March 27, 2013

Joslyn’s time to shine

Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better. Playing in her last-ever game at Maples Pavilion, senior forward Joslyn Tinkle led the Stanford women’s basketball team to a 73-40 victory over Michigan in Round 2 of the NCAA tournament.

She did so on 7-for-10 shooting, including 5-of-5 on 3 pointers, resulting in a team-high 21 points. She also had six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

This game was far from a one-woman show. Joslyn had several co-stars, including her fellow starters. Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike had 12 points and 15 rebounds along with one assist and one steal.

Sophomore point guard Amber Orrange pitched in with 11 points, two rebounds and six assists, while redshirt junior forward Mikaela Ruef tallied 9 points, six rebounds and one block. Junior guard Sara James completed the starters’ contributions with 9 points and three assists. Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Bonnie Samuelson had 9 points and one rebound.

Team makes season-high 12 3’s

Joslyn’s five 3-pointers were a career high. Together, the team made a season-high 12 from beyond the arc, with three each from Bonnie and Sara and one from Amber. Three-pointers bookended the game. Joslyn made the first less than a minute into the game to get the Cardinal on the scoreboard. Bonnie finished the barrage and the team’s scoring with less than three minutes to go in the game.

Although Chiney, the team’s leading scorer overall, usually is the first option on offense, other teams know that and guard her heavily. Therefore, it appeared that in this game, the focus was on other players to score from farther out, taking the pressure off Chiney and thwarting the defense.

Every Cardinal played tough defense, but credit Sara for limiting Michigan’s leading scorer, Kate Thompson, to just 7 points, 5 of them from free throws. The Wolverine sharpshooter, who usually is stellar from behind the arc, went 0-for-6 there. When Sara took breathers on the bench, sophomore forward Taylor Greenfield took over with equally good results.

Credit head coach Tara VanDerveer and her staff – associate head coach Amy Tucker and assistant coaches Kate Paye and Trina Patterson – for an excellent game plan.

At halftime, when the score was 41-16, the Stanford women’s water polo team was honored for recently winning the NCAA national championship.

Time to cheer for Toni

In the second half, the more than 4,700 fans were in a celebratory mood as the team made one impressive play after another. When the video board showed a close-up of much-missed junior guard Toni Kokenis, the crowd roared while she blushed. Toni has missed the past several games because of an undisclosed illness.

The crowd roared again when the video board focused on former team stalwarts Lindy La Rocque,’12, and Jayne Appel, ’10. Lindy is working for a software company in Redwood City and serving on the staff of the Bay Area Basketball Academy. She also is an assistant coach for the girls team at Menlo-Atherton High School along with fellow alum Markisha Coleman, ’07, while Morgan Clyburn, ’09 is head coach. (Markisha was with Lindy and Jayne congratulating the team as it left the floor.)

Jayne played professionally in China this past winter and will soon rejoin the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars, which drafted her in the first round in 2010.

It was time to cheer again when head football coach David Shaw and his family were seen on the video board.

Standing ovation for starters

Then there were a standing ovation and prolonged cheering as the starters left the game to be replaced by bench players with just over two minutes to go.

As the team headed for the locker room, Joslyn blew kisses to the crowd. The players then returned for a victory lap around the court, waving to their cheering fans.

Could Hollywood have written anything better?

Next up: the Cardinal journey to Spokane to face Georgia in a Sweet 16 game on March 30. If victorious, Stanford will play the winner of the Louisiana State-Cal game on April 1 for the regional championship and a ticket to the Final Four in New Orleans the following weekend.

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