March 16, 2018

On the eve of the Dance

Press Conference: Tara, Kaylee, Britt

Stories about the Stanford pod

A guide to the women’s NCAA Tournament’s Stanford subregional by Eric Lee (The Missourian)

Upsets upcoming at Stanford on Saturday? by Alex Simon (Summitt Hoops)

Stories about Stanford and Gonzaga

Stanford, Gonzaga meet again but in NCAA Tournament by Fox Sports

Nostalgia aside, Stanford women ready to play by Rick Eymer (Palo Alto Online)

Stanford's VanDerveer had a moment of doubt on NCAA chances by Janie McCauley (Associated Press)

Stanford women face a point guard from Gonzaga named Stockton by Tom Fitzgerald (San Francisco Chronicle)

Gonzaga faces tough test of stopping Stanford’s Brittany McPhee by Jim Allen (The Spokesman Review)

Stanford's Kiana Williams eyes Final Four by Michelle Smith (Pac-12 Conference)

Wagner alum Williams gets her shot at Stanford by David Hinojosa (San Antoniio Express-News)

Stories about Missouri and FGCU

Tigers hope offense heats up on West Coast by Daniel Jones (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Can Mizzou finally break through to Sweet 16 in NCAA women's tournament? by Aaron Reiss (Kansas City Star)

FGCU women very confident vs. much taller Mizzou in NCAA first-rounder by Dana Caldwell (Naples Daily News)

FGCU focused on slowing down Missouri's Sophie Cunningham by Do-Hyoung Park (Naples Daily News)

March 15, 2018

The Dance begins at Maples

Here is how the teams that will play rounds 1 and 2 at Maples match up statistically:

Stanford Gonzaga Missouri FGCU
Points per game 68.0 72.4 69.7 78.4
Scoring margin +6.5 +13.7 +9.4 +19.1
Field goal % .419 .437 .459 .441
3-pointers per game 7.0 4.8 7.9 12.0
3-point % .309 .294 .379 .361
Free throw % .639 .733 .757 .691
Rebounds per game 40.9 39.7 39.2 36.6
Rebounding margin +4.4 +4.9 +8.7 +1.7
Assists per game 13.7 14.5 16.0 16.7
Turnovers per game 14.5 13.5 14.8 12.1
Assist/turnover ratio 0.94 1.07 1.08 1.38
Steals per game 7.4 9.5 4.9 9.5
Blocks per game 5.2 3.6 3.9 1.6
Overall record 22-10 27-5 24-7 30-4
Conference record 14.3 17-1 11-5 13-1
RPI 13 34 24 47
Schedule strength 4 94 43 188

FiveThirtyEight gives Stanford an 89% chance of defeating Gonzaga and gives Missouri an 80% chance of defeating FGCU. The chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 is 74% for Stanford and 19% for Missouri.

  Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Zags earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the West Coast Conference (WCC) tournament. This is the second consecutive year that they've won both the tournament and regular-season titles.

They've been to the NCAA tournament nine times in the past 10 years, with four trips to the Sweet 16 and one to the Elite Eight.

The Zags are led by head coach Lisa Fortier, who took the reins from Kelly Graves four years ago. She has been named the WCC Coach of the Year three times.

The Zags and the Cardinal have played each other almost every season for the past nine years. The Zags won for the first time, 68-63, at Maples last season.

The Zag's leading scorer, redshirt junior forward Jill Barta, laid 26 points on the Cardinal that day and is looking forward to the rematch. Barta averages 18.8 points per game on 49% shooting. She also leads her team in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and blocks (1.0 bpg).

Junior forward Zykera Rice also scores in double digits at an average of 12.0 points per game and grabs 5.3 rebounds per game.

Here are Gonzaga's season statistics and roster

  Missouri Tigers

Mizzou earned its third consecutive at-large bid to the Big Dance by placing fourth in the tough Southeastern Conference (SEC) behind Mississippi State, South Carolina and Georgia.

This is its fifth invitation to the Big Dance. It advanced to the second round the past two seasons and to the Sweet Sixteen in 2001.

Mizzou is led by head coach Robin Pingeton, now in her eight season at the helm.

