Friday, January 4, 2013

Stanford Bounces Back and Beats Colorado

Basketball team opening at (previously) undefeated Colorado. Would Stanford rebound from the embarrassing home loss to UConn. Or will Colorado try a similar UConn game plan to expose the Cardinal weaknesses?

Well, there is a reason UConn is #1 and beat Stanford so soundly. They are very talented and athletic, and not everyone can deploy their type of game plan. Or, Colorado sure couldn’t. They did not pressure the point guard in the back court or employ a full court press to try and force turnovers until the final three minutes when desperation set in and the game was already lost. They let Stanford get up the court easily and run their plays unhindered for most of the night. The result was a 25-12 Stanford lead at half.

And, there is a reason Stanford has been a perennial top 25 team for so many years: they play great defense. I mean, they DID hold high-scoring UConn to 61 points. And they held Colorado to just two points in the first ten minutes of the game.

Chiney Ogwumike and Joslyn Tinkle block a shot
Twin Towers Chiney Ogwumike and Jos Tinkle block a shot by Colorado (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Plus Stanford is tall. They had 37 team rebounds to Colorado’s 23. Chiney Ogwumike had 11 by her little old self. Mikaela Ruef, not the biggest scorer, contributed eight boards. Stanford also blocked eight shots, three by Chiney and three by her twin in spirit, Joslyn Tinkle. 

Joslyn Tinkle sure learned something from the UConn loss. She hit a wild three to open the game and Stanford never trailed. Tinkle would have 13 points for the game, and her offense was sorely missed vs. UConn. Chiney is Chiney, and got her 11th double-double for the season, 10 th straight. She had 20 points and 11 rebounds after sitting most of the middle of the second half. Stanford guard Amber Orrrrange also got involved offensively, scoring 13. It was good to see three Stanford players in double figures.

Anyone a little bothered by the so predictable Stanford offense that Colorado knew when the pass was coming and was able to step in front of the offensive players and get steals? Another troubling stat was the threes. Stanford was 2-10 from behind the arc. Bonnie Samuelson, the three-point specialist was 0-4. Then there the 18 Stanford turn-overs, tying a season high. Troubling indeed.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer wanted to rest her players due to high altitude, reported Stanford alum and current Pac-12 announcer Ros Gold-Onwude. But with most of the starters on the bench Colorado went 10-4 run, and cut Stanford’s lead to 12 with 3:12 to play. Chiney was quickly inserted and she got a basket and a steal and lay up despite Colorado’s sudden intensity and pressure and Stanford easily won 57-40.

One streak is still intact: Stanford had won 78 straight games against Pac 10/12 conference teams. Mark that still alive at 79. Next up Utah on Sunday.

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