Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stanford Loses to Georgia 59-61

It was a game of runs. A game of one team scoring 7 or 8 points and the other team scoring 0. And it was a game that saw the Stanford Women’s Basketball team end their run of five straight Final Fours, trying to make a historic 6th.
Taylor Greenfield Injurys Hand
Taylor Greenfield leaves the court with a hand injury (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
Stanford opened their Sweet Sixteen game against Georgia with a 9-0 run, and all was right with the world. Then a 10-4 run by Georgia. Granted, it didn’t help matters that role player Taylor Greenfield left the game early when a kicked ball jammed her left thumb. (She looked like she was in a lot of pain, hope it is not broken). And after that Joslyn Tinkle went to the bench with two fouls early on in the first. Stanford is not known for their deep bench. But Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike saved the day again, at least for the first half. 

Chiney couldn’t be stopped in the first, she would have 18, most in the second part of the first half with Tinkle and Greenfield out. Georgia’s scorer Hassell went to the bench with an early foul, then comes back help Georgia on a run.  Georgia’s Griffin who made five three pointers all year hits two of them. There was no flow for either team. The half ended with Stanford holding a comfortable 7-point lead, 34-25.

Chiney Ogwumike scored
Chiney Ogwumike scored 26 and 12 boards (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Chiney got her usual double-double (26 points and 12 rebounds) for the game and when Georgia would try to go ahead (five lead changes) Amber Orrrrange would calmly hit a shot to keep Stanford right in it. She scored 17 for the game. Except for the final quarter. That final quarter everyone missed. Amber, Chiney…or wait no one else from Stanford was scoring. The closest was Mikaela Ruef, who had six points but missed crucial free throws at the end. 

And that in a nutshell is what has hurt Stanford all season, no one dependable in scoring besides Chiney. Chiney is amazing and Amber has stepped up but nobody else. When Chiney was double and tripled teamed, especially in the second half, no one from Stanford puts themselves in position for her to kick it out to them. And Georgia had players that stepped, up notable Hassell who scored six points in the final three minutes.

The final 1:20 seconds also was uncharacteristic for Stanford, in that they did not play smart. The score was tied and Chiney could not connect with Tinkle under the basket, a rare pass out of bounds. Then Georgia hit the backboard and the shot clock mistakenly reset, so Amber fouled to stop the clock (Okay, that part was smart). After the Georgia player made both shots to take a four point lead with 59 seconds left, Amber took forever to bring the ball up court, dribbling away from the basket, so much that Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer called a time out.

Then when Stanford inbounded, the ball with 23 seconds left Amber again dribbled away from the basket. The ball finally made its way to Tinkle’s hand, who made her first three of the game. However, there was just five seconds left on the game clock and Stanford was still down by one, 59-60. Georgia threw a leading football pass from their own end zone and a Georgia player ran under it. She was finally tackled by Stanford’s Sara James with .8 seconds left. (And all the games in the tourney have been football-like in the lack of non-calls).

The Georgia player missed the first shot but hit the second, when she should have done it the other way around. The made basket gave Stanford time to inbound and shoot. Ruef threw a baseball pass three quarters the length of the court but no one was there to corral it and Georgia was the one hugging themselves in victory, wining 59-61.

Well, hats off to Stanford for a great season. Tara VanDerveer made the most with what she had. The overachievers were 33-3, knocked off Baylor and beat Tennessee. With new talent coming in and redshirt players coming back, already looking forward to next year.

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