VanDerveer eyes No. 800 against former star Azzi

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VanDerveer eyes No. 800 against former star Azzi

Dec. 22, 2010No. 8 Stanford (6-2) vs.San Francisco (2-9)
6:30 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium
On the Radio at 90.1 KZSU. Complete highlights on SportsNet Central at 10:30pm.
Editor's Note: Ann Killion will be on site at War Memorial Gymnasium Wednesday night to cover the game for CSNBayArea.com.
STANFORD - The No. 88 Stanford women will attempt to end a two-game slide Wednesday night as the team heads into the City By The Bay to battle the San Francisco Dons in a 6:30 p.m. contest. Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer will also be attempting to notch her 800th career win.
Scouting San Francisco: San Francisco enters Wednesday night's game on a six-game skid and is currently 0-6 in the month of December. The Dons are led by first-year head coach Jennifer Azzi, who was captain of the 1990 Stanford national championship team, a two-time All-American as well as the 1990 Wade Trophy Player of the Year. On the court, the Dons are led by the play of Katy Keating (9.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Donnisha Taylor (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Scouting Stanford: The Cardinal head into Wednesday's tilt with a 6-2 overall record. Stanford has dropped two straight, after winning it's first six. The two losses have denied head coach Tara VanDerveer her 800th career victory, with USF coming has her third attempt. The Cardinal are paced by Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who averages 17.1 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Stanford has appeared in 23 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including appearing in the past two National Championship games. VanDerveer, who boasts an impressive 799-197 overall record, is in her 32nd season on the Farm.
All-Time Against San Francisco: Stanford leads the all-time series against San Francisco, 20-9, and has won the past 14 meetings, dating back to Dec. 15, 1984.
All-Time Against Stanford: USF is 9-20 all-time versus Stanford, and 4-9 when plaing in the freindly confines of War Memorial Gym. Stanford has won the past 12 meetings between the two programs. USF last earned a victory over the Cardinal in 1983-83, posting a 69-63 win on the Hilltop.Last Meeting: The last time the two teams met, in 2007, USF dropped a 96-61 decision to Stanford in Palo Alto.
VanDerveer Goes For Win No. 800: Wednesday Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball Tara VanDerveer will have her third chance to collect career win number 800 Wednesday night at San Francisco. A victory would make VanDerveer just the sixth NCAA women's basketball head coach to reach the mark.Joining Select Company: Should VanDerveer notch her 800th victory Wednesday night, she would join the company of only five other collegiate women's basketball coaches who have attained that many victories: Tennessee's Pat Summitt, former Texas coach Judy Conradt, Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer, North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell, and Bentley's Barbara Stevens, who earned her 800th win this past Sunday. VanDerveer's 800th victory would be yet another milestone in a stellar coaching career which has included eight Final Four appearances, 18 Pac-10 titles, two national championships (1990 and 92) and one Olympic title (1996).A Family Matter: Wednesday night's contest can be considered all in the family as Stanford's Tara VanDerveer matches coaching wits with two of her former players in San Francisco head coach Jennifer Azzi and assistant coach Katy Steding. Both Azzi and Steding were key members of Stanford's 1990 national championship-winning team as well as being part of VanDerveer's gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic squad. Now both in their first season at The Hilltop, Azzi and Steding will get their first opportunity to face their former head coach in Wednesday night's contest.Cardinal Connection: USF head coach Jennifer Azzi and USF associate head coach Katy Steding, each played at Stanford under the guidance of VanDereeer. Both Azzi and Steding led the Cardinal to their first national championship in 1990. Following their NCAA title, Azzi and Steding both played for VanDerveer in the 1996 Olympic games, winning a gold medal.
Jennifer Azzi Era: This season marks the beginning of a new era on the Hilltop, as women's basketball legend Jennifer Azzi begins her appointment as head coach. Azzi, who was named to the helm of the program in April, brings an unprecedented wealth of basketball experience to the program. The 2009 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee played five seasons in the WNBA, was a founding member of the American Basketball League (ABL), played overseas and enjoyed an All-American collegiate career at Stanford. Internationally, Azzi was a member of the USA Basketball Senior National Team from 1990-91 and 1993-98. A key member of the United States gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic Team that concluded a perfect 60-0 season with an 8-0 record during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Azzi played on 13 USA National Teams, compiling a mark of 114-14. She also medaled three times at the World Championships, claiming gold in 1998 and 1990, while earning a bronze in 1994.Pack the House vs. the Cardinal: Wednesday, Dec. 22, USF will host No. 2 Stanford in the annual Pack The House Challenge game. Last season, UFS hosted then-No. 4 Tennessee in the annual event, welcoming over 3,000 people to War Memorial Gym. Thanks to the efforts of the USF athletic department, sponsors and surrounding community, the Dons were awarded the 2009-10 NCAA-sponsored award for the West Coast Conference. For tickets to the big game with the Cardinal, please visit www.USFDons.com.

A Look At The National Polls: Stanford fell to the No. 8 slot in both the Associated Press and ESPNUSA Today Polls following last week's 0-2 road trip.In The National Rankings: Through Dec. 12, Stanford ranks in the national Top 20 of the following statistical categories: field-goal percentage (46.5 - 13th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.06 - 20th). Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike (58.1 percent) is 19th in the nation in field-goal percentage while Jeanette Pohlen is 14th with 3.0 three-pointers made per game.In The Pac-10 Rankings: In the Pac-10 statistical rankings through Dec. 19, Stanford leads the conference in field-goal percentage (46.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.06), while ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage (35.3). Individually, Chiney Ogwumike and Nnemkadi Ogwumike are 1-2 in field-goal percentage with marks of 62.7 and 58.1, respectively, while Kayla Pedersen leads the loop in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.07) and is fourth in free-throw percentage (80.0) and assists (4.43 apg). Nnemkadi Ogwumike is third in scoring (17.1 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (8.9). Jeanette Pohlen leads the loop with 3.0 three-pointers made per game, is third in 3-point field-goal percentage (44.4) and fifth in scoring (16.1).
Last Time Out (Stanford): Stanford dropped a second consecutive game for the first time since Jan. 4-6, 2008 when it fell 82-72 in overtime to the No. 66 Tennessee Lady Volunteers in Knoxville Sunday night. Despite falling behind by 14 in the first half, the Cardinal gamely fought back to take a six-point lead late on the road before going down in overtime. Jeanette Pohlen led the charge with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including a 6-for-10 performance from behind the arc, her second straight game with at least five 3-pointers. Pohlen also grabbed five rebounds and passed out four assists. Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted her second straight double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds while going 10-for-18 from the field.Last Time Out (USF): San Francisco continued to be a second half team Monday, as first half mishaps caused the Dons to drop a 74-46 decision to host Northern Colorado at Greeley. Senior guard Kelly Jo Mullaney led San Francisco with eight points. All eight of Mullaneys points came in the final seven minutes of the game.Game notes courtesy USFDons.com and GoStanford.com

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

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USATSI

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.

 

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”