Stanford quartet takes chance with voices

STANFORD, Calif. -- This could be seen as a form of "Stanford Idol," although it's really more "X Factor," given the group dynamic.

And in this case, it's a Stanford basketball dynamic.

Stanford stars and sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, freshman guard Jasmine Camp and newly hired team manager Natasha von Kaeppler shared a pair of microphones Monday to sing the national anthem in the middle of Maples Pavilion.

They were auditioning to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a Stanford women's volleyball game on Nov. 18 against Oregon, and it was time to show their stuff.

"We've only had one practice," Nneka said.

Chiney quickly adds, "But it was a really serious practice."

Nneka has already established herself as a singer, singing the solo on the team's popular video "I Got Bounce" from last season, which got more than 22,000 views on YouTube.

Nneka would like to call the group "The Four Divas," but she doesn't imagine the volleyball folks are going to go for that.

"They will probably just want to introduce us as basketball players," Nneka said.

The Divas made some late adjustments before the audition, losing one of their members and gaining von Kaeppler, who came to the practice dressed as a Na'vi from the movie "Avatar." It was Halloween, after all.

The Ogwumike sisters, Camp and von Kaeppler sang a cappella in front of three "judges" -- sports information director Aaron Juarez, volleyball SID Regina Verlengiere and Amy Brown, the volleyball program's director of operations. (No clue as to which Stanford judge was channeling Simon Cowell, Steven Tyler, Paula Abdul or Jennifer Lopez on this day.)

The quartet belted it out while some of their teammates began to wander out to the floor to warm up for practice.

After a solid version of the anthem, with only a couple of spots that might be regarded as Randy Jackson might say, "pitchy," they were done.

The judges conferred and rendered their decision Wednesday. They're in.

"We got the Golden Ticket! We're going to Hollywood!" Chiney said. "I totally screamed when they told us and no one else heard me."

The ladies got in a little practice time Monday, working on their arrangement of the Anthem.

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