March 31, 2015

Bonnie to participate in 3-point championship

Bonnie has been selected as one of eight participants in the 2015 State Farm 3-Point Championship, which will take place on Thursday, April 2 at 4 p.m. PT at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and be televised live on ESPN

The State Farm College Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships invite the top seniors in the country to compete -- eight dunkers and eight men's and eight women's 3-point shooters -- and is held in the host city of the men’s Final Four leading into the culmination of that tournament.

Read more about Bonnie: Bon Fire

Read more about the championship: College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships

March 28, 2015

Sweet 16 game report

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The Stanford press conference transcript,

The Notre Dame press conference transcript,

A gallery of photos by Sue Ogrocki (Associated Press),

A gallery of photos by Dave Cortesi.

March 27, 2015

And so it ends ...

... with a loss to Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen.

What a ride it's been! From peak to abyss and back again in what has been one of the most exciting seasons of Stanford Women's basketball ever.

Tara, who has spent 35 seasons perfecting a particular style of offense, did a 180 and taught a team of star-less players how to be winners. Did you ever dream that they:

Would catch the National Champion unawares and beat them in overtime,

Defeat the Pac-12 leader on its home court in its last home game of the season,

Play three win-in-the-last-minute games to take the Pac-12 Tournament championship,

Battle back from halftime deficits to victory in the first two rounds of the NCAAs.

They stepped up. They played with heart and spirit and grit — with love and respect for each other and for the game.

Being a Cardinal fan — THE BEST!

More pre-game stories

Although it wasn't published by The Oklahoman,Tara (with Lili, Amber and Bonnie) did hold a press conference yesterday. Here is the transcript.

Here are this morning's stories about tonight's game:

March 26, 2015

Report from Oklahoma City

It was a nice sunny day in Oklahoma City. A bit windy, but no sign of yesterday's storms.

The NCAA Women's Basketball Regional is not a Big Deal in Oklahoma City. The only banners around the Chesapeake Energy Arena are for the Thunder, the local NBA team.

However, there is quite a lot about the tournament in The Oklahoman today:

Tom FitzGerald from the San Francisco Chronicle is in town (he asked Muffet some questions at her press conference) and posted these two brief stories today: I don't know whether Elliott Almond of the Mercury News is here or not, but he posted the nicest story of the day:

All-Region honor for Amber

Amber has been named one of five Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Region VIII honorees and will now be placed into consideration for 2015 WBCA Division I Coaches’ All-America Team the organization announced Wednesday. Read more...

March 25, 2015

Oklahoma City Regional preview

Graham Hayes (espnW) had this to say yesterday about the Oklahoma City Regional:
It's the only region in which all four programs have been to a Final Four, although Iowa is sort of the odd one out there with its solitary trip back when C. Vivian Stringer was in Iowa City. The other three teams have been regular visitors to the Final Four over the past decade, but at least two of them are going to have to do without this year.

The game a lot of people will hope to see is Baylor and Notre Dame, a rematch of last season's regional final in South Bend, Indiana, in which Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was none too pleased about some of the calls (then again, that might be most games) and in which Notre Dame remained unbeaten but lost Natalie Achonwa for the remainder of the postseason. Any chance to see first-team All-Americans Jewell Loyd and Nina Davis on the same court would be a good thing. But don't discount Iowa, which could offer the potential for a first-to-90-wins game should it meet the Fighting Irish with NCAA triple-double leader Sam Logic playing in the building usually home to Russell Westbrook.

The wild card in the quartet is Stanford, which this month alone lost to Oregon, won the Pac-12 tournament, struggled at home in the first round against Cal State Northridge and scored 85 points in a second-round win against Oklahoma, its best production in regulation since beating hapless UC Santa Barbara nearly three months ago. And, of course, Stanford pulled its ultimate Jekyll (or would that be Hyde?) when it beat Connecticut early this season.

