November 14, 2014

Disruptive defense downs the Eagles

Cardinal defense wore down the Eagles and led to a 96-63 victory.

The Cardinal defense was relentless — except during the first half, on the perimeter, where the Eagles sank 9 of 16 three-pointers. That flaw was addressed during the break, during which Tara said, “If they make a three on you, you’re coming out.’’ The Eagles launched only five more long ones in the second half and sank none.

In transition, the Cardinal harassed the Eagles with presses and pokes. One definition of harass is "make repeated small-scale attacks on". That's exactly what Lili, Amber and Alex, in particular, did as they accompanied the Eagle ball-carrier down the court. Lili poked the ball away and took it to the basket on a fast break three times; Amber did that twice; and Alex did it once.

Bird and Kaylee each stole the ball twice, and Amber stole a third one for a total of eleven steals.

In the paint, the Cardinal out-rebounded the Eagles 38-27. Amber grabbed the most (nine, which matches her career high). Tess grabbed the second-most (six, her career high).

Kailee blocked three shots, Bird blocked two, and Kaylee blocked one. Those three don't equal an Ogwumike, but they add up to a front court to be reckoned with.

The defense led to a very fast-paced offense that's a lot of fun to watch.

Lili led the scoring with a career-high 26 points and made three of the Cardinal's seven three-pointers. Karlie made two, TaylorG made one, and Brittany made one (the first of her college career).

Bird was second in scoring with 16 points, also a career-high.

Finally, and most important, Amber led her team — as the point guard and with the quality of her play. She tallied eleven points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and just one turnover.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Kyle Terada (USA TODAY Sports),

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

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Bird looks for her shot
Bird finds her shot
Eagle attack from beyond the arc

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