December 28, 2015

Cardinal dismantles the Mocs

The Chattanooga Mocs came into Maples with the reputation — indeed, the actual numbers — of a strong team. Many fans perched on the edge of their seats after tip-off, ready for a close, suspenseful game.

However, any suspense was pretty well blown away in the first five minutes, as the Cardinal loped out to a 14-2 lead at the first timeout. It became clear that the Mocs, who have lost two of their key players to injury, were not the dominating team we played last season.

The first quarter ended at 40-18 (the Band's favorite lead at "2X plus 4", but it came just at the buzzer so the Band didn't have a chance to chant it). For the rest of the game Stanford held that 2X or greater lead.

Chattanooga has the stats of a team that defends well while fouling little, and in fact they were never in the bonus in any quarter — but neither was Stanford.

Late in the second quarter, the Mocs went to a 1-2-2 zone defense that slowed the Cardinal. They continued the zone throughout the second half. The Cardinal, holding a big lead, didn't try to beat the zone, but settled for passing the ball around the perimeter for 25 seconds on most possessions. Several times a Cardinal fast break or outlet pass got down the floor ahead of the defense and yet was pulled back, allowing the Mocs to set up their zone. Even with such passive tactics, in the third quarter Stanford outscored Chattanooga 11-7, ending the quarter at 51-25.

In the fourth quarter Jim Foster, Chattanooga's hall of fame coach, put his reserves in early. Tara did not, but left her better players on the floor until the 4:32 mark. This imbalance led to a 14-0 Cardinal run. The Mocs had only five points in the fourth quarter to end the game at 73-30.

Clearly, Stanford had the better defensive game plan (and the players to execute it) for this contest. Chattanooga's best player, Jasmine Joyner, was blanked for the first 39 minutes, only scoring a single basket at the end of the game. While the zone slowed Stanford, it didn't help the Mocs who just couldn't score effectively against Stanford's defense, and the Cardinal enjoyed their third blowout win in a row.

Several individual highlights stand out in memory. In the second quarter, Kailee had the ball in the paint, swarmed by Mocs. She looked for an outlet, and looked, and looked; then with an almost audible "the heck with it" dribbled once, spun, and dropped in a short jumper. A couple of possessions later she rebounded a miss by Karlie, passed out to Lili who shot and missed, rebounded again under the basket, and made a layup.

Bird didn't quite get her double-double tonight (no one did), but she led all scorers with 18 points, to which she added eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

The Cardinal were cold from beyond the arc, making just five of 22 attempts. Lili missed all six of hers, but scored inside and at the line for 11 points. She needs just 28 more to become the 36th member of the Stanford 1000-point club.

Karlie was, as always, a beast on defense. Her defensive efforts don't contribute much to the box score, but they're a vital part of the Cardinal's success. She's credited tonight with just three rebounds and one steal, but she frequently caused held balls and turnovers and unsuccessful shots. She was also the Cardinal's third double-digit scorer with 10 points and dished four assists.

Bri had the most success from beyond the arc (a perfect three of three) and the most assists (five) with just one turnover.

Kaylee was tough under the basket. She was often in contention for a rebound and grabbed six of them. Four were offensive rebounds; she put two of them back in. She also scored on two other layups for a total of eight points, and she had four steals. She's clearly out of her slump!

In the final minutes, Tess put in two nice layups, both times off assists by Alexa.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos by Hector Garcia-Molina (Stanford Photo).

Kaylee causes a potential change of possession
Kailee looks for an outlet
Bird lays it way up
Bri looks to pass
Karlie takes possession
Alanna drives past Alicia Payne
Lili protects the paint

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