February 12, 2017

Cardinal upends the Utes 87-51

This game was decided in the first quarter, which ended with Stanford up by 23, at 31-8.

Stanford was scoring, but their defense was also clicking, and it forced Utah into an absolutely disastrous scoring drought. Utah scored no field goals at all, from 7:59 in the first quarter until 4:52 in the second quarter: almost thirteen minutes with nothing but a couple of free throws.

Then the Utes (who had beaten Cal two days before) pulled themselves together and played the Cardinal almost even for most of the rest of the game, even at one point briefly reducing their deficit to fewer than twenty points. It is possible to climb out of a twenty-point hole — Stanford has done it — but to the relief of Cardinal fans this year's Utah team could not.

Alanna had an excellent game, leading all scorers with 16 points, five rebounds, two steals, a block, and only one foul in 20 minutes of play.

Brittany had 13 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.

Karlie also had 13 points, plus five rebounds.

Bri had ten points, including a three-point shot to open the scoring just seven seconds into the game. During the pregame talk, Tempe said they were encouraging Bri to take more shots, and that message seems to have been received — she sank another three-pointer and a jumper later in the game.

Kaylee scored four points, blocked two shots, and pulled in five O-boards in only 14 minutes on the floor.

Marta had five points plus dishing seven assists with only one turnover. One of the assists was on a play that brought the crowd to its feet. Marta fired an arcing pass from the left shoulder to just right of the basket. Brittany flew up from the floor to catch it and pop it into the basket. During the post-game talk, Tara said this was a play they practiced, called the "Tiger Lob". (This play is shown early in the Britt interview – link below.)

The big lead allowed Tara to put in a team consisting of Alexa, Anna, Dijonai, Nadia and Shannon for almost half of the fourth quarter. Everyone available played at least five minutes (Mikaela was out for personal reasons) and all but Anna scored.

Seven Cardinal sank three-pointers today. Shannon's was the first of her career.

In response to a question after the game, Amy said that you can't teach free throws, although the team practices them a lot. Some days they're on, some days not — today the Cardinal delighted their fans by sinking 18 of 20 for a sizzling 90%.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of Brittany

The audio press conference with Tara and Alanna,

And a few photos by Scott Strazzante (The Chonicle):

Kaylee protects the paint
Bird and Karlie bottle up Wendy Anae
Tara shouts instructions

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