Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stanford Dominates UCLA for PAC-10 Lead

“I thought you said UCLA was good!” said C and R’s good friend and basketball teammate, S. Well, you can’t blame her for the statement as it was half time of the Stanford-UCLA game and Stanford was winning 31-15. And that was before she saw the second half where Stanford lead most of the game 30 or more points before winning 64-38. Thirty plus points against number eight ranked UCLA! Wow, they blew them out!

Stanford was just dominating them with their defense, too. UCLA tried setting screens to free up their guards but Stanford was too quick and often switched players for seamlessly coverage and the taller player did not roll towards the basket. C and R were a little surprised at that as one of the Arizona teams analyzed Stanford’s tendency to switch on screens and when the smaller Stanford guard switched to a taller forward, they moved toward the basket and tried to work it inside over the guard. UCLA did not try to work the mismatch or throw it inside. In fact, UCLA had problems getting off a good shot and didn’t score until 5 minutes had gone by in the game and by then it was 8-2. UCLA’s leading scorer Jasmine Dixon did not score until 10 minutes into the contest.

AS C and R have been saying for the last two years, Stanford rises to their opponent’s intensity level, so Stanford should really thank UCLA for the fast start. UCLA did come out fired up and tried some full court press. Coach Nikki Caldwell said they were doing a full court press after UCLA scored, but if you don’t score, then you can’t press. Hmm., good point and maybe you might want to rethink that one, coach!

Speaking of Nikki Caldwell, did you see those shoes? I mean C and R have seen coaches wear some high heels on Maples floor (Hello Kim Mulkey), but I think she needed a ladder just to get in them! (Speaking of Kim Mulkey, special shout out to our Cal friends who are Kim fans and who drove down from Sacto to see the game. They are impressive in all the women’s basketball knowledge they have. C and R have tunnel vision on Stanford and it was great to get the 411 on other teams for a change—although they lost street cred for leaving early when the Stanford lead hit 30!).

It was great to see Kayla Pedersen have a break out game offensively. She scored 18 points and had 10 boards. It was also great to see how she scored. When Stanford was in their half court game, she was calling for the ball, working hard inside, posting up, and cutting back door. C and R haven’t seen her work so hard for the ball in a long time. And then there was the second half Show Time fast break game. Where did that come from? Stanford had 18 fast break points, and Kayla was leading a lot of them. Not their usual way of scoring, and UCLA is fast.

Mel Murphy played in her first game sense off-season surgery and she had a steal and a fast break lay up at the other end, although she was fouled when shooting and it wasn’t called.

In fact, the officiating was just horrible. The game was rough and they simply missed making calls, or when they did blow the whistle the call was late or two plays ago. Poor Nneka Ogwumike got beat up. She was hit in the nose when shooting and fell down and no call. She set a screen and the UCLA player did not see her and totally bowled her over and they both went crashing to the floor and no call. Players often were knocked to the floor when shooting and NO CALL! Sarah Boothe got called for an intentional foul and the replay did not show that at all. Then a few plays later a UCLA player went to stop a fast break basket and it was intentional as she just hit the other player’s hands and body and was not going for the ball. Where is the “intentional” call on that one? To make matters worse, there would be an obvious foul, such as a player knocked to the floor and ignored, and then the next contact made by the team that made the previous foul would draw a whistle, never mind the contact was minimal at best. Yes, make up calls. Which means the officials were aware they “blew” one and were making it up. It happened very obviously three separate times. We have heard from other teams that PCA-10 officials are the worst, but that game was especially called poorly. Does anyone review the officials’ work?

We mentioned UCLA player Jasmine Dixon, and she continues to impress as when we saw her last year in the PAC-10 tournament in LA. She “only’ scored 12, below her average, but lead all UCLA scorers. She is impressive in her ability to create her own shots near the basket. She has as quick as we have ever seen explosive first step to the basket and then can elongate her stride to beat her player to the basket, as well as squeeze out of the double team Stanford put on her. Someone to keep our eye on.

Off to see Stanford take on USC Saturday!

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