We play for a chance to get back to the final four against a Votre Dame team that demolished Ohio State even without their star Brianna Turner. I am sure that Tara will be looking at the Purdue game plan, which took Votre Dame to overtime the game before.http://thecardboard.org/board/index.php?topic=14789.msg159249#msg159249Overview:
An absolutely terrific effort keyed by McPhee's 27 points, our 46% three point shooting, and Marta's 8 assists to 0 turnovers. With all of that going for us we still needed a basket and a couple of last second stops to edge Votre Dame with a 1 point victory.Flow of the Game:
Our offense clicked in the first quarter, with Karlie draining three treys, Britt a couple, and Erica and Kaylee also getting some midrange shots to go. Votre Dame played zone--not a typical defense for them--perhaps in an effort to switch up on us with the absence of Brianna Turner. Our sizzling three point shooting and Votre Dame's slowness to cover Karlie in the corner made their zone look rather dubious. However, Votre Dame had balanced scoring all around and kept right up with us. The quarter ended Stanford 24 Votre Dame 22.
The second quarter started with a Roberson trey, but after Karlie picked up a second foul and had to leave, our offense froze. Ten missed shots on our part and an 18 point run on Votre Dame's part left us down 13, and the game looked as if it had decisively turned. Ogunbowale had 21 points in the first half, Britt cooled off, Karlie was sitting, and we limped to a 7 point quarter. Making things worse, Ogunbowale threw in a trey at the end of the half to give them a 45-31 halftime lead.
The third quarter started badly as we gave up a basket for a 16 point deficit, but then Britt started to get hot, hitting first one, then two treys. Smith was left unguarded at the perimeter and drained a trey, then Britt dished to her while driving for a layup. An Erica layup and a swooshing Karlie trey followed by a brilliant Marta lob to Britt for a layup left us down only 57-55 at the end of the third.
We opened the 4th with a stop and a McPhee trey to take the lead--a remarkable turnaround from our 16 point deficit just the quarter before. We exchanged baskets and the lead, and then Erin Boley and Karlie exchanged treys to leave us tied at 64 with six minutes to play. Then an Alanna steal led to Britt firing an assist back to Smith who converted under the basket and we were up two with 5:34. Ogunbowale tied it up again with two free throws, McPhee hit two free throws and we were back in front. ND hit a trey to edge ahead by 1. I thought the game could have turned against us when Smith received a bad offensive foul and we gave the ball back to ND with them up by a point and only 3:30 left. But we got a stop and then Sniezek took it to the rim, got fouled, and made both shots to give the lead back to us with 3 minutes.
The lead just went back and forth--18 lead changes in the game. Mabrey hit a layup for a Votre Dame 1 point lead, and again we followed that up with a turnover--the game could have slipped away. But our defense secured a shot clock violation and thus the ball back with 2 minutes. McPhee made a gorgeous shot off glass from the middle of the right lane line--a distinctive look to that shot that she executed several times in this game. Stanford up 1. But then a foul and two free throws the other way--ND up 1. Smith received a pass at the arc and then dribbled up the left lane line for a left handed layup for the lead back. Then Lindsy Allen laid it in for a ND lead, 75-74. The see-saw was popping up and down wildly.
Then, on the decisive play of the game, Sniezek lobbed it to Smith who finished under the basket for a 76-75 lead. Votre Dame had two more chances but Smith blocked the first and McCall emphatically blocked the last (from behind) to seal the win. Performances:
As teams, the stats were relatively even, with a couple of major differences--we had 22 assists to their 11. We were simply passing much better. We had 7 blocks to their 1 including the critical block to win the game. We did reasonably will with only 11 turnovers, but ND had only 4--so the 7 turnover difference helped keep the game close for ND.
Britt was 10/17 and 5/9 from three point range to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a couple of blocks. One of the several best performances of her career. Also give her credit for turning around the defense on Ogunbowale in the second half. Ogunbowale went from 21 points in the first half to 4 in the second.
Karlie had 15 points on the strength of 5/8 three point shooting, and she also had 4 assists. She attracted so much attention that others like Smith were left open.
Alanna was 7/10 for fifteen, with 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Marta had a quite an amazing assists day--8 assists to 0 turnovers. She still needs offense, as the commentators pointed out, going 0/4. Not only are jump shots not going, it has been a while since her layups have been going in. She needs something to work.
Erica had 9 points and 11 rounds--her shooting was a little off but those rebounds were crucial. And those two blocks--the last of which preserved the game for us.
Bri scored 7 points and provided 16 minutes of energized defense, and gave us 3 assists to 0 turnovers. Conclusion:
I am so proud of this team, and am amazed about how far this team has come and how much they have learned. I think the strength of the team is that it is getting harder and harder to scout. Any given night it could be one or two different players exploding on offense. Now on to a final four--the first one for all but the seniors, and a welcome return for Bri, Erica, and Karlie.