Stanford Women Get Official Practices Underway

Oct. 16, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - With two consecutive Final Fours under its collective belt, the Stanford women's basketball team began the road to what it hopes will be a third trip in 2009-10 with Friday's first official practice.

The Road To San Antonio, the site of the 2010 Final Four, began Friday night in Maples Pavilion, as the Cardinal broke a collective sweat in its first official, organized workout of the new campaign.

Before the 5 p.m. start, the team was scattered around the Maples court, shooting on the eight hoops surrounding the court. Once head coach Tara VanDerveer and her staff arrived on the court, the team gathered together at center court for the first official group talk.

There, VanDerveer, who is entering her 31st season overall as a head coach and 24th at the Stanford helm, ran down the day's objectives and gave her charges a quick pep talk preparing them for the long road ahead.

From that point, practice began with senior Rosalyn Gold-Onwude leading the team in a ball-handling warmup before senior Jayne Appel and redshirt junior JJ Hones led the team to the south baseline for stretching and conditioning warmups.

The team spent the rest of the session alternately drilling and scrimmaging, as VanDerveer went over plays, positioning and tactics which the team absorbed and put into action.

Coming off of a 33-5 season in 2008-09 and the program's eighth Final Four appearance, Stanford returns six players who started a majority of the team's games a year ago in addition to bringing on a pair of top freshmen in Joslyn Tinkle and Mikaela Ruef.

Appel, the 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a State Farm Coaches' All-American, returns for her senior season on The Farm after averaging 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last year, both marks second in the conference. Entering 2009-10 Appel and juniors Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen have all been listed on the Wade Trophy preseason watch list, as Pedersen and Pohlen look to continue their strong ascents into the national player of the year discussion. Another returner who is eager to make an even bigger mark on the national scene is sophomore forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who led the Pac-10 with a 62.9 shooting percentage a year ago.

Also returning is a talented batch of guards in Gold-Onwude, freshman three-point specialist Lindy La Rocque, and redshirt juniors JJ Hones and Melanie Murphy. Hones returns to action for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last November, while Gold-Onwude, La Rocque and Murphy provide a deep pool of talent for VanDerveer to use in the backcourt.

Forwards Michelle Harrison, Ashley Cimino, center Sarah Boothe and guards Hannah Donaghe and Grace Mashore round out the returners in 2009-10. They will be joined by Tinkle, a WBCA and McDonald's All-American a year ago and Missoula, Mont. native, and Ruef, a decorated prep star from Beavercreek, Ohio.

The Cardinal will open action in two weeks with an exhibition game at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 against Vanguard UNiversity at Maples Pavilion.

The 2009-10 season gets underway with a road game on Nov. 13 as the Cardinal travel to Norfolk, Va. to battle Old Dominion before finishing the trip with a Nov. 15 bout with Rutgers.

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