November 14, 2010

Cardinal cleans the glass

Basketball fans know that Rutgers = Defense, but today the Scarlet Knights brought a surprise to Maples – strong and effective offense. Stanford wasn't expecting that – the score was tied 26-26 after Rutgers sank two 3-pointers and eight pull-up jumpers in the first 16 minutes of play.

Then Kayla sparked a comeback with two jumpers that began a 13-3 run that extended into the second half. Rutgers never gave up, but they couldn't quite overcome that 10-point deficit, and the end result was a 63-50 victory for Stanford.

Another surprise was the Cardinal's cranked-up offense in the second half. I've never seen them apply so much pressure. Particularly effective was a 1-3-1 zone with Chiney at the "point" harassing the ball carrier. She appeared to have at least four very long arms, and her burst of energy was amazing.

The Cardinal's victory was effectively earned in the paint. They out-rebounded the Scarlet Knights 45-28, and 16 of their points came from put-backs – three by Chiney, two each by Nneka and Joslyn and one by Kayla.

Rutgers used just six players (they have only nine); so did Stanford, except for a few minutes from Sarah and Sara.

Our big three each played 40 minutes. Nneka led all scorers with 20 points, and had nine rebounds, an assist, a block and two steals. Kayla added 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal. Jeanette played point for about half the game; she scored seven points and had five rebounds, a block, two steals and eight assists (but, alas, also six turnovers).

Joslyn was very effective on both offense and defense for 32 minutes. She made two of Stanford's four 3-pointers, scored a total of 10 points and had six rebounds, two blocks, a steal and three assists. She played really tough, although Tara said after the game that she's still too nice, that she needs to be nastier – nice-nasty.

Chiney was the top rebounder with 12 and also contributed nine points – all in 21 minutes. Toni took over at the point for 18 minutes and was again composed and confident – no deer-in-the-headlights for this freshman.

There was a great turnout for this first "real" game of the season – almost 6,000 fans. Among them were several hundred Stanford students. They had been wooed with free tube-tops and free BBQ from Jimmy V, but most of them stayed for the whole game.

Here are the game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Cardinal fan Steve Mitchel,

And more photos:

Kayla and Chiney spot a loose ball Chiney drives to the basket Joslyn saves a rebound Chiney & Nneka celebrate a basket Kayla works against Chelsey Lee Nneka grabs a rebound Kayla & Monique Oliver battle for a rebound Nneka works for position Jeanette & Nneka try to stop Kadijah Rushdan Kayla dives for a loose ball ... ... and gets there first

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