March 14, 2017

Memories of home

“Where are you from?” A common question, usually answered simply with the name of a city or state.

When I am asked that question the inquirer is met with a short pause and an uncertain “Wellll, I don’t really know...I guess I’m from the United States.” Cue the bewildered expression and nervous laugh from me as I go on to explain why my point of origin isn’t as simple as it should be.

My journey began in Newark, New Jersey. Most of my family still lives there but we moved when I was three. After September 11th, 2001, my father decided to join the military. Since then my family and I have lived in Arizona, Florida (twice), California, Japan and Virginia. I haven’t stayed in one state longer than four years but each place (at least the ones I can remember) parallels a significant period of growth for me.

I spent most of elementary school in Japan. It was amazing to experience living in a different country during those early formative years. We lived on a base but would go into the country to festivals, parades, monuments, restaurants, etc. One of my favorite memories was performing in an annual parade with the baton club at my school (very interesting choice, I know). I was so happy to be there with my silver baton, with it’s pink and red caps.

What I remember most about the entirety of my time in Japan was the food…OF COURSE. I have never been a picky eater so being surrounded by so many new and exotic foods was great. I was the first in my family to try sushi. I ate seaweed and dried squid. As you can see, and my parents would probably confirm, my favorite way to experience culture is through a culinary lens.

Living in California was absolutely amazing. There was always so much to do. I started playing basketball with my friends for our community rec team in fourth grade. My dad and I started our 6 am workouts there. Those morning workouts were the foundation for my career.

I played club basketball for the Cal Sparks and the Cal Storm during my seventh grade year. I was on those teams at the same time as Bird and Bri. It’s amazing that the girls I looked up to in my early basketball years are now my teammates and some of my closest friends.

Moving to Navarre, Florida was very hard to do. I remember leaving for our cross country road trip from San Pedro to Navarre. It was about three in the morning. We packed the car up and rolled away from our hotel. As we kept driving I watched my favorite places fade behind me. When we arrived it was some strange place. Everything was flat and sandy. There was only one two-lane highway that connected the entire area. The closest mall was thirty five minutes away without traffic. It was hot, humid and rained every day at 2pm.

Even harder than moving to the area, was leaving it. I have so many people there that support me and have become a part of my global family. The administration, my teachers, coaches, classmates and friends that I made at Choctaw and Navarre HS will be with me forever. I miss the beautiful beaches, the sweet tea that always had the right amount of sugar. I miss Whataburger and the gorgeous sunrises over the Gulf.

My life has been an arcade pin-ball game but has resulted in so many experiences essential to my character. Now I know there is a difference between a hometown and where my home is.

My home is at the old house on Campbell Street in New Jersey. My home is at Misawa Air Force Base, riding my bike up and down the street with my friends. My home is in San Pedro overlooking the Pacific Ocean, feeling the cool winds blow against my face. My home is at Choctawhatchee High School, walking the white and green halls of the Big Green Indians. My home is in Virginia surrounded by my family and so much history. My home is at Maples Pavilion.

My home is not a tangible place but where my memories lie.

— Nadia Fingall

March 1, 2017

To #24


This number represents pride, emotion, and passion.

When you first put on that jersey remember what’s on the front: “Stanford.” Take pride in the fact that you attend the best college in the world. A college that not only has the best academics and athletics but also one that has a student culture that can’t be matched. Stanford represents excellence on and off the court. Every time I got caught up in my own personal struggles I remembered how blessed I was to attend such a great university with even greater people. With this being said you can’t forget the past. Always remember the legacy that came before you. Stanford women’s basketball is built off of the history of greats that paved the way for your future. Players like Jennifer Azzi, Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, Jeanette Pohlen, and Jane Appel were all a part of this amazing, successful Stanford program and you will be a part of as well. Take pride in that.

