Stanford Women's Basketball Gets First Official Practice Underway Friday

Oct. 17, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - The 2008-09 women's basketball season got underway for the Stanford Cardinal Friday as the team hit the hardwood of Maples Pavilion for the first official practice of the year.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer, entering her 30th season overall and 23rd at the helm of the Cardinal program, held sway on the court as her charges hustled through drills and absorbed instruction in the season's first official workout.

Fresh off of last year's berth in the Final Four and national runner-up finish, the Cardinal took the first steps of the new season towards what it hopes will end with a second straight Final Four appearance and the program's third national championship.

Stanford returns 11 players from last year's Final Four squad, including first-team All-Pac-10 pick Jayne Appel (also an all-defensive pick), Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Kayla Pedersen (also a third-team All-Pac-10 and All-Freshman selection), All-Pac-10 honorable mentions Jillian Harmon (also an all-defensive pick) and JJ Hones, and All-Defensive Team honorable mention Rosalyn Gold-Onwude.

The Cardinal also welcomes four newcomers to the squad in center Sarah Boothe (Gurnee, Ill.), guard Lindy La Rocque (Las Vegas, Nev.), guard Grace Mashore (Washington, D.C.) and forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas).

Ogwumike, the Gatorade National Player of the Year and a Ms. Texas Basketball last season, and Boothe, the Ms. Illinois basketball recipient last year, teamed up on the USA U18 National Team that captured the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina over the summer. The front-court duo add significant size and athleticism to arguably the nation's best and deepest front court, joining Preseason Wade Watch candidates Appel and Pedersen.

La Rocque, a gunner who holds a slew of Nevada state records for scoring and three-point shooting, and Mashore, a standout prep performer at National Cathedral School, also look to make their marks with the crew of Cardinal guards, led by 2007-08 starters Gold-Onwude and Hones.

The Cardinal have two weeks of workouts ahead of it before the Nov. 1 exhibition opener against Chico State, set for a 12 p.m. tip at Maples Pavilion. Stanford's regular season also begins at home, with a 7 p.m. contest on Nov. 14 against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

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