The Norman Transcript

April 4, 2010

Stanford on guard

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

SAN ANTONIO — It’s enough to make you wonder if Abi Olajuwon’s due for another big game, but the two players who really seem to have everybody’s attention are Sooner point guard Danielle Robinson and off guard Nyeshia Stevenson.

One question put to Stanford players was is “this Oklahoma backcourt the fastest and quickest you’ve faced this year?”

Jeanette Pohlen, who spent some time with USA Basketball as a summer teammate of Robinson, simply said “Oklahoma’s probably going to be up there,” but Stanford’s met many quick backcourts, like those for Duke, Tennessee, Connecticut and Oregon.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, though, tossed out very high praise twice for Robinson.

“We don’t have one person that can guard Danielle Robinson,” she said, going on to say the Cardinal squad must play strong team defense.

Later, she added Robinson moves around the court as though jet-propelled.

“She just goes from end to end as fast as anyone,” VanDerveer said. “She has such incredible speed and quickness, and every time you look at her, she’s smiling and laughing. She brings great energy.”

Against the world?

It may be hard to find somebody who was truly against Oklahoma, but it’s certainly true the Sooners defied expectation to reach the Alamodome. The players are taking that fact as a rallying point.

“Well, you know, people can say what they say, they have their opinions,” Sooner team captain Amanda Thompson said, “but I think it just puts us in a great position to change history … We’re just creating a bubble and staying within that and having fun while we’re doing it.”

Guard Jasmine Hartman said the Sooners have been in their bubble “since we’ve been underrated. Nobody thought we’d be here.”

“No one was pretty much on our side but (us),” Stevenson said.

Bad for game?

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma answered the big question with great thought. Is his team’s 76-game winning streak, and the dominance that goes with it, good for the women’s college game?

“Most of the people asking those questions are gender-biased. If this was a men’s team, nobody would be asking that question,” he said. “I don’t remember any questions about when Tiger (Woods) was winning every major, is this good for golf?”

Auriemma’s answer went on and on. He said of his Huskies “we’re the Yankees, we’re the Celtics, we’re the Montreal Canadians, we’re the Russian hockey team before 1980.”

Still, he made a strong point.

“I guarantee you, five years from now, there will be a lot more good teams in America than there are today because of what we’re doing,” he said. “Just like after we won the whole thing in 1995, there are a lot more programs doing what they’re doing now, then there were back then.”

Robinson honored

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced its player of the year Saturday, as well as it’s 10-player, All-America team.

Connecticut’s Maya Moore won player of the year for the second time, while Robinson was named to the All-America team. The only other big 12 player on the list is Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin.

Layups

Every coach at the Final Four has won a national championship but Sherri Coale. Auriemma has won six at Connecticut, VanDerveer two at Stanford and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey one … Stanford, OU and Baylor all have Texans on the roster. Connecticut has none … Baylor won the national championship the last time it was in a dome: 2005 in Indianapolis … Two No. 3 seeds have ever won a national championship: North Carolina (1994) and Tennessee (1997).

Clay Horning 366-3526 cfhorning@normantranscript.com