January 22, 2016

Cardinal blocks the Trojans

The Trojans opened the game with two quick baskets, the second off a turnover by Marta. That proved to be something of an omen.

The first quarter seemed to pass in a blur as both teams were pushing the tempo to such effect that at times the TV broadcast seemed to be stuck on fast-forward and the action was hard to follow. The Cardinal won the quarter 18-12 and seemed to be in charge of the game.

But in the second quarter, USC's defense bore down and Stanford began to give up turnovers. At the half, with the score 28-24, Stanford had given up twelve turnovers and USC had gained thirteen points off them. Stanford took better care of the ball in the second half, but by the game's end those numbers were 19 turnovers yielding 19 points.

Stanford would have been in serious trouble as a result, were it not for two other stats: rebounding, in which the Cardinal had a 12-rebound edge, and blocked shots. Stanford tallied 13 blocks for the game, which tied a school record set 27 years ago against Arizona State.

Those stats, plus more accurate shooting (46% to 30%) enabled the Cardinal to hold and widen its lead to a final ten-point victory (57-47)

Bird had her eleventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. She also tallied five blocks (matching her personal best) and two steals.

Karlie matched Bird's game-high 14 points, including four of six long-range shots, two coming at very timely moments to break Trojan runs.

Lili was the Cardinal's third double-digit scorer with eleven points and was an unrelenting pest on defense.

Kaylee led all rebounders with 13 (in just 20 minutes). She also had three blocks, five points and two assists.

Bri was not available to play tonight. In her absence, Marta played the point for 35 minutes, double her season average. She again had about as many turnovers as assists, but contributed more aggressive offense than before with three gutsy drives to the basket on which she got two makes and a foul.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play

And a postgame interview of Bird: "We really came out to compete".

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