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

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