Friday, March 27, 2015

Stanford’s Season Ends in the Sweet Sixteen

So the Stanford’s Women’s Basketball Team lost to a very good Notre Dame team 81-60 in the Sweet Sixteen. Not every team can win a championship, and Stanford, Pac-12 Tournament Champions, sure showed those nay-sayers who did not even think they would get this far.

Oddly, it was the first time Stanford’s head coach Tara VanDerveer and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw have coached against each other in the post season. They are usually on opposite ends of the bracket with one of them running into the buzz saw that is UConn. Even more oddly, it was only the third time the two teams have met (Stanford won both in the 90’s).

Erica McCall
Stanford's Eric McCall went up against a tough and tall Notre Dame Defense (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
The lack of a strong post player who can bang around and score definitely hurt against Notre Dame, although hats off to Erica McCall for scoring 12 and grabbing 10 boards for a double double. Our freshie rebounding Phenom Kailee Johnson had a tougher time when she was in. She finished with zero points and one rebound. She would be wise to work on finishing around the basket for next year.

Also hurting us was when guard Lili Thompson pulled up short with a knee injury. Stanford was only down by five with about nine minutes left in the first half. Replays didn't show her having a traumatic event, just crumpled when running, but she was in a lot of pain. She went to the locker room for most of the first and Notre Dame made some runs. She was never really herself after that and not very effective in the second. She finished with two points.

The third thing hurting us was Notre Dame guard Lindsey Allen. She scored a career high 24 first half points, and made four 3-pointers. I know Stanford was keying on Notre Dame’s other guard Jewel Loyd, and limited her to six points in the first, but you have to at least get a hand in the face of Allen. To illustrate her hot hand, she made 16 threes all season long. Stanford gambled she would not keep hitting, but they also should have gotten to her faster on defense.

Stanford bomber, Bonnie Samuelson tried to keep Stanford in it hitting her threes in the first, but not much production from everyone else.

In the second half, Stanford finally stopped Allen (or she got cold) but then Jewel Loyd got hot. With Lili being limited in minutes, Bri Roberson was in and got into foul trouble, playing with three for most of the game. She was tentative on defense on Loyd and it showed.

However it was nice on the other end of the floor to see Bonnie to continue hitting her threes. When she hit her fifth of the game, she made ND’s Coach take a time out and take out her big player to put a smaller guard on Bonnie. It worked. Bonnie was then ineffective. She finished the game with 17.
Once Lloyd took over, and ND got a few fast break points, all the wind in Stanford’s sails was gone, and that’s all she wrote. Except Imma gonna write more!

It was not how Stanford or their fans wanted it to end, but if any coach did more with less, it was Tara VanDerveer getting great production out of her guards with a completely new offense. Stanford will miss all their seniors, none more than steady guard Amber Orrange and dead-eye Bonnie Samuelson.

Thank you all for a great season!

Now, to see if anyone can knock off UConn (no one gave us a shot in November!)

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