Hayes has an in-depth analysis of the region today: Oklahoma City breakdown

Here's more about the four contenders:

Breaking down the Oklahoma City regional by Kyle Frederickson (The Oklahoman)

Lady Bears would face seasoned Elite 8 opponents in Notre Dame, Stanford by Jason Orts (Waco Tribune)

Iowa women must contain Baylor's beasts on the boards by Ryan Murken (Des Moines Register)

Iowa women's basketball team ready for Baylor by Luke Meredith (Associated Press)

Hawkeyes feeling Sweet, but wanting more against Baylor by Steve Batterson (Muscatine Journal)

ND women gear up to take on tough Stanford team on Friday by Jim Johnston (WNDU, South Bend)

This is how the Oklahoma City Regional teams match up statistically:

Stanford Notre Dame Baylor Iowa
Points per game 69.5 81.1 79.8 79.9
Scoring margin +9.6 +21.8 +21.5 +7.5
Field goal % 0.438 0.499 0.481 0.458
3-pointers per game 6.7 4.9 3.3 8.1
3-point % 0.379 0.379 0.341 0.397
Free throw % 0.720 0.742 0.699 0.728
Rebounds per game 38.5 41.5 44.8 36.5
Rebounding margin +2.5 +8.9 +12.1 -4.4
Assists per game 10.3 18.3 20.9 18.2
Turnovers per game 12.4 15.1 13.8 13.6
Assist/turnover ratio 0.83 1.2 1.5 1.3
Steals per game 5.9 9.4 8.1 7.3
Blocks per game 4.6 5.0 5.9 4.4
Win-loss record 26-9 33-2 32-3 26-7
RPI 18 1 4 9
Schedule strength 14 3 11 12

FiveThirtyEight give Notre Dame an 86% chance of defeating Stanford and Baylor an 82% chance of defeating Iowa.

March 23, 2015

Cardinal stymies the Sooners

The Cardinal sent the Sooners home, but not to Oklahoma City, on the short end of 86-76.

Amber, Lili and Bri kept the game from getting out of hand in the first half against a determined Oklahoma team who seemed to make every shot they put up while Stanford's hit the rim or rolled out (it actually wasn't quite as lopsided as it seemed – Oklahoma made 47% to Stanford's 39%).

The Sooners led throughout the first half for all but a couple of minutes, but Lili began a Cardinal swing with her second 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, and the Cardinal went into the locker room down by just four, 36-32.

The score was tied 38-38 at the 15-minute media timeout, after which the Cardinal forged ahead to a 10-point lead four minutes later.

The Sooners were unable to recover and began fouling at the two-minute mark – the Cardinal's last 13 points were all free throws.

The Cardinal's quick guards were the stars today. Amber, Lili and Bri combined for 56 of the Cardinal's 86 points.

Amber led with 24 (two short of her career high), as she repeatedly tore through the Sooner's tough zone defense and attacked the basket. She added seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Lili found success outside the zone. She went three-for-three from beyond the arc. She drew fouls on her drives to the basket and made six of eleven free throws for a total of 19 points, her best performance since late January. And she grabbed six rebounds and dished four assists.

Bri's tenacious defense made life miserable for Oklahoma's quick guards. Most of Bri's 13 points came at the free throw line, where she sank eight of nine, six of them in that perilous first half. She also had four rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Bonnie was shut out for a long time, but she found her shots in the last twelve minutes of the game as the Cardinal took control — three 3-pointers, a layup and a perfect eight at the line for a total of 19 points.

Bird had a strong game in her battle with the Sooners' big front court – eleven rebounds, seven points and two blocks – and she stayed out of foul trouble.

The Sooners kept up their productive shooting the entire game and out-scored the Cardinal from the field by six points. But their aggressive play – 28 fouls – cost them dearly. The Cardinal made 79% of their free throws – 30 of 38.

Up next: Notre Dame in Oklahoma City on Friday. Tickets can be ordered now (Monday evening) from Stanford Athletics online.

