January 07, 2018

Sun Devils Scorch Stanford 66-73

At the start of this game Stanford and ASU were evaluated as evenly matched in the national polls (USA Today Coaches Poll gave each team 6 votes; the AP Top 25 had Stanford at 23 and ASU at 24), so a close game could be expected. In the end it was fairly close, with the decisive factor being a big gap in what had been a Cardinal virtue — rebounding.

The game got off to a good Stanford start, with Brittany hitting a three, Alanna scoring and getting a block, and Kiana scoring nine points. In addition, the Cardinal defense seemed to rattle the Sun Devils and caused them to commit a half-dozen turnovers. That quarter ended with Stanford up 20-14. Unfortunately that was the end of the good times.

In the second quarter, ASU stopped turning the ball over and went to a zone defense, which held Stanford to only 7 points. ASU won the quarter 7-21, and the score was 27-35 at the half.

The third quarter opened better for the Cardinal, with a nice layup by DiJonai. Defense caused ASU turnovers that were converted to scores. Stanford came back to within 3 or 4 points.

At the start of the fourth quarter, a steal and layup by Brittany, then a steal and layup by Kiana, tied the game at 50-50. However, ASU pulled ahead again, opening a nine-point lead.

With a couple of minutes left to play, Stanford was still down by nine, 56-65, and began fouling. ASU hit only half of the ensuing free throws, giving Stanford multiple opportunities to close the gap, but shots wouldn't drop, and the game wound down with Stanford down seven, 66-73.

The team stats are unusually interesting for this game. Stanford attempted 24 three-point shots, while ASU tried only nine. This suggests the effectiveness of the ASU zone, forcing Stanford to resort to the long ball.

The most notable statistic — noted frequently by Andy Landers doing color commentary for ESPN — was the huge gap in rebounding. In the third quarter the difference was Stanford 17, ASU 37; by the end, it was 24-47, almost a 2:1 ratio in ASU's favor. The Sun Devils took full advantage of their aggressive play, scoring 22 second-chance points on 13 O-boards.

Another striking stat was the difference in free throws. Stanford hit five of nine. Setting aside free throws taken for intentional fouls in the last two minutes, ASU hit 17 of 25, getting 12 more points from free throws than Stanford.

Kiana ended with 14 points (nine came in her red-hot first quarter), hitting 6-12, only one of them from beyond the arc.

DiJonai had 13 points on 5-10 shooting, as well as getting three steals and a block.

Brittany ended with 12 points, the team-high six rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Her long-range shooting woes continued as she hit only one of six tries.

Marta scored ten points. She launched four three-pointers, sank three of them and was fouled on the fourth (but made only one of her free throws). She had two assists and three steals.

Alanna had six points on 3-6 shooting, as well as a steal and two blocks.

The team returns home to play the Washington schools next weekend.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

And the game highlights video.

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