February 27, 2015

Closing in on #4 seed

The Cardinal took a big step last night towards their goal of hosting the first & second rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Their upset of OSU bettered their RPI (as reported by the NCAA) from 22 to 20. Although factors other than the RPI go into the NCAA final seeding, the Cardinal are at least closer to being awarded a coveted #4 seed.

In Charlie Creme's estimation, Stanford now stands at #13 and will be the #4 seed in the Greensboro region. Read more: Trio of upsets shake up Bracketology

February 26, 2015

Cardinal dams up the Beavers

The Cardinal played their best game since November 17th and beat the Beavers 69-58.

Stanford applied stifling defense on OSU's shooters, holding them to 36% shooting from the field (their average is 46%) and 21% from beyond the arc (their average is 38%).

Bri harrassed point guard Sydney Wiese unmercifully every step of every trip down the court, as did Lili or Amber when Bri took a break. Their defensive efforts disrupted the Beavers' offense and held Wiese to one of ten attempts from beyond the arc and a total of seven points.

The Cardinal doubled center Ruth Hamblin whenever she had the ball, holding her to just six points and forcing four turnovers.

Jamie Weisner and Devan Hunter got past the Cardinal defense and scored 18 points apiece, but that wasn't enough.

Besides their defense, the Cardinal came out with a fast aggressive offense that never let up. Brittany, who got her first start of the season, began the attack with a jumper on the first possession. Lili immediately followed that with a steal and a layup, and the Cardinal had a lead that they relinquished for only nine seconds four minutes into the game.

The Beavers' defense shut down the Cardinal's perimeter game. Bonnie broke free only five times for shots from beyond the arc (but she made three of them!) Amber and Brittany each tried a couple, but Amber made the only other one.

Instead, the Cardinal scored with a balanced attack on the inside. Threre was little excessive dribbling or hesitation on taking shots tonight. Lili scored 13 points, Bird and Amber each scored 12, and Bri scored 11. Bonnie, who added two free throws to her three treys, was the Cardinal's fifth double-digit scorer.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The OSU press conference video, with head coach Scott Rueck,

A video interview of Bird by Ros,

A gallery of photos by Dave Cortesi,

And photos by Don Ryan (Associated Press):

Brittany drives past Bird's screen
Bri drives against Ali Gibson and Ruth Hamblin
Amber plays tight defense on Sydney Wiese
Sydney Wiese and Amber chase down a loose ball
Cheers from the bench
Good game!

February 25, 2015

Stanford/OSU previews

OSU Welcomes Stanford in Pivotal Pac-12 Matchup from Oregon State Athletics

Battling the Beavs from Stanford Athletics

Beavers in position to receive passing of the torch by Gary Horowitz (Statesman Journal)

Beavers lookig to break through against Stanford by Steve Gress (Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Time for Orrange to take Cardinal reins by John Reid (Palo Alto Daily News)

Amber passes away from Jamie Weisner last season

February 23, 2015

Brittany is Pac-12 Freshman of the Week

The Pac-12 selected Brittany as the Freshman of the Week because she:
... was electric off the bench for the Cardinal, averaging 16.5 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting .591 from the field.

Called on to add energy and aggressiveness when Stanford faced a double-digit deficit at Cal on Wednesday, McPhee provided that and more, scoring nine and grabbing six rebounds in her most floor time since December, sparking her team to victory 59-47.

In Stanford’s loss to Cal on Sunday, McPhee scored a career-high 24 points to lead all scorers in a personal-best 36 minutes, becoming the sixth Stanford player to score 20-plus points this season and the eighth different Cardinal to lead her team in scoring.

February 22, 2015

Cal stifles Stanford

Updated Feb 23: Added commentary from the Stanford Daily and the CARDBoard.

The Golden Bears brought their A++ game to Maples today and defeated the Cardinal 63-53.

The Cardinal held the aggressive Bears in check for the first half, holding the scoring margin to no more than nine points and taking a two-point lead into the break.

But the Bears' defense was even stronger and their offense more effective in the second half, and the Cardinal's tenuous grasp of the game slowly slipped away.

