March 21, 2015

Cardinal wins 1st round over Matadors

Tara won her 800th Stanford game and the Cardinal won their 500th game at Maples as they defeated Cal State Northridge 73-60 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Stanford started well, quickly taking a 13-point lead, in part due to three quick 3-pointers by Bonnie.

Then came one of the scoring droughts that have featured in several losses this year. After Bri made a jumper midway through the first half, the Cardinal did not score for nearly eight minutes, while the Matadors crept back into the game and took a 22-25 lead at the 2:23 mark. At this point Lili and Taylor both began to score, but the half ended with the Matadors up by 1 at 28-29.

Northridge came out of the break hot and were up by six points before scores from Taylor, Lili and Bird brought Stanford back even. A rapid series of ties and lead changes followed through the third quarter.

At that point Northridge had its own drought and Stanford began to take control of the game. This interval was highlighted by a gritty loose-ball chase by Amber leading to a breakaway bucket by Lili.

As the gap widened, the Matadors turned to a pressure defense hoping for turnovers, but they only succeeded in forcing one. As a result, almost all of Stanford's scoring in the last seven minutes was on free throws: five by Taylor, five by Bonnie, four by Lili, and two each by Kaylee and Amber. All told, Stanford made 19 of 25 free throws, for 76%.

Taylor continued her most-outstanding tournament play. Her threes weren't falling today, but she attacked the basket 11 times and scored on seven of the attempts. She drew fouls and free throws on the other four attempts and led the Cardinal scoring with 19 points.

Lili got hot in the second half and sparked the Cardinal's comeback with a 3-pointer and then a jumper. She finished with 17 points and four assists.

The Matadors kept Bonnie well-guarded on the perimeter, but she managed to get away for three 3-pointers. Those plus four-of-five free throws gave her a total of 14 points. On defense, she grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.

Bird was the Cardinal's fourth double-digit scorer with ten points. On defense, she grabbed three rebounds and blocked three shots.

Kaylee led all rebounders with ten. She also tallied four points, a block and two steals.

In the other game at Maples today, Oklahoma dominated Quinnipiac from start to finish. The Sooners came out blazing with a 16-3 run before the Bobcats pulled themselves together. Actually the teams played pretty even for most of the rest of the game, but the Bobcats weren't able to seriously reduce the deficit. They cut the lead down to eleven briefly seven minutes into the second half, but the game ended with a 111-84 victory for Oklahoma.

In other Pac-12 action this weekend, OSU (74-62 over South Dakota State), ASU (74-55 over Ohio) and Cal (78-66 over Wichita State) also advanced to the second round of the NCAAs; Washington lost to Miami (FL) 68-60. UCLA advanced to the second round of the WNIT (70-64 over CSU Bakersfield) and WSU lost to Eastern Washington 67-75.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Nhat V. Meyer (Bay Area News Group),

A gallery of photos from Stanford Photo,

The game highlights video,

The press conference audio with Tara, Taylor and Lili.

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