February 15, 2018

Cardinal tames Golden Bears at Maples, 74-69

The game began in excellent fashion with two layups by Alanna and two threes by Kiana. At the end of the quarter Stanford led by nine, at 22-13, and seemed comfortable.

In the second quarter the Golden Bears jarred them out of their comfy place, settling into a dogged defense. Stanford began missing; the Bears began rebounding; and half-way through the quarter, the score was tied at 29.

Less than a minute from the end of the half, Cal had a one-point lead, 34-35. Tara subbed in Shannon, one supposes simply to put a body on Cal's big girls without risking a foul by Alanna or Kaylee. This bit of routine strategy paid off when, with the clock winding down, Marta fired to Shannon on the perimeter and Shannon dropped in a three on the buzzer. The half ended with Stanford up 37-35 and Tara looking like a coaching genius.

The tight game continued into the third quarter. The score was tied at 40, and at 42, and at 44. Then came a decisive moment: with Stanford up three, 52-49, and 40 seconds to play, Nadia dropped in a three. Then a Cal foul gave the ball to Stanford with 16 seconds left, and Marta found Nadia for a smooth jumper, to end the quarter 57-49.

The run continued in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter, with a layup and a three from Kiana and a layup by Kaylee giving Stanford what should have been a comfortable 14-point lead, 65-51, at the 8-minute mark.

But then a scoring drought hit both teams. Stanford did not score a field goal in the rest of the game -- although they did score nine points on free throws. That let Cal come slowly back and made the final minutes dramatic; but Stanford hit their free throws and closed out the game 74-69.

Much of the success was due to defense. Stanford kept Cal's big girls, Anigwe and Davidson, to a total of three field goals and 14 points. Stanford conceded only 11 turnovers in an aggressive competitive game, and made 76% of their free throws.

Individually, Kiana led all scorers with a career-high 26 points. She hit 5 of 7 three-point tries and 7 of 9 free throws. She had three assists and four steals, against two turnovers.

Brittany collected 17 points despite a low shooting percentage due largely to Mikayla Cowling's tight defense. Britt hit 1-5 from three, and 4-15 from close in. She had two assists and two blocks, and two turnovers.

Nadia provided the spark at the end of the half that began the winning run. She had ten points in all, plus six rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Alanna scored eight points, all in the first quarter. In only 18 minutes playing time she collected 7 rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Marta played 36 minutes. She only scored two points on free throws, but had six assists against two turnovers.

Kaylee played 34 minutes, had nine rebounds and six points.

Shannon was credited with only one minute on the floor, but that minute ended with her draining a three to send the Cardinal to the locker room with a half-time lead.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video,

The video press conference with Tara, Kiana, and Nadia,

A video interview of Kiana, "I came to Stanford for games like this,"

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

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