January 07, 2017

Cardinal cages the Ducklings, 81-60

Oregon this season has a top-ranked freshman class (as reported in our Up Next report), with Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu leading the team in scoring and rebounding. Stanford's task in this game was to contain these Ducklings, and they did — mostly. Hebard, a post player, was smothered by a double every time she got the ball, and ended scoring only four points on 2-6 shooting. Ionescu did better with 14, but on 4-18 shooting, which indicates that good defense was disturbing her aim. The game might have been different had she hit a few more of those shots.

A third, unheralded Duckling, Mallory McGwire, stepped up to do greater damage, scoring 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Ducks' only double-double.

Thanks in large part to McGwire, the first half was close. Stanford delighted fans with a fast start, opening a 9-2 lead on layups by Marta, Bri, and Bird and a three from Karlie. Then Oregon found their feet defensively and the game remained close for many minutes. At one point Oregon tied the score 11-all with a three-pointer, but eight seconds later Bri untied it with a three of her own. As the half was winding down, the score was 32-27. With 16.5 seconds to play, Tara called a timeout. When play resumed, Marta made a crisp pass to Alanna at the top of the key and she sank a three on the buzzer: 35-27.

The third quarter continued close, with the Cardinal slowly drawing out to a 10-point lead. In this quarter it became clear that Alanna was having an outstanding game. She seemed to be everywhere, shooting, grabbing rebounds, and getting one dramatic block that left her grinning and getting high-fives.

Another highlight was a bang-bang play in which Marta fired a 40-foot pass to Karlie at the shoulder, who instantly whipped it to Alanna on the left block, who made a nice spin move around her defender to lay it in.

In the fourth quarter Oregon, unable to close the gap, began to soften, and the point spread widened to the final 81-60.

Alanna led all scorers with 24, a career high. Her outing was also notable for other improvements: Only two personal fouls and a perfect 5-of-5 free throws.

Bri scored 15 points including hitting three of four long-range shots and defended hard.

Bird scored 14 points, but missed a double-double by two rebounds.

Karlie had nine points on 3-5 shooting and six assists, played 37 minutes, and had several spectacular rebounds, including one where she got the ball while falling and kept her dribble alive while on her knees until she could pass the ball safely.

Marta had nine points on 4-7 shooting, all drives to the basket, and five assists.

Nadia played 21 minutes, had 6 points, an emphatic block, and some tough rebounds.

Collectively, the team shot 49.2% from the field, 40.0% on treys, and 83.3% on free throws

All available players had some time (Brittany was out with a turned ankle from a practice injury, but is expected to play on Sunday). Kaylee returned from a foot injury to play six minutes.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A video press conference, first Kelly Graves, then Tara, Alanna, and Bri,

A game highlights video from Stanford Athletics,

A game highlights video from espnW,

A video interview: Alanna talks buzzer beaters, career-high scoring night,

No comments: