Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stanford Sweats Out 10-Point Victory Against Washington

Let’s see…
Went to a fight yesterday and a basketball game broke out.
Or, try this…
C and R, what did you do on Saturday?
Well, we watched the worst officiated game of women’s basketball you ever did see.
Stanford “Only” wins by 10, 62-52 over Washington, and Washington had it within 2 with 5:41 left in the game.

C and R have seen some badly called games before at Maples, but this one was unusually bad and helped contribute to Stanford not finding their rhythm. Plus, Washington was aggressive and physical, and when refs let most fouls away from the ball go unnoticed (as they did in the first half) then teams like that take advantage. Also in the first half, many traveling calls were whistled against both teams when the player was not moving, prompting C to wonder if they really knew what traveling was.

Then in the second half, some obvious contact would go by and then minor contact would get called. Very inconsistent. To make matters worse, when there was contact, the refs didn’t really know who fouled. Whistles would blow and they would give a foul to a player who was not involved in the play. The instant reply on the jumbotron would confirm this many times. It happened to both teams. It happened to Stanford, and then minutes later it happened to Washington. Unfortunately for them, the misplaced foul was given to a player that had four, so she was the second player for Washington to foul out. The Washington players reenacted the foul for the refs and the real person who fouled held her hand up and even pointed to the jumbotron screen to no avail. Sorry, they don’t use instant replay like they do in the NFL.

Scary moment when player number two fouled out walked to her bench and the Stanford band, who in our opinion, can behave in an unsportsman-like way sometimes, shouted “Siddown” as she lowered herself to the chair. She stood up without letting her behind touch and took a step to the band with fists up and murder in her eyes. I thought for sure she was going to charge the band. There’s no need for violence on her part or the band’s, and she was the biggest one to hold the Stanford inside players, usually getting her hands up high around their necks.

How physical was Washington? Well, four, count ‘em four Washington players fouled out. After the fourth, we wondered if they had anyone eligible to put in the game! I am sorry, but I have to comment on how to a man (wo-man) Washington held Stanford players away from the ball and to me, that was just dirty. It wasn’t just one player; it was all of them, hence when the refs finally starting calling it, they got their four players quickly thrown out of the game (Second scary moment was seeing Nneka going heels over head and then to the floor. How does that happen?). Washington got many offensive rebounds and put backs, unusual for Stanford to give those up, but when you see how the Washington players were grabbing and holding the Stanford player’s arm at waist level, it is easier to see why they got so many offensive rebounds. And if one Washington player was holding, another Washington player was aggressive and did go hard after the ball.

Still, bad officiating and holding under the basket cannot explain Stanford being one for twenty from three-point land (thank you Toni Kokenis). When guard Jeanette Pohlen finishes with three points, you know your outside game did not come through. Thank goodness for Stanford’s inside game, which is to throw it to Nneka Ogwumike and watch her create her own shot. She can drive all the way to the basket, spin away from a defender if blocked or drive hard and then pull up and EL-E-Vate for a hecka Nneka jump shot.

It doesn’t hurt to have little sis Chiney be practically a carbon copy inside, and the sisters would score 22 (N) and 21 (C, with 10 rebounds), added to Kayla Pedersen’s 13 points (7 were free throws) and that is 56 points out of 62. Yikes. What happened to all starters in double figures?

And yet the bad officiating didn’t harm Washington’s ability from the arc. They were 6 for 12, and more importantly, they (Kristi Kingma) bombed threes to the very end (Stanford, where has your “D” gone? Remember when you didn’t let Maya Moore take a three point shot in your house?). When the third or fourth Washington player fouled out, all they had was the three-point game, and it was just two players (Kristi Kingma and Sarah Morten) taking and making all the shots. Someone put a body on those two players next time and sag off everybody else. Oh, one bright spot was Stanford's 1-3-1 defense worked really well against this team (Washington didn’t take advantage of working the ball to the bottom of the basket where the defense is weakest. Love seeing head coach Tara VanDerveer knowing her opponent well.)

Well, a victory is a victory, even if the outcome was still unclear to the final minutes. The victory gives Stanford their 58th straight home game win at Maples, one shy of the old record. We won’t see the conclusion of the record until they come back home Feb 24.

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