February 8, 2017

From thrill to thud

From left: Nadia, Kaylee, Britt, Kate, Tara and Amy worry as UCLA pulls ahead. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez, SF Chronicle)

It was a hard landing back to Earth for the Stanford women’s basketball team after losing at home to UCLA 85-76 on Feb. 6.

Just three days earlier, the team had joyously celebrated its home defeat of USC and head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 1,000th career win.

To commemorate that milestone, the Maples floor now has logos saying “TARA 1,000 wins” facing east and west on either side of the center line.

Video tributes from ESPN announcer Holly Rowe and Kristen Newlin, ’07, who is playing professionally in Turkey, were shown during the game.

All hands on deck for Stanford

Once again Stanford had all 13 players suited up, while UCLA had nine. Eight of them got into the game. Tara used nine players.

The starting lineup featured the three seniors –- forward Erica “Bird” McCall and guards Karlie Samuelson and Briana Roberson –- along with the two juniors –- forward Kaylee Johnson and guard Brittany McPhee.

The seniors and Brittany played major minutes and accounted for four of the five players in double figures. Karlie led the way with 15 points, followed by Bird and sophomore forward Alanna Smith with 14 each, Britt with 13 and Bri with 12.

Just looking at the box score, you could point to free throws. Stanford made 13 of 20, while UCLA made 22 of 30, a 9-point difference right there, just like the final score.

But that doesn’t tell the full story. UCLA had nine 3’s, while Stanford had seven. Bri contributed four of them with two by Karlie and one by Alanna.

Turnovers hurt, too. Stanford had 11, with UCLA scoring 10 points from them. UCLA had eight, with Stanford scoring 7 points from them.

Cardinal take lead into locker room

The first quarter ended with Stanford down 22-12, but the team rallied in the second quarter and went into the locker room with a 40-37 lead. Britt and Alanna led the way with Britt making two buckets in a row and Alanna following up with a 3 and then a 2. Bri clinched the deal with a late 3 to give her team the lead.

During the third quarter, Bri fell to the floor after running into a screen and stayed there for several minutes, but no foul was called on UCLA. Instead, Alanna was charged with a foul, much to the dismay of the loudly booing crowd. However, Bri returned to action shortly thereafter.

That quarter ended with UCLA up 55-51, not insurmountable, but not enough. UCLA kept edging ahead in the fourth quarter. If it weren’t for Bri’s two 3’s close to the final buzzer, the Bruins’ margin of victory would have been greater.

Once again a high school band, this one from Silver Creek High in San Jose, provided some of the music.

The theme for the night was recycling and sustainability. Students were stationed around the concourse to explain the effort, recycling containers stood alongside trash receptacles and A-frame signs around the concourse had facts about the effects of Stanford’s efforts.

Some of these efforts were highlighted in trivia questions on the video board. One of them noted that solar arrays being installed on the Maples roof will produce 628 kilowatts of electricity –- the most on campus.

The team will stay home for the coming weekend, facing Colorado at 8 p.m. Feb. 10 and Utah at 1 p.m. Feb. 12. Both games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.

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