March 20, 2017

Cardinal stifles K-State Wildcats, 69-48

Almost 4,000 purple-clad Wildcat fans came to the spacious confines of Bramlage Coliseum for this game, joined by a hundred or so cardinal-wearing Stanford fans. The smaller group had more to cheer about as the Stanford defense shut down K-State's best scorers.

One thing was clear to Stanford fans almost immediately: the Wildcats were absolutely determined that Karlie Samuelson would not beat them. She barely got her hands on the ball before one and usually two defenders pounced at her. As a result it wasn't until the third quarter that Karlie attempted a shot.

When one player is so tightly defended, others have to be open. A couple of minutes into the game, Brittany drove in and made a layup. A fan was heard to say, "If they are going to let Brit operate, we're going to have a good night." And in fact Brit did operate, getting seven points and an assist in the first quarter.

The first quarter ended with Stanford up by a modest five points. In the second quarter, the wheels came off K-State's Conestoga wagon. In the first minute Brittany hit a three, then drove and missed a layup that Bird put back. With Stanford up ten, the Wildcats called a timeout. It didn't help. K-State went more long minutes with no score but free throws. At the half, Brittany had added two more threes, and with Alanna and Bird scoring, Stanford led 39-21.

In the second half Karlie got three chances to shoot and made two of them. The second of these came when the Cardinal had been passing the ball around the perimeter of the Wildcat's wide-spread two-three zone. With the clock getting short, Karlie at the top of the arc passed to Brittany at the right elbow. She bent her knees, drawing two defenders, so passed back to Karlie who was now two long steps back from the arc. Unfazed, Karlie let it fly and swished the three.

Rebounding was a major factor in the result, despite Stanford not being any taller, overall, than the Wildcats. In the final tally Stanford out-rebounded K-State by 15, 39-25, and O-boards were 12-5. That gave the Cardinal more opportunities, and Stanford made better use of them, shooting 46% versus the Wildcat's 39%.

So with a convincing win in hand, Stanford heads to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky to face Texas for the Sweet Sixteen. That's the same location where Stanford upset Notre Dame last year at this time. If they can get past Texas, they'll probably have a chance to repeat that matchup.

Brittany led all scorers with 21 points, mostly from a career-high five of seven from beyond the arc. She rounded out her stellar offense with seven rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal.

Alanna was close behind with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block.

Bird had ten points, six rebounds and a block.

Karlie had six points from making two of three shots, plus two assists and two steals.

Kaylee contributed her usual strong defense with four rebounds in twelve minutes of play and also scored five points.

Bri and Marta shared point guard duties and focused on holding K-State's leading scorer to eleven points on three of seven field goal attempts. They each dished six assists, Bri with no turnovers and Marta with four.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights videofrom Stanford Athletics,

The game highlights video from ESPN,

Another highlights video: Brittany's 21 points,

The audio press conference with Tara, Brittany and Alanna,

A gallery of photos by (David Mayes Photograph,

And photos by Orlin Wagner (Associated Press):

Brittany drives to the basket
Brittany lays up two of her 21 points
And-one for Alanna
Bird and Karlie stop K-State's tall center

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