In Tempe this afternoon, third-seeded ASU found a surprisingly tough opponent in 11th-seed Arkansas-Little Rock and almost became another Pac-12 casualty in the tournament. In the first half they shot under 20% and went 0-6 on 3-point attempts. The Sun Devils trailed almost the whole game, in the second half by as much as 16 points, before starting a late come-back.

With 2:09 to play, Elisha Davis banked in a 3-point shot as the shot clock expired, making the ASU deficit only 3. With less than a minute to play they took their first lead since the first seconds of the game at 52-51, on a Sophie Brunner layup. From that point ASU made key defensive rebounds and sank enough of their free throws to close the game out at 57-54 and advance to play Florida State in Greensboro, NC.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio with Tara, Amber, Lili and Bonnie,

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

A gallery of photos from Stanford Photo,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of Amber.

Pre-Round 2

Press conferences: From the student newspapers: Game Notes: Videos: From the Bay Area media:

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.

March 19, 2015

The road to Tampa Bay begins in Maples

Here is how the teams that will play rounds 1 and 2 in Maples match up statistically:

Stanford CSU Northridge Oklahoma Quinnipiac
Points per game 68.9 67.4 73.5 78.4
Scoring margin +9.5 +8.9 +6.1 +15.2
Field goal % .434 .390 .433 .412
3-pointers per game 6.8 7.0 6.8 9.1
3-point % .377 .328 .347 .353
Free throw % .714 .721 .694 .708
Rebounds per game 38.6 42.2 38.1 42.3
Rebounding margin +2.5 +5.1 +0.3 +1.0
Assists per game 10.3 12.6 14.0 19.8
Turnovers per game 12.1 14.8 17.0 13.4
Assist/turnover ratio 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.5
Steals per game 5.9 6.1 7.6 9.0
Blocks per game 4.5 2.8 3.0 5.9
Overall record 24-9 23-9 20-11 31-3
Conference record 13-5 11-5 13-5 20-0
RPI 18 81 22 25
Schedule strength 14 183 13 107

FiveThirtyEight gives Stanford a 93% chance of defeating CSUN and Oklahoma a 75% chance of defeating Quinnipiac. The chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 is 79% for Stanford and 16% for Oklahoma.

  Cal State Northridge Matadors

The Matadors finished second (of nine) in the Big West behind Hawai'i. They earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the Big West tournament for the second consecutive year with a 67-60 defeat of Hawai'i in the championship game. They're coming into the tournament off a nine game win streak.

This is the Matadors' second trip to the NCAAs. They lost to South Carolina in the opening round last year.

The Matadors are a very quick, athletic team. They're led by three senior guards – 5'7" Ashlee Guay (16.2 ppg), 5'7" Janae Sharpe (12.6 ppg) and 5'5" Cinnamon Lister (11.5 ppg). All of them are good 3-point shooters. Lister takes 52% of her shots from behind the arc and makes 39% of them; Guay takes 27% and makes 37%; Sharpe takes 24% and makes 33%.

The Matadors have only three players taller than six feet. The most effective on defense is 6'2" senior center Camille Mahlknecht who averages 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

The Cardinal and the Matadors have played once before, but it was in 1979, before any of the current players were even born.

However, the Cardinal and the Matadors shared many opponents this season – USC, UC Davis, Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors went 5-4 against those opponents, losing to USC (85-74 in overtime), to Hawai'i once and to UC Davis twice.

Here are CSUN's 2014-2015 statistics, roster and game notes.

  Oklahoma Sooners

This is the Sooners' Sweet 16th – their 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, all under the guidance of head coach Sherri Coales, now in her 19th season at Oklahoma.

The Sooners earned an at-large bid this season with a second-place finish in the Big 12, three games behind Baylor. They have an added incentive to win the first two rounds of the NCAAs this season – a trip to the regional in Oklahoma City, just 23 miles from home.

The Sooners have two players that average double-digit scores – 5'11" sophomore guard Peyton Little (13.2 ppg) and 6'3" junior forward Kaylon Williams (11.9 ppg).

Little is the team's most productive 3-point shooter. She takes almost half her shots from behind the arc and makes about a third of them for an average of 1.7 per game.

