December 13, 2015

Texas too much for Stanford

The Longhorns did it with defense and with Davenport: defeated the Cardinal 77-69.

The Longhorns' strong defense was expected — they rank in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense and in rebound margin. They out-rebounded the Cardinal 44 - 29, including 16 - 8 offensive rebounds. The Cardinal had zero O-boards in the first half of the game, three of their eight came in the last eight seconds.

Senior guard Empress Davenport's performance was not expected. She is the Longhorn's defensive stopper. Until this afternoon, she had averaged just over seven points per game in her career. This afternoon she scored a game-high and career-high 23 points at a 53% clip!

The box score reveals a very different game than I observed. It seemed to me that the Longhorns had way more possessions than the Cardinal and were making more of their shots. In fact, the field goals were exactly the same — each team made 25 of 59 attempts. And the Cardinal had eight 3-pointers to the Longhorns' four, and thus a four-point advantage.

But the Longhorn defense led not only to offense. It also led to Cardinal fouls, which led the Longhorns to the free throw line where they scored 23 points on free throws to the Cardinal's 11, and there is the eight-point victory!

There were many fine performances by the Cardinal this afternoon to substantiate Tara's belief that this team has not yet achieved its potential.

Bird's effort seemed out-shadowed by the Longhorns' strong front court, but she made her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds, to which she added five blocks.

Lili's contribution was not dazzling (she made just one of six 3-pointers), but she made six of 13 from the inside and got to the line seven times, where she made all but one of her free throws. It all adds up to Lili's fourth 21-point game of the season.

Brittany sparked the Cardinal offense with four of four from beyond the arc (until today, she had made only nine 3-pointers in her collegiate career). She sank back-to-back 3s twice — in the second quarter to cut the Longhorns' lead to two and again late in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four. Unfortunately, the sparks didn't quite ignite a change in momentum.

Kailee started for the first time since her freshman season and earned a career-high 25 minutes of playing time with her strong defense.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

Postgame quotes from Texas coach and players and from Tara and Lili,

A gallery of photos from (Texas Athletics).

No comments: