March 25, 2015

Oklahoma stopped; next stop Oklahoma

Winning its NCAA Round 2 game against Oklahoma on March 23 won the Stanford women’s basketball team a trip to the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City.

No. 4 seed Stanford will face No. 1 seed Notre Dame at 7 p.m. March 27.

With its 86-76 victory over the No. 5 seed Sooners, the Cardinal advanced to its eighth consecutive Sweet 16.

Continuing with the starting lineup that helped win the Pac-12 tournament and the Round 1 game against Cal State Northridge, head coach Tara VanDerveer tapped senior guard Amber Orrange, sophomore guard Lili Thompson, freshman guard Brittany McPhee, senior forward Bonnie Samuelson and sophomore forward Erica “Bird” McCall.

Eight get into the game

She used only three more – senior forward Taylor Greenfield, freshman forward Kaylee Johnson and sophomore guard Briana Roberson – from the 12 available players. Sophomore guard Karlie Samuelson has been out of action for several games because of a broken finger and will continue so. Redshirt junior guard Alex Green and sophomore Kailee Johnson missed the second consecutive game for undisclosed reasons.

The first half saw the Cardinal trailing almost the entire time. Oklahoma’s lead had stretched to 27-20 late in the half, in part because its shots were falling at a better clip, 46.7 percent, than Stanford’s 39.1 percent and in part because of Stanford turnovers.

In all, the team had a season-high 20 turnovers after going into the game with an average of 12.1 turnovers per game, 13th in the nation. Oklahoma had 13 turnovers.

Trailing 36-32 at halftime was nothing new. Counting this game, the Cardinal has been down at the half 14 times this season and has rallied to win nine times, including the past six games.

Lili, Amber spur second-half comeback

Early in the second half, Lili made a free throw, Amber made a basket and Lili hit a 3 to put Stanford ahead 38-36. The lead stretched to as many as 14 points about halfway through the second half, but Oklahoma kept trying to come back.

With less than 3 minutes to go, the Sooners deliberately fouled, but that tactic didn’t work as Stanford made the lion’s share of its free throws.

For the game, Stanford made a season-high 30 free throws on 38 attempts, tying a season-high. Thus it shot 78.9 percent from the charity stripe. The Sooners made 16 fewer free throws, 14 of 19 attempts, or 73.7 percent.

Oklahoma had 28 fouls, with two players fouling out. Stanford had 21 fouls; no one fouled out.

Stanford made only two 3’s in the first half but came roaring back in the second to finish with a total of eight. Bonnie accounted for three of them, all in the second half. Lili also had three. Amber and Bri had one each.

Amber scores 24

Amber led all players with 24 points. Thus she became the 21st Stanford player to pass the 1,400-point mark and tied Louise Smith, ’82, on the all-time scoring list with 1,414 points. Her career-high 11 field goals topped her previous high of 10.

Amber also recorded seven rebounds, three assists, one block and two steals in 33 minutes.

Bonnie and Lili were second on the team with 19 points each. Bonnie’s stats also included two rebounds, one block and one steal in 38 minutes. Even though she got her fourth foul with 3:22 to go, Tara kept her in, giving her time to make a 3 and a series of free throws.

Adding to Lili’s stat line were six rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes.

Bri was the fourth player in double figures, 13, to go with four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 37 minutes.

Stanford is 13-0 this season when at least four players score in double figures.

Bird had a team-high 11 rebounds plus 7 points and two blocks in 22 minutes. The only other player to score was Taylor, who had 4 points plus two rebounds in 19 minutes.

Twelve straight wins at home

The victory upped Stanford’s NCAA record to 77-26 overall and 32-4 at Maples. The latest win was its 12th straight at home.

Attendance was only 2,532. The 3:30 p.m. game time on a work day when most students were away on quarter break probably reduced the crowd. Still, Maples was loud with two bands playing and two contingents of red-clad fans cheering.

Apparently hoping to spur a rally during the first half, a woman handed out red and white pompons to fans in the south bleachers.

Just after 5 minutes into the second half, the video board showed longtime announcer Betty Ann (Boeving) Hagenau sitting upstairs in a wheelchair with her husband, Bob. She told a fan that this was one of her first outings as she continues to recover from a bicycle accident.

During a timeout with just under 6 minutes to go, a toddler wearing a red Stanford jumper danced with the Tree in the corner near the Stanford bench, amusing those who could see her. She then happily waved a pompon that a fan gave her. Earlier she had tried to imitate the cheerleaders’ sideline routines.

Bonnie, Amber uphold senior tradition

It was reported that before the game, Tara told the team that seniors have a tradition of playing their final home game in style.

Among them she named were Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, ’10; Jeanette Pohlen, ’11; and Joslyn Tinkle, ’13, who did well in their farewells to Maples.

Now she can add Amber and Bonnie to that list.

Tradition never graduates.

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