Williams doesn't shoot the three – she sinks 2-pointers at a rate of 59.3%, which would rank fifth in the nation except that she's four baskets short of the required minimum of five per game. She's also the Sooners' leading rebounder with 6.7 per game.

5'9" freshman point guard Gabbi Ortiz is the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. She has started every game, leads the Sooners in minutes played (32.6 per game) and handles the ball very well. She averages 3.5 assists per game with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.4. She also averages 7.8 points per game.

Here are Oklahoma's 2014-2015 statistics and roster.

  Quinnipiac Bobcats

Quinnipiac (pronounced quinnuh-pee-ac) is a private university in Hampden, Connecticut, about 85 miles northeast of New York City.

The Bobcats play in the Mideast Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). They swept the conference this season with a perfect 20-0 record and also won the tournament championship with a victory over long-time reigning champion Marist.

The Bobcats are a mature team with considerable tournament experience. They've had the same starters all season – all are seniors. They reached the WNIT or NCAA tournament in each of the past three seasons, but have yet to win a postseason game.

Three of the Bobcat senior starters score in double digits: 6'1" forward Samantha Guastella (12.9 ppg), 6'4" center Val Driscoll (12.7 ppg) and 5'8" guard Jasmine Martin (11.7 ppg).

Driscoll is also the team's leading rebounder (8.1 rpg) and shot blocker (2.2 bpg).

Guastella is an excellent 3-point shooter. She takes 70% of her shots from behind the arc and makes 43% of them (11th best in the nation) for an average of 3.0 per game (8th-best in the nation).

5'9" senior point guard Gillian Abshire is an outstanding ball handler. She averages 6.2 assists per game and has the best assist/turnover ratio in the nation (4.12). The team ranks fourth in the nation in both those catgories.

Here are Quinnipiac's 2014-2015 statistics, roster and game notes.

March 18, 2015

Oral history: Harvard stuns Stanford

When I read the headline in espnW, I thought, "Oh no! They're re-hashing that old story again?"

Not really.

Instead, Michelle Smith's article is the backstory of what happened beginning a week before The Game told by Vanessa, Tara, Milena, Kathy Delaney-Smith (Harvard coach), Harvard players and others. Read here.

if you like statistics, you'll really enjoy Benjamin Morris (FiveThirtyEight)'s prediction about first round knockouts and his comparison of women's seeds to men's seeds: Don’t Expect A No. 16 Seed To Win In The Women’s Tournament Ever Again

Tara reflects on the season

"I just really had to let go and challenge myself to try something new,” begins Tara as she reflects on the 27th season that she's taken a Stanford team to the NCAAs: Adapting for Success by Mark Soltau (Stanford Athletics)

March 16, 2015

The Road to Tampa Bay

The Cardinal has been seeded No. 4 in the Oklahoma City region, and its road to Tampa Bay will begin in Maples Pavilion against No. 13 Cal State Northridge on Saturday, March 21 at 3:30 pm.

If the Cardinal wins that game (one game at a time), its second-round game will be in Maples against either No. 5 Oklahoma or No. 12 Quinnipiac on Monday, March 23 at 3:30 pm.

If the Cardinal wins its first and second round games, its next game(s) will be at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (map) on Friday, March 27 and Sunday, March 29. If the seedings hold true, Stanford will play Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen.

If the seedings hold true, the Final Four at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay (map) on Sunday, April 5 will be UConn vs Maryland and Notre Dame vs South Carolina

In regard to the rest of the Pac-12:

  • Oregon State is the No. 3 seed in the Spokane region. Its first game will be in Corvallis against No. 14 South Dakota State.

  • Arizona State is the No. 3 seed in the Greensboro region. Its first game will be in Tempe against No. 14 Ohio.

  • Cal is the No. 4 seed in the Albany region. Its first game will be in Berkeley against No. 13 Wichita State .

  • Washington is the No. 6 seed in the Oklahoma City region. Its first game will be in Iowa City against No. 11 Miami (FL).

