March 22, 2016

Cardinal Slips Past Jackrabbits 66-65

With 12 seconds left to play, Stanford was down by two points. Lili made a do-or-die drive to the basket, the shot was good and she was fouled.

Lili made her free throw and Stanford was up by one, 66-65. South Dakota called time to inbound from their bench with eight seconds on the clock. They needed only to make one shot – or be fouled – to win the game. They inbounded to their best player who went up – and was blocked by Bird.

Although an SDSU player grabbed the ball, time ran out before they could get a shot off. Game over; jubilation reigned in Maples.

However well they played those last seconds, the Cardinal had nobody to blame but themselves for being in such peril. They put themselves in a hole in the second half from which they barely dug out.

The first half of the game was fast, entertaining basketball. Both teams came out hot. The Jackrabbits made their first five field goal attempts and the Cardinal hit their first seven. Stanford won the first quarter, 18-17, and the second, 15-10, to go into the locker room up 33-27.

South Dakota was the one who apparently "made adjustments" to their defense at halftime, because the Cardinal bogged down offensively in the second half . They seemed slow, hesitant, uncertain. SDSU played a 2-3 zone for a short time, but mostly played an athletic player-defense that the Cardinal could not solve.

In addition, the Cardinal was unable to take advantage of frequent fouls. They shot an abysmal 45.5% from the foul line, hitting only 10 of 22. As a result. the Jackrabbits took a 46-50 lead out of the third quarter and held a lead of four to eight throughout most of the fourth quarter.

At 1:28, with the score 60-64, SDSU called time and the Jackrabbits could be seen celebrating. Out of the time-out, Bri hit a three to make it a one-point game. After a flurry of alternating turnovers, SDSU was fouled and made one of two free throws: 63-65. Lili drove and made a layup and was fouled, and made this essential free throw to make the score 66-65 and set up the finish.

Bird led all scorers with 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting, as well as snagging 12 rebounds and being credited with one block, the key one that ended the game.

Lili had 19 points (7-15) including the layup and free throw that gave Stanford its lead. In addition, Lili had a key assist: she drove toward the basket and dished to Bri, standing alone on the perimeter, to create the three-pointer that made it a one-point game.

Karlie hit three of six three-point attempts, and was everywhere, being credited with a block, two steals and four assists.

Kaylee pulled in nine rebounds and scored six points, but was often fouled and was only 4-10 on free throws.

So the Cardinal slips out of Maples with a ticket to Lexington where they will play No. 1 Notre Dame next Friday, March 25.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The game highlights video,

The last 12 seconds, a video from espnW

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

A gallery of photos, by Nhat V.Meyer (Mercury News),

A gallery of photos from Stanford Athletics.

In other second round action for the Pac-12, Arizona State ended its postseason with a tough loss to Tennessee:

Oregon State, UCLA and Washington advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen: Oregon and Utah both won their WNIT second round and will play each other in the third round on Wednesday, March 23 in Oregon.

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