroad this season, two that aren't and one undecided.

    Kristin Newlin ('07) is in Turkey playing for Fenerbahce for the third season. (The name she's known by in Turkey is Nevin Nevlin.)

    New ruptured her plantar fascia last March, and her goal this season is to be healthy. See her comments about the upcoming season in her blog.

    This should be a very good season for Fenerbahce. Last season, they won all 29 of their league games, were the league champion for the sixth consecutive season, and made it to the final eight of Euroleague Women. This season, they've added Diana Taurasi and have already won the preseason Turkish presidential cup.

    Fenerbahce is playing in Euroleague Women again this season. Here is an evaluation of the team by Paul Nilsen, a European basketball journalist.

    Nicole Powell ('04) will be playing in Poland beginning in January for Wisla Can-Pack. This is the fourth European country in six years for Nicole. She is, I believe, the first Cardinal alumna to play in Poland.

    Wisla is playing in Euroleague Women, as well as in the Polish league, this season. Here is an evaluation of the team by Paul Nilsen. He expects that Wisla will win the Polish championship and be one of the final eight in Euroleague.

    Brooke Smith ('07) is playing in Italy for the fourth season, but with a different team — Cras Taranto. Although she doesn't have to learn a new language, the environment is very different. Comense, where she played the prior three seasons is in northern Italy; Taranto is far south on the Mediterranean coast on the heel of the boot.

    One of Brooke's new teammates is Michelle Greco, former UCLA point guard.

    Taranto is playing in Euroleague Women, as well as in the Italian league, this season. Here is an evaluation of the team by Paul Nilsen. Rebekkah Brunson was the driving force for Taranto last season. But she has departed and left a gap of over 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. Nilsen expects that Brooke's contribution will be intriguing, but expecting her to get anywhere near the impact of Brunson is, "wholly unrealistic and absolutely unfair."

    Jillian Harmon ('09) is in Italy playing for Comense for the second season

    Comense, which finished 6th of 12 in their league last season, has a new coach and five new players. One of Jillian's new teammates is Cameo Hicks, who was an outstanding guard for the University of Washington several seasons ago.

    Cissy Pierce ('08) is in Spain playing for Rhein Mainbaskets for the third season.

    Rhein MB has already played six games this season, and Cissy leads the team in scoring (14 per game) and is second in rebounds (5.4). Not quite as good as last season when she averaged 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds, but it's early days.

    Cori Enghusen ('02) is beginning her ninth season of professional basketball, her sixth in Turkey and her second with Mersin. (The name she's known by in Turkey is Korel Engin.)

    Candice Wiggins ('08) signed with Turkish team Galatasaray in May before she ruptured her Achilles tendon. She is still shown on their roster, but has said she will take a full nine months to rehab and doesn't expect to play again until next summer.

    Olympia Scott ('98) has played professional basketball in the WNBA and Europe since 1998, but she hasn't signed with anyone for the 2010-11 season. I don't know whether she has retired or is just taking a year off.

    Jayne Appel ('10) signed with Turkish team Tarsus Belediyesi and practiced with them for several weeks before the season started.

    She found that she wasn't getting the medical care and therapy she needs to fully recover from her injuries, so she came home to think it over. I don't know her decision about playing in the 2010-11 season.