January 24, 2015

Cardinal out-hustles the Bruins

It was another tale of two halves, but this one had a happy 79-70 ending for the Cardinal.

In the first half of a fast-paced game, the Cardinal repeatedly fell behind the Bruins, once by as much as 13, but kept coming back. The Bruins' edge was almost entirely due to the play of junior guard Nirra Fields with 17 points in the half. The Bruins also shot well from beyond the arc, hitting more than half of those shots. The Cardinal was fortunate to be down by only three at the end of the half.

It all changed after the intermission as the Cardinal upped their energy and the tempo of the game. Bri sparked the comeback with a layup on the first possession. A few seconds later, Amber hit a three to tie the score at 42, then Bonnie passed up a shot and sent the ball to Amber for a second trey. After a defensive rebound by Kaylee, Bonnie hit a trey, giving the Cardinal three threes in three tries in less than two minutes, and forcing Cori Close to call a timeout.

The Cardinal continued their hot shooting and good defense. They had what seemed to be a comfortable 14-point lead with seven minutes to play, but the Bruins chipped away, bringing it to 73-67 with 1:36 to play. With one minute to play, the Bruins began fouling, having to make four intentional fouls before they reached seven and the chance of getting possession. However, the person they fouled on the fifth try was Bonnie, who made both shots. Seconds later, Amber stole the ball, was fouled, and made both of her free throws, giving the Cardinal a 10-point lead. Kaylee and Bonnie each had one more free throw before the clock ran out.

Bri got the start tonight and had the game of her life (so far) with a career-high 21 points on 53% shooting from the field and 43% from beyond the arc (3 of 7).

Bonnie sank four of ten from beyond the arc, stepped past her defenders for two short ones and hit five from the line for another 21 points. She added strong defense to her usual sparkling offense – seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

Amber showed again why she's in the running for point guard of the year – 20 points on 58% shooting from the field, five assists with one turnover, and four steals.

Rebounding improved considerably over last week's loss. The Cardinal out-rebounded the Bruins 33-26.

Kaylee led all rebounders with 17 and scored 10 points for the only double-double of the game (her fourth of the season). She was also the game-high shot blocker with four.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score and play-by-play,

The press conference audio, with Tara, Bri and Bonnie,

A video interview of Bri after her career night vs UCLA

Note: There are no photos of the game from Stanford or UCLA or the Associated Press.

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