Explosive Stanford hoping to solve stingy Aggies


Explosive Stanford hoping to solve stingy Aggies

April 2, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen have run through nearly every emotion possible this week - even before their Final Four game.

The two Stanford seniors were relieved just to reach Indianapolis. They are determined not to leave this Final Four empty-handed. And they are eager to get back to work Sunday against Texas A&M.

Somehow, they've even found a way to - get this - relax heading into their final weekend as college teammates.

"I'm just trying to enjoy every moment, trying to have fun," Pedersen said Saturday. "Whatever happens, happens, just as long as all of us lay it all out there for each other."

The semifinal shapes up as a clash of styles.

The Cardinal (33-2) have four scorers averaging in double figures and score 79.8 points per game as a team, but Texas A&M has a shutdown defense and Stanford isn't playing at Maples Pavilion where it has won 63 straight.
RELATED: Experience key for Stanford

Texas A&M (31-5) is only the second team in tourney history to limit four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer, and six of the last eight Aggies opponents have failed to top 50 points.

All-American forward Danielle Adams and teammates Sydney Carter and Sydney Colson cracked jokes during their media availability, and coach Gary Blair even brought out a step ladder and measuring tape at the end of the 1-hour practice - stealing a scene from the movie "Hoosiers," which was filmed six miles away at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse.
RELATED: Texas A&M loaded with offensive weapons

Texas A&M also added some down home language to the discussion

"We say howdy," coach Gary Blair said in his opening comments Saturday. "You're supposed to say howdy back. Most of y'all are just getting up, I understand."

On the court, there's no Southern hospitality.

Blair, who made the Final Four in 1998 with Arkansas, is back with the same game plan that shocked top-seeded Baylor on Tuesday. The Aggies will pressure Stanford's guards for 40 minutes, hoping to score off turnovers, and use the versatility of Adams to put additional pressure on the Cardinal defense.

It was good enough to get the Aggies within a game of playing for their first national title in their first trip to the semifinals.

"I think we'll be pretty successful making them uncomfortable, making them run something they don't really want to run because it's just the style of defense we play," Carter said.

Stanford understands.

The Cardinal have spent all week devising a plan to beat the Aggies pressure, while trying to answer questions about the self-inflicted pressure they've felt since blowing a 20-12 halftime lead against UConn in last year's title game.

They got some measure of revenge in December's rematch, a 71-59 victory that ended Connecticut's record-setting 90-game winning streak. But they have more in mind than just a regular-season win over the Huskies, who play Notre Dame in Sunday's second game.

Rewind: Stanford rolls 'Zags to advance to Final Four

The good news is that they're used to playing on the big stage.

"Whether it's interviews, all the different things that you've done, there's a certain routine and you don't feel as, maybe, just stressed about things," coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It you're five minutes late, maybe the first year you were worried."

So the only real concern for Stanford is whether the seniors can finish the job.

"We're just very focused. Maybe a little more relaxed," said Pohlen, the Pac-10 player of the year. "Kayla and I have talked about it's such a privilege to be here, and we're very grateful to have been able to make it this far for four years. But we definitely haven't got the job done, so we're very focused."

Over the past four seasons, the dynamic duo has done just about everything from setting school records for games played (149 and counting) to all-league and national honors to the run of four straight of Final Fours.

But there's one glaring omission: No national championships.

Instead, the Cardinal settled for second two of the last three years, losing to Tennessee in the 2008 title game and Connecticut last year and now they're back on a clear-cut mission - winning the school's first title since 1992.

"Any time you come to three or four Final Fours and you've not achieved the prize, it humbles you," said freshman Chiney Ogwumike, who went to the previous two to watch her older sister, Nnemakdi. "We came here to win a national championship."

Kevin Durant will be re-evaluated again in 7-10 days

Kevin Durant will be re-evaluated again in 7-10 days

The Warriors made the following announcement on Kevin Durant's status:

"Kevin has made very good progress since suffering the injury four weeks ago in Washington. He has not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected.

"At this point, he is being incorporated into non-contact basketball drills -- shooting, running and jumping -- and the plan is to intensify his level of movement over the next several days, which will include more explosive cutting and lateral maneuvers.

"His eventual return to contact drills and practice will be predicated upon his progress to the increased intensity of his workouts, and a return to game action prior to the end of the regular season remains a possbility.

"He will be re-evaluated again in the next 7-10 days."

Durant sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee, in addition to a tibial bone bruise.

The Warriors went 2-5 in their first seven games without Durant, but bring an eight-game winning streak into San Antonio on Wednesday night.





