VanDerveer eyes No. 800 against former star Azzi


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

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.