November 29, 2014

Tar Heels step on the Cardinal

Hawaii was anything but paradise for the Cardinal today when they suffered a distressing loss to North Carolina.

The game was tied 0-0 for the first 52 seconds, but that's as good as it got for the Cardinal.

In the first half Stanford simply could not find the basket, hitting only 20% of its shots. Fortunately UNC was little better, shooting 25%, so the halftime score was relatively close at 18-24.

In the second half UNC pulled away steadily to a maximum lead of 22 before E.Payne, Briana and Brittany came off the bench and scored 12 points to bring the final score to 54-70.

Three statistics underscore the final result.

First, perimeter defense: Prior to today's game, UNC got most of its scoring on the inside from Stephanie Mavunga, Xylina McDaniel and Allisha Gray and had made only 27 of 92 3-point shots (29%). Tonight UNC took its offense out to the perimeter and made 12 of 29 3-point shots (41%) — just over half of its total score.

Ahead by only six at the half, UNC made an adjustment, intensified its perimeter offense and made a whopping eight of twelve long ones (67%) in the second half. Furthermore, four of the UNC 3-point shots were made by Latifah Coleman and three were made by Xylina McDaniel; prior to tonight, each of them had sunk only one from beyond the arc.

The Cardinal were unable to cope with this unexpected attack.

Second, shooting: The Cardinal's first half shooting woes didn't improve much in the second period. They ended with a shooting percentage of 30.9% to UNC's 40.6%.

Finally, rebounds: For the first time in a long time Stanford was decisively out-rebounded at 32-47.

The second game tonight (Hawai'i vs. Prairie View A&M) was a lively contest between two well-matched and extremely energetic teams. There were nine ties and seven lead changes in the first half. The Wahine Rainbows pulled ahead after the break, the Lady Panthers cut the lead to two points with eight minutes left to play, then the 'Bows pulled ahead again to a final 72-58 victory.

The energy and intensity never waned on either side. The Cardinal are going to face challenging opponents on Saturday and Sunday, but I think they will be well-prepared. Tara, Amy, Kate and Tempie watched every minute of the second game tonight from a table at the end of the court.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by David Cortesi — yesterday's Thansgiving dinner & today's game

And photos by Marco Garcia (Associated Press):

Kaylee thwarts Stephanie Mavunga's attempted shot
Amber tries to wrestle the ball away from Jessica Washington
Taylor drives past Allisha Gray
Latifah Coleman passes around Kailee

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