March 30, 2014

Sweet 16: Lili locks down Lucas

Well, there was more to the Cardinal's 82-57 victory over the Lady Lions than that, of course.

As Penn State coach Coquese Washington said, "They don't win all those games with only one player." She was speaking of Chiney, but it was Lili who made a huge contribution to the Cardinal's victory today.

She and Maggie Lucas, Penn State's sharpshooter, each played for 37 minutes — the same 37 minutes. While Penn State had the ball during those 37 minutes, Lili never lost sight of Lucas for more than a few seconds — so few that Lucas managed to launch only 14 shots, of which she made three, for 15 points less than her season average.

On offense, Lili began the Cardinal scoring with an assist from Mikaela, a three-pointer, a total of eleven points and three assists.

Mikaela was high-quality glue today. She tallied her sixth double-double of the season with eleven points and 13 rebounds. Plus five assists and two steals. She executed a beautiful defensive play over and over: Lili is face-guarding Lucas, Talia East steps in and sets a screen, Lucas ducks past her to the right and finds Mikaela in her face.

Chiney delighted her 7,000-or-so fans (Maples was sold out) with a splendid, strong performance — the game-high 29 points and 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. Two of her baskets came on exciting fast breaks — one when she stole the ball and went coast-to-coast, and another on a court-long pass from Lili.

Amber found many ways to score today — dribble-drives to the basket, stop-and-pop jumpers, tear drops, a three-pointer. She made 64% of her shots and scored a total of 18 points.

The Lady Lions kept the game close with two lead changes and five ties until Bonnie subbed in midway through the first half and sank a three-pointer that sparked a 14-0 run for the Cardinal. The Lady Lions never got closer than eight points after that.

The following game between the Carolinas was a striking contrast to the Cardinal's beautifully-executed game plan — slashing, aggressive, uncontrolled play. (A Cardinal fan seated behind me commented that it was like watching Cal play itself.) North Carolina won the battle 65-58, so we play the Tar Heels on Tuesday evening in the Elite Eight.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

The postgame press conference video with Tara, Chiney, Lili and Amber

Penn State postgame quotes,

Stanford postgame quotes,

A gallery of photos by Josie Lepe (Bay Area News Group),

A gallery of photos by Don Feria (Stanford Photo),

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