Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stanford Beats Utah, Stays in Pac-12 Tie for First

Just a quick bloggo about the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team annihilating Utah 65-44. Stanford is back to its usual self in the Pac-12, mowing through teams (although we will see if that holds true for a physical Colorado team on Sunday).

Stanford jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead early on in the game, and all seven points were scored by Stanford’s Joslyn Tinkle. That is very important, because this week, Stanford head Coach Tara VanDerveer made much ado about others needing to step up besides All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who is averaging about 22 points a game and 10 rebounds, a double-double. "We do want to look for her more when she's open," VanDerveer said. "But we're not going to run more things for her." Tara even took Chiney out for extended minutes in the first half, something she has not done this year. So how did Chiney do in the Utah game if they were not going to run plays for her? She was Stanford’s high scorer with 23 points and 13 rebounds, a double-double.

Tinkle, who started the game so hot and as a woman on a mission, cooled, and although she made the only three-pointer for Stanford in the first half and extended her made threes to eight in a row over 3 games, she disappeared for most of the middle of the game. Granted, she was the second high scorer for Stanford with 16. No other Stanford player would break double digits. Stanford also shot 3-11 from the three-point line.
Chiney Ogwumike
Tinkle for Three! Photo By Don Feria

After the game, Tara VanDerveer said: "I'm just glad Chiney and Jos came to the game tonight. Otherwise it would have been tough. We're trying to get more people involved but we really struggled on the perimeter. It was the Chiney-Jos show and they really got it done." Is that woman never happy? Well, she did manage to get one player to step up her game. Now let’s see if others can follow.

Three unique moment of the Game:
So Stanford has the ball out of bounds under their basket with three seconds left. Dear readers will remember C and R talking about this situation in their blog about the first Cal game. Last year, Stanford would do the “Nneka play”, and lob it up to Senior Nneka Ogwumike and she would catch and release. Not many women can do that, except her sister Chiney. In the Cal game, Tinkle was at the half court line instead of under the basket and lobbed it TO the backboard. Chiney caught it and put it back up and got fouled. Cal seemed defeated and the Game turned on that play. C and R call it the Nneka/Chiney play.

Flash forward to the Utah game, three seconds, Stanford ball out of bounds under the basket. And Tinkle lobs it up for…Chiney, who has a 6’4 Utah player and a 6’3 Utah player plus some Utah shorty on her, and although she catches it and lands, her shot is short. Utah was on to the Chiney play. Fast, Fast Forward to the same Utah game, same half, three seconds, Stanford ball out of bounds under the basket. Different play. So Stanford is going to do the Nneka/Chiney play. Except Chiney is on the bench and Nneka is in the WNBA. What to do?

C and R are wondering have they ever practiced the Nneka/Chiney play with anyone else? Tinkle grabs the ball and Mikalea Ruef is giving signs like she is a third base coach or a practicing Catholic, and Tinkle lobs it to her, she jumps in the air and PASSES it back without landing to a now in-bounds Tinkle. Tinkle is wide open and drains the long two. Well, that answers that question. Stanford, always thinking.

Unique moment number three was when the refs called time out and everyone stood around not knowing what to do. Finally the ref points back to the Utah basket and one of their players is down. One trainer was attending to her and Stanford’s Tinkle went over and helped her up and supported her weight while she walked until someone from Utah finally ran down and took over at half court. Great gesture from Tinkle. That Stanford always thinking.

Unfortunately for Utah, that was their second leading scorer on the team, and boy did they miss her. Their star player Michelle Plouffe, who plays on the Canadian National Team, did her best to help Utah, scoring 24, but no one else from Utah could do anything else, shooting 25% as a team for the game and 2-15 from the three-point line.

Let’s hope Stanford can keep on rolling against Colorado.

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