Monday, January 19, 2015

Stanford Cannot Outrun Arizona State

A tale of two halves, too little too late, ran out of gas, came up short, all those expressions would be apt in describing the Stanford Women’s Basketball team’s three point loss to Arizona State. Granted the teams were very similarly ranked, so at least this does not qualify as an “upset” except for the fact ASU had not won on the Maples floor for 31 years. Thirty-one years!! Dang, having a streak broken hurts: usually Stanford is the streak buster.

Amber Orrange
Stanford could not stop ASU's speedy guards in the first (Photo: Steve Rodriguez/ASU sports information)
So tale of two halves let’s go with that for now. C and R want to read out some statistics to show just how bad Stanford had it in the first. Stanford shot 29% in the first half (7 for 24) and made only two of its ten 3-point tries. Arizona State used a 14-2 run late in the first and outrebounded Stanford 24-10 in the first half. Stanford also gave up 20 points in the paint. Post play, post play, post play. Stanford has to score in the post and stop the other team’s post play.

What went wrong? The Stanford defense could not stop the drive down the middle or keep anyone out of the paint, there was not help defense when the ASU guards penetrated and no one could grab a rebound. ASU held Stanford without a field goal for nearly 4½ minutes late in the first half. ASU had 11 of their 20 offensive rebounds in the first half. When Arizona State outscored Stanford 19-6 over the final 10 minutes of the first half, Stanford was lucky to be only down 39-22 at the break.

But we have said this before: Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is the master of the half time adjustment, and she also is not shy about letting the team know they are letting her down. So when the second half started, Stanford was all fire and brimstone.

Now let’s go over some second half stats. Stanford forced seven turnovers in the first 9½ minutes of the second half and opened with a 20-7 run. ASU only scored 21 second-half points on 6-of-23 shooting. ASU shot 51% in the first and only 26% in the second. They also made four 3-pointers in the first and in the second, only one. Stanford, by contrast shot 29% overall in the first and 56% in the second.

So what changed? First Tara put in three guards and two bigs. They had some speedy guards, but so do we. That helped stop the drives down the middle. The Stanford guards also limited the three point shots and forced turnovers. They rattled ASU. Stanford got it to within one point with five minutes left, but couldn’t score for the next three minutes while ASU slowly added to their lead. ASU was up by seven with 46 seconds left but Stanford still rallied. A three by Briana Roberson, an off-balance layup/jumper by Amber Orrange and it was a two point game with 12 seconds left. But Stanford was forced to play the foul game and ended up losing 57-60.

If Stanford had a few more points in the first….
Or grabbed a few more rebounds. ASU outrebounded Stanford 44-22 for the game, with 20 offensive boards. Usually Stanford is the one out rebounding everyone, but to be doubled up like that? Stanford needs to grab the ball with two hands. There were a lot of tips that should have been rebounds.
Shout out to three Stanford players in double figures. Lili Thompson, Amber Orrange and Taylor Greenfiled all scored 12 points apiece.

Still more Pac-12 games to play. If Stanford can play like that second half in the first…or for 40 minutes, they will be strong come tournament time.

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