April 18, 2016

Season reflections --- Part 2 of 3

After wrapping up its pre-conference schedule with a 10-2 record, the Stanford women’s basketball team began Pac-12 competition with two games in the desert.

The team defeated Arizona 59-34 on Jan. 2. This game gave all 14 players a chance to get in on the action, and no one played longer than the 26 minutes logged by junior guard Lili Thompson and sophomore guard Brittany McPhee.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer went with an all-junior starting lineup featuring Lili along with forwards Erica “Bird’ McCall and Kailee Johnson and guards Briana Roberson and Karlie Samuelson. Brittany led the team with 21 points, followed by freshman forward Alanna Smith with 16.

Loss to ASU represents a program low

Moving on to Arizona State on Jan. 4, the team suffered a 49-31 loss, scoring the fewest points in its history. The previous low was 32 points against Missouri in 1984, before Tara’s arrival on The Farm. No one was in double figures. Lili led the team with 7 points.

The team returned home to better results Jan. 10, defeating Colorado 71-56. It was a good time for sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson to post two career highs.

Bri (10) and Kaylee go for a rebound. (Stanford Athletics)
With the score 0-7 in favor of Colorado, she came off the bench with the clock at 6:36 in the first quarter. Just seconds later, she gave the team its first basket. She went on to score all six of the team’s points until Karlie and Brittany hit successive 3’s.

Logging 32 minutes, Kaylee recorded team and career highs of 17 points plus 11 rebounds. Also in double figures were Bird with 16, Lili with 12 and Karlie with 11.

With Bird adding 11 rebounds to her stat line, she and Kaylee became the first SWBB duo with double-doubles since Chiney Ogwumike (29/15) and Mikaela Ruef (11/13), both ’14, in the 82-57 Sweet Sixteen victory over Penn Sate on March 30, 2014.

Lili joins 1,000 point club

Not be overshadowed, Lili logged the 1,000th point of her career at 3:08 in the second quarter, becoming the 36th SWBB player to do so.

Lili was featured in the post-game Behind the Bench. Among other things, she said she was honored to be in the company of the other members of the 1,000 point club.

Alanna also was featured. “She will have a great future here,” said associate head coach Amy Tucker.

About 350 fans were treated to an open practice and a locker room tour on Jan. 13. The redecorated lounge in the locker room is adorned with action shots of past SWBB greats, photos of Tara and Amy cutting the net after championships and lists of the team’s accomplishments over the years

Squeaker and loss in Oregon

It was again time to hit the road as the team traveled to Oregon for a tight 64-62 win over the Ducks on Jan. 15. Bird didn’t play because she wasn’t feeling well. Lili made two baskets in the final 35 seconds to tie and then win the game. She finished with 16 points, as did Kaylee. Karlie led the way with 18 points. Freshman guard Marta Sniezek got the nod to start at the point.

Oregon State handed the team a 58-50 loss in Corvallis on Jan. 17. Kailee with 14 and Bird with 12 were the only Stanford players in double figures. The team had been ahead until the fourth quarter, when its shooting went cold and Oregon scored 28 points to Stanford’s 10.

Travel continued on Jan. 22 when the team downed USC 57-47. Its 13 blocks, led by Bird’s five, tied a school record. Bird and Karlie each had 14 points to lead the scoring, while Lili had 11. The team was shorthanded with Bri and senior guard Kiran Lakhian in street clothes and freshman forward/center Shannon Coffee feeling ill and staying in the hotel.

Next up, UCLA dominated the visiting Cardinal 56-36 on Jan. 24. The second quarter was particularly painful as Stanford was outscored 16-4. Only Bird with 11 was in double figures. Kailee and Kiran were unavailable.

First quarter surge leads to win over Washington

After those two weekends on the road, the team returned to Maples to rack up a satisfying 69-53 win over Washington on Jan. 29.

Abandoning its penchant for slow starts, the team surged to a 26-13 first-quarter lead. Lili led the way, scoring the team’s first 8 points and finishing the quarter with five 3-pointers and another basket for 17 points. The crowd gave her a standing ovation when she left the game for good near the end of the fourth quarter. By then, she had amassed 27 points, just 1 point shy of her career high 28 on Nov. 20, 2014, against Texas.

It was more than a one-woman show, though. Bird and Brittany pitched in with 12 points each, while Karlie had 10. Kaylee did her part with a game-high and season-best 14 rebounds and matched her career high with four assists.

Lili scores 30 in win over WSU

As if her performance against Washington weren’t enough, Lili topped that game and her previous career high with 30 points, leading her team to a 69-52 victory over Washington State at home on Jan. 31.

Lili, with Amy, at a Behind the Bench. (Dave Cortesi)
The team overcame a slow start in which its first 9 points came from free throws. Lili finally made the first basket with 27.3 seconds to go in the first quarter, which ended with the Cardinal trailing 11-18. The deficit narrowed to 25-27 at halftime.

