November 04, 2017

Cardinal tentative in exhibition opener vs. UCSD

Let the record show that the first basket of the 2017-18 season was a layup by Brittany from a pass by Alanna — and the second was another layup by Brittany from her own steal.

After this exciting start, Cardinal offense in the remainder of the first half was tentative and confused. The new, "Warrior-ized" offense that Tara is trying to create was only partially evident. Ball movement was fast and free; even the freshmen were passing the ball with confidence. And the defense baffled Heidi Vanderveer's UCSD Tritons and kept them from scoring for long stretches.

However, the ball wasn't going into the basket at the Stanford end of the floor, and the Division II Tritons were able to tie the score at 17 near the end of the second quarter. At the half, Stanford led by only 21-17. Also at the half, rebounding was almost even, and UCSD had more offensive rebounds.

There may have been some crisp words spoken in the locker room; at any rate early in the third quarter Stanford opened a 12-point lead. After that the two teams pretty much traded baskets the rest of the way to the final score of 60-46.

All four freshmen got playing time, and indeed during the final two minutes of the game, the squad on the floor consisted of four freshmen plus Mikaela Brewer. Of the frosh, Maya Dodson was the most impressive. Although she scored only a single free-throw, she had three blocks and seven rebounds, and impressed everyone with her speed and great wing-span. During the post-game presentations, Tara compared her to a young Nneka Ogwumike! (So, no pressure, kid.)

The scoring was mostly done by the upper class. Alanna led all scorers with 13, even though she missed all of her three-point attempts.

Alexa had eleven points, mostly from 3-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Alexa appears to have the green light to shoot whenever she likes; and if she can maintain a high average, other teams will have to defend her on the perimeter, opening the center.

Brittany had ten points. She no doubt would have had more, but she played only 13 minutes after she tweaked her ankle in a collision in the second quarter. (Post-game she was all smiles and said she was fine.)

Following the game Tara introduced the team, showering praise on everyone, and all the players seemed loose and happy.

Here are game reports and commentary:

The box score,

The audio press conference , with Tara, Marta and Alanna,

And a gallery of photos by Bob Drebin (

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