Meet Contessa

STANFORD, Calif. -- There is a player on the Stanford women's basketball team whose name won't show up on the roster, but she's doing her part.

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Joslyn Tinkle takes her shot at scoring over Contessa.

Her name is Contessa, and she's big -- about 8 feet tall with her arms up. She's not very mobile, at least not without help, and she's always getting in the way.

But everybody's cutting Contessa some slack -- she's only a large practice dummy, made of rigid foam and vinyl and designed to simulate the size of a post player. Her real name is the Silent Player, a training device used by teams around the country.

Stanford decided to name her Contessa, for obvious reasons.

"This is Contessa," associate head coach Amy Tucker said, providing a formal introduction. "You know, like contesting shots."

Then Tucker called over freshmen Taylor Greenfield, Bonnie Samuelson and Jasmine Camp to work on shooting over and working around a large post player.

Contessa, who lives in the bathroom of the staff dressing room when she's not being wheeled out onto the Maples Pavilion court, was altering her share of shots Thursday as Greenfield, Sameulson and Camp tried to shoot jumpers.

The freshmen were looking for ways to make Contessa look a bit more human.

"Can we put a wig on her?" Camp asked.

"How about a Connecticut jersey?" Tucker replied.

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