When I was a junior I began to realize that I was never going to be Stanford’s top scorer or rebounder, however there was something that I knew I could be the best at and that was being the most emotional and hyped player Stanford has ever had. Every time I got an And1 or blocked a shot fans knew they were going to get a special treat. Whether it was me yelling at the top of my lungs “And1!” or just jumping up and down in pure excitement from a blocked shot people were going to see a lot of emotion. When you play know that #24 represents heart. I hope you knowing this gives you some type of spark when you play so that everyone can see again that #24 is full of energy and emotion.

Lastly, when you wear #24 always remember your love for the game. Not every practice or game will be the best and there will be days when basketball just seems tough but if you remember your love for the game, you will get through it. Allow this passion for the game to give you motivation to work hard every day. When you love the game, you want to do everything you can do to play at your best. So let that love drive you to always strive for the best whether it’s in the games or practice. When people see you wear that jersey, they should see your love for the game when you play. Don’t let anyone take that love away from you, because it will lead you to so many great things. When you wake up each day never forget you have the opportunity to play the game that you love, because one day you won’t. Basketball isn’t forever so when you get the chance to play it, play it with passion.

I look forward to seeing the great things you will do. I know you will do our number justice. Good luck and always have fun!

‐ Erica McCall
#24

February 27, 2017

DiJonai thanks the seniors

Dear Seniors,

I would like to take the time to acknowledge the significant impact that each of you have had on me during our short time together.

Karlie, the world knows you as a clutch shooter. They know they can get ready to get out of their seats as soon as the ball leaves your hands. But me, I know you as the person who has always been willing to come early or stay late to ensure that I as well as my other freshmen understood the plays as well as any of the drills we would be doing. You have been a great encourager and someone who has taught me about discipline. Shooting over 50% from 3, yet always being the first one in the gym trying to get better. I want to say thank you for being the leader you are on and off the court. I love you, Karl. #FMS

Erica, the world knows you as a prolific scorer, and one who is always there in clutch time to make the big plays. But me, I know you as the person who I can look to whenever I need to be cheered up. I have truly never seen you upset. Whether you have 25 points or 2 points (which is rare) you have the same blissful spirit that is contagious to all who come in contact with you. Thank you for encouraging me and telling me over and over that “it's okay” when I mess up, with a smile on your face. I will miss our sing-offs, and getting hype over our mutual love for “Cali music” and “jerkin music”. I will miss your hilarious storytelling that is impossible to do without using your hands. I will miss your selfie taking and dance skills that I desire to imitate! I love you, Bird. #BAB

Briana, the world knows you as a high energy lockdown defender. But me, I know you as my mentor and the person who is there for everyone through anything. You're so selfless and determined. Your positive attitude and ability to take constructive criticism is something that I truly admire and desire to emulate. I will miss our late night Netflix sessions, that mostly ended up being our social hour. I will miss the unique dynamic of our relationship that will never be matched by anyone else. I will miss you saying “money” every time I shoot the ball (even though half the time it is an air-ball). I will miss pestering you all day long, rolling my eyes at you for every little thing, and delaying my responses whenever you address me. Bri, there are so many characteristics about you that make you someone who I will never forget and someone who will always hold a special place in my heart that cannot replaced. Thank you for being a great role model, someone that I truly look up to (figuratively), and the person I can go to for anything. Thank you for putting up with me, and all of my sassiness. Can’t wait to bother you some more when you come back to visit me, frequently. I love you, Briana. #Nevermind

Sincerely,

DiJonai Carrington (NaiNai)

February 23, 2017

The Top 10 Things That I liked about 1000 Wins!

I am going to do this Johnny Carson style! (Some of us are old enough to remember his Top 10 List!) Drum roll!!!

#10 - Outstanding attention from the press about Women’s Basketball! It was so much fun to have so many of our writers and TV sports announcers document the occasion. Thank you Pac 12 Networks and ESPN for covering the game and postgame ceremony! I am happy to do my part in promoting this terrific game of ours!

#9 - Confetti in Maples! I am so glad that Bri, Karlie and Bird dumped a bucket of confetti on me instead of Gatorade! Thank you to everyone that planned and worked hard to make the postgame celebration so special!

