December 17, 2014

Back to work and a win after finals

After a two-week hiatus for finals, the Stanford women’s basketball team returned to action at home on Dec. 14 and came away with an 82-43 victory over neighboring Santa Clara University.

With most students – except for the band -- home for the holiday break, several youth groups, along with regular fans, helped make up for their absence, leading to an official attendance of 3,527.

Except for senior forward Taylor Greenfield, who reportedly was held out as a precaution because of a sore foot, everyone got in on the fun, and everyone contributed in some way.

Amber leads with 20 points

The biggest contribution point-wise came from senior guard Amber Orrange with 20 points in 26 minutes, in addition to four rebounds, three assists, one block and three steals.

The only other players in double figures were freshman guard Brittany McPhee with 11 points, four rebounds, a block and two steals in just 15 minutes; and senior forward Bonnie Samuelson with 11 points and two rebounds, also in 15 minutes.

Each of them had one three-pointer to her credit, while Amber had two. The total of four 3’s on 21.1 percent shooting was below the team’s usual production.

Kaylee has her 2nd 22-rebound game

Under the boards, the biggest contribution came from freshman forward Kaylee Johnson, who had 22 rebounds for the second time in her fledgling career. As one fan noted, she just seems to know where the ball will be. Kaylee also had nine points, one assist, two blocks and two steals in a team-high 27 minutes.

Starters for the game were Amber and Kaylee along with sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall and sophomore guards Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson. Karlie played 25 minutes and had 7 points, four assists, one block and one steal.

The game started slowly with Stanford lagging for the first few minutes even though SCU couldn’t match the Cardinal in height. Its tallest starter was only 6 feet, while starters Kaylee and Bird both are 6’3”.

Stanford inched ahead in the subsequent minutes, ending the first half with a 40-21 advantage. By then head coach Tara VanDerveer had used 10 players.

SCU maintains enthusiasm

Despite being overmatched on the basketball court, SCU was big in enthusiasm, starting with warmups, when the players were quite vocal. Their enthusiasm and support for one another never flagged. Even when it was apparent that Stanford would win big, SCU players on the bench jumped up and cheered for every basket or anything else in their team’s favor.

Besides lagging in 3-point shooting, the Cardinal also was subpar in overall field goals, making just 29 of 72, or 40.3 percent. Free-throw shooting was somewhat better, 20 of 34, or 58.8 percent. On the other hand, Bonnie made all four of her FT’s, while Brittany made four of five.

SCU shot just 30.8 percent on field goals for the game. It made only one of four free throws for 25 percent. Stanford had more opportunities at the charity stripe because SCU had 27 fouls while the Cardinal had 13.

Thanks in large part to Kaylee, the Cardinal dominated the boards with 57 rebounds compared with SCU’s 33.

Toni helps girls through BAWSI

Among youth groups at the game was a large delegation of girls from the Sunnyvale branch of Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative. According to its website, “BAWSI is a free, weekly after-school program in which elementary school girls develop self-esteem and good health practices from role models they can admire and emulate – female athletes drawn from college, university and high school teams from all over the Bay Area.”

Women from several Stanford teams are involved. Among them is WBB alum Toni Kokenis, ’14, who was one of the leaders with the Sunnyvale group. Toni is a Stanford grad student.

The game’s featured player was freshman guard Taylor Rooks. During the game, the video board flashed “did you know” trivia about Taylor, such as pizza is her favorite food.

Something new in Maples is the updated banner reflecting the women’s volleyball team’s 2014 Pac-12 championship. The team has advanced to the Final Four in Oklahoma City, with its first game on Dec. 18.

Although the WBB win was a nice way to start the holiday break, the players didn’t have much time to celebrate. They were scheduled to board the bus for the airport at about 5:45 a.m. the next day in order to fly to Tennessee. There they’ll face presumably stiffer competition from Chattanooga at 3 p.m. PST Dec. 17 and Tennessee at 10 a.m. Dec. PST 20.

Then it’s back to campus for one more game, UC Davis on Dec. 22, before finally getting a holiday break. It’ll be a quick one, though, because the next game is Dec. 28 at home against UC Santa Barbara before Pac-12 competition starts in the new year.

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