No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52


No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52

Dec. 28, 2010

STANFORD,Calif. (AP) Tara VanDerveer sent her players home for a short holidaybreak with a scouting report DVD. Her players sure showed up as ifthey'd studied the film and then some.Bring on unbeaten Connecticut.Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 23 points and11 rebounds and No. 9 Stanford pulled off a surprising rout offourth-ranked Xavier with an 89-52 victory Tuesday for its 51ststraight home win.What a tuneup for Thursday's highly anticipated showdown with top-ranked UConn."This was a real important game forour team," VanDerveer said. "I'm really proud of how everyone prepared.Everyone really knew what we needed them to do and they came out anddid it."Jeanette Pohlen added 19 points, ninerebounds, six assists and three steals and Kayla Pedersen had 14 pointsfor the Cardinal (8-2), who beat the third-seeded Musketeers in theSacramento Regional last March when Pohlen drove the length of thefloor in 4.4 seconds and scored the game-winning layin as time expiredfor a 55-53 victory. That win sent Stanford back to its third straightFinal Four. The play was shown over and over again on the highlightreels.This game lacked any such drama.Amber Harris had 18 points and ninerebounds for cold-shooting Xavier (10-2), which lost its secondstraight game after a 10-0 start.Special Jennings had 12 points andTa'Shia Phillips grabbed 12 rebounds for the overmatched Musketeers,who were coming off a 46-45 defeat at Duke on Dec. 21 for their firstloss of the season. They committed 30 turnovers and shot 38 percent inthat game, then didn't look much better in shooting 30 percent againstStanford."They won that game in the firstfour minutes. They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of intensityand we were kind of on our heels," Jennings said. "We just didn't showup today. I don't know what else to say. We did not play the way we arecapable, and the way we are known to play."The Cardinal came out with energy onboth ends of the floor in their first game since VanDerveer became thesixth women's coach to get 800 wins with a 100-45 victory over formerStanford stars turned coaches Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding at SanFrancisco last Wednesday.Next up: UConn on Thursday night atsold-out Maples Pavilion. It's a rematch of last year's NCAAchampionship won 53-47 by the Huskies after Stanford led 20-12 athalftime."It's coming and we're veryexcited," VanDerveer said. "This is December and I think we're reallymaking great progress. For us to have played who we've played, I feellike we've played a brutal schedule. With the exception of USF we'vehad to work really hard, and I think that will pay off for us Thursdayand pay off for us in the Pac-10. Our team will be focused. They willbe ready. I know they will have a great effort and we will learn moreabout our team."The Cardinal are the last team to beat the Huskies, in the 2008 national semifinals in Tampa, Fla.UConn was set to play later Tuesdayat Pacific in Stockton going for its 90th straight victory in what wasexpected to be a lopsided warmup for the game with Stanford."Today we came out and we were sofocused and we were very aggressive," Pedersen said. "We're going tohave to be even more aggressive than we were today. Going into halftimewe're going to have to keep the momentum and come out in the secondhalf and be the aggressor."Stanford held a 44-41 reboundingadvantage against the imposing front line featuring the 6-foot-6Phillips and 6-5 Harris - who combined for 34 rebounds in the loss toDuke. But Harris, the team's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game,wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday after sitting out Monday'spractice as a medical precaution after she was hit against Duke andsuffered concussion-like symptoms. Harris checked in at the 16:26 mark,started the second half and wound up 6 for 11 from the floor.Freshman Chiney Ogwumike added 10points, five rebounds and four steals for Stanford, which committedonly eight turnovers while forcing 17.Xavier missed its first 10field-goal tries before Katie Rutan hit a 3-pointer at the 13:49 markof the first half. The Musketeers went 2 for 18 from 3-point range inthe game and began 5 for 21 to fall behind 37-24 at halftime. Phillipsdidn't score her first points until a basket with 7:11 left in theopening half.Ogwumike had 15 points and eightrebounds by halftime, including making 5 of 5 free throws. Stanford gotto the line 11 times and converted 10.The Musketeers didn't look all thatinspired considering the way the tournament game ended. Xavier's DeeDee Jernigan missed two wide-open layins in the closing 12 seconds thatlikely would have sent the Musketeers to San Antonio for their firstFinal Four - but they watched as Pohlen won it instead.Last season's meeting in the NCAA tournament was the only other matchup between these programs.

