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81Alum, maybe you don't need more than Nneka.

42 points.  17 rebounds.  At one point making at least 11 straight shots.  Including some truly spectacular moves, long jumpers under pressure, and spinning step backs.

More in a second, after some processing time.

VG
81Alum, maybe you don't need more than Nneka.

42 points.  17 rebounds.  At one point making at least 11 straight shots.  Including some truly spectacular moves, long jumpers under pressure, and spinning step backs.

More in a second, after some processing time.

VG
On a couple of those buzzer-beater jumpers in the second half, Nneka couldn't have been more than a couple of inches inside the arc. Truly a remarkable game.
On a couple of those buzzer-beater jumpers in the second half, Nneka couldn't have been more than a couple of inches inside the arc. Truly a remarkable game.
(12-20-2011, 09:58 PM)Viking_Guy link Wrote:81Alum, maybe you don't need more than Nneka.
Well, you have me there.  If we can count on Nneka for 42 point games every time! 

While Nneka deservedly gets credit for one of the best offensive performances by a Stanford player I have seen--Candice Wiggin's 41 against Maryland or Jayne Appel's 46 vs. Iowa State come to mind--I think the real story of this game is Toni.  4 assists to 2 turnovers and a career high 26 points.  Her success, particularly her cutting to the basket and passing and pulling up-- really helped to keep things open inside for Nneka to have her monster game.  We needed balance, and we got it.


(12-20-2011, 09:58 PM)Viking_Guy link Wrote:81Alum, maybe you don't need more than Nneka.
Well, you have me there.  If we can count on Nneka for 42 point games every time! 

While Nneka deservedly gets credit for one of the best offensive performances by a Stanford player I have seen--Candice Wiggin's 41 against Maryland or Jayne Appel's 46 vs. Iowa State come to mind--I think the real story of this game is Toni.  4 assists to 2 turnovers and a career high 26 points.  Her success, particularly her cutting to the basket and passing and pulling up-- really helped to keep things open inside for Nneka to have her monster game.  We needed balance, and we got it.


I wouldn't say Toni Kokenis was the real story. It's not just that Nneka scored a ton of points, but the way she did, off jumpers from all ranges, steals and possibly astral projection. And add in her defense, rebounding and endurance -- she played something like 39 minutes -- and it was just a monster game.

But I agree that Toni's performance was a story, and a big one. Her shooting, her defense, her work at the point -- all the stuff we've been hoping for from her. And absolutely you are right, Toni's play helped open things up for Nneka down low.
I wouldn't say Toni Kokenis was the real story. It's not just that Nneka scored a ton of points, but the way she did, off jumpers from all ranges, steals and possibly astral projection. And add in her defense, rebounding and endurance -- she played something like 39 minutes -- and it was just a monster game.

But I agree that Toni's performance was a story, and a big one. Her shooting, her defense, her work at the point -- all the stuff we've been hoping for from her. And absolutely you are right, Toni's play helped open things up for Nneka down low.
Twitter hashtag: #Nneka4Heisman! (I think Rule of Tree started it.)
Twitter hashtag: #Nneka4Heisman! (I think Rule of Tree started it.)
81-

Just lost the first half of a game recap, but Toni figured in hugely.  Both for timely shooting, and for doing the one thing Stanford guards traditionally fail to do - drive the darned ball to the hoop.

Glenn was right, the game started about as poorly as possible, with Tennessee continuing their torrid shooting from the UCLA game and Stanford unable to hit the broadside of Maples (due in large part to some early jitters from Chiney and others against an amped-up Vol defense).  You don't want to start off down 16-9 to a team that's been your kryptonite (TvD 6-22 vs. the Vols until tonight).

But Toni keyed the quick comeback, with a couple of driving shots into the teeth of the defense, the last of which led to a UT timeout.  Which promptly turned into two more points when they had 6 players on the floor coming out of the timeout, leading to technical free throws taken by Bonnie (who had some effective play in the first half).  16-15, game on.

Lindy hit a big three to tie it at 20, and a couple of sequences later, Bonnie hit a LONG three from the left wing to give Stanford the lead at 27-24, and they never trailed again.

