March 20, 2016

Cardinal take first round of March Madness

The bench celebrates a Cardinal play. (Stanford Athletics)
The Stanford women’s basketball team easily defeated the University of San Francisco on March 19 to advance to Round 2 of the NCAA championship tournament.

The fourth-seeded Cardinal won 85-58 over the 13th seeded Dons and will face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at 6 p.m. March 21 at Maples Pavilion. Twelfth-seeded SDS upset fifth-seeded Miami 74-71 to open Round 1 action. Assistant coaches Kate Paye and Tempie Brown were on the sidelines scouting that game.

The Stanford starting lineup featured four juniors –- forward Erica “Bird” McCall and guards Briana Roberson, Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson –- plus sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson. Lili led the scoring with 17 points, followed by Bird with 14, Kaylee with 13 and Karlie with 11.

Coming off the bench, freshman forward Alanna Smith had 9 points while sophomore guard Brittany McPhee and freshman guard Marta Sniezek had 8 each.   

Marta dribbles past a defender. (Stanford Athletics)
Marta makes one of team’s eight 3’s

Marta, who has been known mainly for assists, showed more assertiveness in shooting. She even made a 3-pointer, something she was doing during that night’s warmups. And she still excelled in assists, leading the team with nine.

Her 3-pointer was one of the team’s eight. The others came from Karlie and Lili with two each and from Bird, Bri and Alanna with one each.

By the time the game ended, everyone had seen action except freshman forward Shannon Coffee, who has been in a boot for several games.

Stanford dominated USF in every statistical category, especially rebounds, with a 49-22 advantage. Bird led the team with 10 rebounds, while Kaylee had nine.

The team shot 51.1 percent overall, 42.1 percent on 3’s and 78.9 percent on free throws.

The Tara-Jennifer story line

Before the game started, photographers clustered around head coach Tara VanDerveer as she chatted with USF coach Jennifer Azzi, ’90, one of Stanford’s first great WBB players.

Much of the pre-game hype had focused on the scheduled meeting between teacher and student, and it turned out that the teacher is still the master.

The two teams’ only previous meeting was Dec. 22, 2010, at USF, during Jennifer’s first season as head coach.

It ended in a blowout, 100-45 in Stanford’s favor, but that wasn’t the whole story. It also marked Tara’s 800th career victory.

Upon the Stanford victory, USF graciously supplied the crowd with red signs reading “800” on one side and “Congratulations Tara – S” on the other, so when the final buzzer sounded, fans waved them in celebration.

Jennifer and her then-assistant coach, Katy Steding, gave her flowers and the game ball. Both were in the first class that Tara recruited to Stanford and went on to help Stanford win its first national championship in 1990. They also played on the Tara-coached 1996 USA Olympic team that went undefeated and won the gold medal.

Outstanding players in first meeting

Playing major roles in that 800th win were some fondly remembered names. The starting lineup featured senior Jeanette Pohlen, junior Lindy La Rocque, sophomore Joslyn Tinkle, senior Kayla Pedersen and junior Nneka Ogwumike. Except for Lindy, who is coaching, the others are all playing professionally.

Kayla led all scorers with 16 points plus a career-high 20 rebounds. The team made a total of 11 3-pointers, with four by freshman Sara James, two by Jeanette, and one each by Lindy, Joslyn, junior Grace Mashore, freshman Toni Kokenis and sophomore Mikaela Ruef. Freshman Chiney Ogwumike wasn’t in uniform because she had tweaked her ankle in practice that morning.

Now, just more than five years later, Tara is well on her way to her 1,000th career win. She needs only 22 more, a number she’s likely to reach next season.

No comments:

Post a Comment