November 24, 2017

Play4Kay, second day

First game: DePaul vs Memphis

DePaul grabbed a 12-point lead in the first quarter and then held on to win 81-67.

Second game: Gonzaga vs Kent State

Gonzaga built a 17-point lead in the first quarter, slowed down for two quarters, then closed the game out at 77-57.

Third game: Ohio State vs Florida Gulf Coast

We arrived in the arena a few minutes into the game and the score was Buckeyes 11, Eagles 6. By the time we'd gotten comfortable in our seats it was 18-6. At the end of the first quarter it was 30-9, and things were not looking good for the feisty Floridians. We noted that Ohio ran a wide-spread zone on every possession. FGCU rarely got the ball inside the perimeter without turning it over.

In the second quarter FGCU regained some composure and hit a few threes. At the half the score was 58-34 but in the third quarter the Buckeyes pulled further ahead to 85-49.

During the third quarter Ohio's Kelsey Mitchell hit her 401st three-point goal and became the NCAA all time leader in that category. Mitchell finished the game with 34 points, making 7-11 on three-point attempts, and five free throws and a couple of layups.

When the Ohio score topped 100, they subbed in the scrubs, but FGCU couldn't make much headway and the final score was 104-62.

Fourth game: Stanford vs Belmont

Belmont had shown a lot of skill in beating Gonzaga the day before and we were concerned about Stanford's chances. However the game started well with a 9-0 run by Stanford. Points were coming from Alanna, Alexa, and Dijonai. Around the 5-minute mark Tara began to bring in subs: Nadia, Maya, Alyssa. But then the Belmont shooters began to hit and the lead disappeared. With a minute left in the quarter, all the starters had subbed back in! The quarter ended at 18-16.

The second quarter started with exciting action: Belmont tied the score at 18; Dijonai un-tied it with a three; Belmont tied it with a three; Alexa hit a layup; Belmont hit a layup to tie at 23; Alanna hit a three for a Cardinal lead of 26-23.

About this time a visiting relative who hadn't seen a lot of college basketball asked, "Do they keep up this pace the whole time?"

Yeah, they do. The game was close for the rest of the quarter. Stanford pulled out a 37-29 lead, then went cold while Belmont caught up, and the score at the half was a tie, 37-37.

The third quarter began with three more minutes of rapid scoring. It started when Marta hit a three to give Stanford a lead that in fact they would not relinquish. At 06:29, three and a half minutes into the quarter, Belmont called time. At that point there had been 20 points scored in the quarter, 13 by Stanford and 7 by Belmont, and the score stood at 50-44.

Then remarkably, Stanford's defense simply smothered Belmont, who went nearly ten minutes of game time without another bucket. The score was 64-44 in the fourth quarter before Belmont made its next goal. That ten-minute drought changed what had been a close competition into an easy win. However, Tara didn't sub in the B-team until the 2-minute mark.

Some good things in the Cardinal stats: Six players sank at least one three-pointer, the team shot 43% in all and 32% from long range, and committed only five turnovers.

Alanna led all scorers with 23 points, as well as eleven rebounds (her first double-double of the season). Alexa had eleven points (in 35 minutes). Dijonai had nine points and seven rebounds. Kaylee had eight points and eight rebounds.

Marta scored eight points, six rebounds, and seven assists (to one turnover). Marta's passing was remarkable: she created several fast-break buckets by firing from near mid-court to Alanna, Dijonai or Maya running to the basket for an easy layup. One pass to Maya was just a bit too high and too long, but Maya leaped for it and twisted in the air to make the layup as her body floated over baseline.

Tomorrow's games ...

... line up this way: At noon Kent State plays Memphis for seventh place. At 3pm DePaul and Gonzaga play for fifth. At 5:30 Belmont and FGCU play for third place.

At 8pm Stanford plays Ohio State for the championship. Odds have to favor the Buckeyes' zone defense and balanced inside and outside attack. But Stanford will try to show that they have learned a thing or two in the three weeks since they lost to the same team 64-85.

Here are game reports:

The game statistics,

And the audio press conference with Marta.

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