February 16, 2018

Round one goes to Stanford

Players, coaches and fans have reason to celebrate during the game.. (Photos by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos)
In the first round of its cross-bay rivalry, the Stanford women’s basketball team prevailed over Cal 74-69 on Feb. 15 at Maples.

The Cardinal were led by freshman guard Kiana Williams, who scored a career-high 26 points.

Although the teams were nearly identical in most statistical categories, one question stands out: How important are free throws?

Free throws still could clinch a victory

Well, even if Stanford hadn’t made two more two-point baskets than Cal, the home team still would have eked out a one-point win because it made one more free throw, 16 of 21,  than Cal, 15 of 21.

Stanford had no baskets during the final 8:04 minutes, so free throws were huge with eight of 10 made in the final four minutes.

Cal had 25 fouls, while Stanford had 18. Senior forward Kaylee Johnson fouled out during the fourth quarter. Two Cal players fouled out.

Otherwise, both teams had eight three-pointers, but Stanford was better percentage-wise, eight of 19, or 42.1 percent, while Cal made eight of 22, or 36.4 percent. Overall, Stanford shot 40.3 percent, and Cal shot slightly better at 41.1 percent.

Kiana looks to add to her point total.
Kiana pours in five three’s

Stanford’s three’s came from Kiana, who made of five of seven; along with one each from senior guard Brittany McPhee, junior center Shannon Coffee and sophomore forward Nadia Fingall.

The Cardinal had 15 assists to Cal’s 10 and eight steals to Cal’s five. Stanford had 11 turnovers, while Cal had 16.

Kaylee works hard under the basket.
Cal’s biggest advantage came in rebounds: 40 versus Stanford’s 30. Kaylee had nine rebounds, while junior forward Alanna Smith had seven and Nadia had six.

The starting lineup featured the usual Alanna, Kaylee, Britt, Kiana and junior guard Marta Sniezek. They opened strong with an 18-7 lead with 3:12 to go in the first quarter. Alanna was first to score and had accounted for eight points by then. However, she mustered no more points after that.

Shannon is first-half heroine

Stanford finished the first quarter with a 22-13 lead, but Cal rallied during the second and was ahead with one second to go when Shannon made her trey to give her team a 37-35 halftime edge in her only minute on the floor. 

Her teammates mobbed her with hugs as they headed to the locker room.

The Farm team led 57-49 at the end of the third quarter and surged to its biggest lead of the game, 66-51 at the 4:22 mark of the fourth.

Bears foul the wrong player (for them)

That’s when things got tight with Cal opting for a full-court press and finally fouling intentionally during the waning moments. Unfortunately for the Bears, the player they fouled the most was Kiana, who made seven of nine free-throw attempts during the game.

Britt and Nadia like what just happened.
Besides Kiana with 26 points, the only other Stanford players in double figures were Britt with 17 and Nadia with 10.

Because it was Breast Cancer Awareness Night, Stanford’s white uniforms had pink accents and the Cal players wore pink uniforms. Many in the crowd of 3,074 also wore pink, including the man who always wears a pink tutu for this occasion.

During various timeouts, the women’s softball and gymnastics teams tossed pink T-shirts into the stands.

Jimmy V honored

In another timeout, Jimmy V (Viglizzo) was honored. The creator and owner of Jimmy V’s sports cafĂ©  in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center is retiring this year after serving the Farm since 1999. SWBB fans fondly recall events he catered for them.

This victory over Cal in the final home game of the regular season extended this season’s home winning streak to 9-0 and assured Stanford of a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle in early March. Stanford hopes to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament with a top 16 seed.

The win also put the team alone at the top of the conference, at least temporarily, because the other top teams, Oregon and UCLA, didn’t play. They face each other Feb. 19.

In the meantime, Stanford will travel to Berkeley for the second round of the Battle of the Bay at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.