February 03, 2017

Cardinal trounces Trojans for Tara's 1000th career win

The Trojans worked hard to avoid being the answer to a trivia question, but they didn't stand a chance.

The Cardinal, determined to get it for Tara, broke the game wide open toward the end of the third quarter and and carried on to a 58-42 victory.

There were noticeably more cars flowing into the Maples lot an hour before game-time, and more than usual at Kissick for Tempe's pre-game talk. (The final attendance count was 4,490, just ten shy of Uber-fan Wally Mersereau's half-time estimate).

The Cardinal started well, getting fouled and hitting four free-throws, followed by a drive and layup by Karlie. USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke called time at 7:40 with the score 6-0.

After that the Trojans got their defense together. Also, the basketball leprechauns crept in and put an invisible lid on both baskets. The remainder of the first half was full of intense, fast action, but little scoring.

The half was about to end with Stanford up six, but the Cardinal had the final possession. With four seconds on the clock, the ball squirted out of bounds off a Trojan player. Karlie inbound to Bird in the corner who hiked up a three that dropped into the net half a second short of the buzzer. Bird celebrated all the way down the court on the way to the locker room.

The Cardinal were still up by nine, 39-30, with 3:44 to play in the third quarter. Then Karlie found open floor for a fraction of a second and hit a three. A minute later she hit another. And a minute later, another. And to end the quarter, a jumper. That string of eleven points put the Cardinal up by 20, 52-32, and basically put the game away. The teams scored evenly through the fourth until the buzzer, and the celebration of Tara's 1000th victory.

Karlie's third-quarter outburst made her the leading scorer with 21 points: three treys three layups, and six of six free-throws. She has now made 210 treys in her career and is tied with Vanessa Nygaard for fourth place in the Stanford record book.

Bird had 18 points, including that end-of-the-half three, and five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Brittany had ten points. Four players had two points each: Marta, Nadia, Bri and Kaylee. Kaylee, who had to sit out much of the first half with two fouls, still managed to pull down eleven rebounds in 25 minutes of play.

Tara's final word to the crowd: "I'll always remember this, and I'm moving on to 1,001 on Monday night."

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

The postgame celebration highlights,

The complete postgame celebration

A video interview of Tara

A video press conference, first Karlie and Bird, then Tara,

Transcript of Tara's press conference,

A gallery of photos from isiphotos.com,

And more tomorrow about Tara and her milestone win.

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