  • UCLA and Washington State have been selected to play in the WNIT. UCLA's first game will be at home against Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, March 19. WSU's first game will be at home against Eastern Washington on March 18. Here is the WNIT bracket.
Here is the NCAA tournament bracket.

Ticket Information

If you're a season ticket holder and haven't already reserved your tickets for the first and second rounds at Maples, you can order them now from Stanford, online or call 1-800-782-6367. Tickets go on sale to the public at 3:00 pm tomorrow (Tue, Mar 17), online or call 1-800-782-6367.

If the Cardinal advances to the regionals, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the second round is completed.

If the Cardinal advances to the Final four, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the Elite Eight is completed.

Regardless of the Cardinal's progress through the tournament, you can buy tickets now, as available, for any of the postseason games from TicketMaster:

March 13, 2015

Cardinal Storms Seattle

Stanford Athletics re-visits the Cardinal's triumphant weekend with a gallery of photos of all three games and the post-tourney celebration — click here.

And Judy Richter reports the championship weekend events in Nothing but net.

March 10, 2015

What next?

Nothing much to do except wait until next Monday (March 16) when the NCAA announces the bracket. Watch the Selection Show on ESPN at 4:00 PT.

Until then, you can keep track of who's won their conference tourney and an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney here: Championship Week results, bids.

As for the remaining 32 at-large bids, there's no telling for sure except for the dozen or so obviously top teams.

As of now (Tuesday evening):

  • Stanford's RPI (Ratings Power Index), as reported by the NCAA, places us at #19. The RPI is a major factor, but not the only one, in the NCAA selection process.
  • The media (AP Top 25 Poll) ranks Stanford at #14.
  • The coaches (USA TODAY Coaches Poll) rank Stanford at #17.
  • Charlie Creme predicts Stanford will be a #4 seed, which would make us one of the 16 teams eligible to host the 1st and 2nd rounds of the tournament.
  • Stanford Athletics predicts, "The Pac-12 Tournament champion Cardinal will likely host NCAA 1st & 2nd Round games at Maples Pavilion," and offers the opportunity to reserve tickets now.
Click here for details of the offer and to reserve your tickets. (Note: The offer does not require a promotional code. Click "Women's NCAA Tournament 1st and 2nd Rounds" in the application to proceed.)

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).

Pac-12 Tournament, Stanford/ASU semifinal re-visited

Here's more about Stanford's victory over ASU in their Pac-12 semifinal game.

ASU women's basketball can’t complete comeback against Stanford in Pac-12 semifinals by Logan Newman (The State Press)

Third time’s the charm: Card beat ASU to advance to Pac-12 Championship by Alexa Philippou (The Stanford Daily)

Stanford women reach Pac-12 final by upsetting No. 9 Arizona State, 59-56 by Adam Jude (Seattle Times)

Cardinal women knock off Sun Devils to reach Pac-12 final by Mike Vernon (San Francisco Chronicle)

Stanford edges ASU women in Pac-12 Tournament semifinals by Howie Stalwick (Arizona Republic)

Greenfield rises to the occasion to help Stanford women from Palo Alto Online

WBB: Stanford 59 ASU 56 from the CARDBoard)

Stanford, Cal to collide for Pac-12 title by Michelle Smith (espnW)

A closer look at the game stats shows that I should have awarded at least one more game ball — to Kaylee, who had ten rebounds and five blocks. The Cardinal wouldn't have won without her block, rebound and free throw in the last eleven seconds of the game.

The stats also reveal interesting information about the source of the scoring. Stanford shot 47.1% from the field to ASU's 31.6%, which should have yielded a huge win. But Stanford, in its attempts to shut down ASU's strong inside game, was called for 21 fouls, and ASU tallied 16 free throws.

