January 09, 2013

Cardinal wins an epic battle

Stanford 62, Cal 53. But the game could have gone either way right up to the last few minutes.

Cal had the edge all through the first half. They held a 1-6 point lead until two minutes before the break when Toni tied the score with a layup (assist Chiney).Then Layshia Clarendon made two free throws, Jos scored a layup on a fast break (assist Taylor) — fifth tie of the game. Cal finished the first half with a fine flourish in the last three seconds as Brittany Boyd stole the ball and flipped it to Layshia Clarendon, who flipped it back to Boyd, who dashed the length of the court and made a layup.

Whew! Cal fans were exuberant. Everyone was exhausted.

The second half was even closer, with Cal playing catch-up to a 1-3 point Cardinal lead. With almost nine minutes left to play, the score was tied for the 13th (and last) time. Then Chiney began what turned out to be an 11-1 run with a steal and a layup. Cardinal fans didn't breath easily until Chiney increased the Cardinal lead to 10 with about three minutes left to play.

Much about the game was as expected:

  • The Bears' defense was awesome. They out-rebounded the Cardinal 45-31, with 21-5 O-boards
  • The game was very competitive and there were a lot of fouls called (fairly for the most part, I think) — 18 by the Cardinal, 16 by the Bears.
  • The Bears made just 62% of their 21 free throws. Unexpected and disappointing: The Cardinal made just 56% of their 18 attempts.
  • Neither team found success outside the paint. The Bears made a miserable two of 21 3-point attempts. The Cardinal was even worse — zero of eight.

In the end, the Cardinal's superior offense triumphed over the Bears' superior defense. The Cardinal made 51% of their shots, the Bears made 30.2%. Not counting the deplorable 3-point attempts by both teams, it was 60.5% - 40.5%.

The Cardinal needed every bit of effort from everyone on the team to win this battle, but these had the most impact.

Amber played the full 40 minutes, and was unrelenting on both offense and defense. She, the shortest player on the court tonight, grabbed eight rebounds — just one less than Cal's game-high. She scored 15 points — three on free throws and the rest on six of ten layups and jumpers. It's a delight to see her soar above the taller players at both ends of the court.

Chiney played for 39 minutes and 38 seconds. She found the basket on 11 of 16 attempts (that's 69%!), many of them seemingly "impossible" shots and scored the game-high 26 points. She also had six rebounds, an assist, three blocks and three steals.

Jos contributed to the victory in many ways, as always. She tallied eight points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

She had the "Assist of the Game": On an inbound from the sideline almost halfway down the court with two seconds on the shot clock, she banked the ball off the backboard right into Chiney's hands. Awesome!

Toni returned to action and, although she looked tired at times (well, who wouldn't!), played for 38 minutes. She contributed valuable floor leadership, seven points, two assists, three rebounds and a steal.

Mikaela, Bonnie and Taylor were all needed to hold off the strong Bears.

Mikaela had five points, five rebounds and a block.

Bonnie didn't score, but had a rebound, an assist and a block.

Taylor scored one point on a free throw and had one rebound, an assist and a steal.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

And photos by Ben Margot (Associated Press):

Chiney is out-numbered, but not out-played
Amber drives to the basket
Jos blocks a shot
Chiney avoids a steal
Toni wins this battle
Victory is so sweet!

No comments: