December 9, 2014
There have been an immeasurable number of good times, and I’d like to take a minute to reflect on some of my favorite moments.
My first NCAA tournament was definitely one of my favorite moments in my Stanford career. The excitement was so overwhelming, and I’m sure I lost my voice a couple times during the tournament. I don’t think I had ever screamed that much in my life.
One of my second favorite moments would have to be the staff game in Arizona last year. It was absolutely hilarious. We spend so much of our time playing and battling each other on the court, so we live for those moments when we can see our coaches get down and dirty. That game was one for the ages! Bodies were flying. Tara’s trying to make no look passes, and a few staff members took midgame breaks and decided not to run back on defense. I don’t even remember which team won, but it is a game that I will never forget.
I could go on and on about the great memories I’ve had over these last few years, but I won’t.
The most important thing that I take from my years here is that I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I love my team. I love my school, and I’m grateful to have spent so much time with some of the most amazing women I know. I will always have these memories, and until graduation, I plan to make plenty more memories. So, on that note, it’s time to have a rocking senior year!
November 28, 2014
One reason is the helpful culture of the team. No matter the circumstance, there is always someone to give you a hand in times of need or just give you uplifting words when you are having a bad day. I’m especially thankful for the upperclassmen this season. At times I have become upset and frustrated about my performances in basketball but every time, they come to my rescue and remind me to shake things off and just keep playing.
Another reason is the tightknit bond within the team. It’s crazy how our relationships with each other have evolved into sisterhoods. I see these girls every day and each day is full of laughter, love, and friendship. One of my favorite team activities I appreciate the most is our locker room dancing and singing sessions. It is amazing how one song, no matter what the genre, can bring all of us together. Although we may not know all the words and sound like “aspiring” Whitney Houstons, Taylor Swifts, and sometimes Bon Jovis I think these are the times I love the most.
Last but not least, one thing that is sometimes overlooked, but is great to be thankful for is the fact that all of my teammates are healthy and able to play this season. I know so many teams where they have at least one person who has to sit out due to injury, and having a full healthy roster is truly a blessing.
I am so thankful for those amazing girls in my life and I know with our bond this season will be something to remember!
-Erica “Bird” McCall
March 29, 2014
March 14, 2014
March 5, 2014
I am dedicating my blog to our four wonderful seniors. I decided to ask them about their most memorable moments at Stanford.
Sara James told me that her favorite memory also happened her freshman year. It was December 30, 2011, a day I’m sure many Stanford fans remember. It was the day we beat UConn 71-59, breaking their 90-game winning streak. It was a great opportunity to defend Maples.
Chiney’s best memory so far at Stanford is a little more recent. We’ve all seen Chiney make amazing plays on the court, but her most memorable moment surrounds something unrelated to basketball—Nneka’s graduation. Chiney describes Nneka’s graduation as a beautiful moment for her family. In that moment she realized that never would she have imagined growing up that she would be playing the sport she loves at the best university. It was a surreal moment for her.
Toni’s favorite memory from Stanford happened just a couple months ago when she planned the Cal and Stanford We Are Pride event. She worked tirelessly for months to create a program about LGBT inclusion in sports. Being able to bring rival schools together was life changing for her. Witnessing Cal and Stanford athletes go from strangers to best friends in their photo project left her and the other organizers speechless. The event exceeded her wildest expectations and allowed her to put her passion into action to give back to the community.
We’re really going to miss our seniors. It’s been an exciting three years with these seniors and I’m sure that they will be a part of some of my most memorable moments at Stanford. I can’t wait to see what amazing things they do next.
March 3, 2014
SEJ: I cannot imagine how the team, the locker room, road trips, and life in general is going to be next year without her. She brings such a positive and fun presence to everything that we do as a team.
She is also one of my best friends and is the older sister I never had. Any time that I have been down or had a tough day, Sej has listened to me, talked me through it, and is always there to have my back.
Our team’s love for Sej is obvious in the sheer amount of nicknames we have given her including: Sejba, Sej-er-ama, Sejjie, and my own personal nickname for her, Stella. She in turn calls me Bridget. (It’s a long explanation behind those two names)
I also have to acknowledge how much her legendary singing will be missed when she is gone. She is known by some people as the next Mariah Carey, and she will always sing the entire song even if she has to mumble her way through any tricky lines. Our team’s favorite song for her to sing at the moment is “Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga.
We have shared many funny moments together, some of which include many people mistaking us for each other. Apparently, many people think that we look alike and are the same person, especially when we both wear our hair in a braid. It always makes us laugh, and we just go with it and pretend to be each other.
I’m going to miss her so much, and her humor and personality will be irreplaceable.
Mik: Our team calls her our 35 year old fifth year because she has been here so long! And thank goodness she has because I can’t imagine how life is going to be at Stanford without her here.
Mik is such a goofy and fun person to be around, and ever since my very first summer as a freshman, when she invited herself over to my dorm to watch Pretty Little Liars marathons with me while she worked on her complicated math and engineering psets, I knew that she was going to be a great friend.
We have spent many hours watching Grand Slam tennis championships together, each of us cheering on our favorite players. My favorite player is Rafael Nadal, while hers is Roger Federer, and we have had many friendly arguments over who is actually the best player ever.
Though we will never agree on that topic, we do share our taste in music. We both love Queen, Elton John, and Billy Joel. It’s always fun when we blast “Vienna” or “Benny and the Jets” in the locker and have a mini karaoke session.
I am going to miss her goofy and hilarious personality so much.
Chiney: There are so many things that I am going to miss about Chiney that I cannot possibly list them all here.