#8 – Getting the win on the first try! I explained to our team that the game was not “just another game” and that in fact it was special with extra pressure. However, I hoped and believed our team would play in much bigger games with more on the line later in the season. We were all thankful that our team really stepped up and played well to get the 1000 Win the first opportunity!

#7 - Distracted me from politics! Enough said!

#6 – Kodye Pugh’s (Freshman on the men’s team) sketches of me to commemorate my 1000 wins signed by the men’s team and framed. Wow I am so touched by this gift.

#5 – Nike’s gift of a large black box with clear plexiglass cover engraved with each 100 milestone win. Inside the box on shelves were 4 Nike Air Force One shoes that highlighted special wins! Incredibly creative and beautiful!

#4 - All of the congratulatory texts, emails, letters and phone calls from all over the country! THANK YOU!!! I am copying and saving each one to put in my scrap book!

#3 – The surprise video tribute. I was overwhelmed by the wonderful things that people said. It was so special to hear from former players, (Jennifer Azzi, Trisha Stevens, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, Candice Wiggins, Jayne Appel, Jeanette Pohlen, Melanie Murphy, Regan Freuen and so many others) Athletic Directors ( Bernard Muir, Andy Geiger and Phyllis Bailey ) Announcers (Bill Walton and Charles Barkley), and Coaches ( David Shaw, Dawn Staley, Geno Auriemma, Jim Foster Jim Harbaugh, Dick Gould and the BEST from my sister Coach Heidi VanDerveer !!!)

#2 -Sharing this special night with our staff and team. I am so proud of this group. We have outstanding leadership and team camaraderie. This is such a fun and exciting season. The picture of our team will be framed and cherished for the rest of my life.

#1 – Having my 89 year old mother Rita cheering and coaching from courtside seats. I love you Mom! A special thank you to Cindy Pohlen for driving up for the game. Sharing this honor with ALL of our Stanford fans! THANK YOU!!!

February 20, 2017

Perfect Cardinal careers


For my blog I’ve been thinking about what my teammates like outside of basketball, so I’ve come up with a list for what I think each person would be perfect at career wise if they weren’t playing basketball.

First is Alanna, she would definitely be a zookeeper or someone who works well with animals. She is always watching animal videos and when we were at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. she literally told me, “I wish I was a zookeeper that sounds like the perfect job.”

Bird would be a dancer/singer. She does so well in the spotlight and has such great dance moves and over the years her singing has really improved!

Kaylee—If you couldn’t tell by Kaylee’s earlier blog post she would be a wedding planner. I actually have already promised her that she can plan my future wedding (if I have one) for me!

Karlie LOVES dogs so if she could become a dog breeder and just raise puppies and train them I think she would love that (along with being a basketball coach on the side of course).

Bri plays video games all the time so if she could get a job creating or testing video games she would be perfect. I tried to play NBA2k with her once and she just schooled me.

Alexa is so amazing at photography. If she could travel the world and earn a living taking photos and helping people out I think she would be living her dream (and I think she probably will do this!).

Marta would be a super good food critique. She really has an eye for nicer things and isn’t afraid to tell people when they are not good at something. She would have some pretty high standards for the restaurants around town but would be a very trustworthy reviewer.

Shannon could be an opera singer. We all tell her she should sing the National Anthem before games because she is so good at singing, she belts it out in the locker room!

Mikaela should be a Disney animator. She loves everything Disney and can pretty much sing along to every Disney song + she’s an amazing drawer so this is the perfect fit for her.

Anna would be a great fashion designer. She is always wearing the most well thought out and put together outfits. I know her line of clothes would be a huge hit, especially among athletes.

Dijonai would be an amazing makeup artist. I think she has practically done everyone’s makeup on the team at least once this year already.

Nadia could be a comedian. She makes jokes 24/7 and keeps everyone in the locker room laughing not matter what.

