January 26, 2014

Stanford overcomes UCLA in tight game

It wasn’t pretty, but still, a win is a win, and that’s what the Stanford women’s basketball team got with a 72-55 score over UCLA Jan. 24 in Maples Pavilion.

Even though UCLA had only eight healthy players, their coaching staff had prepared them well. Thus UCLA for the most part did a good job of not only trying to keep senior forward Chiney Ogwumike in check but also limiting the Cardinal’s usually strong perimeter attack. At slightly more than halfway into the first half, for example, the Bruins were ahead 15-14 and Chiney had scored only 2 points.

The game was a seesaw battle throughout the first half, which ended 36-35 in Stanford’s favor, and during the first five or so minutes of the second. The score was 47-41 at the 15:39 mark, and the Cardinal gradually widened the lead thereafter. For the game, the lead changed 14 times, and the score was tied twice.

Chiney leads the way; teammates pitch in

Chiney was on the bench for about two minutes in the second half after collecting her fourth foul, but she returned to finish the game with a team-high 21 points and 15 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. She also had one assist, two blocks and a steal in her 37 minutes.

It’s not unusual for Chiney to score 30 or more points in a game, but several of her teammates picked up the slack.

Playing 36 minutes, freshman guard Lili Thompson had 15 points for her seventh double-figure game of the season and her third in a row. She also chalked up two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.

Another freshman, forward Erica “Bird” McCall, was right behind her with a season-high 12 points to go with eight rebounds, one assist and one block in 17 minutes.

Also scoring in double figures was senior guard Sara James with 11 points. Playing 16 minutes, she had five rebounds and two assists. Nine of Sara’s points came from perfect 3-point shooting, 3-for-3. Lili had the team’s other two treys.

For the game, the team had 45 rebounds to UCLA’s 30. The Cardinal also had the edge in assists, 20-13, while the Bruins had five blocks to Stanford’s four and six steals to Stanford’s three.

Stanford has 16 turnovers

UCLA did better in the turnover department, amassing only six to Stanford’s 16.
The Bruins had 16 fouls, while Stanford had 13. The Bruins were four-for-four on free throws for 100 percent, while Stanford was five-for-seven for 71.4 percent.

The officiating crew ended plays with a whistle 29 times. Some of those whistles, as well as the lack thereof, elicited prolonged booing from the Maples crowd of 4,434.

A woman seated a few rows up from the Stanford bench apparently was so upset with the officiating that she came up with some foul language that could be heard across the court and into the upper level where I sit. At the request of a referee, a Stanford staff member fetched a sheriff’s deputy, who ejected her with 7:20 to go in the second half.

Overall, the crowd was loud, encouraging the team and cheering for baskets and other well-executed plays. A full student contingent of the band, cheerleaders, Dollies and Tree was there to cheer, too.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer sent only nine of the available 14 players into the game. The 15th, freshman forward Kailee Johnson, was in street clothes.

Stanford Taiko entertains at halftime

Halftime entertainment was by Stanford Taiko. Its 10 students treated fans to a display of exciting traditional Japanese drumming and precise choreography.

Also at halftime, the women’s tennis and track & field teams were honored as representatives of the 53 national championships amassed by Stanford’s women’s teams over the years. Their appearance followed the ninth annual Women in Sports Reception at the Arrillaga Alumni Center before the game.

Yet another honoree at halftime was senior Julia Landauer, a championship race car driver who has appeared on TV’s “Survivor” series.

The Cardinal’s next game is at home on Jan. 27, when USC visits. The Trojans, fresh from their 77-70 upset over Cal on Jan. 24, will undoubtedly try to repeat that feat against Stanford.

USC’s 7-1 Pac-12 record is second only to Stanford’s 7-0. For the season, Stanford is 18-1, while USC is 14-6.

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