Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stanford vs. Arizona

Hello, C here, and just a quick note about the Stanford Women’s Basketball-Arizona game before C and R head off to the Arizona State game today. It’s too bad we werent’t wearing the “Hecka Nneka” shirt, as she was all that. When Stanford needed a score, she was there. It was interesting how she did score. Nneka Ogwumike would drive to the basket and when she was stopped, she would elevate and bank a one-hander off the glass. It wasn’t a pure, two handed shot mind you, it was a push, as she was up pretty high anyway, and what looked like a crazy angle, the kind that makes you say that was a lucky throw, except she was lucky to the tune of 24 points. And, and… when C and R saw little sis throw the same crazy one-handed bank shot and IT went in, well, you just know it’s going to be Stanford’s year. (And BTW, C and R are glad Nneka recovered from her shoulder and head injury she received at Cal to play the next game)

Speaking of little sis Chiney Ogwumike, who knew when she was recruited that she would become a defense specialist? Well, maybe Tara, but we think not. Chiney has drawn the tough assignments against taller players in the Xavier game, UConn game (Hello Maya Moore) and against Arizona’s top player and she has done a great job. Plus, she usually plays deny defense in FRONT of the player and either recovers to get the back door pass that is coming or her teammates, usually Kayla Pedersen, are smart enough to come over and help.

And speaking of defense, interesting chess match in the first half regarding Arizona using screens to free their guards and how Stanford defended them. At first, Stanford just switched players, as they always do. Then the Arizona bench started yelling, “Mismatch!” They wanted Stanford to switch, because then the Stanford guard was on the taller Arizona player who started the screen, and she would roll to the basket and Arizona was supposed to throw it inside. So then Tara told her team not to switch, to fight around the screen, so the Arizona guards were trying to go around the screen and pull up and shoot threes in the confusion. Both teams kept experimenting, including Arizona using a DOUBLE screen and Stanford had to decide to switch or stay. It was fun to watch.

Well, Stanford is nothing if not consistent in the way we match intensity with teams. Arizona started out with a lot of intensity, so we did, too, going up by 11 early in the half, then they got down, so we did, too, except they scored and got within 3. Then we came out in the second half and crushed them. We read Tara yelled at them a little, and called out her captains, Kayla, Jeanette Pedersen and Nneka, and boy did they respond. Final score was 87-54. Kayla is still a little off, going 4-13 from the floor, but her 11 rebounds were very timely, including all the little things she does on the floor to keep Stanford moving forward.
Well, off to Arizona State and let’s hope they come out with a lot of intensity, so we can too!

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