December 16, 2015

Cardinal's favorite flavor: Orange Crush

Updated Dec 17: Added Michelle Smith's game report and game highlights video

Tennessee took an early lead on a Diamond DeShields jumper on the first possession, but that was it for the Lady Vols. The Cardinal dominated the game for the next 32 minutes. They held a double-digit lead for most of that time — as much as 21 points — in the face of relentless full-court pressure by the Vols.

Then the Vols upped the pressure and cut the lead to seven with 5½ minutes left to play, but the Cardinal fought back and kept control and won 69-55.

The Cardinal learned the importance of rebounding from their loss to Texas and won the battle of the boards 42-31 tonight, including 13-10 O-boards. Bird led that battle with ten rebounds to which she added 14 points for her seventh double-double of the season. Only four other players in the nation have that many.

The Cardinal offense was unusual tonight in that almost all of their scoring came from within the arc. They attempted only eleven 3-pointers (about half of their average) and only Karlie and Lili succeeded with one apiece.

After the loss to Texas, Tara lamented, "so many bad shots". The Cardinal learned from that too — they made 50% of their shots tonight. Lili fell a couple short of her signature 21 points, but led all scorers with 19.

Kaylee was back in the action tonight. She made three of four shots in the paint and four of six free throws for a total of ten points — the seventh double-digit game of her career.

Marta played the point for 29 minutes tonight, during which she scored nine points, dished four assists with just three turnovers, grabbed three rebounds, and stole the ball twice. One of her drives to the basket and layup sparked the Cardinal's rebuff of the Lady Vols' resurgence as they cut the lead to seven points for the second time with three minutes left to play.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

A gallery of photos from (Stanford Athletics),

The press conference video with Tara and Bird and Marta,

The game highlights video,

And photos by Marcio Jose Sanchez (Associated Press):

Lili snags a rebound
Bird scores on a fast break
Alanna hooks it in
Lili dribbles around the Lady Vol press
Marta drives
Bird lifts it up and in
Bird celebrates her basket
The Cardinal celebrate the victory

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