In this game, Stanford continued their experiment of perimeter play with less emphasis on the post players. To their credit they are executing it well. The Pac-12 announcers nailed it when they described it as “Four out one in, dribble drive” and “stretch four.” By having all players spread the floor instead of hanging out in the paint, the guards could either drive to the basket or kick out to a perimeter player. Washington was aware of this game plan and tried to stop it. The rest of the game was seeing if Washington’s defense could stop the guard drive and three ball, or if Stanford would execute. Let me tell ya, it was close. Stanford only shot 22% in the first.
Let’s talk for a moment about Stanford post play. The young post players of freshie Kailee Johnson and sophomore Erica McCall were both in great position to score down low and made some great moves, but still kept missing. Finish, Finish, Finish. Let’s hope with time….
Now let’s talk about Stanford defense. Stanford played great defense on Washington’s great Kelsey Plum. She is left handed like Stanford’s Amber Orrange and Stanford stopped her from going left. She was so uncomfortable, she only scored four points in the first. She also did not get any foul shots in the first half, something she normally utilizes for points. She did heat up in the second and sunk two 3-pointers and finished the game with 16. Credit Stanford; they held the Pac-12's top scoring offense to just 56 points, 24 below its season average. Now that is some defense.
In the first half, Stanford held Washington scoreless for long stretches in the first, however Stanford was dry as well, going 8-35 in the first, and making only 3 out of 15 threes. C and R know Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is trying new personal on the floor, but some bench players in the first half who could not get in rhythm and contributed to that long drought.
It was 22-24 Washington at the half, both teams struggling.
In the second, both teams would go on drought/runs. Washington was up by seven at one point. Then Stanford’s Amber Orrange started chipping away, penetrating and getting to the rim or drawing the foul. And Stanford’s second guard, Lili Thompson was not to be outdone. She scored seven of Stanford’s final 13 points. Both guards really stepped up in the second. Lili scored 13 of her 15 in the second, and Amber scored 12 of her 14 in the second as well. Bonnie Samuelson added 12 points and freshie Kaylee Johnson grabbed 13 boards.
Lili’s biggest contribution, though was a desperation heave about five feet behind the three point line and the shot clock winding down with 27 seconds left and Stanford clinging to a two point lead, 57-55. The ball banked straight off the glass and went in the hoop, and there went Washington’s hopes. A meaningless Stanford foul with one second left and a free throw made the final score 60-56.
We just had to show the Stanford Bench reaction to Lili's 3! (ELAINE THOMPSON — AP Photo)
Shout to Erica McCall rocking the new sports goggles. Those were new.
Shout out to Bonnie Samuelson for scoring all 12 points from three point land (4-9).
Shout out to freshie Brittany McPhee, local Washington girl, who had her family in attendance and made two free throws.
That’s enough shouting, now on to Washington State.
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