November 16, 2015

Third quarter clinches season-opening victory

The Stanford women’s basketball team took to the road to open its new season, defeating UC Davis 74-45 on Nov. 13.

Davis stuck around for the first two quarters, allowing Stanford only an 18-15 edge at the end of the first and a 29-24 edge at the second.

Then whatever head coach Tara VanDerveer said in the locker room during halftime sent the Cardinal into the third quarter totally energized. Davis didn’t score its first point, a free throw, until the 5:49 mark. Its only basket, a 3-pointer, was logged at 3:06.

Press aids third-quarter surge

In the meantime, Stanford’s lead ballooned to 60-32, thanks not only to better shooting but also to fierce defense. That defense was hallmarked by an almost unrelenting press that resulted in turnovers and only 8 points.

For the game, Davis had 21 turnovers, while Stanford had 11. Stanford had 24 points off turnovers, Davis 12.

Thirteen of Stanford’s 14 players were available for action and got into the game. Redshirt senior guard Alex Green, still rehabbing from ACL surgery, didn’t make the trip.

The team gathers in a circle before tip-off.
Starting for the Cardinal were freshman guard Marta Sniezek at the point; junior guards Briana Roberson and Karlie Samuelson; sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson and junior forward Erica “Bird” McCall.

By the end of the half, nine had played. Junior forward Kailee Johnson and sophomore guard Brittany McPhee were first off the bench, followed by freshman forward Alanna Smith and junior guard Lili Thompson.

Stanford fans in the crowd were glad to see Lili, who had worn a boot while sitting out the Nov. 7 exhibition win against Academy of Art University. She played 14 minutes.

When the final buzzer sounded, all 13 players had made at least one positive contribution to the stat line.

Bri scores team-leading 15 points

Bri led the team with 15 points, followed by Alanna with 13, and Bird and Lili with 10 each. Karlie was close behind with 9. Bird led the team with 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Notable among the bench players was freshman forward/center Shannon Coffee, who was last off the bench (she’s reportedly recovering from a sore foot) and played slightly less than three minutes.

She made the most of that time, though, going 2-for-2 from the field and 1-for-1 from the free-throw line to put up 5 points. More exactly, she entered the game at the 2:53 mark and made layups at 2:11 and 1:29, followed by her free throw at 1:28 –- a span of less than 90 seconds.

In all, Stanford’s bench contributed 38 points, slightly less than half the team’s total, compared with 11 points from the Davis bench.

Stanford had 47 rebounds, Davis 45. Stanford had 10 blocks, with two each from Kaylee, Bird, Kailee and senior forward/center Tess Picknell. Alanna and freshman guard Alexa Romano had one each. Davis had two blocks.

Each team had seven steals. Stanford’s came from Marta with two; plus Kaylee, Bird, Bri, Brittany and Kailee with one each.

For the game, Stanford shot a less-than-stellar 38 percent, but Davis lagged at 23.6 percent.

Free-throw shooting needs improvement

Free-throw shooting also was underwhelming, 13 for 21, or 61.9 percent. Davis made 14 of 20, or 70 percent, of its charity tosses.

Continuing on the debit side, Stanford missed many apparently easy layups and made only seven of 24 3-point attempts, or 29.2 percent. Bri accounted for three 3’s, followed by Karlie with two, and Lili and Alanna with one each.

Back on the plus side were the assists, 16 for Stanford, eight for Davis. Marta accounted for four assists; followed by Bri with three; Karlie, Lili and Tess with two each; and Kaylee, Brittany and Kailee with one each.

The game was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., but because the Davis men’s game preceding it went into overtime, it didn’t start until about 8:13. (The men lost, too, 79-71 to North Dakota State.)

Official game attendance was 3,366 with Davis students accounting for the majority. Dozens of Stanford fans filled seats in two sections behind the Stanford bench. Some of them had attended a pre-game mixer sponsored by Stanford Alumni at a nearby sports bar, the Davis Graduate.

According to Eileen Roche, director of basketball operations, the Stanford women began their trip with a four-hour bus ride (heavy traffic) the day before the game. They planned to stay overnight in Sacramento after the game. They then were to fly from Sacramento to Spokane via Seattle on Nov. 14 in preparation for their Nov. 15 game against Gonzaga.

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