Stanford's Ogwumike sisters eager to face Griner


Stanford's Ogwumike sisters eager to face Griner

STANFORD -- Stanford sisters Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike are thrilled to take on one mighty, Mile High challenge: stopping 6-foot-8 Baylor star Brittney Griner and the unbeaten Lady Bears.It's a matchup they've both been eagerly waiting for as they lead the Cardinal (35-1) into their fifth straight Final Four this weekend in Denver riding a school-record 32-game winning streak. Nneka Ogwumike faced Griner in an AAU game back in high school, and that's when she insists she learned to shoot 3-pointers because scoring in the paint was a big problem. But the senior feels like everybody else in the country has already faced Griner, and now she's finally getting that chance in her NCAA tournament farewell.

Chiney Ogwumike knows Griner will alter shots and block her fair share, too."I think we have a tall task ahead of us, no pun intended," Chiney Ogwumike said with a grin before practice Wednesday. "I expect my shot to get blocked quite frankly. Embrace it."Stanford is an underdog for a change, and that's fine with 26th-year coach Tara VanDerveer. She hasn't received any text messages, emails or calls with tips on how to pull off the upset against the Bears (38-0)."Everyone just says, Good luck, our money's on Baylor,'" she said, only half-joking.VanDerveer has a couple of tall male practice players who have played as Griner in the past - like last March when Stanford figured it might face Baylor at the Final Four. That was before Texas A&M pulled off a surprising victory against the Bears in the regional final and then beat the Cardinal in the national semifinals on the way to an improbable championship.VanDerveer won't even mind if Griner dunks against her team. It's good for the women's game, after all."That adds excitement," the Hall of Fame coach said. "It's two points. We're not going to have a breakdown about it. As long as it's not the winning basket. If Brittney Griner dunks, I hope she slams a couple home in warm-ups. I'll be sitting right there cheering. She's a special player."Nneka Ogwumike is a load to handle herself, so Baylor's defense will have its hands full. Ogwumike, the likely No. 1 pick in next month's WNBA draft, had 39 points and 10 rebounds in Stanford's 76-60 victory over No. 5 seed South Carolina in the regional semifinals, then added 29 points and nine boards in an 81-69 win over Duke in the Fresno Regional final Monday night."Honestly, if Nneka was 6-8 I'd be terrified of her," said Chiney Ogwumike, who grabbed 17 rebounds in the Duke win. "Her game would be ridiculous. She said, March madness turns you into a monster.' She's playing out of her mind."While these Final Four trips are becoming familiar each March, students and others in the community are stopping the Stanford players and coaches a little more frequently lately considering they all know that Griner and Co. are up next.In fact, VanDerveer was at the grocery store and got startled when she grabbed a carton of milk from the refrigerator only to have a man on the other side loading it congratulate her."Nneka and I went to get Jamba Juice yesterday and got stopped," Chiney Ogwumike said. "Someone said, Are you those twins?' We're like, Yeah, we're the twins.'"In truth, Chiney is the sophomore. Yet both know it's going to take one impressive sister tag-team act to move into the title game and have a chance at the program's first championship since 1992."I'd rather do that than go against tiny little people," Nneka Ogwumike said of going up against Griner's big body in the middle.She doesn't remember a lot from that game against Griner, except that they played at Rice and "it was hard for me to score, obviously."Griner's game was still developing and Ogwumike recalls she was figuring out her fundamentals. How tall was Griner then?"Taller than me," Nneka Ogwumike quipped.VanDerveer is counting on another balanced performance come Sunday night at the Pepsi Center after she got contributions from much of the roster in the win over Duke. While Nneka Ogwumike will run the show, the rest of the team is looking to take some pressure off its All-American forward - especially considering things will be all the more difficult dealing with Griner inside on both ends of the floor.Even 6-3 forward Joslyn Tinkle might find herself helping on Griner. Tinkle - daughter of Montana coach Wayne Tinkle - is eager to prove herself any way she's needed. A year ago as a sophomore, she didn't get off the bench in the NCAA semifinals after playing in every game up to that point.That fueled her for months, and she became a regular starter in January. Tinkle hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists against the Blue Devils on Monday."I just love to be out there, regardless of where I am," Tinkle said. "I'm doing my best to do whatever it is needed for our team."And it's certainly going to take a little something from everyone to get by Griner."We know that we're capable of more. Right now, I'm going in and just enjoying every moment," Nneka Ogwumike said. "It's not every day you play against someone like her. I'm excited. I feel like I'm the only one in the country who hasn't played her."

College football roundup: Losing Hogan cause of Stanford's dysfunction


College football roundup: Losing Hogan cause of Stanford's dysfunction

His throwing motion was awkward and unorthodox, to say the least. He was listed, rather generously, at 6’3, 218 pounds, a far cry from his predecessor Andrew Luck’s imposing 6’4, 240. He displayed few bursts of speed, instead twisting, turning, dodging and weaving his way to pick up yardage.

Yet Kevin Hogan was a playmaker, a leader, and—as is becoming more obvious with each passing day—the man whose absence may be the real cause of Stanford’s offensive dysfunction thus far in 2016.

Stanford went into the season ranked as the nation’s No. 8 team and was picked to win the Pac-12 championship. After averaging 38 points per game last year, the Cardinal was expected to be an offensive juggernaut with Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey leading the charge.

