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

December 6, 2016

Anna's story

Hi Cardinal Fans,

My name is Anna Wilson, and I am a freshman point guard for Stanford Women’s Basketball.

I was born in Virginia then I moved to Washington state for my senior year of high school. I have two older brothers, Harry and Russell, and both of them played dual sports in college. I am the youngest and only girl in my family.

I started playing basketball when I was five years old, and my dad was my first coach. I played with the boys at the YMCA. Those years of playing under my dad and with the boys helped inspire and shape my passion for basketball.

I started playing AAU basketball when I was in sixth grade and that was when I began playing with the girls. These girls were way better than the boys I was playing with. They were faster, stronger, and taller than I was. I guess you could say that trait of height does not run in family (haha), but these girls had all the tangible things I didn’t have.

Max Coates, my AAU coach and mentor, who recently passed away, saw something in me that he believed separated me from the rest of the girls I was competing against. These things he saw were the intangibles—the immeasurable and not physical traits I possessed. The intangibles were all based on the things I learned playing at the YMCA: have fun competing, be willing to learn and listen, have meaningful relationships with the people on your team, and always continue to grow and seek out growth in others.

The lessons that I learned way back then have brought me to where I am now. Those lessons are the reasons why I love Stanford Women’s Basketball.

Unfortunately, I have not had the ability to play this season. But I hope is that I can bring leadership to the other freshman, a sense of calmness and patience during times of adversity, and to be the best version of myself everyday. I understand that this is all a process, and my ultimate goal is to be completely healthy at the end of it.

I have truly enjoyed my time here so far. I have grown and matured in so many different ways. The reason why people choose Stanford is obviously because of the outstanding education, but in the face what really influences who you become in the future are the experiences you have and people that surround you.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the most talented and compassionate people that I know. I have fun with them everyday, I enjoy the relationships we have built, and we all are steadily growing each and everyday. I am excited to go on this journey with this team and to learn from the best in the game. Go Cardinal!

With much love from #3,
Anna Wilson

November 18, 2016

Reflections from India: Surmounting my Expectations


India. What are some images that come to mind when thinking of this particular country? The Taj Mahal? Colorful clothing? Perhaps crowded streets and bustling markets? I know those images were exactly the ones that came to my mind when I found out that I would be participating in ACE India.


However, what I failed to comprehend was exactly how different the lifestyle in India is from my own and what exactly I would be experiencing during my time there.

Everyday on the way to my volunteer site called Vidya – a school for underprivileged children without access to education – presented the perfect opportunity to observe everyday life. From the very first car ride, I realized just how different the Indian lifestyle was. First of all, no one uses traffic lane lines. Every car is unevenly staggered, aggressively accelerating even if only 5 feet of space is available ahead. There are motorbikes weaving in and out just mere centimeters away from other vehicles. People cross the street, slowly meandering throughout the traffic, but confident they won’t get hit amidst the chaos. Horns honk every 3 seconds and the occasional cow or elephant can be spotted lazily making its way through traffic as well. I’m convinced that street life in India is an art.

At the school, from grades pre-k to 11th, students rise up out of their seats to acknowledge us when we enter the classrooms. When we walk by them, each student says, “Good morning ma’am,” or “Hello Didi,” with a gentle wave and a shy smile. The more I toured the school grounds, the more confident and excited I became to start working. That is, until one of the teachers threw me in an 11th grade class and said, “OK you can start teaching them,” and then walked out.

I was left in the classroom with a fellow volunteer feeling extremely unprepared as all the student’s eyes fixed upon us in anticipation of what we had to offer. The students told us that they had chosen business as their area of concentration. In my head I was thinking “how in the world am I supposed to teach business to these students?!” I hadn’t taken a single business class in my life. I’ve also never taught in a classroom setting, especially to students only a couple years younger than me. So there I was, half a world away in India, standing in front of a class with no prior experience whatsoever, to teach English to Indian students whose English was already fairly advanced, and to also infuse some principles of business, which I knew nothing about. At that moment, I realized how underrated being a teacher was.