Junior guard Sophie Cunningham might be the best shooter at Maples this weekend. She averages 18.0 points per game at a rate of 53.8%. She takes almost half her shots from beyond the arc, sinking 2.3 per game at a rate of 46.6%, the third-best 3-point field goal percentage in the nation. And she makes 83% of her free throws — just under four per game.

Cunningham may also be the toughest player. She's received negative comments about her playing style in the social media, but her mother says, "Dang it, she’s not a dirty player. She’s hard-nosed. With that said, she’s feisty ... She won’t back down from a physical fight or a verbal fight. Even as a little girl Sophie always had to have the last word. And it's frustrating being on the other side."

Junior forward Cierra Porter leads the team in rebounding with 7.7 per game. She is just short of being their third double-digit scorer with 9.9 points per game.

Redshirt senior forward Jordan Frericks is Mizzou's second-best scorer and rebounder with 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Here are Mizzou's season statistics and roster.

   Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Eagles

Florida Gulf Coast has been a Division I program in the Atlanta Sun (ASUN) conference since the 2007-08 season, and has been eligible for postseason play since 2011-12. It has dominated the conference in those past seven years.

This is the fifth time that the Eagles have earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs by winning the ASUN tournament. They've advanced to the second round just once, in 2015.

The Eagles are also the ASUN regular season champion, which they have been for all but one of the past seven years.

Karl Smesko has been the head coach at FGCU ever since 2002-03, the program's first year (when it played in Division II). He has been named the ASUN Coach of the Year nine times in the eleven years that FGCU has been a member of the conference.

The Eagles' social media mantra is #RAININGTHREES. It's a style that Smesko has been preaching since he started coaching.

The Eagles have attempted 1126 3-pointers this season and made 407 of them — more than any other team in the nation. They've averaged the second-most 3-pointers per game (12.0, just shy of DePaul's 12.1).

The Eagles' barrage of treys is a team-wide performance.

Redshirt senior guard Taylor Gradinjan makes the most — 2.7 per game at a rate of 38.9%. This is Gradinjan's sixth season at FGCU. She has suffered two ACL tears, but has played more minutes this season than any FGCU player and has at least one 3-pointer in all but two games.

Senior forward Rosemarie Julien is close behind with 2.1 3-pointers per game at a rate of 35%, and is the team's top scorer with an average of 13.4 points per game.

Reshirt senior guard Jessica Cattani is the Eagles' most accurate 3-point shooter. She comes off the bench for about 14 minutes per game to sink 1.6 treys at a rate of 43.5%.

Sophomore forward Tytionia Adderly leads the team in rebounding with an average of 9.1 per game.

Here are FGCU's season statistics and roster.

March 14, 2018

How long will the Cardinal dance?

FiveThirtyEight, the statistical analysis website, in article 2018 March Madness Predictions gives Stanford:

A 74% chance of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.
A 12% chance of upsetting Louisville and advancing to the Elite Eight
A 2% chance of advancing to the Final Four.

ESPN in article UConn is favored in NCAA tournament, but BPI likes field uses ESPN's brand-new Basketball Power Index (BPI) for women's college basketball to give Stanford:

A 45% chance of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen
A 14% chance of advancing to the Elite Eight
a 4% chance of advancing to the Final Four

Charlie Creme (ESPN) in article UConn leads way in 1-64 NCAA tournament power rankings sizes up the chances of the other 63 contenders. For Stanford:

Best case: The NCAA tournament and Stanford can't be discussed without "Final Four" entering the conversation -- and the Cardinal do it again. Brittany McPhee catches a hot streak like she did in the regionals last March and Stanford shocks Louisville and Baylor to get to its third Final Four in five years and the 14th in program history.

Worst case: The Cardinal reach the Sweet 16, but the season ends there because this is the game Louisville's Asia Durr finds her stroke again. The Cardinal have no answer even after massive halftime adjustments by coach Tara VanDerveer.

Graham Hays (ESPN) in article Five burning questions for the women's NCAA tournament bracket thinks that Louisville has the most difficult road to Columbus:

It might be the shortest path to Columbus, barely 250 miles even with a slight detour to Rupp Arena along the way, but Louisville will feel every one of those miles if it emerges unscathed.