Meanwhile, Nneka, after starting 1-6 from the field, heated up.  Well, more than heated up.  Somewhere along the lines of "sustainable nuclear fusion" temperatures.  Hitting from inside, outside, on spin moves, stepbacks and jumpers, and one play where she dove in to tip the ball away under the Stanford basket from a single Vol who had collected the rebound, then getting up from horizontal faster than the dispossessed player could take a step, grabbing the ball off the floor, spinning against that same defender and laying it up and in.  Just nutty athleticism.

The zone Garvin mentioned also was frustrating.  Greenfield, Kokenis and Lindy tossed the ball around about 30 feet out, with little or no movement or screening off the ball.  The subsequent offensive funk let the Vols cut a 7 point lead at 36-29 down to a single point at 40-39 on a Meighan Simmons jumper a little more than a minute left.

Combine that with some strange zone-defense Stanford was playing for a few possessions: it looked something like a 2-3, but it was set so high up the court that it felt like a 1-3-1 at points, and Tennessee got great looks from the corner on a couple of possessions in a row.  I didn't mind the zone, as Tennessee is not a great outside shooting team and the Card was getting killed on drives from the wing, but the execution was problematic.

Then came one of the other key sequences of the game, the final minute of the first half.  Toni threw a prayer of a flip shot up from the right baseline, clear over the hoop.  Where it came down like an alley-oop pass directly in the hands of Nneka in perfect position for the layup.  A turnover by Simmons led to a quick transition 3 by Greenfield, and a 1 point lead was 6.  A Tennessee jumper was immediately answered by a 3 from the left corner by Toni, and Stanford went to the half up 48-41.

48 points in the first half against Tennessee?  My goodness.  I thought there was no way the teams could keep up the scoring pace.  If nothing else, Pat Summitt could be counted on to get a much more physical defense out of her team in the second half.

Some not so good things in the first half:  Jos was tentative in her time in the first half; she looked like she wanted the ball out of her hands as quickly as possible (bad turnover after collecting a badly missed shot for an offensive rebound and with a clear dribble out to the corner, she tried to toss the ball through about 3 defenders to Lindy up top, but got no mustard on the pass and it turned into a transition opportunity for Tennessee.  Sarah came in to spell Chiney, and in trying to defend Johnson (or Baugh, for that matter), kept on backing up.  She appeared to be so concerned with getting beaten she backed up all the way under her own basket.  Sarah, you gotta give that player a bump there and try to hold your position.

That said, leading by 7 against a team shooting 60% is pretty darned good.  Thanks offensive boards.  Thanks only TWO turnovers.

Second half in a sec...

VG
81-

Just lost the first half of a game recap, but Toni figured in hugely.  Both for timely shooting, and for doing the one thing Stanford guards traditionally fail to do - drive the darned ball to the hoop.

Glenn was right, the game started about as poorly as possible, with Tennessee continuing their torrid shooting from the UCLA game and Stanford unable to hit the broadside of Maples (due in large part to some early jitters from Chiney and others against an amped-up Vol defense).  You don't want to start off down 16-9 to a team that's been your kryptonite (TvD 6-22 vs. the Vols until tonight).

But Toni keyed the quick comeback, with a couple of driving shots into the teeth of the defense, the last of which led to a UT timeout.  Which promptly turned into two more points when they had 6 players on the floor coming out of the timeout, leading to technical free throws taken by Bonnie (who had some effective play in the first half).  16-15, game on.

Lindy hit a big three to tie it at 20, and a couple of sequences later, Bonnie hit a LONG three from the left wing to give Stanford the lead at 27-24, and they never trailed again.

Meanwhile, Nneka, after starting 1-6 from the field, heated up.  Well, more than heated up.  Somewhere along the lines of "sustainable nuclear fusion" temperatures.  Hitting from inside, outside, on spin moves, stepbacks and jumpers, and one play where she dove in to tip the ball away under the Stanford basket from a single Vol who had collected the rebound, then getting up from horizontal faster than the dispossessed player could take a step, grabbing the ball off the floor, spinning against that same defender and laying it up and in.  Just nutty athleticism.