Here are the Associated Press photos:

Taylor takes possession of the rebound from Kaylee's second free throw
Amber heads upcourt
Lili drives against Elisha Davis
Promise Amukamura drives against Amber
Sophie Brunner drives past Erica
Kelsey Moos shoots between Erica and Bonnie
Brittany fouls Sophie Brunner
Kaylee slows down Quinn Dornstauder
Taylor launches one of her three-pointers

March 07, 2015

Pac-12 Tournament, Semifinals

Previews

Stanford 59, Arizona State 56

Stanford started off a bit slow tonight, but did well in the first half, staying ahead of ASU despite the Sun Devils' seeming to snarf up every loose ball (rebounds for the half were ASU 20, Stanford 11). At the break, Stanford led by four, 29-25, in large part due to nine points from Taylor and 15 from Amber.

Stanford continued to do well in the third quarter, reaching a 13-point lead at the 11-minute mark, at which time rebounding had almost evened out at 25-28. At this point, ASU began scoring and Stanford slowed down. Over the next eight minutes the Sun Devils crept back into the game and took a one-point lead, 55-56.

Taylor made a layup at 0:44, bringing her total score to 17 and putting the Cardinal ahead by one.

At this point, just as in the prior night's game against UCLA, the referees became uncertain about which team should have the ball after an out-of-bounds. They reviewed and conferred and reviewed again, and ultimately gave the ball to Stanford under the ASU basket.

At this point, ASU had only one team foul. In order to get the ball back, they had to foul Stanford six times. They fouled on the inbound five times, during which the action worked its way down the court towards the Stanford end.

On the sixth inbound attempt, the ball went to Bonnie who was unable to hold it (largely because an ASU player was draped across her back). Rather than call a foul, the referee called out of bounds, Sun Devil ball. This could have decided the game for ASU had they been able to score. However, Elisha Davis' shot hit the rim and was rebounded by Kaylee, who was instantly fouled. That finally put the Cardinal in the bonus with 11 seconds left to play.

Kaylee made the first shot of the 1-and-1, putting Stanford ahead 58-56. Her second shot bounced off the side of the rim and was snatched and cradled by Taylor.

Taylor's first free throw was good (Stanford 59-56). Her second was off and rebounded by ASU, but Elisha Davis' three-point shot fell short as time expired.

So for the second night in a row, Stanford let a comfortable lead slip away but snatched a close win by rebounding when it mattered most.

The victory was a great team effort, but there have to be two game balls — one for Amber, who led her team with 18 points, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals; and the other for Taylor, who played the best game of her career when it was most needed.

Here are game reports:

The box score and play-by-play,

A video interview of Tara about reaching the Pac-12 Championship,

A video interview of Taylor after edging ASU in the Pac-12 semifinals,

The game highlights video,

And the press conference audio, with Tara and Taylor.

Cal 68, Colorado 55

The Buffs had a lot of fight left in them, but not quite enough to pull off a third upset.

They struck first and hard against the Bears, were ahead for the first ten minutes, and were down by just six (29-23) at the break.

The Buffs kept the scoring deficit to less than ten points for most of the second half, but never succeeded in overcoming it. They lost 68-55.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play

Finis

The championship game tomorrow is Stanford vs Cal at 6:00.

The game will be televised by ESPN.

There will be a chalk talk at 3:30 and a sendoff with the band at 3:45 at the team hotel (the Westin Seattle) and a no-host gathering at 4:00 at the Tap House Grill. Click here for a map of both locations and the Key Arena.

March 06, 2015

Pac-12 Tournament, Quarterfinals

Anticipation


Preview: Day two of the 2015 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament

#2 Arizona State 67, #7 Washington State 48

There's a lively crowd in the Key Arena this morning — about 100 fans in the WSU section, 50 in the ASU section, two full sections of very excited kids, and the two big reserved sections are about half full.

Promise Amukamura swished a three to begin the action. From then, the scoring progressed slowly against stifling defense by both teams, with lots of turnovers and missed shots. The Cougars didn't score until eight minutes into the game. After ten minutes, the score was ASU 9, WSU 5.

Five minutes into the game, WSU's Lia Galdeira went down, clutching her knee, and left the court. But she returned four minutes later with the knee taped and played the rest of the game.

