March 08, 2015

Pac-12 Tournament, We are the champions!

The first quarter of this game was hard to watch. To the devoted fan it seemed as if every time Cal put the ball up, it went in; and every time Stanford had the ball, they either turned it over or clanked it.

Early in the half, Brittany McPhee fell on Brittany Boyd while both were going for a rebound and hit her in the cheek with her elbow. Boyd had to leave the floor for 13 minutes to get stitches. Even while she was out, and Reshanda Gray was on the bench, Stanford couldn't seem to make headway and was down by as much as ten points.

In fact things were not really that bad, and had started to improve before the half, which ended with Stanford down two, 23-25.

Two minutes into the second half Taylor hit a three to put Stanford in the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game. Halfway through the period Stanford had a four-point lead and Gray committed her fourth foul. Stanford retained a lead of between four and eight points for several minutes.

At the one-minute mark, Stanford was up by four, 57-53, and in a case of deja, deja vu, the referees had once again to review an out-of-bounds play. They reviewed and conferred and reviewed and, for the third time in three games, awarded the ball to Stanford. It didn't really help because Stanford used up that shot clock without getting a shot off.

In another replay of the previous night's game, at the 40-second mark Kaylee grabbed a key rebound on a Cal miss, was fouled, and made, this time, both free throws. These proved to be critical, as were two made free throws by Lili at 18.4 seconds.

With the score now 61-57, Stanford inbounded the ball and when Amber was swarmed by Cal defenders intent on a foul, the ref called held-ball instead of a foul. The arrow awarded the ball to Cal with 8.4 seconds, and with one second remaining, Mercedes Jefflo drained a 3-point shot. Had any of the preceding free throws been missed, this would have tied the game or won it for Cal. As it was, Stanford won by a single point, 61-60.

Taylor bettered the "best game of her career" tonight with 20 points, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal. She was named the Most Outstanding Player and nicknamed Tournament Taylor.

Amber had 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and six steals. She was named to the All-Tourney team along with Cal's Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray, ASU's Sophie Brunner and Colorado's Lexy Kresl.

Lili had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals. Kaylee was the top rebounder of the game with twelve, five of them O-boards. They both made their free throws when it really mattered — Lili 5-of-7, Kaylee 3-of-4.

The Cardinal have likely locked up hosting duty for the first and second round of the NCAAs with this victory, but we won't know for sure until Selection Monday, March 16.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The Stanford press conference audio with Tara, Lili, Taylor and Kaylee

A transcript of the Stanford press conference, if you'd rather read than listen,

A transcript of the Cal press conference with Lindsay Gottlieb, Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray

The game highlights video,

A gallery of photos from the Pac-12.

A gallery of photos by Elaine Thompson (Associated Press).

1 comment:

Paul said...

Taylor Greenfield, we hardly knew ye --- until this weekend. Pac-12 tournament MVP