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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - February 1, 2013

Stanford women's basketball looks to remain perfect on the road

by Rick Eymer

The nationally No. 6-ranked Stanford women's basketball team is on the road this weekend, first at Oregon on Friday and then Oregon State on Sunday. This marks six road games in the team's final 10 to close the regular season.

While playing away from home can be scary, not so for Stanford. The Cardinal is 11-0 away from Maples Pavilion this season and still owns a share of first place in the Pac-12 Conference.

Stanford remained atop the standings as Chiney Ogwumike had 20 points and 12 rebounds in a 69-56 win over visiting No. 20 Colorado, 69-56, on Sunday.

Toni Kokenis added 15 points and a game-high five assists as the Cardinal (7-1, 18-2) won its fourth straight. Joslyn Tinkle scored 16 points and Amber Orrange added 10.

UCLA and Washington both won Sunday and remain a game behind co-leaders Stanford and California.

The Cardinal, which held its 38th consecutive opponent to under 70 points, led by as many as 19 in the second half.

The Buffaloes, off to their best start in nine years, closed to within 53-46 with 8:01 remaining to play, but that's as close as they would come. Stanford went on a 9-2 run afterward and never trailed by less than 10 the rest of the way.

Ogwumike recorded her fourth consecutive double-double and has 15 on the season. She also has reached double figures in scoring in all 20 games, including 20 or more in 15 of them.

Kokenis, still bothered by a brace around her right thumb, shot 6 of 11 for the game, including 3 of 4 from long range, and went 9 for 15 on the weekend. That may be an indication she's adapting to her brace.

Tinkle also reached double figures for a fourth consecutive time and for the seventh time in her past 10 games. She and Ogwumike each blocked three shots.

Women's gymnastics

Stanford finally will get a chance to strut its stuff in front of the home crowd this weekend and what better way than to host one of the top teams in the nation?

Don't think you'll fit inside Burnham Pavilion, which remains one of the more cozy venues in all of college sports? No need to fret. It's also No. 11 Stanford's debut on Pac-12 Networks and a nationwide audience.

The Cardinal (7-1) recorded a team high and several individual season bests in its 196.450-195.775 victory over host California last Saturday but likely will need another season to compete with No. 4 UCLA, which visits Stanford on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Stanford has yet to lose a women's gymnastics meet to California in the current millenium, winning 28 straight. Stanford is 37-1 against the Bears since 1996.

Senior captain Ashley Morgan had a tremendous week, winning the all-around at Georgia on Monday and at California on Saturday. She was named Pac-12 Women's Gymnast of the Week.

The All-American claimed three individual titles against Cal, finishing first on vault, floor exercise and the all-around. Morgan tied her career-best on vault (9.925), recorded a season-best on floor (9.925) and tied her season-best on uneven bars (9.850).

In addition to Morgan, other Stanford gymnasts to watch include:

Junior All-American Amanda Spinner, who delivered a career-high performance on balance beam at Georgia, scoring 9.925 to lead Stanford on the only event it outscored the Gym Dogs. She scored a 9.825 for a third-place finish at Cal.

Following a fourth-place finish on beam at the 2012 NCAA Championships, Spinner has been a rock for the Cardinal on the event this season, claiming two individual titles in just four meets.

Samantha Shapiro earned her first individual title of the year at Cal, with a career-best 9.950 performance on uneven bars; the highest of any Cardinal this season. The sophomore All-American has improved her score on the event in each consecutive meet this season.

Shona Morgan, a junior from Melbourne, Australia, continues to be one of Stanford's most consistent performers. She contributed scores on all three of her events at Cal. Morgan scored a season-best 9.850 on uneven bars and finished third on floor exercise with a 9.875. She also delivered a solid routine on balance beam, good for a 9.800.

Senior captain Nicole Dayton has dominated on vault this season with three individual titles in four meets. Dayton's three individual titles this season exceed her total from all of last year. She is currently ranked 14th in the NCAA on the event with an average score of 9.888.

Freshman Melissa Chuang has established herself as a strong competitor in the vault and floor lineups, contributing scores in all four meets for the Cardinal this season. Chuang recorded a pair of 9.825's at Georgia on vault and floor exercise. Her score on floor was a career best.

Football

With the Indianapolis Colts luring Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton away to the NFL, Cardinal head coach David Shaw has been forced to re-arrange his coaching staff.