Geography obviously helps the ACC champions. Should the Cardinals reach the regional round in nearby Lexington, no other No. 1 seed will likely be as well supported -- the opportunity to cut down nets on a rival's court all the sweeter in a season in which Kentucky missed the tournament.

But that is about all Louisville has going for it in its draw.

A No. 1 seed hasn't lost in the second round or earlier (sorry, Stanford) since 2009, so the first weekend should be a foregone conclusion. That said, Louisville failed to defend its own court in the NCAA tournament before, in a regional final against Maryland in 2014 and a second-round game against DePaul in 2016. It also lost a tournament game against Dayton in 2015, and while the players and even the coach are different this time, the Flyers are still bigger and more athletic than most mid-majors. It's worth noting if those teams should meet in the second round.

It's the weekend at Rupp Arena that gets tricky. Potential Sweet 16 opponent Stanford would be playing in Lexington for the third year in a row. A year ago, the Cardinal upset top-seeded Notre Dame in the regional final. The year before that? They upset top-seeded Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. You get the feeling the Cardinal wouldn't be overwhelmed by the surroundings, even with the kind of partisan crowd that was missing the past two years.

Stanford [is] a potential thorn in Louisville's side, but that involves the Cardinal getting through a loaded bracket in the first two rounds. A win at Stanford could be another step toward stardom for Missouri's Sophie Cunningham, but both favorites face difficult openers against mid-majors with athleticism and experience playing big games. Keep an eye on Gonzaga's Jill Barta, who might be the most talented player in the building.

Jim Oxley (Hero Sports) in article Lexington Region Predictions predicts:

Cardinal (no 's') all the way: That battle between the Cardinal and the Cardinals in the Sweet 16 is what will ultimately decide the region.

Stanford are winners of 10 of their last 12, including wins against ranked Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State teams. They did lose badly to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament championship, but they've got veteran leadership in the form of Brittany McPhee and Alanna Smith, among others, while the performance of freshman Kianna Williams (8.4 points, 5.7 rebounds per game) has been a strong addition.

In my predictions they would get Louisville in the Sweet 16 and Tennessee in the Elite Eight, a team who beat them in California back at the beginning of the season. Five of Stanford's 10 losses on the season (including the Tennessee loss) came in the Cardinal's first 11 games. They were a different group to finish the season.

This Stanford squad made it to the Final Four as a two seed in the Lexington region just a year ago. Can they get back again this season? I like their chances.

March 12, 2018

The Road to Columbus


The Cardinal has been seeded No. 4 in the Lexington region and its road to Columbus will begin at home in Maples against No. 13 Gonzaga on Saturday, March 17 at 3:00 pm PT.

IF the Cardinal wins that game, its second-round game will be against either No. 5 Missouri or No. 12 FGCU on Monday, March 19 at time tbd.

IF the Cardinal wins its first and second round games, its next game[s] will be at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky (map) on Friday, March 23 and Sunday, March 25.

IF the seedings hold true, Stanford will play Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen.

IF Stanford upsets Louisville, it will likely play Baylor in the Elite Eight (although, with a couple more upsets, its opponent could be Oregon State).

IF the seedings hold true, the Final Four at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus (map) on Friday, March 31 will be UConn vs Notre Dame and Louisville vs MIssissippi State.

In regard to the rest of the Pac-12:

  • Oregon is the No. 2 seed in the Spokane region. Its first game will be at home in Matthew Knight Arena against No. 15 Seattle.
  • UCLA is the No. 3 seed in the Kansas City region. Its first game will be at home in Pauley Pavilion against No. 14 American.
  • Oregon State is the No. 6 seed in the Lexington region. Its first game will be in Knoxville, TN against No. 11 Western Kentucky.
  • Arizona State is the No. 7 seed in the Kansas City region. Its first game will be in Austin, TX against No. 10 Nebraska.
  • California is the No. 7 seed in the Albany region. Its first game will be in Columbus, SC against No. 10 Virginia.

  • Utah has been selected to play in the WNIT. Its first game is at home agains UNLV on Thursday, Mar 15 at a time to be announced. As the Pac-12 No. 7 seed, USC qualified automatically, but declined the invitation. Here is the WNIT bracket.
Here is the NCAA tournament bracket.