The Cougars kept drawing fouls, but couldn't make their free throws. With the score still in the teens, they missed eight of ten. At the break, the score was 19-16 in favor of the Sun Devils. Each team had made only 27% of its shots.

The battle continued after the break, but soon tilted in ASU's direction. The Cougars' shooting improved a bit – to 36% for the game – but the Sun Devil bigs (Brunner, Moos and Dornstader) kept getting past the Cougar defense and laying in basket after basket.

The Sun Devils had built up a 44-31 lead midway thru the half and went on to win 67-48.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play

#3 Stanford 67, #6 UCLA 62

The Cardinal were full of energy and enthusiasm this afternoon, and so were the Bruins.

The Bruins played a very different game from yesterday when they committed 20 fouls and gave their opponent 25 free throws. Today, they played with control as well as skill and had the Cardinal on the ropes right down to the last 20 seconds.

The Cardinal played a solid first half, highlighted by nine points and several tenacious rebounds by Erica McCall. Lili added nine points on a 3-pointer, two jumpers and two free throws. They were ahead by 11 points with 1½ minutes left in the first half. Then the Bruins went on a mini run and cut the lead to five, 33-28.

The Cardinal held on to the lead against repeated threats from the Bruins and again increased it to 12 points just before the 12-minute media timeout on a steal by Amber under the Bruin basket, followed by an Amber-to-Lili-to-Amber-to-Bri layup that brought the Cardinal bench and fans to their feet.

The Bruins then went on another mini run and tied the game at 56-56 with just under five minutes left to play. Amber took care of that with a 3-pointer, after which Kaylee sank a layup on an assist from Taylor. Then the Bruins threw the ball away and it was looking good for the Cardinal.

But the Cardinal failed to score on their next three possessions, the Bruins made two free throws, and the score was 61-58 with 1:45 left to play.

Kaylee was fouled and, as all Cardinal fans held their breath, sank two free throws. Then the Bruins struck twice, the score was 63-62 with 20.7 seconds left, and it got really exciting.

There was a big kerfuffle on the inbound. The teams retired to their benches as the referees reviewed the play at length , discussed it at length, reviewed it again, discussed it again, and gave the possession to Stanford!

Bonnie was fouled and made her both free throws. The Bruins missed a desperation 3-pointer. Lili grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made both her free throws. Stanford 67, UCLA 62!

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio, with Tara, Amber and Lili,

A video interview of Tara, "We really made some big plays",

And the game highlights video,

#1 Oregon State 65 #9 Colorado 68

The Buffs got off to a hot start when Lexi Kresl scored 11 points in the first two minutes, including 3 threes. Colorado held a lead until the 2-minute mark when OSU tied the score, and the half ended with OSU ahead 33-30.

The Beavers worked their way back to tie the game at the 14-minute point, but they couldn't put the Buffs away. Colorado held and then took a slender lead and held it to the final seconds. The Beavers' patented 3-point attack failed this night, with several tries clanking off the rim. In the final minute the OSU defense broke down and twice allowed easy Colorado layups that sealed a major upset and left a large contingent of orange-clad fans very disappointed.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play

#4 Cal 69, #5 Washington 53

Cal's defense was overwhelming a very tired-looking Washington squad, although the Huskies were still hanging in there 23-32, when we left at the half — eight games in four days is just a bit too much.

The final score was Cal 69, Washington 53.

Here are game reports:

And the box score and play-by-play

Finis

The Semifinals tomorrow are:

#3 Stanford vs #2 ASU at 6:00 pm
#4 Cal vs #9 Colorado at 8:30 pm

Pac-12 Networks is offering free access to the semi-final game broadcasts plus halftime and postgame coverage on Pac-12.com and their Pac-12 Now app.

Before the Stanford game, there will be a chalk talk at 3:30 and a sendoff with the band at 3:45 at the team hotel (the Westin Seattle) and a no-host gathering at 4:00 at the Tap House Grill. Click here for a map of both locations and the Key Arena.