February 1, 2015

Balanced scoring ices win over WSU

Five players in double figures helped lead the Stanford women’s basketball team to a 75-56 victory over Washington State on Jan. 31 in Maples Pavilion.

The game was a nice turnaround from the team’s visit to WSU on Jan. 11, when it needed overtime to pull out an 86-76 victory.

In the home game, senior guard Amber Orrange led the team with 15 points, followed by sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall with 14, sophomore guard Briana Roberson with 11, and sophomore guards Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson with 10 each.

Bri starts for third time

This game marked the third consecutive time that Bri became a starter, joining Amber, Lili, senior forward Bonnie Samuelson and freshman forward Kaylee Johnson. Head coach Tara VanDerveer added her to the starting five the previous weekend, when the Cardinal went to Southern California and defeated both UCLA and USC.

“She’s been doing a great job,” associate head coach Amy Tucker said of Bri during the Behind the Bench after the game. Amy said her sister has told her that Bri has become her new favorite player. Amy also credited Bri for the team’s doing so well in recent games.

Speaking to the crowd, Bri said that as a starter, “you’re expected to bring a lot of energy from the get-go.” When a player comes off the bench, she’s had a chance to assess the flow of the game, Bri said, but “it’s just fun to be out there.”

“Their press was challenging at first, but we adjusted well,” Bri said of the Cougars.

She practices almost every day and wants to focus on her assist-to-turnover ratio, she said. As for shot selection in a game, “our coaches expect great things from us.” She added that she’ll probably declare political science as her major.

Tara praises individuals, team

Tara singled out several players, both starters and bench, for praise. “I’m really excited about the improvement our team is making,” she said. “Our guards are getting better,” making good decisions.

“The challenge is to be consistent. That’s what Amber is,” she said.

Amber had six assists. One of them, which came in the first half, was the 500th of her career. Hence she joined only six other Cardinal players to reach that level.

Tara also praised the leadership of the co-captains: Amber, senior forward Erica Payne and redshirt junior Jasmine Camp.

Everyone gets in on the action

All 15 players were available, and all 15 got playing time. Lili had the most time with 34 minutes, followed by Amber and Bonnie with 32 each. Coming off the bench, Karlie had 27 minutes, while Bird had 22.

Stanford dominated the boards with 47 rebounds, 11 of them by Kaylee. WSU had 30. Stanford had 38 points in the paint, WSU only 12.

For the game, Stanford shot 49.1 percent, compared with WSU’s 30.8 percent. On 3-pointers, Stanford was five of 13, or 38.5 percent. Bonnie had two of the 3’s, while Bri, Amber and Karlie had one each.

Turnovers were a problem, with 18 by the Cardinal and 14 by the Cougars. Nine of the Cardinal turnovers were caused by WSU steals, while the Cardinal had eight steals.

Crowd makes ‘a big difference for our team’

Official attendance was 3,118. Tara credited the crowd for its help in lifting the Cardinal from a 37-39 deficit after the first half to a 38-17 advantage in the second, leading to the win. “You made a big difference for our team,” she said.

Looking ahead, she said, “We have to be aggressive offensively.

“We’re going to have to be road warriors,” especially during the Pac-12 tournament, when the Cardinal presumably will play several days in succession. “We have a tournament-built game,” she said, citing the team’s depth. It had 49 points, or 65.3 percent of the total against WSU, from the starters and 26 points from the bench, or 34.7 percent.

Responding to a question about next year’s incoming freshmen, Tara pointed to the strengths of each of the four and said, “The cupboard will never be bare.”

The game’s featured player was Karlie, as the video board displayed information about her.

On another note, fans were asked to go to the north concourse to sign a get-well card for announcer Betty Ann Hagenau (Boeving), who is recuperating at home after a bicycle accident.

Trivia: How many first-round WNBA picks?

The trivia question asked how many Stanford players have been first-round WNBA draft picks since 1997. The choices were 8, 11 and 15.

The answer was 11, starting with Jamila Wideman in 1997. She was followed by Jennifer Azzi, 1999; Naomi Mulitauaopele and Katy Steding, 2000; Nicole Powell, 2004; Candice Wiggins, 2008; Jayne Appel, 2010; Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen, 2011; Nneka Ogwumike, 2012; and Chiney Ogwumike, 2014. The Ogwumikes were both No. 1 picks.

Next up for the Cardinal is a home game against Washington at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2. In the teams’ Jan. 9 meeting in Seattle, Stanford won 60-56.

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