Shaw on Tuesday announced several staff changes to lead the Cardinal offense into the 2013 season following a Rose Bowl championship season in 2012.

Mike Bloomgren has been elevated to Andrew Luck Director of Offense/Offensive Coordinator (Hamilton's previous position), while continuing to coach the offensive line. Bloomgren has been Stanford's run-game coordinator the past two years.

Also transitioning in his third season, former running backs coach Mike Sanford has taken over Stanford's quarterbacks and wide receivers, while continuing his duties as recruiting coordinator.

Replacing Sanford as running backs coach is former Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard, who for the last two years served as a defensive assistant and worked closely with Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason.

The Cardinal is currently in the midst of winter training before returning to the field February 25 for the start of 2013 spring practices. The Cardinal & White Spring Game will be held April 13.

Men's water polo

Stanford had four players earn All-America honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC), the organization announced Tuesday.

Sophomore utility Alex Bowen was named to the ACWPC All-America first team for the second straight year while freshman driver Bret Bonanni was named to the second team. Redshirt junior Forrest Watkins and freshman BJ Churnside were both named honorable mention.

Women's water polo

Top-ranked Stanford hosts the Stanford Invitational this Saturday and Sunday at Avery Aquatic Center.

The Cardinal (5-0) has won its home tournament the past three seasons, capping last year's title with a 9-5 win over UCLA.

Along with the Cardinal, this year's field features seven additional teams ranked in the latest national poll: No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 California, No. 9 San Jose State, No. 12 Hawai'i, No. 13 UC Davis, No. 14 Indiana and No. 16 Hartwick.

The Olympic Club, based in San Francisco, also will send a squad that will take on Stanford and UC Davis Saturday.

The Cardinal will open the tournament against The Olympic Club in exhibition action at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Belardi Pool. Stanford will return to action at 4 p.m. Saturday, facing San Jose State in Avery Pool.

Stanford opened the 2013 campaign this past Friday with an 11-2 win over No. 10 Michigan at Avery Aquatic Center, then followed up with wins over No. 18 Cal Baptist, No. 6 UC Irvine, Cal Baptist and No. 8 Loyola Marymount.

Senior two-meter and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Melissa Seidemann led the Cardinal with 14 goals over the weekend, posting four hat tricks. Stanford's rookies flexed their scoring muscle as well, as Anna Yelizarova, Gurpreet Sohi and Olympian Maggie Steffens combined to score 28 goals over the five game, paced by Yelizarova's dozen.

All three Cardinal goalies — senior Kate Baldoni, sophomore Emily Dorst and freshman Gabby Stone — saw action, anchoring a defensive effort that allowed just 18 goals.

Men's volleyball

Third-ranked Stanford is undefeated at home, but winless on the road. The Cardinal will need to change that to remain in contention in the hotly contested Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, especially with six of its next eight matches on the road.

Stanford (3-2 in the MPSF, 6-2 overall) begins that stretch with a pair of matches at Hawaii (2-4, 3-6) this weekend. The Warriors are coming off a two-match sweep of No. 2 Pepperdine, also at the Stan Sheriff Center and are one of the hottest teams in the conference.

There's a unique volleyball connection between Hawaii and Stanford in both genders. Former Cardinal All-Americans Kawika Shoji and Erik Shoji are the sons of famed Rainbow Wahine women's coach Dave Shoiji. Hawaiian native Tom Shoji, Dave's brother, is the coach at Willamette University.

This trip, former Stanford player and coach Chris McLachlin will provide the color commentary for Hawaii's Oceanic Cable Sports.

Stanford assistant coach Daniel Rasay graduated from Hawaii and sparked the school to a 2002 NCAA semifinal victory.

Stanford rebounded from a pair of losses by recording two impressive home victories, beating No. 4 UCLA, 27-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12, on Tuesday, and No. 10 UC Santa Barbara, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22, on Friday.

Stanford coach John Kosty has started six different lineups in eight matches. The most common lineup has been used three times, including the past two matches: James Shaw at setter, Eric Mochalski and Spencer Haly at middle blockers, Brian Cook and Steven Irvin at outside hitters, Daniel Tublin at opposite, and Scott Sakaida at libero. That lineup has gone 3-0.

Wrestling

Stanford (1-2 in the Pac-12, 5-12 overall) goes on the road this week hoping to keep the momentum from Sunday's 27-9 victory over Cal Poly.

The Cardinal travels to Utah Valley on Friday and then to 17th-ranked Boise State on Sunday.

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