August 9, 2010

End of the line

The five Stanford players in the San Francisco Pro-Am women’s basketball league saw their summer season come to an end Aug. 8 when their Golden State team lost 75-70 to the Mission Recreation Center team. This was Golden State’s second loss to Mission Rec in the best-of-three championship series at Kezar Pavilion.

Unlike the Aug. 7 game, which saw Golden State losing 77-61, this game was much more competitive and better played, especially by the Stanford women. Together they scored 53, or 75.7 percent, of their team’s points.

According to my unofficial count, freshman forward Chiney Ogwumike led the way with 16 points, followed by sophomore forward Mikaela Ruef with 13, red-shirt sophomore center Sarah Boothe with 12, and freshman guards Sara James and Toni Kokenis with 10 and two respectively. Chiney and Mikaela were the top rebounders among the Stanford women with 11 each, followed by Sarah with five, Sara with three and Toni with two. Sarah, Chiney, Mikaela and Sara had one steal apiece.

Golden State led 33-31 at the half, then fell behind 48-40 with 15:33 to go. At 12:31, however, the score was tied 50-50. At 3:16 the score was 70-66 in Golden State’s favor, but the team never scored after that.

Chiney fouled out with 5.2 seconds to go, but it was a deliberate foul, a desperation move in hopes of getting the ball at the end of a very close game. Sara had four fouls, Sarah three, Mikaela two and Toni one. As he did the day before, the Mission Rec coach drew a technical foul after arguing with a referee about a call. The Golden State coach sent Sara to the free throw line, where she sank both shots.

All five Stanford women were on the floor together for less than a minute in the first half, but there were many stretches with three and a few with four. Sarah, Chiney and Sara all started. After controlling the opening tipoff, Sarah scored Golden State’s first basket – a sign that she was not to be denied after being shut out in the previous game.

The Stanford women also were responsible for some plays that would look right at home at Maples. In one particularly nifty no-dribble sequence in the first half, Mikaela passed the ball to Sarah, who quickly passed it to Chiney, who scored, was fouled and made the free throw. Twice during the second half, Mikaela made a defensive rebound and lobbed baseball passes to speeding Chiney, who scored. I didn’t keep track of assists, but all of the Cardinal women did well in that category.

The crowd wasn’t quite as large as the day before, but it included three Stanford starters: senior forward Kayla Pedersen, senior guard Jeanette Pohlen and junior forward Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney’s sister.

Although the Stanford women were undoubtedly disappointed, the loss means they’re out of the playoffs and can head for home Aug. 14, when the summer session ends. They’ll return to the Farm for limited practices starting Sept. 15, followed by the first day of fall classes Sept. 20 and regular practices Oct. 5, associate head coach Amy Tucker said earlier this summer. Judging by their Kezar games, I’d say they’ll all make positive contributions during the coming season.






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