The zone Garvin mentioned also was frustrating.  Greenfield, Kokenis and Lindy tossed the ball around about 30 feet out, with little or no movement or screening off the ball.  The subsequent offensive funk let the Vols cut a 7 point lead at 36-29 down to a single point at 40-39 on a Meighan Simmons jumper a little more than a minute left.

Combine that with some strange zone-defense Stanford was playing for a few possessions: it looked something like a 2-3, but it was set so high up the court that it felt like a 1-3-1 at points, and Tennessee got great looks from the corner on a couple of possessions in a row.  I didn't mind the zone, as Tennessee is not a great outside shooting team and the Card was getting killed on drives from the wing, but the execution was problematic.

Then came one of the other key sequences of the game, the final minute of the first half.  Toni threw a prayer of a flip shot up from the right baseline, clear over the hoop.  Where it came down like an alley-oop pass directly in the hands of Nneka in perfect position for the layup.  A turnover by Simmons led to a quick transition 3 by Greenfield, and a 1 point lead was 6.  A Tennessee jumper was immediately answered by a 3 from the left corner by Toni, and Stanford went to the half up 48-41.

48 points in the first half against Tennessee?  My goodness.  I thought there was no way the teams could keep up the scoring pace.  If nothing else, Pat Summitt could be counted on to get a much more physical defense out of her team in the second half.

Some not so good things in the first half:  Jos was tentative in her time in the first half; she looked like she wanted the ball out of her hands as quickly as possible (bad turnover after collecting a badly missed shot for an offensive rebound and with a clear dribble out to the corner, she tried to toss the ball through about 3 defenders to Lindy up top, but got no mustard on the pass and it turned into a transition opportunity for Tennessee.  Sarah came in to spell Chiney, and in trying to defend Johnson (or Baugh, for that matter), kept on backing up.  She appeared to be so concerned with getting beaten she backed up all the way under her own basket.  Sarah, you gotta give that player a bump there and try to hold your position.

That said, leading by 7 against a team shooting 60% is pretty darned good.  Thanks offensive boards.  Thanks only TWO turnovers.

Second half in a sec...

VG
Second half, I was really concerned.  I fully expected Tennessee to come out and smack us in the mouth after a fire-and-brimstone halftime speech from Pat.  And they did play more physically (including a smack to the back of Nneka's head by Johnson that went uncalled).  And in the first part of the half, it produced some results, as the Vols cut Stanford's lead to 4, then 3 with just under 15 minutes left.  It looked like it was going to be another knock-down drag-out affair (CSN ran a graphic before the game, that the last 4 regular season meetings between Stanford and Tennessee had been 2-2, with UT outscoring Stanford 281-280).

Then came the other key sequence of the game, again keyed by Toni.  Coming back in off the bench, Toni hit a three right out of a timeout to push the lead to 6. A miss led to a Nneka layup.  A turnover led to another Nneka layup, then Chiney converted off yet another turnover, and a 3 point lead was 12.  All in about 1:30 of clock time.

From then on, it looked like Tennessee's determination had quickly morphed into desperation; they began to play a little over the top, a little too quickly, and Stanford kept holding them at bay.  Nneka hit an absurd almost-3-pointer (I really would've like to have seen a replay, cuz it was really close) at the end of the shot clock after Chiney under pressure handed the ball off to her at the top of the arc with about 5 seconds left in the clock.  Then Amber Orrange, who didn't have much of an impact but contributed some nice minutes against the Vols' attempts at pressure midway through the second half, had an absolutely absurd block against Shekinna Stricklen (giving up 7 inches, she blocked a layup in transition from about 3/4 behind the shooter).  She later gave up the foul, but still, it pointed out that there were going to be no uncontested layups.

The lead stayed in the 10-12 range until back to back dagger threes by Greenfield and Kokenis around the 5 minute mark pushed it out to 16.  And then, in a remarkable circumstance, it stayed there.  Stanford never let the pressure rattle them, only gave up a couple of turnovers against the Vols' defense, and generally were able to score as Tennessee became more and more desperate.  The Vols hit enough 3s to keep it from completely blowing out of hand, but when the starting five left the floor with about a minute left, Stanford led by 18. 