Ticket Information

See Stanford Athletics article More Basketball in Maples for information about buying first and second round tickets.

IF the Cardinal advances to the regionals, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the second round is completed.

IF the Cardinal advances to the Final Four, you'll be able to buy tickets in the Stanford section from Stanford after the Elite Eight is completed.

Regardless of the Cardinal's progress through the tournament, you can buy tickets now, as available, for any of the postseason games from TicketMaster (click here for details and links).

Brittany is Academic All-American

Brittany has been named to the 2017-18 Academic All-American Division I second team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Brittany is the ninth academic All-American in program history, joining Erica McCall, Chiney Ogwumike, Kristin Folkl, Kate Starbird, Chris MacMurdo, Julie Zeilstra, Jeanne Ruark Hoff and Louise Smith.

Read more:

March 09, 2018

Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament moving to Las Vegas

While Seattle's Key Arena is being renovated, the 2019 and 2020 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament will be in Las Vegas.

Read more in the Pac-12 announcement: Las Vegas to showcase best of Pac-12 basketball with hosting of Women's Tournament & Extension of Men's Tournament

March 08, 2018

Brittany is a USA TODAY All-American

Brittany has been named to the USA TODAY All-American third team.

Read more:

March 07, 2018

Pac-12 Tournament: Tinkerbell and Other Storylines

By Warren Grimes

The Tinkerbell Effect

For Stanford, the final game ended with a decisive 20-point defeat to a gifted, and number-6 ranked, Oregon team. Just a month earlier, playing on the Ducks’ home court, Stanford had upset the same team by an almost as decisive 13-point margin. What was the difference?

Tinkerbell had spread her magic dust in both games. In the game in Eugene, there must have been a northerly wind that blew most of the dust onto Stanford’s favorite Scot, Brittany McPhee. She scored a game and career high 33 points (in just 30 minutes on the floor). In a remarkable fourth quarter, McPhee couldn’t miss, and scored Stanford’s last 19 points. It was a deflating loss for the Ducks.

One month later, playing in Seattle for the tournament championship, the Tinkerbell dust fell on revenge-seeking Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu scored a career high 36 points in every which way. She deservedly was selected as the tournament’s best player. Stanford held other Oregon players in relative check, but simply could not stop Ionescu. Stanford shot well enough in the paint, but it was not enough to withstand Ionescu, who made almost half of her team’s 77 points.

Stanford made 4 three pointers (on 14 attempts), but lost to a team that made 11 of 24 threes (a 46% conversion rate). That alone was a 21 point margin. Looking for bright spots? Kiana Williams made all three of her long distance attempts. And here’s one more: McPhee scored her 33 points in just 30 minutes in that Eugene game. That’s more than one point per minute. Ionescu, that slacker, took 36 minutes to score her 36 points in Seattle .

The Maya Dodson story

This one is less dramatic, but still encouraging for Stanford. Maya Dodson has shown athleticism and spark all season, but has never crossed into the land of consistency and major contribution. Against Cal at Haas, Dodson played for 10 minutes, but made nary a mark in the box score. Against Oregon, Dodson played for 17 minutes, and did contribute. She had two turnovers, but scored 5 points on 2-3 shooting, grabbed 4 boards, and made two decisive blocks. Those numbers are hardly mind-blowing, but watching Dodson one noticed that she was playing smart, and with fierceness and determination. She let the game come to her. When it did, she was ready.

Dodson still has an opportunity to be a difference maker in the NCAA tournament. Or, as Coach VanDerveer would put it, to stop being a freshman. Kiana Williams has already done that, and was rightly chosen for the all tournament team (partial vindication for not being chosen conference freshman of the year).

The Biggest Upset

The tournament’s most unexpected win was 6th ranked ASU’s take down of 3rd seeded OSU. This was a match up of two well-coached and over achieving teams. Neither of these squads is laden with the best natural talent, but both play with consistency and intensity. After losing decisively at home to OSU in the regular season’s final weekend, ASU turned the tables on OSU, probably guaranteeing ASU a berth in the NCAA tournament.

OSU is still ranked above Stanford, but if I were on the NCAA committee (fortunately for everyone, I’m not), based on second half of the season performance, I’d give Stanford the higher seed.