Brittany was the only Cardinal who found success against the Bears today. She played all but the first four minutes of the game with her characteristic energy and determination. She led all scorers today with 24 points and grabbed the team-high six rebounds. She shot 63% from the field (10-16), 50% from beyond the arc (2-4) and 68% at the line (2-3). She attacked the basket with several get-out-of-my-way layups against bigger and seemingly stronger defenders. Her place in the rotation is assured.

In other Pac-12 action this weekend, OSU won twice and so did ASU, who squeezed out a win over USC in double overtime. So it's OSU first, ASU second two games back, and Stanford and Cal tied for third.

Amy's postgame announcement of the website's closing was a tiny bit premature. The Cardinal hasn't finished its season and neither has the website. It will be here until the Cardinal has played its last game of the season, be that in Seattle, Tampa Bay or somewhere in between. So stick around for a few more weeks.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio, with Tara, Brittany and Amber,

A gallery of photos by John Hefti (Icon Sportswire),

A gallery of photos from (Stanford Photo), including some of the Senior Day celebration:

February 19, 2015

Cardinal surges past the Bears

In an exciting game of scoring spurts and droughts, the Cardinal bottled up the Bears at the end and won 59-47.

The Cardinal had the first scoring spurt and led 11-2 after 6½ minutes. Lili accounted for seven of those points. She played the entire game except for one 25-second sub-out, and went on to score 18 points. She added seven rebounds and two assists.

The Bears surged back on a 28-6 run, during which the Cardinal was held scoreless for five minutes. With three minutes left in the half, the Bears led 30-17. It was beginning to look like a repeat of the Arizona games.

Then Brittany subbed in and essentially turned the game around. I don't know what she's done during practice to earn a place in the rotation, but she certainly earned her place tonight!

She broke the Cardinal's scoring draught with a layup. She sank another layup and two free throws by the end of the first half. The Bears were still ahead 32-23, but the momentum had changed.

Brittany was in the starting lineup for the second half. She played a total of 22 minutes, scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds (including three O-boards) and had a block and a steal.

The Cardinal ramped up their defense after the break. They tied the score at 44-44 with 11½ minutes left to play. They held the Bears scoreless for eight minutes, during which the Bears missed nine shots, followed by six Cardinal rebounds and two Bear turnovers.

The Cardinal defense held the Bears to 11% scoring in the second half – to 27% for the game. Reshanda Gray, their leading scorer and rebounder, made just one of four field goal attempts and grabbed only nine rebounds. The Cardinal out-rebounded the Bears 43-27 with a balanced effort from Kaylee (8), Lili (7), Bonnie, Bird and Brittany (6 apiece), Amber (5), and Taylor (2).

Amber ramped up her offense in the second half, during which she scored 15 points on 70% shooting. She led all scorers with a total of 19 for the game.

This was the only Pac-12 game today. The Cardinal is now in sole possession of second place in the conference standings, at least until Friday, when ASU plays UCLA in Pauley Pavilion.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The Stanford press conference audio, with Tara, Lili and Brittany,

The Cal press conference video, with Coach Gottlieb, Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd,

A video interview of Brittany,

A gallery of photos from the Mercury News – including many of Brittany,

A gallery of photos by Norbert von der Groeben (Golden Bear Sports).

The Golden Bear Sports photos are, of course, mostly of Cal players. Here are a few that show the Cardinal's fine defense:

February 17, 2015

Battle of the Bay previews

Brittany & Lili battle at Haas last season

Women's basketball eyes rivalry week, by Alexa Philippou (The Stanford Daily)

Cal seniors look to make noise against rival Stanford, by Mike Vernon (San Francisco Chronicle)

Cal, Stanford women have lot at stake in rivalry series, by Elliott Almond (Mercury News)

Cal Meets Stanford in Battle of the Bay at Haas Pavilion from Cal Athletics

Battle of the Bay Part 1 from Stanford Athletics

February 16, 2015

Kaylee is Pac-12 Freshman of the Week

The Pac-12, for the third time this season, selected Kaylee as the Freshman of the Week because she:

... was a force on the glass for the Cardinal last week, averaging 6.5 points and 8.0 rebounds as Stanford defeated USC, 79-60, and UCLA, 68-50. Her 11-rebound performance against the Bruins was her 14th double-digit rebounding effort of the season. On the year she’s averaging 10.3 rebounds per game and is the third-most prolific freshman rebounder in Stanford history with 268 total, trailing only Kayla Pedersen (329) and Chiney Ogwumike (281) among first-year players for the Cardinal.

