February 26, 2017

Cardinal snatches win from Ducks' bills, 65-59

The atmosphere at Knight Arena was cheerful on Senior Day with 4,286 Duck rooters settling in with their bingo cards in hand (For those who've not been there, the Oregon FBC sells bingo cards for $1 and the numbers are called at halftime.)

The Australian national anthem was played "to honor our Australian players", and then the US anthem was played very nicely by a violinist.

The Ducks used a zone defense from the start and Stanford's defense was as good as it usually is, with the result that the score after one quarter was 15-15.

During the second quarter we were grumbling about certain Stanford players who seemed to be passing up makeable shots or failing to drive when it seemed — from our vantage point 50 feet away and eight rows up from the hardwood — obvious that driving was possible, probably easy. Then we heard the Duck fans behind us complaining the same way about their team: "Why doesn't she SHOOT?!?" Despite our kvetching the Cardinal pulled ahead to end the half at 27-21.

Brittany opened the third quarter with a three and Stanford kept on outscoring the Ducks to end that quarter ahead 13, 49-36, and looked to be on track to a comfortable win.

The Ducks didn't agree with a quiet end to their Senior Day game. Starting the fourth quarter they dropped out of their zone defense and began full-court pressure on every inbound, producing several Stanford turnovers, and creating an 8-0 Duck run that brought the score to 49-44 and forced Tara to call time at 7:02.

The Ducks brought the score within five points several times in the following minutes and even within four, 58-54, with a minute to play. However the Cardinal made their free throws in the final seconds and closed the game out with a win.

Karlie led all scorers with 18 points, on 4-7 three-point shots and 6-6 free throws.

Bird had 16 points (all on field goals) plus 14 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season. She made 61.5% of her shots — the first time she's made more than half since the win at Washington.

Alanna had 14 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double; plus three blocks and a steal.

Bri had nine points including a very timely jumper to relieve the pressure when the Ducks first came within five midway through the fourth quarter.

The victory gave the Cardinal a tie with Washington for second place in the conference and the No. 2 seed in the tournament. They'll play either Colorado or Washington State in the quarterfinals on Friday evening, March 3, at 6:00.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A video interview of Bird,

And some of the Register-Guard photos that feature the Cardinal:

Kaylee blocks a shot
Alanna blocks a shot
Bird goes for a block, but fouls
Alanna puts up a shot
Bri battles Duck pressure
Bird and Britt fight for control
Everyone goes for the rebound

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