March 19, 2016

Cardinal dominates Dons in NCAA opening round

The Stanford fans cheered loudly when Jennifer Azzi was announced as the opposing coach in team introductions. Then they cheered a lot more as Stanford firmly put the USF team in its place as newcomers to the post-season.

USF was running a well-executed 2-3 zone, from which they could instantly bring two defenders to wherever the ball went around the perimeter. Nevertheless Stanford was able to score: the Cardinal took its first lead on a drive and layup by Marta, which was quickly followed by an O-board and layup by Brittany and a three by Bri. The first quarter ended 17-12 and that was the closest USF came to parity in scoring. Stanford steadily pulled away through the second and third periods.

Everyone played except Shannon who is out with an injury. Nine had significant minutes and all nine scored.

Lili led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Bird had her 16th double-double of the season — 14 points (on 5-of-9 shooting) and ten rebounds.

Kaylee made 75% of her shots for 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished three assists.

Karlie was the Cardinal's fifth double-digit scorer with 11 points.

Marta played 27 minutes, had eight points and nine assists (with just one turnover), suggesting that she could be capable of double-doubles next season. Among her points were her first made 3-point shot (prior to this game she was 0-7).

In all, six players hit 3-point shots in this game: Lili and Karlie had two; Bird, Bri, Alanna and Marta had one each.

In the other game at Maples today, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits withstood Miami's suffocating defense and rebounded their way to a 74-71 upset.

Late in the fourth quarter of the Stanford/USF game, USF went to a pressure defense, pressing every inbound. It was like the defense that Miami used throughout their game against South Dakota State, and as in that game, the pressure was effective in forcing turnovers and slowing the pace. Fans watching felt quite fortunate that Miami lost their game and Stanford would not face 40 minutes of pressure on Monday.

This is the second time the Jackrabbits have advanced to the second round in seven trips to the NCAAs. Their several hundred fans that filled a corner of Maples were ecstatic. Most of them didn't stick around for the Stanford/USF game, but I'm sure they'll be back on Monday for the second round game.

All Seven Pac-12 teams playing in the postseason (WNIT or NCAA) have advanced to the second round:

Here are reports and commentary on the Stanford/USF game:

The box score and play-by-play,

The Stanford Athletics game highlights video,

The Pac-12 game highlights video,

The press conference video, with Tara, Marta, Bird and Lili.

A gallery of photos from Stanford Athletics.

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