We lost to ASU 66-73 in Tempe, and beat them 74-50 at home. In our loss we gave up pretty balanced scoring--there was no one player who beat us, but ASU shot 48% and we were held to 42%. Smith had a very quiet game, but Williams and Carrington played well. We will see if we can win the rubber match tomorrow.
Kiana Williams had a superb night, we played excellent defense, and Tara got to rest her starters through the fourth quarter. The most dominating victory we have had in the last month.
Flow of the Game:
We played excellent defense in the first quarter, holding ASU to only 3 points on 1-10 shooting. Our offense was better but still sluggish, scoring 13 points with all five starters getting a single basket and no one really settling in. Marta showed the ability to run the whole court to the basket, getting a basket before the defense was set up, and doing it again to earn two free throws, which she sank. Stanford 13 ASU 3 after one quarter.
Our defense continued to contest the perimeter and swarm whoever tried to bring the ball into the paint with suffocating helpside defense. Meanwhile, on offense, Alanna began to execute inside and Kiana heated up, sinking two treys and a deuce. The lead reached 20 points at 27-7 before ASU went on a 6-0 run. Fouls began to take a toll on both teams. ASU's star Richardson went out with 3 fouls, and Sniezek, Johnson, and McPhee all collected two. Dodson got into the game and got an easy layup off a nifty Carrington assist. Smith's defense on Ibis was outstanding--holding ASU's leading scorer to 1 shot. ASU's Ruden also fell and banged her knee and went out. Then Williams hit another trey as an ASU player crashed into the screen on the "elevator play" made famous for Kate Starbird. The quarter continued to a 32-18 halftime lead.
As the third quarter progressed, it became increasingly clear that McPhee was not at the top of her offensive game but that Williams was. Kiana was 5/5 from three point range and 8/9 overall, scoring 21 of Stanford's 42 points. ASU kept scrapping but I felt that if Stanford could push the lead out a bit more that the ASU morale would crack. Then yet another smooth trey by Williams and a left handed layup by Alanna and the lead was back up to 20 (47/27) and CTT called the timeout with three minutes left in the quarter. With a big lead, Tara gave Romano some time in the game. The timeout did ASU little good, and Alanna sank a buzzer beater trey to conclude the quarter with a 52-28 lead.
The fourth quarter gave Tara a chance to rest the starters for tomorrow's game. Carrington, Fingall, and Romano started the quarter, Dodson and Jerome got extended minutes too, with Fingal eventually joining for a complete second string team on the court, then Coffee and Moschkau and Brewer. All the substitutions did take a toll on our play and the ASU first stringers closed the gap to 12, 58-46. Not exactly a strong endorsement of our second/third string, but very much worth it to give our starters a bit of an edge over the Oregon starters who had to work the length of their game to defeat UCLA.
Tara said before the game that rebounding would be critical. ASU edged us in rebounds but just barely. ASU made 18 free throws and we made only 4, reflecting a continuing pattern that we foul a lot--Fingall actually fouled out. But the game was won on the basis that we had good shooting opportunities and they did not. We shot 43% and made 8 treys, while ASU shot 31% and made 2 treys. Turnovers were relatively low and even.
Williams was the player of the night, scoring 24 points on 9/11 shooting and 6/7 from three point range. She also had a steal, an assist, and played competent defense.
It was good to see Smith begin to act like her old self. She scored 13 on 5/11 shooting and also nabbed 2 steals, a block, but only 3 rebounds.
No one else was in double digit scoring, which is a bit worrying.
McPhee was not much of a factor. She was 1/6 from three point range and did not make a single two point attempt. Three point shooting has never been her strength, and why she could not penetrate I do not know.
Sniezek had 4 assists but also 4 turnovers. Johnson had only a single rebound--which is one of the most shocking stats I've seen. Carrington had 6 points and a team leading 5 rebounds, with a couple of steals.
The stats for this game were not impressive, but we won comfortably, rested our starters, and are witnessing the coming of age of our freshman superstar. This went just about as well as we could possibly have hoped for to give us the best possible chance tomorrow night against Oregon. In conjunction with all the losses by key NCAA teams, I think this comes close to securing our chance to see our team back at Maples a couple more times.