February 6, 2010

10 down, 8 to go in Pac-10 quest

The Stanford women’s basketball team moved a step closer to a perfect Pac-10 season by defeating UCLA 74-53 at home Feb. 4. The Cardinal are now 10-0 in the conference and 20-1 overall.

Even though various health issues had been reported in the days before the game, everyone was dressed except for forward Sarah Boothe, who has not played all season after foot surgery. Everyone wore red T-shirts to honor the game’s sponsors, Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association, and to highlight the threat of cardiovascular disease to women.

Fans had wondered about the status of center Jayne Appel, who had a foot infection. However, Jayne not only played, she recorded her highest point total of the season – 23. She also snared 13 rebounds, giving her a double-double to go with three blocks and two assists.

Jayne’s performance, which seemed to mark a return to her All-American form, was marred with just under eight minutes to go in the second half when she was ejected for what was called a flagrant foul on UCLA’s Jasmine Dixon. It wasn’t intentional, Jayne said at the post-game press conference. Both Dixon and UCLA head coach Nikki Caldwell reportedly concurred.

Immediately after the game, there was some question about whether Jayne would be allowed to play in the Feb. 7 game against USC. After reviewing the situation later in the evening, Pac-10 officials ruled that she could play.

The Maples crowd was not happy about seeing Jayne go to the locker room, but guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude rallied the team to continue playing well, head coach Tara VanDerveer said. Ros also contributed 14 points, two rebounds, and three assists in 39 minutes of playing time.

Other major contributions came from forward Nneka Ogwumike with 15 points and seven rebounds; forward Kayla Pedersen with seven points, 15 rebounds, two assists and a block; and guard Jeanette Pohlen with 10 points, two rebounds, a team-high eight assists and two steals.

The stat sheet reveals some other facets of the game: Stanford had 10 fouls compared with UCLA’s 26. Thus Stanford outscored UCLA 27-7 at the free-throw line – thereby accounting for a 20-point free-throw advantage in its 21-point victory. Stanford also had the advantage in rebounds, 46-38; assists, 16-9; blocks, 6-2; and 3-pointers, 3-2. UCLA had a 7-2 edge in steals, but had 16 turnovers to Stanford’s 15.

“That was an extremely physical game,” Tara said. “That’s what it is in the NCAA tournament. … This is a great win for us.”

The post –game speaker was Paul Ratcliffe, head coach of the Stanford women’s soccer team. Ratcliffe’s team amassed a 25-0 record going into the championship game of the NCAA tournament, but it fell 1-0 to North Carolina. “It was a tough game,” he said.

He said the women’s basketball team is helpful in his recruiting because potential players are fully aware of its success. “There’s such a tradition of excellence” at Stanford, he said. “Only the best want to come here.”

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