January 1, 2014

2013 ends on winning note

The Stanford women’s basketball team rounded out its pre-conference season with an 86-54 win at Fresno State on Dec. 28. The victory upped the Cardinal record to 11-1 and allowed the team to rank No. 4 nationally for the second straight week.

It was difficult to estimate how many Stanford fans were part of the reported attendance of 4,833 because the Save Mart Center is so vast and because red is Fresno’s color, too. Nevertheless, it seemed as if Cardinal fans numbered in the low hundreds. A few of them had gathered at a nearby taco place for snacks or dinner before the game.

The game was scheduled for 6 p.m., just two hours after the start of a Fresno men’s game. Therefore, the women were given only 30 minutes to warm up after the end of the men’s game, pushing the game’s start to about 6:15 p.m.

While fans waited for tipoff, a small Carl’s Jr. blimp floated overhead, dispensing coupons.

Taylor joins starting lineup

The starting lineup was different from several previous games because senior guard Sara James was not in uniform (nor was freshman guard Karlie Samuelson). Therefore, junior forward Taylor Greenfield started in Sara’s place. She played 25 minutes and scored 18 points to go with six rebounds.

Starting senior forward Chiney Ogwumike played only 23 minutes yet scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season. She upped her career total to 2,079 points, moving her into fifth place on Stanford’s all-time scoring list. Her career rebounding total rose to 1,257, putting her just six behind Jayne Appel, ’10, for second and nine behind the Pac-12 and Stanford record of 1,266 set by Kayla Pedersen, ’11.

Also in the starting lineup were redshirt senior forward Mikaela Ruef (5 points, seven rebounds in 27 minutes), freshman guard Lili Thompson (5 points, two rebounds in 22 minutes) and junior point guard Amber Orrange (15 points, one rebound in 25 minutes). Mikaela led the team in assists with a career high of eight, followed by Amber with six.

The Bulldogs kept the game close for the first 10 minutes or so, but then the Cardinal pulled ahead, ending the first half with a 43-31 margin.

The margin widened in the second half, allowing head coach Tara VanDerveer to rest the starters and give everyone else a chance to play. All but two scored.

Briana scores first collegiate point

With 8:46 to go and the score at 76-48, freshman guard Briana Roberson got off the exercise bike where she was warming up and checked in for the first time since she had played three minutes late in the UConn game. This time she played seven minutes. When she made a free throw, the first point of her collegiate career, she was roundly cheered by her teammates and fans. Briana has been limited by an injury.

One major highlight of the game was the Cardinal’s season-high 12 3-pointers. Taylor and junior forward Bonnie Samuelson had four each, while Amber had three and Mikaela had one.

Although Stanford shot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc and 48.5 percent overall, free throws remained a problem. Stanford had 16 fouls, while Fresno State had 17, yet Stanford made only 10 of 18 free throws, or 55.6 percent. By comparison, Fresno State hit 13 of 16, or 81.3 percent, of its free throws. These numbers could be significant in a close game.

The rebounding margin was narrowly in Stanford’s favor, 45-40. On the other hand, Stanford had wide edges in assists, 26-4; blocks, 7-0; and steals, 7-4. Fresno had 14 turnovers to Stanford’s eight.

With the calendar turning to 2014, Pac-12 competition begins, starting with the Oregon schools at home Jan. 3 and 5.

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