— Brittany

February 7, 2017

Melbourne


The city where everybody wears black, drives on the left side of the road and is home to the best coffee. I had lived in Melbourne for 18 years before I moved to Stanford and being away from it has made me truly appreciate it! I truly believe the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is in full effect when in regards to me and Melbourne. Things I used to complain about, I now remember with fondness. For example, the unpredictable weather had me wondering how it went from pouring rain to blistering hot all within a few hours, and now I look back and appreciate the variability and how it kept me on my toes. Or how I would look out across the street and observe a sea of people wearing all black and wonder where all the color was, and now I see the unique fashion and style of the city. I would complain about too many cafes to choose from and now I miss the coffee! One of my favorite cafes, Top Paddock, had the best coffee and the most amazing pancakes that looked so good I didn’t want to eat them.

See! It’s literally a work of art.


I am so happy I have the opportunity to be here at Stanford and being here has made me appreciate my home city so much. I am discovering new things about Stanford almost every day but always in the back of my mind is my home and the city I will always hold close to my heart.

— Alanna

January 16, 2017

Karlie reflects on her time at Stanford

Hi Cardinal Fans! 

It is crazy to be writing my last blog as a Senior. Everything that I am doing this year is my final time around. I have grown so much not only as a basketball player but as a person as well. When I think about the time I have had at Stanford, I know I chose the perfect place for me. 

For this blog post, I wanted to reflect back on my first three years here at Stanford and name some of the major highlights.

Freshman year (2013-2014):
  1. Traveling to Italy my first summer for three games. These were my first games with the entire team, and it was very special to be able to play with Chiney and my sister Bonnie. We were there for 10 days and visited Rome, Florence, Venice, and Siena. It was such a memorable experience and my first time traveling out of the country.
  2. Making it to the Final Four in Nashville. Going to the Final Four as a freshman was a crazy experience. I did not completely understand how hard it is to make it that far in the NCAA tournament at the time. I was so glad to be able to play with Chiney her senior year. She was a great role model and leader to play with.
Sophomore year (2014-2015):
  1. Beating UCONN our second game of the season at home in overtime. This was such a fun game and I remember the feeling that we had when Bon passed to Amber to make that three to send us into overtime. I get goosebumps whenever I think about that game. I would love to play them again, hopefully soon at some point in my final season (to play against my little sister Katie Lou would be so fun!).
  2. Not a clear highlight, but when I broke my pinky right before tournament time. I was out for the rest of season. This was not how I wanted to end my sophomore year (especially just because of a pinky!). However, this really taught me how big of an impact you can still have on the bench during a game. Being enthusiastic, communicating, and encouraging can be just as important as hustling on the court or making shots. My injury also opened my eyes to how special it is to be able to play college basketball. I do not take my health for granted and remind myself to enjoy every minute of being able to play this sport. This was also my last time playing with Bonnie and I am so grateful to be able to have experienced my first two years of college with my older sister.
Junior year (2015-2016):
  1. Being named a captain. This was a highlight for me because I wanted to be a leader of the team and being named a captain puts the pressure on you to really try to be your best every day and be a role model. I think being a captain helped me think about the team first and to play my best for my teammates and coaches. This was also the first year that I have ever played on a team without one of my sisters. Finally didn’t have to deal with them (just kidding!). It was a difficult transition for me, but luckily Bonnie stayed up in the Bay Area taking extra classes for Optometry School so I got to see her quite a bit.
  2. Beating Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. This was a huge game for our team. We moved the ball well, played together and for each other, and left it all out there on the court. Of course we wanted to win our next game, but this game stands out to me because of the overall team effort to take down that number one seed.
Senior year (2016-2017):
  1. I have to say a highlight of this year is being able to play with Bird and Bri. We have been through a lot together these four years and I love both of them. I love them as people. I love them as players. Bri is someone I can talk to about anything. Bird is one of the most positive people I know and she can always put a smile on my face. One thing we all have in common is a love for this game. Thinking back, these two were a major reason I really re-discovered how much I love playing basketball. I know I am going to have life-long friendships with my two fellow seniors. I cannot wait to see how the rest of our final season goes.
  2. One final highlight that I will mention here is the people that I get to hang out and work with every day. I absolutely love my Stanford family and have so much fun traveling and working with these people. We still have a lot of games left this season. I am excited to see what else is to come for us! I hope it doesn’t fly by too fast!
Thank you for supporting Stanford Women’s Basketball! I hope to see you at the rest of our home games this season. Go Card! 