After that initial experience, my volunteer partner and I began brainstorming class activities and lesson plans. I had to adopt this aura of authority and wisdom for the students who were eager to learn, but in reality on the inside, I was terrified and doubtful of my ability to teach. However over time, each day of teaching became better than the one before. I’ve learned so much about India, my students, the way life goes on here, and so much about myself. I would have never imagined myself in a situation that I described above, but it has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In the classroom I was out of my comfort zone, but on the playground I was more in my element. Kids pulled at our sleeves begging us to play games with them. A group of little girls taught me how to play Kabuddi, the oldest game in India’s history. They squealed with laughter as I attempted to play, not knowing the rules.

I also had the opportunity to play some basketball. I remember doing a simple right handed lay up and everyone stopped and clapped in awe as if were some acrobatic feat. It was such a surreal experience. It’s hard teaching specific skills to the students because they’ve been playing basketball in their own style and rules their entire life, but I played along because basketball is basketball nonetheless.

Sometimes on the playground, I just talked to students who weren’t playing sports and just learned about their life. I’d ask about their plans after school and hear about the way they thought or the desires and dreams they had. What I heard was sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes amazing, but always interesting. Once I asked a girl about her henna on her hand. It wasn’t an intricate pattern at all and I asked why because usually hennas are elaborate. Her response was, “I am a simple girl, and only want simple things.” I loved that.

So whether I was observing from a car window, standing in front of classroom, playing my own sport in a foreign country, or simply just asking questions to younger children, I was constantly being introduced to new things. Processing all the information and flinging myself into situations where I have no clue how to respond left me utterly exhausted but also brought me to many new insights and discoveries about myself and about life beyond anything I’ve ever known.

-- Alexa

March 8, 2016

Lessons about teamwork

Basketball is a teacher of many lessons. I learn new lessons everyday through my exposure to basketball.  During my time here at Stanford, one of the most important lessons I have learned is the importance of teamwork. Here are a few lessons about teamwork:
Tenacity - As a team, we have a duty to strive and persist to win as many games as possible. As the saying goes, “The game is not over until it’s over.” We must fight tenaciously until the clock hits 0.0.
Effort - The more work you put in, the better the results. Winning as a team takes consistent effort from each teammate.
Attitude - Attitude is everything. Whether our attitudes are expressed verbally or through body language, a positive or negative attitude can be infectious.  Staying positive and working together as a team is a major key to success!
Mindset - Basketball requires mental toughness.  As a team, we must keep our minds focused on our goals to be victorious. Without a strong mindset, challenges become obstacles!
Work ethic - A strong work ethic not only builds character, but also produces rewards on and off the court!
Opportunity - At Stanford we have an amazing opportunity to play basketball while obtaining an excellent education, and this should not be taken for granted. We also have an opportunity to bond and grow as a team. Teams with great chemistry win championships. 
Repetition - Great practice makes great players, and great players make great teams. The more we practice, the more we sharpen and develop our skills that prepare us for challenging games ahead.

Knowing Who You Are On and Off The Court - Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is that basketball demands that you know who you are, whether on the court or off.  We play the game of basketball and strive to do our best, but basketball does not define us – we define it.  If we maintain this perspective, we are free to excel, not just in basketball, but also in all walks of life. 

-- Bri

March 5, 2016

Spirit animals

Hey Stanford Fans!

Y’all get to see us play every week but how much do you really know about us off the court?! Well… what better way to get to know us than to know which spirit animal each of us most resembles!