New One-Hour Weekday Bay Area Sports Discussion & Opinion Show

Premieres Monday, April 10 at 5:30 PM

“The Happy Hour” Available Across NBC Sports Bay Area’s Multiple Platforms

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 29, 2017 – NBC Sports Bay Area today announced the launch of The Happy Hour, a new, live hour-long conversational program – hosted by iconic Bay Area sports media personalities Greg Papa and Ray Ratto, along with Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Kelli Johnson – premiering Monday, April 10 at 5:30 PM. following the San Francisco Giants-Arizona Diamondbacks game and Giants Postgame Live.  After the debut, The Happy Hour will regularly air weekdays from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM PT.

The Happy Hour will showcase the distinctive voices and wit of Papa, Ratto and Johnson sharing their unfiltered spirited commentary, hot takes with heavy debate, and lively conversation on the day’s trending sports headlines and other provocative stories.  In addition, the show will welcome sports insiders and newsmakers from coast to coast to present an insightful and entertaining take on topics and issues meaningful to local sports fans.

The Happy Hour will be available across NBC Sports Bay Area’s multiple platforms:

  • Live on NBC Sports Bay Area
  • Streaming live on the NBC Sports App
  • Live audio streaming via NBCSportsBayArea.com
  • Archived podcasts available on NBCSportsBayArea.com 

The Happy Hour is a bold step forward in NBC Sports Bay Area’s evolution to provide Northern California sports fans with entertaining and thought-provoking content on multiple platforms,” said Tom Stathakes, Senior Vice President and General Manager of NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.  “We’re excited to showcase the dynamic chemistry between Greg Papa, Ray Ratto and Kelli Johnson and their lively commentary, uniquely different opinions and fresh takes on the day’s trending sports news.”

“We’re thrilled to combine three of the Bay Area’s top talents on one drive-time show,” said David Koppett, Vice President of Content Strategy for NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California. “Greg, Ray and Kelli will have the last word on the biggest topics in sports."

The show’s hosts will also be heavily engaged in social media with timely posts, interactive questions and behind-the-scenes content. Fans can follow along and interact with the hosts through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCSAuthentic

Twitter: @NBCSAuthentic

Instagram: @NBCSAuthentic

(Beginning April 2)

Papa, a three-time winner of the California Sportscaster of the Year Award, is one the most accomplished and versatile announcers in sports broadcasting.  He was the television play-by-play voice for the Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, and Golden State Warriors and is currently the radio play-by-play announcer for the Oakland Raiders.  Papa was also on the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers broadcast teams.  In addition to his duties on The Happy Hour, Papa will continue to anchor NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors Pregame Live and Warriors Postgame Live.  He also hosts The Afternoon Delight with Greg Papa, a weekday radio show on 95.7 The Game.

Ratto, regarded as one of the nation’s premier multi-platform sports journalists, joined NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California (formerly CSN) in 2010 as a Senior Insider contributing to the network’s websites and signature studio shows.  He has been a fixture in the Bay Area sports pages for over three decades, most notably with the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.  Ratto has also written national columns for NBCSports.com, CBSSports.com and ESPN.com and is a frequent guest on national radio and television sports programs.  Ratto was also a host with Tom Tolbert on KNBR 680’s afternoon drive show.

Johnson, a two-time Emmy Award winner, joined the network in 2014 as an anchor and reporter for SportsNet Central, Pregame Live, Postgame Live and other studio shows.  Previously, she was an anchor and reporter for CSN Houston covering the Astros and Rockets.  Additionally, Johnson hosted the inaugural season of 3 & Out, a half-hour football analysis and debate program which airs across NBC Sports Regional Networks.  Before Houston, she was CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Washington Redskins beat reporter, where she provided daily coverage of the team and contributed to the network’s Redskins pregame and postgame shows, Redskins Kickoff and Redskins Postgame Live.  During her tenure at CSN Mid-Atlantic, she won two Emmy Awards in 2009, one for Best Sports Reporter and one for Sports/Regularly Scheduled Weekly Program for Redskins Kickoff.  A graduate of the University of Idaho, Johnson was a four-year starter on the women's basketball team and earned All-Conference academic honors each season.

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, both part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, serve more than four million households in Northern California, Nevada, Southern Oregon and Hawaii.  NBC Sports Bay Area, the television home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and the official regional sports network of the San Francisco 49ers, also features a robust lineup of Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and original programming. NBC Sports California offers live coverage of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, NBA’s Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and is the official regional sports network of the Oakland Raiders. Collectively, these networks deliver more than 600 live game broadcasts per year. 

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 43 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: CSN New England, CSN Philadelphia, TCN, CSN Mid-Atlantic and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, CSN Chicago and CSN Northwest. For additional information, visit comcastsportsnet.com. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

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