February 25, 2013

Cardinal coast to win over Beavers

With 6:39 to go and the score at 78-39, the five Stanford starters relaxed on the bench as their teammates closed out the game to defeat Oregon State 90-53 at home Feb. 22.

None of the five had played more than 31 minutes, yet during that time, several milestones were achieved.

For example, less than two minutes had expired in the second half when senior forward Joslyn Tinkle became the 34th member of the Stanford women’s basketball’s 1,000-point club. Playing 24 minutes, Joslyn finished with 11 points plus four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike tied a Stanford record with her 51st career double-double by scoring 19 points to go with 12 rebounds plus two assists, four blocks and two steals in 28 minutes. She scored 11 of her points by hitting a career-high 11 free throws (of 13 attempts).

Chiney makes a legendary play

Every so often a Stanford player makes a play that becomes a Cardinal legend. Chiney did that at the 11:26 mark in the second half. While falling toward a photographer under the Stanford basket, she tossed the ball up in a wild shot that went through the hoop.

She didn’t realize she had made the shot until her teammates went to pull her up and told her. Her joy became even greater when she realized she would get a free throw, which she made. In the meantime, her teammates and the crowd went wild as the video board ran several replays of those moments.

Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Taylor Greenfield had the team’s second-highest point total with 18, matching her career high. A dozen of her points came from making four of five 3-pointers. Taylor also pulled down a rebound during her 24 minutes. Many fans saw her performance as a sign that she has regained confidence and emerged from a slump that had lasted several games.

Also in double figures was sophomore guard Amber Orrange, who scored 15 points to go with three rebounds, six assists and two steals in a team-high 31 minutes.

Redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef scored 6 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and added six assists plus a block in 27 minutes. Junior guard Sara James chipped in 8 points, two rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes.

Team makes 10 3’s

As a team, the Cardinal made 10 of 22 3-point attempts, led by Taylor’s four, plus two each from Sara and Joslyn, and one each from Amber and sophomore forward Bonnie Samuelson.

In all, head coach Tara VanDerveer deployed 11 players, nine of whom scored. Once again, junior guard Toni Kokenis was not in uniform because of an undisclosed illness.

Because it was Fan Appreciation Night, the video board displayed clips of the players thanking the fans for their support. T-shirt tosses were another part of the festivities.

At one point, announcer Betty Ann Boeving asked fans who had been attending the games for at least 10 years to rise. Although there was no way to count them, the number of standees was impressive. There still was a goodly number when those who had been going for 20 years and then 25 years were asked to rise.

Even though OSU was a relatively easy opponent with a 3-11 conference record and an overall 9-17 record coming into the game, the Beavers never gave up. However, they got quite physical at times, especially in the first half, but backed off in the second half to finish with 14 fouls compared with Stanford’s six.

Bench players get important minutes

Perhaps one of the more rewarding aspects of the game is that because Stanford had pulled so far ahead, the starters got to rest and other players got valuable experience. Thus they could add to the team’s depth as the stakes get higher.

One more observation: Sometimes it’s almost as much fun to watch the bench as it is to watch the game. All of the players on the bench constantly encourage their teammates. Their joy when someone does something well is a sheer delight.

Often they seem happier at a teammate’s accomplishment than their own. It’s a pleasure to see their camaraderie.  

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