--Karlie

January 2, 2017

Sorry, I’m from Canada, eh?

My name is Mikaela Brewer, and I’m a freshman on the Stanford Women’s basketball team! I’m from Barrie, Ontario, Canada, which is a small town just north of Toronto.

You can probably imagine my excitement in coming to Stanford, where it is relatively warm all year round and there is no SNOW! During this winter, my hometown was pounded with cold, snow, ice and your typical Canadian winter, yet, we do not have snow all year round despite what you may think! In my hometown, we actually have extremely hot and humid summers, and regular seasons! Sadly, no, I also do not live in an igloo, or ride a dog sled to school.

Unfortunately, my diet consists of more than bacon and maple syrup, and a ‘loonie’ is a dollar, not a crazy Canadian, although we do have plenty of those! A ‘toque’ is also a type of hat, and the ‘Canadian tuxedo’ is when someone wears jean on jean. Finally, although I do watch hockey, and it is very popular in Canada, it is not the only sport we play!

Some Canadian characteristics are however completely true, and I exhibit them (according to my teammates) extremely often, and believe me, they do not hesitate to point it out!

I do say ‘sorry’ a lot, and with a very Canadian accent, and am also overly polite to a fault, except on the court that is! I also, as you may have guessed first, say ‘eh’ A LOT, and my teammates catch it almost every time!

I do spell many words like favourite and honour with a ‘u’ and although I speak fluent French, not all Canadians do, in fact, most don’t!

Canada is not as different from its southern counterpart as many would think, although one thing is for sure: it is very very very cold there right now, and although I miss my family, I do not miss the -40 degree winter weather!

December 23, 2016

Kaylee's dream

Not many people know this about me, but it has always been my dream of mine to be a wedding planner. I love everything about it: I love weddings, I love making people happy, and I absolutely love organizing.

Of course when I finish my career with basketball and finish my career as a lawyer, I’d love to get into this; but for now I spend my time imagining my wedding and planning my teammates’ weddings. So, I thought I’d share a few.

[Kaylee's incredible blog is way too complicated for Blogger to handle. Click HERE to see it.]


December 19, 2016

Favorite Christmas songs

Hello Stanford fans!

Christmas is nearing and I am so excited!

So in honor of my favorite holiday I have gotten everyone’s favorite Christmas songs together! Which is your favorite?

Players:
Mikaela: Silent Night by Kelly Clarkson
Dijonai: Mistletoe by Justin Bieber
Nadia: Wonderful Christmas Song by Paul McCartney
Anna: All I Want by Justin Bieber
Shannon: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
Alanna: Jingle Bell Rock, version from the movie Mean Girls
Alexa: Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano
Marta: Santa Baby by Marilyn Monroe
Kaylee: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love
Brittany: Dominic The Donkey by Lou Monte
Karlie: Baby It’s Cold Outside by Idina Menzel & Michael BublĂ©
Bri: Christmas Eve by Justin Bieber
Bird: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Christina Aguilera

Coaches:
Tara: Silent Night by Frank Sinatra
Amy: Little Drummer Boy by Harry Simeone
Kate: Silver Bells by Bing Crosby
Tempie: This Christmas by Donny Hathaway
Katelin: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC
Brittany: Please Come Home For Christmas by The Eagles
Hana: Baby It’s Cold Outside: version in the movie Elf
John: White Christmas by Bing Crosby
Shelbi: Sleigh Ride by TLC
Mary: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra

— Shannon