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Jan. 9, 2007

Smith, Wiggins: All-America Candidates

The Cardinal Rule

January 9, 2007

The Five 'R's' of our Team Success

Here we are at the start of a new academic quarter and the half-way point of our season. This is a good time to do a short evaluation of our team's progress. We look at five really important aspects of the game that I refer to as the five 'R's'.

The first 'R' is knowing and following the rules of our defense. Our team has improved greatly in this and our defense is getting better and better. I am especially impressed with our post defense where Kristen, Brooke, Jayne and Morgan all have done stellar jobs. Our assistant coaches have worked hard to give our team detailed scouting reports and our team has studied and learned them.

At the end of a defensive possession we need to box out and grab the rebound. Rebounding is the next 'R' that is critical to our success. Again our 'bigs' are on the boards but we are also getting nice contributions from Jillian, Michelle, Clare and Christy. I repeatedly tell our team that someone can shoot, dribble or pass too much but one can NEVER get too many rebounds so get greedy!

The next 'R' is run!!! Our most successful teams at Stanford have all been teams that like to push the ball and get transition baskets. This is an area that we are really concentrating on in practice. Our point guards JJ, Mel, Markisha and Candice are all working hard to get the outlet, look up the court and push the ball. I am very pleased with the development of our young guards (JJ and Mel) and the excellent mentorship our older guards (Candice, Markisha and yes Ros!) have provided. By running we can take advantage of our team speed (no one is faster than Cissy!) and our team depth.

The fourth 'R' is our team's ability to 'read the defense'. When we are in our half-court offense, it is important to make the right decisions. This is by far the most challenging 'R'. Reading the defense involves split-second recognition of what needs to be done and also the skill set to do it! For our freshmen this can be overwhelming. So much of our success depends on our young players 'learning to read' and at this level it is speed reading!

Our last 'R' is a mixed bag but I call it being READY! Be ready to play. Be ready for whatever the other team does. Be ready to adjust to officials. Be ready for loud crowds. Be ready to deal with whatever happens and turn it into a positive for our team.

I know in the next two months our team will continue to improve in the 'Five R's'. I am really proud of our team and how hard they are working. Every player brings something special each day. They are a great group of young women to work with. Hopefully you practice an 'R' too - cheeR for us!

Tara VanDerveer

GO CARD!

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