November 14, 2016

McPhee messes with Texas

Texas arrived at Maples with a slew of players well over 6-feet tall and a number-8 ranking in the national polls versus the Cardinals 12th place. Based on the numbers one might predict Stanford would have a close game and an honorable loss to superior force.

But before the game Texas coach Karen Aston wisely said "Any time that you play one of Tara's teams, you know you are getting ready to be challenged. We'll have to be prepared, or as prepared as we can be ..."

What Aston could not have prepared for was a career night for Brittany McPhee, whose performance, especially in the second quarter, turned what had been a close game decisively Stanford's way.

The first quarter featured fast-paced, intense, defensive play by both teams, with a lot of turnovers on both sides and head-spinning speedy breaks up and down the floor. That quarter ended at Stanford 17, Texas 18, and the fans already hoarse.

Close play continued in the opening minutes of the second quarter until, with 6:07 to play and Texas up 19-24, Brittany, who already had 11 points, drove toward the goal and, as the defense closed on her, bounced the ball across the horseshoe to Erica for an easy layup. On the next possession, Karlie swished a three to tie the score. Texas scored, then Erica tied the score again, and at 3:53 Kaylee made a layup to put Stanford ahead for good.

From that point on, the Cardinal slowly pried open a slender lead into a yawning gap to end the game 71-59. A large part of that effort was due to Erica's block party: she had six blocks in all (and visibly celebrated each one), as well as scoring 17 and pulling in five rebounds.

The other Cardinal player in double digits was Brittany, who played 39 minutes, scoring early and late to tally 28 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block -- and scoring a well-deserved interview with ESPN on national television. (Brittany's previous career best was 24 points scored at Cal in her freshman season.)

Tara played only eight players in this game. Kaylee worked aggressively in the paint, ending with five points and eight rebounds. Karlie had seven points, Bri six, Alanna five and Marta three. Nadia came in to help defensively for four minutes.

In this first outing against a ranked opponent, the Cardinal performed very well indeed, bringing in a win that will probably cause an adjustment in the national polls as well as giving the team and the fans renewed confidence.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The press conference audio with Tara, Brittany, and Bird,

The Stanford Athletics game highlights video,

The Pac-12 game highlights video,

And a gallery of photos by Don Feria (

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