March 19, 2012

Round 2: Finesse trumps Physicality

Chiney said, "I think one of the good things about us is we are a finesse team that can play physical at times." And that's just what the Cardinal did today in their 72-55 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Actually the game was no more physical than what the Cardinal see regularly from Arizona State and Cal. The Mountaineers' plan to get the sisterhood in foul trouble did succeed a bit (Nneka had three and Chiney four), but it didn't really matter.

What mattered was the Cardinal's unrelenting defense that held the Mountaineers to 31% from the field. The lasting image of today's game is white-uniformed players stifling blue-uniformed shot attempts — see the photos below.

Amber was the engine that drove the train on offense. She was the top scorer with 18 points (her career high) on a variety of drives to the basket, back-door cuts and pull-up jumpers. She had five assists with zero turnovers, grabbed seven rebounds (another career high) and added a steal for good measure.

Nneka kicked off the Cardinal's hot start with a fast break and layup off Toni's tip of a Mountaineer air ball. She had sixteen points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. She made five field goals today, bringing her season total to 273 — just two short of the Stanford record held by Kate Starbird.

Chiney and her knee were ready to play. Perhaps her knee was bothering her a bit. She had only 13 points and six rebounds instead of her usual double-double – and three blocks.

Toni played her usual fine defensive game today — she stole the ball three times. Her shooting was a bit off, but she kept trying and scored a total of ten points, including one trey. She also had five rebounds and two assists with zero turnovers. Her assist/turnover ratio is up to 2.25, among the ten best in the nation.

Jos was strong on defense with seven rebounds and two blocks. On offense, she sank two long ones and scored a total of nine points.

Sarah was a major factor in disrupting the Mountaineers' inside game. She played 16 minutes and committed just two fouls. She also had two points, two assists, a rebound and a block.

Lindy scored on two lovely back-door cuts.

Next up: Stanford plays South Carolina in Fresno. Dawn Staley's Gamecocks earned their first-ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen with a 72-61 upset of Purdue.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

Stanford postgame quotes,

West Virginia postgame quotes,

The game highlights and press conference video,

A gallery of photos by Don Feria for Stanford Photo,

And photos by Steve Helber (Associated Press):

Nneka celebrates her "Count the basket ... and one" Sarah on defense Jos and Nneka on defense Chiney struggles for a rebound Lindy on defense A swarm of Ogwumikes Coach Carey wanted more from his Mountaineers Good job, Nneka!


Anonymous said...

Finesse good, maul bad.

Finesse win, maul lose.

Anonymous said...

wonderful game to watch. I am so proud of these girls.