The Biggest Heartbreak

Stanford was deflated by its end game loss, but the heartbreak award goes to three other teams. At the top of my list is USC. Playing with just 7 players for most of the season, USC ate up opponents in the pre-conference season, then lost to all the conference’s top teams. In the process, USC managed to scare all of them, including Stanford in all three meetings. Unfortunately, scaring top teams doesn’t count for much. USC is likely one of the 64 best teams in the country, but unlikely to be chosen for the tournament (USC would be the seventh team selected from the conference).

The second heartbreak award goes to Cal. In the last games of the season (and in the tournament as well), Cal played like one of the best teams in the conference. Yes, part of that assessment comes from the way Cal played Stanford in two games in the second to last weekend. Asha Thomas came of age, and playing with Kristine Anigwe, created one of the league’s top big/little tandems.

Against UCLA in the quarter finals, Cal was in it till the end. Had Anigwe not been ill, had she not fouled out (a bad call), and had the fallen Cal player not passed the ball inadvertently to a UCLA player under the UCLA basket, Cal could easily have won that game. Cal has the potential to defeat some very good teams in the tournament.

Finally, heart break award #3 goes to the Bruins, who finished four years with one of the top recruiting classes in the country, including Jordin Canada and Monique Billings. Both are (or should be) All Americans, yet the Bruins never once managed to win the conference or the conference tournament. They played their hearts out against Oregon, and gave the Ducks their biggest scare of the tournament.

UCLA’s seniors have one last opportunity for redemption.

The NCAA Tournament

Now it’s on to the big dance. It’s a time to make memories. I’ll be cheering for all of the Pac 12 teams, unless they end up matched against my favorite team.

March 06, 2018

See you at the tournament?

Stanford Athletics thinks it's likely that Maples Pavilion will host NCAA 1st and 2nd Round games, and is offering an opportunity to reserve seats for the event in advance of the general public.

Click here for more information and to request your tickets.

March 05, 2018

Mikaela is a champion of mental strength

March 04, 2018

Ducks blaze to first Pac-12 Tournament title

There was inspired, energetic play in Key Arena this night; unfortunately almost all of it was produced by Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, little by Stanford.

The first quarter went well: Kiana opened the scoring with a quick three, and both teams seemed in a good flow. After a couple of Stanford misses, Oregon took its first lead and the quarter ended at 17-18.

In the second quarter the Stanford gave up some unforced turnovers while the Ducks hit a couple of threes and began to pull away. The half ended with Stanford down seven, 24-31.

No magical adjustments were made at halftime; the Cardinal continued to play what seemed to be tentative, careful basketball -- while seemingly every shot the Ducks, and especially Ionescu, put up, dropped in.

The Oregon lead was 11 after the third quarter, but a quick run at the start of the fourth caused Tara to call time at 6:44, trailing now by 19. At this point it was announced that Ionescu's 33 points were a new tournament record, eclipsing the former record of 30 points set by Candice Wiggins. (Ionescu hit one more three-pointer, to finish with 36.)

From then on Stanford played about even with the Ducks, never closer than 12, and the game wound down to the final of 57-77.

Alanna worked hard in the paint to earn 17 points. Unfortunately she was also charged with seven of the team's 16 turnovers.

Brittany scored twelve points on 5-12 shooting.

Kiana hit three of three long-range shots and ended with eleven points total tonight. She went 13-18 from beyond the arc and scored the team-high total of 53 points in the three tournament games and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Kaylee got seven points and four rebounds.

DiJonai scored five points and did a good job of disrupting the opposition while she was in.

Maya scored five points, four rebounds, and two blocks.

The team now returns home to await their post-season assignment, to be announced on Selection Monday, March 12th. Will they be named as a host school for the first two rounds?

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

And a transcript of the press conference with Tara, Brittany and Kiana

Pac-12 Tournament: Pre-final

Wrapping up yesterday and looking ahead to the championship game tonight:

March 03, 2018

Pac-12 Tournament: Semifinals

From the Media

#1 Oregon 65, #4 UCLA 62

In a dramatic, entertaining contest, the Oregon Ducks pulled out a last-minute win from a determined UCLA Bruin squad.