Alanna- a wombat! (small animal native to Australia). Alanna is a wombat because she is soft, cuddly, adorable, and…. Australian!
Alexa- a sea turtle! They’re laid back, go with the flow, and love to travel!
Marta- a poodle. Confident, proud, and spoiled.
Shannon- a giraffe! Tall and cute!
Britt- an elk. Very competitive with great endurance. Also a high sense of integrity.
Kaylee- a lioness! Because she’s always fierce, whether it’s the way she acts, looks, hoops, or any other aspect of life.
Bird- an elephant. Wise and peaceful but still enjoys having fun.
Bri- a dog! Loving, playful, and VERY loyal.
Kailee- a wolf. There’s no doubt KJ has her packs back!
Karlie- a cheetah. Marvelous, fast, and smooth!
Lili- a bear. Symbolic for strength and courage. Has strong grounding forces and provides stable leadership.
Alex- a sloth. She thinks for herself, moves at her own pace, and just likes to hang out and do her own thing.
Kiran- a deer. Calm, peaceful, and wise.
Tess- a raccoon. Crafty, smart, and willing to eat anything in sight. Also, as long as they are unbothered, they mind their own business and stay under the radar.

Hope that gives you guys some insight into who we really are!

— Kiran

March 2, 2016

Coffee Club




As a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect for when we would travel to our away games. For example, where would we eat? Would we have time to see the city we were playing in?

I was imagining our road trips to be like the road trips I would go on during my AAU tournaments…lots of free time, shopping, seeing the iconic places the city I was in had to offer, etc. I love traveling and road trips were especially fun!

However, in college, I quickly realized that road trips for away games were very different. Traveling during season and in the midst of school barely left any free time to do anything. Between practices, watching film, team dinners, shoot-arounds, and of course lots and lots of homework, there was always something to be done at the hotel.

But as someone who loves to travel, I still wanted to experience some aspect and get somewhat of a feel of city we were staying in. That’s when I learned about Coffee Club.

Coffee Club, established by previous Stanford Women Basketballers, is a group open to anyone who wants to join. Every morning on road trips, Coffee Club meets in the hotel lobby before breakfast. Tess Picknell, Coffee Club’s president, searches for local and unique coffee shops to go to, and then whoever shows up for Coffee Club that morning; we all walk together to that coffee shop.

Consistent members of Coffee Club are myself, Tess, Bird, Hanna (our video coordinator), Kaitlin (our athletic trainer), John (our communications director), and Mary (our intern).

Coffee Club is such an awesome group. It gives me and everyone else an opportunity to explore and experience the city a little bit when time permits us not to.

Coffee Club gets me up early and has me feeling productive. It’s a great start to my day! Not to mention, talking with Coffee Club members over warm pastries and delicious cappuccinos unique to each city never fails to put a smile on my face…also Bird always seems to have a funny story to tell.

It’s a great bonding experience. I even remember one time a coffee shop in Spokane had board games, so we all gathered around a table and started playing Scrabble! It was so much fun!

Hopefully Coffee Club will continue in the upcoming year. Who knows… maybe after Tess graduates, I will become the next Coffee Club President?

— Alexa

February 15, 2016

Cardinal Strengths


A few weeks ago, after one of our practices, Bird mentioned the idea of a super player who had all of my teammates’ strengths. She would have:

Karlie’s shooting,
Lili’s clutchness,
Shannon’s post moves,
Bird’s shot blocking,
Kailee’s basketball IQ,
Kiran’s versatility,
Tess’s strength,
Bri’s ball-handling,
Marta’s passing,
Kaylee’s rebounding,
Brittany’s ability to get to the basket,
Alexa’s speed,
and
Alanna’s finishing around the rim

I thought about how crazy it would be to play against someone like this because they would be virtually impossible to beat. But then something struck me. I realized that our team can be just like the super player. If we maximize on everyone’s strengths, this team can be unstoppable.

However if one strength is lost the capability of the team declines. From seniors to freshman, in order to succeed everyone is needed. As we approach the last third of our season it will be fun to see how we will organize these strengths.

It may take a little while to see the full potential, but once we figure it out I have no doubt in my mind that this team will be stronger than ever.

-- Alex Green