December 22, 2012

Victory in Knoxville at last!

The Cardinal broke its seven-game Knoxville losing streak today with a comfortable 73-60 victory over the Lady Vols.

The orange-clad crowd in Thompson-Boling Arena stayed on their feet for 2 ½ minutes while Stanford took a 6-0 lead on jumpers by Chiney and Amber. The Cardinal had increased the lead to 19 five minutes into the second half and were never seriously threatened. Tennessee didn't get closer than nine in the remaining minutes of the game.

The Lady Vols found no effective defense against Chiney, who tallied her eighth consecutive double-double with 21 points and a career-high 19 rebounds (eight of them O-boards). She also had a career-high five assists and two blocks.

Although Amber's time on the court was limited by foul trouble in the second half, she played a very strong game today. She tallied 14 points, three rebounds, six assists, a block and three steals!

Toni was strong on both ends of the court. She kept the Lady Vols' energetic leading scorer, Meighan Simmons, in check and helped to limit her to just 12 points. She blew by and through the Lady Vol's defense to score 11 points and added a rebound, two assists and two steals.

It looks like Jos is coming out of her scoring slump. She made just one of three shot attempts in the first half. When asked at halftime what could be improved, Tara said, "We need more offense from Jos." Perhaps Tara repeated that to Jos in the locker room — she took eight shots in the second half and added eight more points.

The Cardinal didn't bring their 3-point game east with them, with one glorious exception – Bonnie. Tara put her in late in the first half when the Lady Vols began to nibble away at the lead. Bonnie, quick as a wink, sank back-to-back 3-pointers, and Cardinal fans breathed easily again. She stayed in for 15 minutes and contributed some fine defense as well as another 3-pointer and a couple of free throws.

Toni's eleven points included one 3-pointer, but that was it from beyond the arc for the Cardinal. As was the case in South Carolina, the Cardinal replaced shots from the perimeter with drives to the basket. Jos drove and scored once, Mikaela twice, Toni and Amber again and again.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos by Randy Sartin (USA TODAY Sports),

And photos by Wade Payne (Associated Press):

Chiney drives
Amber drives
Toni drives
Toni puts up her shot
Chiney takes her shot
Jos looks for a receiver
Toni keeps an eye on Meighan
Jos on defense
The cheering section

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