Hey, there’s a women’s college basketball game on TV today! Too bad it is not the number 2 in the country Stanford and number 25 Rutgers game. C and R are stuck watching the icons battle it out again on Game Tracker on the web.
But the game that IS on TV, channel ESPN2 a semi-legitimate channel, is #7 Baylor playing at #8 Tennessee. The irresistible for TV match up features freshmen sensation Brittney Griner. She is 6’-8” and dunked 52 times in high school, but who is counting? She already dunked in a college exhibition game, but it doesn’t count in the record books until she does it in an official regular season game. She will be matched up with Tennessee’s 6-6 Kelley Cain.
Mechelle Voepel writes, nothing like playing Tennessee for your first college game, eh?
Wait, it is time for the icons to come out. When nothing happens for 5 minutes past game time, I reopen the website and see that the game in progress. Ros Gold-Onwude scores the game’s first basketball. Our icons are in red, but wait, instead of the opposing team’s icons being in blue like last time, they are red and white. I know I am going to be confused all day. The red and white icons that are not Stanford score to make it 2-2. Then we score again. We already have 3 rebounds so I hope that trend continues.
I think Nneka Ogwumike gets fouled and she makes the free throws. Good, we do not have to chant at the computer screen, “This ain’t high school.” It is 8-7 Stanford, with five minutes gone in the game. This looks like a great game; too bad we can’t see it. The game takes a “Media Timeout”, so maybe they are showing this game somewhere, perhaps back East. We hope people are watching.
Wow, the Britanny Ray icon for Baylor blocks Gold-Onwude .It looks impressive because the icon jumps high and blocks the heck out of the Stanford icon. Then the teams trade the lead back and forth. So far it is a nail biter. Joslyn Tinkle comes in (we shake the tinkle bells), misses a shot and then FOULS. She gets quickly yanked. In senior Jayne Appel’s first and second year, if she fouled, she got yanked, a lesson of tough love to get her not to foul. We mentioned Tinkle plays a lot like Jayne so it looks like they are treating her with the same approach.
With the score tied at 17, Jayne takes a three and misses. C and R grind our respective teeth. We hate that Jayne is that far out, as she is not a pure shooter like the almost equally tall Kayla Pederson. We rebound and get it to JJ Hones, and she gets the three to fall. She is the one who should be taking the threes. Jayne is 0-4 shooting, not good, but not just her, the whole team is 7 for 27, or 25 % shooting. Come on Stanford, we need more of your shots to drop.
Nneka commits a foul with the score 22-20. Baylor makes both to tie the score 22-22. We hold our breath to see if Nneka will get yanked like Tinkle and Jayne before her. She does not, then promptly makes the next basket and is fouled. Wow, we love that Tara VanDerveer left her in. Then she misses the free throw. Nneka, this ain’t high school! Tinkle gets to come back in after crossing her heart and promising not to foul. She gets an offensive rebound.
How did it get to be us, 32-22? We scroll through the play-by-play and see we had a couple of steals, a couple of threes, and that is how we got to 32-22. Oops, as we were scrolling, JJ made another three! It looks like awe are using our outside shooting today inside of pounding it inside, although as we typed that sentence, Jayne gets basket inside.
Tinkle gets a block, Jayne fouls, and gets yanked. Tinkle gets an offensive board and puts it back to end the half, Stanford 39-29. We have 29 rebounds to their 19. Our shooting improved somewhat to 34 % and we are hitting 33 % of our threes. JJ Hones has 12 points, all threes.
So now the half time chess match between coaches begins. Will we try to keep up with the outside shooting now that Baylor has time to try to make adjustments during half time? Or will we now work it more inside since we will guess that they will be spread out more to prevent the three? Only Game Tracker will tell when the icons come back out.
Our computer screen starts moving and the half starts back up with Jayne getting her 10th rebound. Way to go. Jayne! Nneka makes a basket and is fouled. Then she misses the free throw! OMG, don’t a make us say it….
Kayla makes a three, so I guess we are going to stick with what works. Either that, Baylor is not adjusting to get a hand in our faces on the threes. We are up 49- 33 with five minutes gone in the second half.
Now Stanford can’t score inside or outside and goes on a drought. Rutgers climbs back to 50-45 with 12 minutes left. We are nervous for the Stanford icons. Luckily Rutgers fouls us. Twice. This time Nneka makes both of her and Pohlen sinks her two. Make that fouled by Rutgers three times. Nneka gets two more points. We are up 58-47. Then Kayla gets a three! And a two and they foul Jayne. Jayne misses one of two. We shout….something about high school. Okay, Now we are up 64-49.
We keep the lead with a comfortable cushion for good this time. We won 81-66, yay! Roof (Mikaela Ruef) goes in the closing minutes, a testimonial to how she views her two freshmen. Tinkle got in the game early and often, Roof went in after the game was well in hand, and at the 1 minute mark. Roof did get fouled. Then missed one of her free throws. Since she is just out of high school, we can say it out loud again, “This ain’t high school! You need to make your free throws.”
This game was a test to see just how good we were. It’s one thing to beat the UC San Diegos of the world, but to play and beat a top 25 team on their court is different. It was touch and go when Rutgers clawed back in the second half around the 11 minute mark, but luckily for us they fouled us three times in a row. Were our big girls bringing it inside and drawing the fouls? We can only guess.
The box score shows it was our big three that scored the points, plus JJ Hones’ outside shooting. Kayla lead with 22 points, Nneka was next with 21. Jayne got 11 and JJ finished with 15. We also out rebounded them 50-33.
One thing we did have was a lot of missed shots. We were 27 for 71. Practice back in Palo Alto should be mind-numbingly fun, full of shooting, shooting, and more shooting. And oh, shooting free throws, Nneka! We left nine points on the court that will count in close games, say the Tennessee game.
Still, exciting. We can’t wait to see them in person again. November 19th they play Pepperdine at home.