Sharks have fond memories of Joe Louis Arena


Sharks have fond memories of Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT – When listing the greatest Sharks moments at Joe Louis Arena, now in its final season as home of the Red Wings, none will ever top Jamie Baker’s goal in the 1994 playoffs when San Jose shocked the top seed in seven games in the first round. That score essentially put the Sharks on the NHL map, and kick-started their success as a franchise in the Bay Area.

But some current Sharks also have fond memories of the place, headed into their final game here Saturday night, barring a meeting in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Logan Couture scored his first career goal at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 5, 2009, slipping a feed from Joe Callahan through Chris Osgood’s five-hole. Patrick Marleau was a part of some vicious playoff meetings between the two organizations before Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference, and scored one of the biggest goals of his career at Joe Louis - an overtime playoff goal in Game 3 of the second round in 2010.

“We played a lot of hard hockey games here, but being able to score an OT winner like that it definitely sticks with you for the rest of your career,” Marleau said.

The Sharks downed the Red Wings in the 2010 playoffs in five games, and again in 2011, a seven-game series in which San Jose nearly blew a three-games-to-none lead.

“There were some huge playoff rivalries, obviously series going back-and-forth. A lot of great hockey has been played here,” Marleau said.

Couture grew up in London, Ontario, about an hour-and-a-half drive from Detroit, and lists Steve Yzerman as one of his hockey idols.

“It’s fun coming back here for me and some other guys that are from the area,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of my friends grew up watching the Red Wings. … It’s one of the buildings that I enjoy playing in, so it’s tough to see it go.”

No one in the Sharks organization, though, has more ties to the Detroit area than head coach Pete DeBoer. The 48-year-old moved to nearby Windsor as a teenager and played for the OHL Spitfires for four years in the late 80’s, and was the head coach of the Detroit Whalers from 1995-97 before they relocated to Plymouth, Michigan.

He recalled being around many of the players and coaches that helped the Red Wings win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998.

“I was coaching with Paul Maurice, and Scotty Bowman was coaching the Red Wings in their heyday. We would get to practice right after they practiced in the morning,” DeBoer said. “Being around that group and those people, Yzerman and all the Russian players they had at the time, and the coaches. It was just a lot of great, great memories. 

“Sad day, it’s a great building. But, time moves on.”

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Clayton Kershaw stands between the Cubs and the World Series, a possibility that left veteran catcher David Ross thinking about Ric Flair inside Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse late Thursday night: To be The Man, you got to beat The Man. 

“Woo!” That’s how the Cubs like to punctuate their postgame celebration routine, channeling the professional wrestling legend in a ritual with so much sensory overload that the fog machine set off fire alarms throughout the underground Wrigley Field lair…after a win in the middle of August. “Woo!” 
The Cubs left Los Angeles one win away from their first National League pennant since 1945, and with two chances to pull it off this weekend at Wrigley Field, beginning on Saturday night in Game 6. So imagine how this crew would trash the Party Room if they beat Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP. 

“The guy competes,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s pretty much like mechanics be damned, it’s just about me beating you somehow. 

“He’s got a good fastball that he locates. He doesn’t walk people. He’s got a dynamic curve and slider. And he’s got deception. He’s a little bit funky, and that’s got to be hard to pick up. The ball gets on you pretty quickly, and then he commands it. 

“So there’s nothing you could possibly ask for that he doesn’t already have.”

Now we’ll see if something clicked while the Cubs turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 NLCS lead – handling rookie starters Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda and the softer parts of the Los Angeles bullpen – or if those 18 runs combined in Games 4 and 5 were a mirage.

In 16-plus innings so far, the Cubs still haven’t scored a run off Kershaw, if-necessary Game 7 lefty starter Rich Hill or dominating closer Kenley Jansen, who got this review from Maddon: “He’s like a 100-pound heavier version of Mariano Rivera. He’s the bigger man with the same kind of stuff.”