March 23, 2018

Stanford loses Sweet 16 game to Louisville, 59-86

The Stanford defense was good as usual and was clearly causing Louisville trouble, especially in the first half. Unfortunately for Stanford, the Louisville defense and offense were more athletic, more aggressive, more skilled, and sometimes luckier than Stanford's.

The game started out as a high-speed shooting match, with both teams hitting their shots. The score at the first media timeout was 10-13, with Stanford hitting 5 of 7 shots and Louisville 6 of 10. Alanna had hit all three of her first attempts. The quarter ended Louisville up 6, 19-25, but Stanford looking competitive.

In the second quarter it became apparent that Louisville was simply faster and more aggressive on both offense and defense. The most noticeable difference was in offensive rebounds, where by the end of the half Stanford had two, and Louisville, eight. The halftime score was 31-42.

If the coaches made any "adjustments" over halftime, Jeff Walz's were more effective. From the start of the second half, Stanford's offense simply stalled. There was one single possession on which Stanford had seven O-boards. That was the good news; the bad news was that they missed all eight shots before Louisville finally grabbed the ball. If you set aside that string of seven consecutive O-boards, the final count would be Stanford 3, Louisville 14.

The Cardinals completely shut Alanna down after her promising first quarter. From the mid-third quarter on, it seemed to a fan that everything Stanford put up, bounced, while everything Louisville put up, swished. It wasn't quite that bad, but the outcome was so clearly inevitable that Tara began to substitute bench players at the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter, and pulled the last starter, Kiana, before the 2:00 point. This was sad because Brittany and Kaylee left the floor for the last time well before the scattering of Stanford fans realized they were gone.

Brittany had 15 points, six rebounds, a steal and a block in her last game in a Stanford uniform.

Kaylee had two points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Next year's team had some good moments.

DiJonai had 14 points, four rebounds, and amid her usual disruptive defense, three steals.

Alanna had eight points, five rebounds and a block.

Kiana had an off-night (or maybe was well-scouted by the Cardinals) and scored seven points on 3-11 shooting.

Marta had four points and dished out five assists.

Maya played good defense and had two assists, a steal, and two solid blocks. Against the Louisville secondary in the closing minutes, Shannon sank a pretty three and Alexa went 3-3 for six points.

Stanford began this season with more losses than we are accustomed to having, and for a while didn't look as if they would rank high enough to host the first round, or even be competitive in their league. In the closing month they beat a string of quality teams — including UCLA and Oregon State, teams that are now in the Elite Eight after today's results — and contended for the league championship.

Next year's squad will add three promising freshmen to the base of players — Alanna, Kiana, Marta, DiJonai, Nadia and Alyssa — to name just the ones who played in regular minutes in this final game.

How will that team do? Will it start out winning? Will it reach the Sweet-16? Of course we can't know, but we can confidently expect that they will be, as always, confident, articulate young women who play with skill, who do astonishing things on the court, and who provide excitement and entertainment for their fans.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

A transcript of the press conference with Tara, Britt and DiJonai,

The game highlights video.

And a gallery of photos by Adam Padgett (,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Louisville is a fine team and we definitely were beaten. We did not beat ourselves. I am sorry to lose Britt and Kaylee, but we have a bright future ahead of us. Looking forward to the end-of-year banquet where we can honor and celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of these fine scholar athletes and their coaches.

Cyd Crampton