January 26, 2018

Cardinal defense disrupts Devils, 74-50

The game began very well when, on the tip-off, Alanna, instead of trying to flip the ball back toward her team as usual, tapped it ahead, over the gathered Sun Devils. It looked like a planned play, because Brittany was already headed for the basket while the ball was in the air, and got an easy layup. The Sun Devils then brought the ball down and Alanna stole it for another easy layup. Stanford had two more steals in the following minutes and, even though they didn't score off them, they had the ASU offense looking confused. At 5:52, with the score 8-2, Charlie Turner Thorne called time and appeared to be irate.

After the timeout and a refreshing pep-talk from their coach, ASU picked up the pace and managed to come within one point at 13-12. But then Stanford's defense clamped down and the Sun Devils did not score again until three minutes into the second quarter. At the half Stanford was ahead by 15, at 41-26. At this point steals were 6-0 in Stanford's favor; rebounds 18-12; and turnovers, which had plagued the Cardinal in previous games, were 3 to 8.

The third quarter continued these trends, with Cardinal defense holding ASU scoreless for several minutes. At one point ASU had a possession of nearly a minute, the shot clock being reset by a foul and then by an O-board, yet the possession ended with a bad pass that was scooped up by Marta for a breakaway layup. Marta and DiJonai were leading the scoring through the first three quarters,

The fourth quarter opened with a remarkable sequence. On three successive possessions Marta drove in with the ball and passed it to a lurking Brittany for a score. Brittany had made only nine points in the first three quarters, but these quick buckets made her leading scorer, and the third one took her past 1,000 points for her career.

Brittany ended with 24 points on 9-11 shooting, plus two assists, a steal, and one dramatic block that brought a smug smile from Kaylee and a loud cheer from the crowd.

Marta had 13 points, a career high, on 5-10 shooting. She also recorded six assists and two steals, against three turnovers.

DiJonai also had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Alanna had eight points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block.

Kiana also had eight points, an assist and a steal.

All in all, the Cardinal played to the full extent of their abilities from the tip-off to the final buzzer and looked to be enjoying it very much.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

A video interview of Marta, "'I was looking to attack the basket,"

The video press conference with Tara, Britt, and Marta,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (isiphoto.com)

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