The only thing I wish had happened was that the subs had been able to secure a defensive rebound. After a James FT, Stanford led by 19, which would've been their all-time margin of victory over Tennessee.  But a late Spani short jumper after two successive failures to secure a defensive board kept this version of Pat's team from that ignominy.

Now, they are a darned good team.  Shekinna Stricklen and Meighan Simmons made our perimeter defenders look bad on quite a few occasions, and had great jump-stop and fadeaway moves after getting into the lane (a number of times I saw them time their shots perfectly against the Ogwumikes, using up-fakes to get them up then rising up as the sisters came back to earth).  Glory Johnson, other than the cheap shot on Nneka, is a great player.  And the biggest thing that hasn't been mentioned yet, they were missing starting PG freshman Ariel Massengale, recovering from that badly dislocated finger (she played a few minutes late, but had no real impact).  Simmons is a great off-guard playing out of position, and it showed in the type of offense Tennessee was running - very individual, not a lot of passing (they ended the game with 80 points, but only 11 assists). The disparity in shot attempts was fairly broad, but a bit misleading, as Tennessee went to the line a lot more than Stanford did, mostly on drives and transition attempts. 

Beyond the not-so-good defense on the perimeter (that admittedly tightened up in the second half, at least helping to cool off Tennessee's shooting from 60% in the first half to under 40% in the second), there were some other problems.  Very little from the bench (only 6 points, 5 from Samuelson, and only 43 minutes of time).  Nneka didn't leave the game until the final 90 seconds, and Toni only sat about 45 seconds more (right before coming back in to hit her 3 to key the second half run).  Amber gave them a couple of good minutes spelling Lindy in the middle of the second half against Vol pressure, but other than that, not enough of a contribution from Jos (16 minutes, 1 rebound, and missed her only shot, although she played some good defense).

But on a night when Nneka was this sublime, that might have been the best thing anyone could do.  Get the ball to her and get out of the way.  42 points (which would've been 44 and tied her for second all-time single game mark if she had made her easiest shot of the night, a transition layup attempt late that rimmed out) on 19-27 shooting, 4-4 FTs, 17 rebounds including 8 offensive, 3 assists, 2 steals and only 1 turnover.  My goodness.

Toni, though, I think was the difference in this and prior Stanford-Tennessee matchups. Yes, she had 26 points, and shot 5-10 from 3-point range.  Yes, she keyed important runs with initial baskets and drives.  But it was really her AGGRESSION in the face of the Vols defense that we've rarely seen from a Cardinal guard.  She drove at them, around them and over them, albeit being bailed out by a foul call late when she drove the length of the floor 1v3 and went right to the hoop.  With Stanford leading by 13 and 8 minutes left.  As the announcers put it, she wandered anywhere on the court while awaiting the FTs except close to the Stanford bench. 

But that willingness to take it into the other team's teeth has often been missing from Stanford.  Heck, even her 3 point shots early in the offense or in transition were plays of aggression - get the ball on the way to the hoop before the other team can get back, and also aggression of the "I'm open I'm shooting" variety.

Toni finished with 26 on 8-18 shooting (5-10 3pt), 5-6 FTs, 4 assists to 2 turnovers.

Chiney had a quiet 14 and 5, but hit her 2 FTs; I was worried Tennessee might go to a "hack-a-Chiney" defense, but I'm not sure it occurred to them; they rarely have to deal with being down that many points that late in the game.  Taylor played a quiet but effective game, and did nail two big 3s, including the important one near the end of the first half to push the 3 point lead to 6.  One amazing stat: Taylor, having played 193 minutes in the 9 games thus far?  FOUR turnovers.  Not bad.  (Samuelson, in a smaller sample size, equally efficient with only two.)

