November 4, 2014

New season opens with first taste of competition

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a new Stanford women’s basketball season.

It starts with the donning of my red apparel – from red earrings and a red top right down to red socks. Next it’s off to the Farm and the familiar chime of tickets being scanned by friendly ushers in red vests.

Then into the Maples Pavilion, where familiar faces are seen in their customary spots, ready to cheer the Cardinal.

In the case of the 2014-15 season, the beginning came Nov. 2 with an exhibition game against Vanguard in the freshly painted facility. Because it was an exhibition game that doesn’t apply to the team’s season record, a few elements, especially the band, cheerleaders, Dollies and Tree, were missing.

Cardinal win 105-50 against Vanguard

Likewise, the crowd was relatively sparse, an official 2,605. Probably some fans were lured by the 49ers’ game against the Rams. However, those fans didn’t have nearly as much fun as the Maples crowd, which saw the Cardinal win 105-50, while the Niners lost 13-10.

To give Vanguard its due, it’s not a Division 1 team, only 10 players were available, and it had played (and lost to) Cal the afternoon before. Nevertheless, it was a plucky team that didn’t quit despite the odds.

All 15 Stanford players were introduced and were in uniform. Fourteen saw action before the final buzzer. Only freshman guard Brittany McPhee, recovering from a foot problem, remained on the bench.

2 seniors, 2 sophomores, 1 freshman make the start

The starting lineup featured two seniors – point guard Amber Orrange and forward Taylor Greenfield. They were joined by two sophomores – guard Lili Thompson and forward Erica “Bird” McCall. Freshman forward Kaylee Johnson got the other starting nod and took the opening jump.

Taylor opened the scoring with a basket and free throw. Playing 13 minutes, she finished with 9 points and two rebounds.

Lili was a virtual scoring machine with 26 points in 27 minutes. She also contributed two rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.

Sophomore Karlie Samuelson, who was first off the bench, added 17 points plus a rebound and two assists in 19 minutes.

Bird with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Kaylee with 12 points and a team-high 16 rebounds were both in double figures.

Karlie was joined off the bench at the 15:54 mark by sophomore Kailee Johnson. Also coming off the bench during the first half were redshirt junior guard Alex Green, senior forward Bonnie Samuelson and sophomore guard Briana Roberson.

First half ends 52-22 in Stanford’s favor

The score was 52-22 at the half, thanks to speedy play and a tough defense that sometimes included full-court presses.

The same five starters took to the court for the second half, but Bird made an early exit after apparently tweaking her ankle. After going to the locker room, she soon returned and appeared to be walking normally, but stayed on the bench.

Seeing their first action of the season during the second half were redshirt junior guard Jasmine Camp, senior forward Erica Payne, freshman guard Taylor Rooks and junior forward/center Tess Picknell.

Tess, who received enthusiastic cheers from the crowd, finished with 3 points and was third on the team with seven rebounds in her 10 minutes.

Jasmine had the honor of upping the score to 100 with a free throw at the 3:47 mark.

A few minutes after the final buzzer sounded, the players tossed the coveted victory balls before exiting the court.

Team makes 33.3 percent of 3’s

The team made seven of its 21 3-point attempts, or 33.3 percent. Karlie had three, Lili had two, and Alex and Jasmine had one each.

Free-throw shooting was respectable in the first half, with eight of nine, or 88.9 percent, going through the hoop. Accuracy was down to 57.1 percent in the second half for a game average of 69.6 percent.

After the game, most fans seemed to agree that Kaylee was impressive in her freshman debut.

Although it’s far too early to tell how this team will fare during the regular season, it seems that head coach Tara VanDerveer’s new offensive strategy, which focuses on the team’s speedy guards, is headed in the right direction.

Note: Photos are by Baranduin Briggs. See more Vanguard game photos in FBC FanPix.

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