February 15, 2015

Bonnie bombs the Bruins

The Cardinal senior lineup took the floor today, but didn't stay for long as UCLA lost no time in launching a stong attack. The Bruins had a seven-point lead at the first media timeout.

Then the Cardinal went on a 9-0 run kicked off with a 3-pointer from Karlie. The Bruins answered back for a while until Bonnie hit three 3-pointers in a minute and a half.

The Bruins never recovered. The Cardinal led by 13 at the break, by double digits the rest of the game and 68-50 at the end.

Those three 3s were just the beginning for Bonnie. She sank five more in the second half and took her place in the Stanford record book as one of only three players to score eight 3-pointers in a single game — Lindsey Yamasaki did it in 1999 and Candice Wiggins did it in 2007. The Stanford record for 3-pointers in a single game is nine, held by Lindsey (2001) and Molly Goodenbour (1973).

Bonnie didn't set a record for 3-point percentage (that's held by Jennifer Azzi who hit 7-of-7 in 1989), but she scored at a sizzling rate of 75%. Bonnie did more than set scoring records today. She also grabbed six rebounds, as she had on Friday against USC, blocked three shots and dished two assists.

Karlie was a sharp-shooter today too. She made half of her eight shots from beyond the arc and a layup for a total of 14 points.

Lili shone today. She was the Cardinal's third double-digit scorer with 12 points. When she couldn't find her way to the basket, she dished the ball out to a Samuelson, often just a second or two before the buzzer. She assisted five of Bonnie's 3s and two of Karlie's. She also tallied five rebounds and a steal.

For the second time this weekend, the Cardinal were out-rebounded by a bit – 39-36. Kaylee had 11 of the Cardinal rebounds.

In other Pac-12 action today, USC upset Cal 65-54, and the other top teams won. Stanford, ASU and Cal are now in a three-way tie for second, with OSU still on top two games ahead.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio with Tara, Bonnie and Karlie,

A video interview of Bonnie after draining 8 3-pointers against UCLA,

A gallery of photos from Icon Sportswire,

A gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (Stanford Photo).

February 13, 2015

Cardinal trounces the Trojans

New uniforms, new lineup, renewed energy & confidence — Cardinal wins 79-60.

Tara put in the seniors today and they remembered how to play a Good Stanford Game.

Jasmine and E Payne both started for the first time since early in their sophomore season. Erica scored the Cardinal's first basket; Jasmine scored the second one. Along with Amber, Bonnie and Kaylee, they began the game with confidence against the fast-moving, aggressive Trojans.

The Trojans held a slim lead for most of the first eight minutes, but the Cardinal never lost their focus and gradually took control of the game. They took the lead, stretched it to eleven points at the break, never let it drop below five, and were ahead by 19 at the end.

The Cardinal offense was excellent. They shot 55% (32-58) from the field and 35% (6-17) from beyond the arc. Six players scored at least eight points.

Lili came off the bench to lead the scoring with 14 points — all but two in the second half. She had four assists, two rebounds and a steal.

Amber scored 13 points on 60% shooting. She had five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Bri scored 13 points on 57% shooting. She had three assists, three rebounds and a steal.

Bonnie scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. She battled hard in the paint against bigger, stronger Trojans and grabbed the team-high six rebounds, one shy of her career high.

Kaylee and Bird came close to double-digit scoring. Kaylee had nine points and five rebounds. Bird had eight points. two rebounds and two blocks.

The Trojans won the battle of the boards, but not by a great deal – 38-34. Half of them were O-boards. Their average, the best in the Pac-12, is 14.7.

In other Pac-12 action, Cal beat UCLA 70-64 last night and OSU beat ASU 70-64 tonight. So, until Sunday at least, OSU leads the conference, Cal is second, Stanford and ASU are tied for third.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio, with Tara, Lili and Bonnie

A video interview of Lili after her strong second half against USC

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Bird puts up one of her three field goals
Lili takes it to the basket
Bonnie on the move
Kaylee goes up for a rebound