Defense Needs to Be Our Calling Card'

Key players share their views on the season ahead.

January/February 2013

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With the start of the year, the men's and women's basketball teams moved into the core of their seasons: Pac-12 conference play. For the men, expectations have risen after last season's NIT championship. For the women, five straight trips to the NCAA Final Four without winning the national title is almost a parable on feast and famine.

The men will be led by guards Aaron Bright, a junior, and Chasson Randle, a sophomore who made an outsized freshman impression by leading the team in scoring. The women will depend heavily on junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, who must help fill the void left by the graduation of her sister, Nneka, the 2012 Pac-12 player of the year.

Early in the non-conference schedule, Stanford asked Randle and versatile senior forward Joslyn Tinkle what Cardinal fans should watch for this year. Here are their previews, relayed by the athletic department.

Chasson Randle makes a jump shot from the side of the court.Photo: John Todd

Chasson Randle

"I want to see us bring a consistent effort on the defensive end this year, because that's really where we excelled last year, especially late during our NIT title run. If we can continue to produce consistently on defense, I think we've got a chance to really take that next step as a group.Defense needs to be our calling card.

"This team already has a high level of chemistry and togetherness, so that can only help us get better. Even though I'm an underclassman, as a captain, I have to be a leader. I'm going to have help with Aaron Bright as a co-captain. I'm really going to try and be a leader; get on guys when I need to. I want to try and set a good example every day for my teammates, in practice and off the court. The way I know how to lead is by taking a businesslike approach and com[ing] prepared with that mindset every day."

Joslyn Tinkle squats down with the ball in hand.Photo: David GonzalesJoslyn Tinkle

"Our team will be running a new offense this season, taking advantage of the speed of guards Amber Orrange, '15, and Toni Kokenis, '14, running the pick- and-roll. Our outside shooting will also be one of our strengths: Chiney Ogwumike and I can step out and hit shots—we've been working on our range—and forwards Bonnie Samuelson, '15, and Taylor Greenfield, '15, are players who can hit the three and help spread out a defense. 

"Picking up our own defense will be huge. Our post players will need to be aggressive and continue to establish us as a top rebounding team.

"This time has hit me so much harder, because this will be the last time I get to put on a Stanford uniform and go out and fight alongside my best friends. We have a very young team this year, and being the only senior, it is my responsibility to make sure I keep composed and lead by example."

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