November 12, 2012

Team effort fuels win over Santa Clara

All 13 available players made positive contributions Nov. 11 as the Stanford women’s basketball team drove a few miles south to defeat Santa Clara University 92-57.

Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike poured in 22 points to lead the Stanford barrage. According to ESPNW, she scored her 1,000th career point midway through the first half and ended the game with 1,010 points on her resume. Her mother, Ify, was among the parents and other relatives there to cheer the team. After the game, she told me she plans to travel to Poland where her eldest daughter, Nneka, ’12, is playing professionally.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer altered her starting lineup somewhat, giving sophomore forward Erica Payne her first career start. Erica played 18 minutes and recorded 4 points along with three rebounds and one each in the assists, steals, rebounds and blocks column.

Joining her at the start were Chiney, senior forward Joslyn Tinkle and sophomore guards Jasmine Camp and Amber Orrange. Besides her 22 points, Chiney had seven rebounds, four steals and an assist in 25 minutes.

Playing a team-high 28 minutes, Joslyn finished with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. Amber was right behind her with 18 points, six assists and two steals in 25 minutes. Jasmine had 4 points, three assists and a steal in 24 minutes.

Freshman forward/center Tess Picknell and junior guard Toni Kokenis were first off the bench. They were followed by redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef, sophomore forwards Bonnie Samuelson and Taylor Greenfield, and junior guard Sara James. Sara was high-scorer from the bench with 8 points, while Mikaela added 6 points to go with seven rebounds, tying Chiney. Mikaela also contributed an assist, a steal and a block.

Even freshman guards Denia Ebersole and Kiran Lakhian helped out despite playing slightly less than one minute at the end. Kiran scored 2 points, causing her teammates on the bench to jump up and cheer. Denia, playing the point, had an assist.

After making only one 3-pointer against Fresno State on Nov. 9, the team this time hit five of 12, or 41.7 percent. Sara had two. Amber, Joslyn and Bonnie each had one.

Stanford also collected 30 rebounds vs. 21 for SCU. Stanford’s steal advantage was 11-4, while teams were tied with 18 assists each. Stanford had 10 fouls and 11 turnovers, while SCU had 15 and 14, respectively.

It appeared that several hundred Stanford fans were among the 2,728 people there, but it was hard to tell for sure because Santa Clara’s colors are red and white, too, so there was a lot of red in the stands.

Before the game started, veterans in the crowd were asked to raise their hands and be honored for Veterans Day. At the half, approximately two dozen SCU women’s basketball grads were introduced at center court. Several had children with them.

SCU’s Leavey Center is a fan-friendly arena with lots of free parking (at certain times) nearby. The main drawback is that the jumbotron is on the wall at the visiting team’s end, and the scoreboard over center court provides only meager information beyond the score.

Rather than the numbers of each player in action and her points and fouls, it flashes a player’s number and point total only after she has scored. Hence it’s hard to keep track of everyone.

Leavey also is quieter than Maples because the small, sedate SCU band doesn’t play very often, and its songs aren’t all that lively. Most of the music is recorded.

Still, it was an enjoyable afternoon that saw the Cardinal pull to an early lead, gain a 47-32 advantage at the half and stay well ahead for the rest of the game. It also was gratifying to see how well certain plays were executed, how much the team hustled and defended, and how so many players excelled in one way or another.

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