The first half was a study in contrasting defensive styles: the Ducks were in a loose zone while the Bruins ran an aggressive, climbing, trapping defense.

The Bruins had the best of it early, running up to a 13 point lead, 17-30, early in the second quarter, forcing UO coach Graves to call a time-out. Whatever he said there was effective, because for the rest of the quarter the Ducks went on a 15-4 run, ending the half at 32-34.

UCLA pulled ahead again and were up six, 56-62, at the media timeout of the fourth quarter.

From there, the Ducks finally began to find a defensive rhythm and the Bruins did not score again in the final four minutes.

Oregon got a one-point lead at the one-minute mark; then a UCLA defensive mistake gave them an easy layup for the three-point lead. The Bruins had the final 25 seconds to tie, but could not get off a shot of any type, and the large contingent of Duck fans celebrated.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

##2 Stanford 58, #6 Arizona State 46

Stanford's defense in this game completely dominated the ASU Sun Devils.

The score at the end of the first quarter was 13-3, ASU having had just one field goal and a free-throw. At the half the score was 32-18, and Stanford was hitting 48% to ASU's 25%.

In the end, ASU scored 18 of their 46 points from free throws. That would be entirely too many free throws, Tara likely would say, but the referees were calling a very tight game. The referee crew for the preceding, Oregon-UCLA game, which was a very physical contest with lots of contact, called a total of only 21 fouls. The crew for this game called 18 fouls in the first half alone, and 31 in all, although there was much less visible "physicality", at least as seen from the stands.

The highlight of Stanford's offense was provided by Kiana, who ended with a total of 24 points, having hit a career-high six of seven three-point tries. She hit five straight before her first miss.

Alanna had 13 points, including one three-point shot that fell in on the buzzer at the end of the third quarter.

DiJonai recorded only six points but also a block, two assists, and three steals, and seemed to be everywhere, disrupting everything the Sun Devils tried to do.

Kaylee and Marta had four points each, and Brittany three. Shannon came in with other subs in the fourth quarter and hit a pretty jumper that had the bench up and cheering for her.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

The video press conference with Tara, Kiana and Alanna

A gallery of photos by Eric Evans Photography

And the game statistics


The championship game tomorrow is #1 Oregon vs #2 Stanford at 6:00 pm.

There will be a sendoff with the band at 3:45 pm at the team hotel (the Westin Seattle). Click here for a map.

The game will be televised by ESPN2.

March 02, 2018

Pac-12 Tournament: Quarterfinals


#1 Oregon 84, #9 Colorado 47

The Buffalo defense that strangled Utah yesterday rolled right off the Ducks’ backs today.

At the half Oregon led 45-18. They were then shooting 55% and had twice the rebounds, 23-11.

In the second half the Duck stampede continued; their field goal percentage reached 66% before they began subbing. Colorado made little headway even against the Oregon B-team as the Ducks rolled to an easy win.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

#4 UCLA 77, #5 California 74

Cal was in sight of a win in this close, exciting game but couldn't close the door in the final minutes.

Down by eleven early in the third quarter, Cal came back to tie and reached a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

It was 65-all at 4 minutes, 67-all at three minutes, and 69-all at the two-minute mark.

But the Bears gave the Bruins extra possessions via a couple of unfortunate fouls and fell behind by three. The last minute seemed to take ten minutes to play out by the wall clock, but UCLA made their free throws to seal the outcome.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

#2 Stanford 69, #7 USC 59

Stanford had an excellent first quarter, while USC had a spell of poor shooting. That first quarter ended with a nice 11-point lead for the Cardinal -- and the game could have been called right there with no change to the outcome.

For the remaining 30 minutes the two teams played about even, with the Trojans occasionally pulling to within eight or six, and the Cardinal finding timely responses to get back to a ten or eleven-point lead. This was more than a bit agonizing for fans, who have too often seen bad results from letting another team hang around instead of putting them away. But Stanford held on to close out the game on that initial lead.

Kiana led Stanford with 18 points, including two timely three-point shots and a late drive and layup, each of which helped to squelch a USC threat. She was 4-8 from beyond the arc and 6-12 overall.

Alanna, despite having her minutes limited by fouls, had 14 points. Marta had 10 points, and Brittany had seven.

