February 17, 2013

Cardinal controls the Bruisers

It was rough and it was tough — the Bruins were desperate for this win. But the Cardinal kept their cool and prevailed to a 68-57 victory.

The Bruins' aggressive defense cost them the game. They shot better than the Cardinal (44.4% - 39.7%) and, on field goals alone, would have won 51-50. But they were called for 19 fouls, and the Cardinal made 18 of their 20 free throw attempts. The Bruins made 6 of 11. (These stats were skewed somewhat by the last minute of play when the Bruins began fouling on every Cardinal possession and traded two field goals for six free throws.)

The Cardinal, especially the less-experienced players, were frequently rattled by the Bruins' very effective trapping defense. But the Cardinal's controlled defense was equally effective. The Cardinal had more rebounds (38-31), more blocks (5-3), more steals (11-9) and fewer turnovers (15-21).

The Bruins scored first with a jumper by Thea Lemberger. Then the Cardinal took the lead with a layup and free throw by Chiney and never relinquished it. The Bruins kept the margin to less than 10 points until seven minutes into the second half, and the Cardinal's biggest lead was, briefly, 16 points.

Chiney missed making a double-double for only the sixth time this season, but dominated the scoring with 26 points. She also had two assists, seven rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

Mikaela had the only double-double today – the second one of her career – with ten points and ten rebounds. Four of her points came from 100% success at the free throw line! Her always strong defense helped keep Alyssia Brewer and Jasmine Dixon in check.

Amber led the Cardinal offense for 38 minutes. She seemed tentative at times, but her careful deliberation paid off. Although she turned the ball over five times, she dished out seven assists and scored nine points herself (on a three-pointer and six free throws). She also hurt the Bruins on defense with six rebounds and five steals.

Jos again was a stong senior leader for her team. She played the full 40 minutes of this grueling game and tallied ten points, three assists, nine rebounds, a block and a steal.

Bonnie sparked the Cardinal offense with two three-pointers — Sara had one.

Also notable was Tess' presence for four minutes in the first half of the game, during which she turned to the basket and scored a layup. On a subsequent play, she was holding the ball high over her head and twisting her body in an attempt to get away from Alyssia Brewer's in-your-face defense. Her elbow contacted Brewer's head, and she was called for a flagrant foul.

In other Pac-12 action, Cal held off a late rally by USC and won 72-64. Washington doesn't play OSU until Monday, so UCLA has dropped to fourth for the time being.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Rob Ericson (Stanford Photo),

A brief game highlights video from the Pac-12 Networks,

And photos by Chris Carlson (Associated Press):

Chiney shoots over Alyssia Brewer
Mikaela on defense against Alyssia Brewer
Sara and Jasmine Dixon battle for a loose ball
Mikaela pulls a rebound away from Markel Walker
Amber breaks through a trap
Jos is blocked and fouled by Jasmine Dixon
Chiney drives around Markel Walker

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