February 14, 2016

Cardinal cedes a squeaker to Sun Devils

After a humiliating loss in Tempe, Stanford needed to do better in this rematch, and they did, coming back from a big deficit to force overtime and all but winning the game.

The game turned on two streaks. After trailing close behind ASU for 17 minutes, the Cardinal was at a two-point deficit, 25-27, with three minutes to go in the second quarter. Then ASU went on a tear, hitting three 3-point shots and a layup to close the half at 25-38. The Devils' run continued into the second half, until Bird made a layup to cap the Sun Devil run at 15-2 and the Cardinal looking up at a score of 27-42.

Stanford played ASU even the rest of the third quarter and went into the fourth with the score 36-49. Now Stanford began to score and finally took a lead on Karlie's 3-point shot, 55-54 with 0:26 left in the game. Stanford's defense was fierce and physical through this period. Sophie Brunner made one of two free throws to tie the score. Bird and Lili missed layup attempts in the final seconds, and regulation ended tied at 55-55.

During the overtime, Stanford had a 2-point lead with a minute to play. Then, with the score tied, Marta missed a jumper and ASU got the rebound with nine seconds to play. They brought the ball down and Sophie Brunner got off a fall-away jumper that fell through the hoop on the buzzer for the ASU win at 63-61, Stanford's fourth home conference loss since 2008.

Erica scored 22 points with a career-best 11 of 14 field goals (78.6%!). She also had six rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals.

Karlie scored 14 points and Bri 9. They each hit several strategic 3-point shots. Bri fueled the Cardinal's furious run to the finish with a pair of treys in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter ...

... and Karlie's third trey of the evening gave the Cardinal its first lead of the game with 0:26 left in regulation.

Marta showed a new level of offensive skills, driving to the basket several times, twice for makes and twice to earn free throws, for a total of six points.

All the team showed an even higher level of defensive intensity than their usual excellent. In the end, this game was about as encouraging as a loss could ever be.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio with Tara, Bird and Karlie,

The ASU press conference audio with Charli, Sophie and Elisha,

And a gallery of photos from Stanford Athletics.

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