DiJonai came off the bench to get 13 points, including a buzzer-beating half-court shot at the end of the first quarter.

Alyssa played only a few minutes, but had one key score. In the closing seconds of the third quarter, with USC holding for the last shot, DiJonai stole the ball and got it to Alyssa, who put up a buzzer-beating three of her own.

It's worth noting that the team hit 17 of 22 free-throw attempts, including hitting the first nine straight.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

A video interview of Kiana

The video press conference with Tara, Kiana and DiJonai

A gallery of photos by Eric Evans Photography

And the game statistics

#1 Oregon State 51, #6 Arizona State 57

The Beavers allowed the Sun Devils to carry out the tournament's second upset, losing a tight, defensive contest in the final minute.

Throughout the game, ASU was out-rebounding OSU, but not shooting as well. Through most of the third quarter the teams traded a one-point edge back and forth.

A crucial moment came when, with 45 seconds on the clock, the Beavers inbounded the ball and the Sun Devils managed a held-ball, which was effectively a steal as the possession arrow gave the ball to them.

The game had featured remarkably few fouls (in contrast to the preceding Stanford-USC game) and now the Beavers had four fouls to commit before getting the ball. They did get the ball once but couldn't capitalize, and ASU made their free throws as the game wound down.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics


The semifinals tomorrow are:

#1 Oregon vs #4 UCLA at 6:00 pm
#2 Stanford vs #6 Arizona State at 8:30 pm

Before the Stanford game, there will be a sendoff with the band at 6:15 pm at the team hotel (the Westin Seattle). Click here for a map.

March 01, 2018

Pac-12 Tournament: First Round


#8 Utah 56, #9 Colorado 66

The first game of the tournament yielded the tournament's first upset, as Colorado beat Utah 66-56.

From the upper tier of Key Arena, the Buffaloes' Kennedy Leonard doesn't look like an athlete, more like a middle-school waif, but she and the rest of her squad pestered the Utes into 19 turnovers, Leonard herself getting five steals.

Under the basket they held Utah's "big girl" Emily Potter to only four points in the first half, and nine in all.

The prize for winning a play-in game? Tomorrow they get to defend Oregon's Hebard and Ionescu.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

#5 California 71, #12 Washington 68

Washington played Cal very close through the first half, with Cal up only five at halftime.

In the third quarter the Huskies managed to gain a brief, six-point lead, but starting the fourth quarter Cal slammed the door on the upset attempt, taking and holding a seven-point lead.

In the final ten seconds Washington had the ball, trailing by three, but Amber Melgoza's magic was worn out; she put up a three that would have tied the score but it missed and Cal controlled the rebound.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

#7 USC 47, #10 Washington State 44

An epidemic of ineptitude swept through Key Arena this afternoon, infecting both the USC Trojans and the WSU Cougars and leading to a tedious, sloppy, mistake-filled game — the kind of game that makes it hard to promote women's basketball.

How bad was it? Well, at the half the score was 18-16. One team was shooting 17% (5 of 23) and other, 22% (8 of 27). And each team had seven turnovers.

Neither team could get a clear advantage. Early in the fourth quarter WSU took a one-point lead but couldn't hold it. With 45 seconds to play it was a one-point game, USC 45, WSU 44.

USC monopolized most of the remaining time but couldn't score. Their final miss was with five seconds remaining, and if WSU could have gotten that rebound, they might have had a chance (or worse, from the crowd's viewpoint, forced overtime) but they didn't. While WSU was attempting to foul, Minyon Moore broke loose for an easy layup to end the scoring.

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics

#6 Arizona State 76, #11 Arizona 47

Here are game reports:

The game highlights video

And the game statistics


It was an exciting day at Key Arena — one upset and two almosts. The quarterfinals tomorrow are:

#1 Oregon vs #9 Colorado at 11:30 am
#4 UCLA vs #5 California at 2:00 pm
#2 Stanford vs #7 USC at 6:00 pm
#3 Oregon State vs #6 Arizona State at 8:30 pm

All the games will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

Before the Stanford game, there will be a sendoff with the band at 3:45 pm at the team hotel (the Westin Seattle). Click here for a map.