Instead, Stanford has struggled mightily on offense, averaging only 17 points per game. The Cardinal has just seven touchdowns in its past five games, and three of them were scored by the defense. With a 4-3 record, Stanford has dropped out of the Top 25 and, realistically, out of contention for the Pac-12 North Division title.

Why? There are other contributing factors, to be sure, but the main reason is that Kevin Hogan is no longer calling the signals.

Hogan led Stanford to three Pac-12 championships and an overall record of 36-10 in three and a-half years as the starting quarterback. Under his direction, the Cardinal won two Rose Bowls and one Foster Farms Bowl.

During his career, Hogan threw for over 9,000 yards and 75 touchdowns. He rushed for another 1,200-plus yards and 15 scores. He threw more than 1,100 passes and had only 29 intercepted. How many times, when Stanford faced a critical third and 11, did Hogan scramble for 11 and a-half yards to get the first down? Or find his second or third receiver to pick up the necessary yardage?

Christian McCaffrey deserves all the credit he gets. He should’ve won the Heisman Trophy last year. But Kevin Hogan took tremendous pressure off McCaffrey. He prevented opposing defenses from keying too much on McCaffrey because, if they did, Hogan could pick them apart with his passing or keep the ball himself. I was a late convert to appreciating Kevin Hogan, but after watching him up close and personal at the Foster Farms Bowl, became a huge fan. On Sunday, he had a highlight-reel 28-yard touchdown run for the Cleveland Browns.

Stanford may well turn things around this year. (This week’s game at under-performing Arizona provides an excellent opportunity). However, to do so, their young quarterbacks must mature quickly and do a better impersonation of Kevin Hogan.

Meanwhile, across the Bay: Though both teams have 4-3 records, Stanford and Cal offer a remarkable contrast in style of play. Consider last weekend’s games. Cal beat Oregon in double overtime, 52-49, while Stanford fell to Colorado, 10-5. Cal vs. Oregon lasted four hours and 25 minutes, while Stanford-Colorado lasted exactly three hours. Cal and Oregon ran 203 plays and scored 102 points; Stanford and Colorado ran 136 and scored 15.

Behind a stronger-than expected running game and the vaunted “Bear Raid” passing attack, Cal has registered impressive wins over Texas and Utah (both undefeated at the time). Only tough losses to San Diego State and to Oregon State in overtime have prevented the Bears from sporting an even better resume.

You forgot someone: Friday's San Francisco Chronicle handicapped three QBs the quarterback-hungry 49ers might pick in the 2017 draft—DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame, Deshaun Watson of Clemson and Chad Kelly of Mississippi. Missing from the list was the most obvious candidate—Cal’s Davis Webb. Against Oregon last Friday night, Webb completed 42 of 61 passes for 325 yards and five TDs. He can make all the throws, has the size the pros look for, and would bring a lot of Cal fans to Levi’s Stadium. What’s not to like?

Delay of game: Aside from the offensive onslaught and some rather porous defense, the other reason the Cal-Oregon game ended at 11:55 Pacific (2:55 a.m. Eastern) was the rash of penalties. There were 28 infractions called in the game. The typical college game has 12 penalties. The last time I saw that many flags was when I visited the U.N. as a child. There were lots of ticky tack fouls that could’ve gone uncalled…and got us all to bed a lot earlier.

Retirement, anyone? Last week we noted that Utah senior running back Joe Williams “retired” from football after the second game of the season due to injuries. With his team short-handed at the position due to additional casualties, Williams came back last week and rushed for 179 yards in a win over Oregon State. Still fresh from his four-week layoff, Williams ran for a school record 332 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday to lead the Utes to a 52-45 win over UCLA.

Heisman update: 1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB—another excellent game on Saturday. 2. Jake Browning, Washington QB—has 26 TD passes and two interceptions so far this year. 3. Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB—had a bye yesterday, needs a big performance against Florida State this weekend. 4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma QB—threw seven TD passes Saturday for the resurgent Sooners. 5. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU—after missing two weeks with injuries, rushed for 284 yards and three touchdowns in big win over Mississippi.

New AP Top 25: 1. Alabama, 2. Michigan, 3. Clemson, 4. Washington, 5. Louisville, 6. Ohio State, 7. Nebraska, 8. Baylor, 9. Texas A&M, 10. West Virginia, 11. Wisconsin, 12. Florida State, 13. Boise State, 14. Florida, 15. Auburn, 16. Oklahoma, 17. Utah, 18. Tennessee, 19. LSU, 20. Western Michigan, 21. North Carolina, 22. Navy, 23. Colorado, 24. Penn State, 25. Virginia Tech.

Colorado coach awards team with In-N-Out Burger after beating Stanford

Business Insider

Colorado coach awards team with In-N-Out Burger after beating Stanford

Somewhere Mike Riley is smiling and nodding knowingly.

The current Nebraska head coach had somewhat of a tradition while at Oregon State in which he would take his football team to In-N-Out Burger following a particularly big win.  

Picking up that burger mantle is Mike MacIntyre, who rewarded his Colorado team with a trip to the famous fast-food joint following their physical, grinding road win over Stanford earlier in the day.