Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stanford Survives Colorado

They say the Pac-12 is up for grabs (Or else C and R said it is, can’t remember if we read it or dreamt it). The statement was in action when the Stanford Women’s Basketball Team played Colorado. The lead changed hands four times and Stanford squandered an 11 point lead and let Colorado get within three with a minute to go before pulling out a 62-55 win.

Stanford, having seen the Ogwumike sisters graduate, miss their ability to put close games away with their rebounding and points, and there does not seem to be anyone from Stanford taking their place, at least not in the post position. Stanford guard Amber Orrange was the closest thing Stanford had to a take-charge player. To Amber’s credit, she scored a career high 26 points. Unfortunately, it seemed to be the same play, Amber driving to the basket from the left (she did score two 3-pointers to keep the defense honest). For variety, Amber drove right. She would either get the bucket or the foul. And if your game plan is to draw fouls, you need to make free throws. Stanford was 12-21 or 57% as a team. The fact that Amber scored 12 of Stanford’s final 17 points in the final 10 minutes could be looked upon as a good thing…or bad thing, meaning no one else stepped up.

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange scored a career-high 26 points. (Photo by Bob Drebin/

Stanford’s other guard, Lili Thompson also played big. She scored 17 points, and made two 3-pointers. The guards combined for 43 of the points, and no one else was in double figures. As C and R have said in other blog posts, Stanford’s lack of post play is hurting them on offense. Tonight it even hurt then on defense. Colorado’s posts were able to score almost at will when they got the ball in the paint. Special shout out to three point specialist Bonnie Samuelsson who had noticeable good D, limiting Colorado’s taller players and using her long arms to stop Colorado from shooting. We notice Colorado was 1-10 for threes for the game. Other special shout out to Erica Payne. When she was inserted into the lineup, she added some much needed hustle and intensity and seemed to pick the team up.

Speaking of paint, Colorado came into this game leading the Pac-12 in rebounds (no we didn’t make that up, we read that). The rebounding for this game was about even, Stanford with 37 and Colorado with 35. (Although it looked to C and R like Colorado was holding the Stanford players on box outs, especially in the first half). It hurt Stanford to have their leading rebounder, Kaylee Johnson sitting the bench for most of the first half with two fouls. The freshmen would foul out with two minutes left and only five rebounds and no points in her 19 minutes. The freshie will have to learn how not to foul when blocking, something Stanford center Jayne Appel had to learn her freshmen year, too.

Something new C and R saw tonight was Stanford’s full court press. It is used so rarely, and when it is only for a play or two. This time Head Coach Tara VanDerveer used it for a good portion of the second half. However, no good deed goes unpunished. Colorado also pressed Stanford, and they have not traditionally been good breaking it. When guard Amber Orrange was on the beach, Stanford looked frazzled. Stanford had 16 turnovers to Colorado’s 13. It kept the game close.

Still a win is a win. Looking forward to the rest of the Pac-12 season.

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