All of you know how valuable she is to our team on the court, but off the court, her bubbly and fun personality is going to be missed by us even more. It never fails to make me smile when I see say or do something that makes the whole team laugh.
One of my absolute favorite memories of Chiney is when she put together a barbeque for our team, and we were all hanging out by the pool. Chiney was walking around the edge of the pool and singing along to whatever song we had playing when she turned too early and stepped right into the water and fell in! We all immediately stopped what we were doing, and she came up laughing hard. Of course the rest of us couldn’t stop laughing either for some time. (I can’t stop laughing as I’m typing this just remembering it)
Chiney is one of the most loyal and caring friends I will ever have, and I am going to miss her so much.
Toni: I am so lucky to have gotten to play and become friends with Toni because she is the kind of person that genuinely cares about you and sincerely wants the best for you.
She is such a great role model to me, and she has shown me that it is completely acceptable to just be yourself. She exemplifies what it is to go to Stanford.
I love going to football games and looking out at the band and trying to pick out Toni among them. My favorite memory of her with the band was when she styled her hair into a giant purple Mohawk; needless to say it took a lot of hairspray and gel, but it looked awesome.
Our team loves Toni so much, and we know that it has been very hard for her not being able to play this year. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at her because she continues to cheer for us, keeps us laughing and positive, consistently comes to practice every day, and always has a smile on her face.
Every time I look at Toni and see her dedication and love for our team, I am inspired to play harder and give my best effort in everything I do. I am so lucky to have met Toni and have her as a friend because you will not find a more creative, caring, and generous person out there, and I am going to miss her so much.
Until next time,
February 11, 2014
As Stanford student-athletes, we sometimes get lost in the seemingly never-ending routine of rigorous practices, strenuous academics, and highly competitive games. In my short amount of time at Stanford thus far, I, and most of my teammates, have dealt with many different types of adversity. Some of us have had injuries, most of us have had bad days at practice, and sometimes some of us don’t do as well as we would like on exams.
Add to that the other stressors that lie outside of the student athlete “bubble” and our challenges are even more impactful. Challenges that all 18-21-year-old college students go through, like arguing with your best friend, feeling homesick, or struggling to find a social niche. Most of us have learned that it’s not the adversity we encounter that matters, it’s how we respond to it that helps us grow.
Being mentally tough as a student-athlete means learning to give yourself positive “self-talk,” staying poised and focused under pressure, and always realizing that everything we experience is a necessary part of the learning process as we strive to achieve our goals.
This season has not been easy for any of us. We’ve had self-doubts and stumbling blocks, unexpected losses and unforeseen challenges, and many other normal issues to contend with as well. But this is a mentally tough team. We believe in ourselves. We understand that we are on this journey together, and that we all have the same goal in sight.
Together, we are building a strong foundation of mental toughness, team unity, and all-around grit that makes Stanford Womens Basketball a sisterhood and an amazingly courageous unit. As our team leader and fierce motivator Chiney likes to say, “We’re not the ‘Nice Girls’ from Stanford anymore!”
February 1, 2014
A lot of people have been against the switch because they say it makes it harder for them to identify me when I am out on the court. A few of my own family members have expressed their frustrations about the difficulties of locating me without the giant ponytail. Now I am not presuming that everyone is concerned with finding me out on the court, however, I am sorry to those that do not support my switch for whatever reason. It is something I felt I had to do and here are my reasons why.
Over the last two years my hair has grown so that it is much longer than it use to be. Actually, if I straighten my hair it goes well past the middle of my back. This of course makes my ponytail much longer, and when I play basketball it would constantly swing around and hit me in the face. It can be quite frustrating when you are sprinting for a fastbreak lay-up and your own hair is obstructing your view of the basket. Therefore, I felt the bun was necessary in order to rein in the giant ponytail and teach it who is boss. I am the one running the show here not you.
My second reason for trying out the bun this year is because I think it represents change, which is a common theme of this season. This year our team has many new players and a different energy as well. We are a different team all together than last year, and so I feel my bun is just going along with this pattern of change. We have a new team and so I am bringing out a new hairstyle to match.
My final reason for sticking with the new hairstyle is that my Grandpa is a huge supporter of the bun. On our recent trip to Arizona a few family members of mine were at the game, including my Grandpa. While some of my other family members were expressing how my less visible hair made me harder to distinguish, my Grandpa stepped in and said that he thought the bun was very “cute”. There you have it folks. If Grandpa thinks the bun is cute, well then the bun is here to stay, because I trust my Grandpa’s opinion on hairstyles 100%. So now you all can see that even though my hair is not as large and noticeable there is more to my confined bun than meets the eye. I am not the only one who has a story behind my hair.
If you look at the progression of Taylor’s hair you can see that she has gone from ponytail, to bun, and now the braid this year. I cannot give you the full story why but her reasons are very similar to the frustrations I had with my ponytail before I switched to the bun.
As you all may know Bonnie has been consistent over the last three years with wearing her braid. However, what you all do not know is that there was a period where Bonnie struggled with braiding her own hair. She could do it but it wasn’t always the prettiest. Due to this struggle she found help from many different people on the team and staff to braid her hair for games. Today, I must admit that Bonnie has developed into an excellent braider but she still has Marcella, our trainer, braid her hair for games in order to keep the tradition alive.
So now you all see that hair is not as trivial a topic as you might have thought. In order to catch everyone’s hair in action out there on the court, or to test yourself and see if you are up to the challenge of spotting me without my notoriously big ponytail, come to one of our home games and cheer us on. We love it when the stadium is packed. Go Card!