January 31, 2016

Cardinal escapes Cougar mauling

This game did not start well. WSU got the opening tip, and quickly hit an unopposed three-point shot. Seconds later, they stole the ball and got a layup. The Cougars have a new coaching emphasis on defense, and a lineup featuring players from five nations, and they were clearly not the hapless Wazoo of past seasons.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal couldn't seem to find the basket with a flashlight. At 1:28, with the score 9-18, Tara called a timeout. At this time, all nine of Stanford's points were from free throws. At 0:30, Lili hit the first Cardinal basket, and the quarter ended at 11-18.

In the second quarter, the Cardinal began to make headway against the smart, aggressive Cougar defense. Lili hit an early jumper, then Karlie hit a three. The Cardinal got its first lead at 24-23 from a Brittany jumper, but the Cougars quickly got it back and the half ended at 25-27.

The game swung Stanford's way in the third quarter. WSU's shooting cooled off and Lili, Erica, Karlie and Kaylee all began to score. The Cardinal took back the lead and gradually increased it to 45-39 at the end of the quarter.

But the Cougars continued their tough defense and victory was not assured until late in the fourth quarter.

With three minutes left to play, the Cardinal was still ahead by just six points. Then Lili turned the tide with her third three-point jumper of the afternoon. A minute later, Karlie missed a long shot, but Kaylee grabbed the rebound and put it back in.

WSU was not able score again, so the two more three-point shots Lili hit in the last two minutes were only icing on the final score of 69-52.

Lili had a career-best 30 points in all, including five of six from long range.

Bird had her 12th double-double of the season with at 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Kaylee pulled in a season-best 19 rebounds, just three short of her personal best.

Brittany and Karlie had 9 and 10 points respectively and both played tough defense against skilled, physical opposition.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The audio press conference with Tara, Lili and Kaylee

A postgame video interview of Kaylee,

And a gallery of photos from Stanford Athletics.

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