March 24, 2014

NCAA Round 2: Cardinal smothers the Seminoles

The Cardinal is heading home to Maples for the Sweet Sixteen after a definitive 63-44 victory over the Florida State Seminoles.

It wasn't looking good for the Cardinal 11 minutes into the game. The Seminoles' defense had rattled the Cardinal into five turnovers and poor shooting, and the Seminoles had made five of their first six shots and taken a firm grip on the lead.

Then the Cardinal switched to a two-three zone, the Seminoles stopped scoring, and the Cardinal offense (sparked by a 3-pointer by Bonnie) clicked. The Cardinal went on a 22-2 run and led 32-16 at the end of the half.

The Cardinal defense had held Natasha Howard, the Seminole's star player, to zero points and two fouls. The Cardinal had made 55% of their shots, the Seminoles 25%.

The second half was essentially a draw. Both teams continued their smothering zone defense. The Cardinal weathered a few minutes of aggressive trapping defense from the Seminoles and extended its lead by three points.

The Cardinal victory was a great team effort. They had 17 assists on 23 field goals.

In spite of the Seminoles' double- and triple-teaming, Chiney made 73% of her shots and scored the game-high 21 points. She didn't quite get her usual double-double — just nine rebounds.

Lili continued her outstanding offense and defense. She scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and added two assists, a steal and three rebounds.

Bonnie continued her sharp-shooting. She made three (of eight) treys and stepped in past her defender for a long jumper for a total of eleven points. She also had three assists.

Mikaela looked kind of shaky at the beginning of the game. She turned the ball over a couple of times and was benched. She went back in seven minutes later and gave her usual strong do-everything performance — eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Amber was fierce on offense and defense with seven points, four assists, and five rebounds.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A postgame interview of Tara and Chiney from espnW,

The Stanford postgame press conference with Tara, Chiney and Lili,

The Florida State postgame press conference with Coach Sue Semrau, Natasha Howard and Cheetah Delgado

A gallery of team sendoff and game photos by Dave Cortesi,

And photos by Nati Harnik (Associated Press):

Lili goes for a steal
Mikaela eludes Natasha Howard's defense
Amber passes past Cheetah Delgado
Chiney goes for a layup against double-defense
Amber loses the ball to Natasha Howard
Mikaela looks for a receiver
Cardinal defense contains Cheetah Delgado
Chiney contains Natasha Howard
Lili and Cheetah contend for possession
Chiney snags an out-of-bound-bound ball
Mikaela dives for an out-of-bound ball

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