November 11, 2016

Cardinal takes it to the inside

For the first official game of the season, the Cal Poly Mustangs brought the first real defensive challenge to Maples. They played a solid zone defense throughout the game, and as long as the Mustangs were fresh, they slowed the Cardinal offense. At 5:34 in the second quarter the score was Cardinal 25, Mustangs 23. Then Brittany McPhee wowed the crowd with a driving layup and the Cardinal took off, ending the half at 38-27 and rolling on to the 83-55 final.

Stanford was able to score from the outside, hitting eight of 19 three-point shots (42%). The outside game was sparked by Bri Roberson who hit four of five three-point attempts and ended with 16 points to lead the team in scoring.

Karlie, in her first game of the season, hit two of four three-point shots and ended with 10 points. Mikaela, in her official first collegiate game, hit two of two long ones.

Although the long-range shots fired up the crowd in the opening minutes, the inside scoring was more impressive and more promising for the future.

In last week's exhibition game, Stanford had a strong height advantage over SDSU, but that was not the case tonight. The Mustangs have several players over 6-feet, including 6-3 Hannah Gilbert who was the leading scorer with 17 points. Despite facing a zone and near-parity in height, the Cardinal were able to tally 34 of 64 field goals, 53%.

The inside scoring was led by Kaylee who hit four (of eight) shots in the paint and was noticeably more determined and aggressive than in prior seasons. Erica made six of 10 and ended with 15 points. Brittany scored all her 10 points on drives to the basket for layups (she also put up five long-range shots, but none connected). Even more promising for the future, Nadia played just nine minutes late in the game, yet scored three of four layups, two rebounds, and two imperative blocks.

Several of the inside scores were made possible by Marta, whose passing and leadership on fast breaks brought applause several times. She ended with 10 assists, and the four turnovers charged to her could be blamed on trying to work through the zone.

In the end there were five Stanford players with 10 or more points, and all available players had minutes. The Cardinal appears in good shape to face more competitive opponents in coming weeks, starting with No. 8/6 Texas in a few days.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The press conference audio, with Tara and Bri,

And a gallery of photos by Bill Dally (

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