Then came the third quarter, when Lili launched an early 3 to tie the score at 28-28. During the second half, she scored 24 points, going 9 for 11 overall and 5 for 5 from beyond the arc.

Bird scored 11 points and snared 14 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season. Other major contributions were Karlie’s 10 points and Kaylee’s 19 rebounds.

Bird was featured at the Behind the Bench. “Bird is having a breakout junior year,” assistant coach Kate Paye said. “Her other nickname is Double-Double.”

Cal falls in both Big Games

The first round of the WBB Big Game came Feb. 2 when the visiting Cal team fell 53-46.

Lili had a relatively quiet game but finished with 11 points. Karlie had a team-high 15 points, going 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. Bird had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Kaylee had 15 rebounds for the third consecutive game in which she had more than 10 boards.

The second round, this one at Cal, again led to a win, 60-55 on Feb. 5. Stanford started slowly, trailing 34-27 at the half, but the third quarter clinched the victory, when the Cardinal held the Bears to 4 points while scoring 15.

When the final buzzer sounded, five were in double figures: Bird, 14; Brittany, 12; Kaylee, 11; Lili and Kailee, 10 each. In a rare night for her, Karlie didn’t score.

Balanced scoring in win over Arizona

Arizona came calling on Feb. 12 and left with an 82-58 loss. This time the team got off to a fast start with all five starters –- Bri, Lili, Karlie, Bird and Kaylee –- scoring within the first 4 minutes. Stanford then dominated the rest of the way.

All 14 players got in, and no one played more than 22 minutes.

Scoring was balanced with Bird adding 12 points, Lili 11 and Kaylee 10. Alanna had a career-high four blocks. Freshman guard Alexa Romano, who plays sparingly, had 7 points, including a 3.

Marta played 18 minutes and had one of her best games of the season, scoring 4 points by going aggressively to the basket and dishing out five assists. Redshirt senor guard Alex Green made her first basket of the season after rehabbing from ACL surgery.

Valentine’s Day not so sweet

Valentine’s Day found the team nearly upsetting visiting Arizona State in overtime, but an ASU basket at the very last second dealt the Cardinal a 63-61 loss.

Stanford had trailed in the first three quarters but rallied in the fourth to tie the game at 55-55, resulting in OT.

Three-pointers by Karlie, who had 14 points, and Bri came at critical times. Rebounds hurt the most, going 47-30 in ASU’s favor. Free throws also hurt, with ASU making 11 to Stanford’s five.

Road games came next, with Stanford prevailing 80-49 over Colorado on Feb. 19 and 72-54 over Utah on Feb. 21.

Team upsets Oregon State for 1,000th program victory

Returning home and ranking #13 nationally, Stanford upset #7 Oregon State 76-54 on Feb. 26.

The team and staff celebrate SWBB's 1,000th win. (Stanford Athletics)
Moreover, the game represented the SWBB’s 1,000th victory, setting off a joyous post-game celebration. The only other Division 1 schools to reach that milestone are Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, James Madison, Old Dominion, Texas and Stephen F. Austin.

“The Cardinal’s overall record since its first varsity season in 1975 is 1,000-310 (.763) and 824-172 (.827)” under Tara, Stanford Athletics reported.

Bird led both teams with a career-high 25 points, including the first, second and third 3-pointers of her career.

Karlie had a career night of her own, snaring 12 rebounds, twice her previous high. With 13 points, including three 3’s, she posted the first double-double of her career.

Brittany started in place of Lili, who missed the game because of the death of her paternal grandfather. The sophomore guard contributed 15 points and 6 for 7 shooting.

Seniors honored after defeat of Oregon

The Pac-12 schedule wrapped up Feb. 28 with a 69-42 Senior Day victory over Oregon.

Stingy defense held the Ducks scoreless for just under 7 minutes in the first quarter, while the offense poured in 15 points.

Lili missed this game, too, and Shannon was in a boot for the second straight game.

Bird matched her career high of 25 points, including another 3, and added a career-high 18 rebounds. This was her 14th double-double in the past 15 games. The team tied its season high with 22 assists, led by Karlie with five.

Tess, Kiran and Alex are saluted on Senior Day. (Stanford Athletics)
A post-game ceremony honored Alex, Kiran and forward/center Tess Picknell. Although they don’t get much playing time, Tara stressed their importance to the team by serving as the scout team. During practice, they run the next opponent’s plays, and they still have to know Stanford’s plays.

Thus Stanford ended conference play with a 14-4 Pac-12 record (24-6 overall) for a third-place tie with UCLA and the No 4 seed in the conference tournament in Seattle because of its season loss to UCLA.

Next: The Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments

No comments:

Post a Comment