Monday, March 23, 2015

Stanford Going to the Sweet Sixteen

So C and R like to get prepare for Stanford games kinda like how Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer does. Study, study, study. We read anything we can get our hands on about The Stanford Women’s Basketball Team and then about the opponent (Tara does the hard job of watching tape after tape of teams).

Going into round 2 of the NCAA tourney, Stanford was playing Oklahoma University. What C and R read about them is they like to foul. Well, not so much they like to foul, but they do foul, over 20 a game. That could mean two things for Stanford. It could mean that if Stanford could draw fouls, they would get lots of free throws and free points and OU players to sit. Or if the refs did not call fouls, big trouble for Stanford.

In the first half, it looked like the latter, as the refs were not calling hard fouls. And I don’t think I have ever seen anyone tear off Erica “Bird” McCall’s super goggles, but it happened not once, but twice (Bonus drinking game, replacing when an Ogwumike lost a contact). Lots of bodies flying, and then a whistle when there was hardly any contact.

Oklahoma came out in a zone, and with their athleticism and long reach, the Stanford guards could not penetrate very well, and the three point line was well guarded. Three point specialist Bonnie Samuelson scored zero points in the first. Hats off to OU, they had quick hands and knocked the ball out of Stanford’s hands a lot. Stanford was lucky to only be down 36-32 at the half, thanks to a Lili Thompson three to make it respectable.

However the master preparer, Tara VanDerveer is also a master adjuster at the half. She found a way to get her guards some penetration and maybe OU was a little bit tired as they couldn’t get out to the three point line as quickly. Result: Stanford went six for nine on 3-pointers in the second half, eight for the game. Bonnie hit three of them, and scored all 19 of her points in the second half, including going 8-8 from the free point line when OU finally got into foul trouble. BTW, Stanford attempted 38 free throws, making 30 of them.

Speaking of the second half, Stanford played better defense and only allowed OU six points in the first ten minutes. By comparison, Stanford went on a 12-2 run to open the second half. Lili Thompson helped fire Stanford up by hitting some key threes of her own. And Stanford senior Amber Orrange will surely be missed next year, because she is clutch. Whenever Stanford needed a basket, whenever the offense stalled (as it did a lot in the first) she would hit a timely shot to keep Stanford in it (Even if most of it was drive left!).

Amber Orrange
Amber Orrange driving left!
(Photo By:
And what about Stanford lock down “D?” In the first half, Oklahoma's Gioya Carter opened the game with 12 points and four steals. VanDerveer put Orrange on her at the defensive end. She finished with 16 points at the half and scored just two baskets in the second half. Wow.

Couple OU’s poor shooting, especially for the 3-point line (2-14 in the second) with the toughened Stanford D, and the refs finally calling fouls for the second half resurrection. Several OU players had to sit in the second while Stanford shot. Final score 86-76.

Stanford had four players in double figures, which is great as Stanford has struggled to get everyone involved in the offense. It was so great, Stanford did not need “Tournament Taylor to help out, as Greenfield finished with only four points. Amber finished with 24. Lili Thompson and Bonnie each scored 19 points. Erica McCall added 10 and 11 boards, for a double-double. Briana Roberson provided a spark with 13 points and some tough defense. In fact, once Tara put in Bri and went to a three guard set, Roberson didn’t come out.

Next, Stanford has a date with #1 seed Notre Dame Friday. Funny, Stanford and Notre Dame have met only twice, with Stanford enjoying a 2-0 lead. And they have never played each other in the NCAA tournament.

Drive left and follow C and R on Facebook and Twitter, too!

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