January 24, 2011

Stanford Basketball gets glamorous, lazy, and studious!

What’s up ya’ll??

I’m back again with my annual team blog tidbit! I am sure you all will be very upset to hear that, no I will not talk about my wonderful home state of Montana this year… but don’t worry!!… I think you will be happy to hear about what it is that makes us the beautiful women we are OFF the court. Yes, we love being recognized as the great Stanford Ballers, but that doesn’t consume our entire lives…well for the most part.

So what I’m getting at is what it is we do on that oh so special and wonderful DAY OFF!!!

This day I speak of is probably the most cherished and valued day of the week for our team, other than the days of a big game of course! But because all of us work extremely hard each day, whether it is at practice or in the classroom, we look forward to that one-day to catch up in our lives and also take full advantage of that precious time we normally don’t see everyday.

A typical day off varies for different people, so I will talk about those different spent days and what makes each of us unique.

First, I will start with yours truly, and how I love to spend my day off. Unfortunately I don’t ever get to sleep in because of class (unless it is Sunday), so I start off my day by…CLEANING! My mother is so proud of me that it finally took me moving away on my own to figure out the importance of cleaning and organizing! I tend to be a neat freak, so a clean and good smelling room is what does it for me!

Now after I feel organized and ready for the day, I like to pamper myself a little bit. In this “pampered” or “glamorizing” group, you would find Jeanette, Grace, Kerry the manager, sometimes Lu Lu and myself, either getting our nails done, laying out and working on the tan, or if you are like Kerry and me, you would totally be at the movies seeing what the new hot flicks are. As for the shoppers on the team, you can find Nneka and Chiney aka sista sista heading out on the town to find some cute new outfits.

Although, the day goes by way too fast, fun and games isn’t everything. There is the part where we need to tend to our studies and academics, because well…we go to Stanford! Everyone is very intelligent in their own way, but some are very serious about their work and love to spend that great day off by catching up with school or working problem sets etc. I always see Boothe running in and out of labs, hear about Kayla acing every test she takes, or constantly talk to Hannah about what Earth Systems test or homework she needs to do.

The “chill” group I’d like to call them, would be those of us who simply like to hang out and enjoy their free time either by themselves or with others passing the time by catching up on all their missed TV shows of the previous week. The laid back “cool” people in this group would be Ashley C, Mikaela Ruef, Sara James, Mel and Toni. Hardly do I ever see these wonderful gals on our day off because they like to do their own thing, which is great!

Now you know a little bit more about what we do off the basketball court, and how some of us spend those wonderful 24 hours of freedom. Please don’t get me wrong, each and every one of us loves what we do, and that is to play the sport we enjoy playing in front of all you great people. We love being around each other all the time and working hard every day for one another. All I am saying is… Who doesn’t love a day off to relax and enjoy a break from our busy lives?

Thanks for all your support and take care!

Tara talks about streaks

It was easy for me to decide what to write about – STREAKS! It seems that on every sports broadcast or newspaper article over the past couple of months there has been a reference to some streak. We had the Brett Favre streak, the Penn State women’s volleyball streak and the one we all watched with intense interest — the UConn women’s basketball streak that set the NCAA basketball record.

As the UConn women’s team got closer to setting the NCAA record, just mentioning the streak wasn’t enough. The streak had to be analyzed and compared to other streaks. Was the UConn basketball streak as good as the UCLA men’s? All of this chatter by the media got me thinking about my thoughts on streaks.

Streaks get so much attention because they are extraordinary. I am so impressed with these streaks because in order to have continued excellence an individual or team has to be consistent. This is one of life’s biggest challenges. To be able to “bring it” every day it takes incredible discipline and focus.

As a basketball coach I am in awe and applaud the 90-game UConn win streak. People have asked me if the streak was good for women’s basketball and I say, “Yes.”

Our game was sold out with scalpers. The energy in Maples Pavilion was electric. The crowd was loud and very enthusiastic. Many people were there to watch women’s basketball for the first time. People since have stopped me in the grocery store, walking my dog or in hotels and airports to tell me how much they enjoyed being there or watching on TV that night.

The attention that it brought to the women’s game was great! The television ratings were the highest of any regular season women’s basketball game. Each local news affiliates ran highlights as the lead story, as did ESPN. A women’s basketball score was shown on CNN!

Right after the game I had 67 text messages and over 300 emails. The fun thing for me was hearing from so many former players, friends and basketball fans! One email was from Bob Lewis, a retired coach who coached the boys at Milne HS in Albany, NY. This was where I went to school 7-10th grade. Since there were not teams for girls, I was the boys' team mascot for a short time (I got fired for watching the games instead of leading cheers). In my freshman yearbook Coach Lewis wrote “to the best basketball player in the 9th grade – boy or girl”. I have never forgotten that. I wrote back to Coach Lewis – “look how far women’s basketball has come!”

We are so fortunate to be part of an exciting time in women’s basketball. We each have an opportunity to be part of a streak! The streak I want to keep alive is that each day I go to the gym for practice or games positive, prepared, enthusiastic and appreciative. I want our team and staff to know how special they are and how much I enjoy working with them. Each day I want to keep the streak going and if for some reason the streak is broken I redouble my efforts the next day and start a new one!

