March 18, 2017

Cardinal wears out Aggies to take first round 72-64

Historically no 15-seed has ever won a first round postseason game. There were moments late in this game when fans were seriously worried that Stanford was going to have the distinction of yielding that unfortunate record; but Stanford conditioning, defense, and determination owned the quarter that mattered — the last one.

From the opening tip, the New Mexico Aggies did not play like a 15-seed. On offense they moved and passed with dazzling speed. They hit eight of their first twelve shots. At the end of the half, they had five threes, one from each of five players.

Meanwhile the Aggies' zone slowed the Cardinal. In one memorable possession, Stanford missed five successive shots but got five successive O-boards before Brittany sank a jumper.

At the end of the first quarter, the Cardinal were in the hole 20-23. The score would have been similar at the half, 31-35, except that with two seconds left, the Aggies missed a free throw, scooped up the rebound and sank a three on the buzzer sending Stanford to the locker room down 31-38, leaving their fans to spend the half with dark thoughts of making the wrong kind of history.

After the break, Karlie helped to erase most of that deficit with two three-pointers. The Aggies and the Cardinal exhanged a narrow lead throughout the third quarter, which ended with the Cardinal down one, 48-49.

As the fourth quarter began, some of the New Mexico players were visibly tired. Brittany, Alanna and Bird scored, and the Aggies missed several successive shots. Stanford finally had a lead that was not immediately erased; and soon after, its first two-possession lead.

The Aggies were unable to muster an answer, and the buzzer gave the Cafrdinal passage to the second round, where they'll play Kansas State (who defeated Drake 76-54) in front of a home crowd on Monday.

Alanna led the Cardinal with 19 points and eleven rebounds, plus six blocks.

Karlie had 17 points including 5-9 from long range, and five assists and three steals. Her last three-pointer of the day brougnt her caeer total to 238, one more than sister Bonnie's.

Brittany had 16 points, several in the crucial fourth quarter that sparked the Cardinal's march to victory; plus three assists, five steals, six rebounds and two blocks.

Bird had nine points, twelve rebounds, and three blocks.

Bri added six points from two three-pointers, plus three assists and two steals.

Marta had five points and five steals.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video from Stanford,

The game highlights video from ESPN,

Postgame video interview of Tara and Alanna,

Transcript of the press conference , with Tara, Alanna and Karlie,

A gallery of photos by David Mayes Photography,


Gregory Smith said...

Did Mikaela make the trip?

Marian Cortesi said...

No, Anna was there (not in uniform), but Mikaela wasn't

Gregory Smith said...

I saw Anna in a walking boot.

Is Mikaela OK? Do we know what is ailing her?

Marian Cortesi said...

I know nothing about Mikaela except that she hasn't been as the last several games.