January 19, 2011

The Power of the Pony

Hello Cardinal Fans,

Today, my blog is going to be about my recent change in game-day hairstyle that many of you have been inquiring about. As you probably know, the last two seasons I sported the “messy bun” on most all game days. The bun was kind of my trademark since high school and I would spend plenty of time before games making sure it would look perfect. Then of course, during games it often came loose and would flop around while I ran the court and my little baby hairs around my face would curl up and go crazy. My messy bun was great! It’s all I ever really knew, it was like my security blanket and it never failed me.

At the beginning of every summer I normally get a haircut and take off a lot of length in my hair so it’s cooler and lighter for the summer. However, this summer I had a change of heart and decided to grow my hair out instead. Although it can sometimes be a pain to brush and the fact that I use so much more shampoo and conditioner isn’t great, I truly came to really love my long hair. Besides going to school and playing basketball, I also really enjoy doing activities that give back to the community. So in light of my hair growing long, at the beginning of this school year I decided that after basketball season I am going to cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love.

Now with all that being said, it brings me to my new game-day hairstyle — The Pony!

Once my hair got past a certain length this past summer, it was very clear to me that it did not like being tied up in a messy bun, mainly for the fact that I would need like 5 hair ties and sometimes that wouldn’t even work. Consequently, I was forced to go outside my comfort zone and wear a regular pony. At first, I was very nervous. I was so used to seeing my messy bun that I thought a regular pony looked funny on me. Since there was nothing else I could really do, the pony inevitably grew on me.

Now, a couple months later, my pony is my new best friend and I love it. It also doesn’t hurt that I have gotten some really good feedback from family and friends saying that it’s pretty and it makes me look faster and more agile. Hopefully you all think so too! Coach has yet to say the latter, but I like to think that she agrees.

Anyway, the pony is here to stay!!

Go Card! -LuLu

January 10, 2011

Mel's final blog

If you read my blog last year you probably thought it would be my last one. Well here’s some news for you: I thought so too. But this year there is no mistaking it, this is my fifth and FINAL year.

One thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that Stanford fans are probably some of the best fans ever. Through thick and thin, Stanford fans always have your back, and are some of the only fans that ACTUALLY care about the players. So here I am, an injured fifth year senior, and many of you have still shown that you care about me. Even more of you have asked about my plans aside from basketball and what I would like to do after I get my Stanford degree. To be completely honest, I have no idea what the future has in store for me (I guess nobody does) but I can let you in on what I’ve been doing lately.

As many of you already know, Candice Wiggins came back to the farm this past fall to finish up her degree. In this time I became Candice’s manager.

So what does this really mean?

If you have had the pleasure to meet Candice in person, you have most likely come to the realization that Candice truly has “something special”; something that has the power to transcend the world of basketball.

My job is to showcase that “something special” to the world. To do this, I have worked on a number of projects. She has gotten the opportunity to write for SlamOnline, and we have also put together a website. The website compiles all of her social media, gives you “behind the scenes” videos, and even allows you to chat with her live! The catalyst behind the site is Candice’s desire to allow her fans to get as close to her as possible without actually being there; to take a step into her world so to speak, thus creating cwigginsworld.com.

Although digital technology has come a long way, it can only take us so far. That is why I am most proud of our latest project, “The Candice Wiggins Overseas Experience – Spain 2011”.

Why does this make me so excited? It’s simple really. Think about the Stanford players we have grown to know and love, such as Brooke Smith, Kristen Newlin, and Jillian Harmon. After their time at Stanford, they all became lost at sea, so to speak, never to be heard from again.

Candice recognized this, and so she wants to give fans the opportunity to come with her. She wants to allow them to experience not only the beauty of Spain, but the beauty of Spain with an insider look into what playing professionally overseas is really like. We have worked extremely hard to put together a trip that is the first of its kind and the only one like it; a trip that brings the fans closer than ever, giving them the opportunity to travel and learn with Candice Wiggins. (travelwithcandice.wordpress.com)

January 5, 2011

Toni's New Year Resolutions

It’s coming to the end of another magnificent holiday season. After successfully convincing my family that they should not come to California for Christmas, I was able to spend a few fabulous days in sweet home Chicago. Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit more than the cold Chicago air and the black ice. A white Christmas is very necessary in my mind. Otherwise Christmas just would not be the same. After getting a fill of delicious home-cooked meals and family bonding time, Christmas was a huge success. Everyone will be glad to know that my wardrobe of tie dye and peace sign clothing has yet again increased!

After the joyous Christmas season, it was time for New Years! And honestly what better way to ring in the new year than by beating UConn!!!! I’d definitely like to send a thank you to our absolutely amazing fans who brought Maples to life for the game!

Anyway, the real highlight of New Years is making those life transforming resolutions, which we all know are fulfilled 100% of the time...so I wish you the best of luck with your goals for 2011!

Here are a few of mine...

6) Skype with my siblings more
5) Go green-er: separate recyclables in dorm room
4) Talk louder: practice diaphragm exercises in mirror nightly before going to bed to help project voice
3) Expand Stanford basketball wardrobe for the new year—I’m thinking tie dye issued team apparel is in order
2) Always have hands active. ALWAYS. Practice in all aspects of life—eat finger food, use sign language, wave obnoxiously at random people.
1) Never ever ever turn the ball over—this is extremely important to the health of our team...Tara is allergic to turnovers

Special shout out to Coach Tara VanDerveer. Congratulations on your 800th win!

See you in the stands!