Then there's Lindy.  Sometimes frustrating, sometimes solid, and tonight, sometimes toasted.  In the first half, she was a prime culprit in the defensive blow-bys by Simmons and Stricklen, but she was giving up a ton of athleticism and length to those two.  She hit the three that tied the game at 20, but those were her only points of the night.  4 assists and only one turnover.  But at one wing of that strange zone we were trying to run, she was the one vainly trying to keep the ball from being easily tossed over the top of her into the corner for an uncontested shot, and also had a horrible foul against a 3-point shooter early in the second half.

So, room for improvement.  But as a TEAM?  Only 8 turnovers.  Against Tennessee.  Oh, and the second-biggest margin of victory in the nearly thirty game history of the rivalry.

I'll take it.

VG
Second half, I was really concerned.  I fully expected Tennessee to come out and smack us in the mouth after a fire-and-brimstone halftime speech from Pat.  And they did play more physically (including a smack to the back of Nneka's head by Johnson that went uncalled).  And in the first part of the half, it produced some results, as the Vols cut Stanford's lead to 4, then 3 with just under 15 minutes left.  It looked like it was going to be another knock-down drag-out affair (CSN ran a graphic before the game, that the last 4 regular season meetings between Stanford and Tennessee had been 2-2, with UT outscoring Stanford 281-280).

Then came the other key sequence of the game, again keyed by Toni.  Coming back in off the bench, Toni hit a three right out of a timeout to push the lead to 6. A miss led to a Nneka layup.  A turnover led to another Nneka layup, then Chiney converted off yet another turnover, and a 3 point lead was 12.  All in about 1:30 of clock time.

From then on, it looked like Tennessee's determination had quickly morphed into desperation; they began to play a little over the top, a little too quickly, and Stanford kept holding them at bay.  Nneka hit an absurd almost-3-pointer (I really would've like to have seen a replay, cuz it was really close) at the end of the shot clock after Chiney under pressure handed the ball off to her at the top of the arc with about 5 seconds left in the clock.  Then Amber Orrange, who didn't have much of an impact but contributed some nice minutes against the Vols' attempts at pressure midway through the second half, had an absolutely absurd block against Shekinna Stricklen (giving up 7 inches, she blocked a layup in transition from about 3/4 behind the shooter).  She later gave up the foul, but still, it pointed out that there were going to be no uncontested layups.

The lead stayed in the 10-12 range until back to back dagger threes by Greenfield and Kokenis around the 5 minute mark pushed it out to 16.  And then, in a remarkable circumstance, it stayed there.  Stanford never let the pressure rattle them, only gave up a couple of turnovers against the Vols' defense, and generally were able to score as Tennessee became more and more desperate.  The Vols hit enough 3s to keep it from completely blowing out of hand, but when the starting five left the floor with about a minute left, Stanford led by 18. 

The only thing I wish had happened was that the subs had been able to secure a defensive rebound. After a James FT, Stanford led by 19, which would've been their all-time margin of victory over Tennessee.  But a late Spani short jumper after two successive failures to secure a defensive board kept this version of Pat's team from that ignominy.

Now, they are a darned good team.  Shekinna Stricklen and Meighan Simmons made our perimeter defenders look bad on quite a few occasions, and had great jump-stop and fadeaway moves after getting into the lane (a number of times I saw them time their shots perfectly against the Ogwumikes, using up-fakes to get them up then rising up as the sisters came back to earth).  Glory Johnson, other than the cheap shot on Nneka, is a great player.  And the biggest thing that hasn't been mentioned yet, they were missing starting PG freshman Ariel Massengale, recovering from that badly dislocated finger (she played a few minutes late, but had no real impact).  Simmons is a great off-guard playing out of position, and it showed in the type of offense Tennessee was running - very individual, not a lot of passing (they ended the game with 80 points, but only 11 assists). The disparity in shot attempts was fairly broad, but a bit misleading, as Tennessee went to the line a lot more than Stanford did, mostly on drives and transition attempts. 

Beyond the not-so-good defense on the perimeter (that admittedly tightened up in the second half, at least helping to cool off Tennessee's shooting from 60% in the first half to under 40% in the second), there were some other problems.  Very little from the bench (only 6 points, 5 from Samuelson, and only 43 minutes of time).  Nneka didn't leave the game until the final 90 seconds, and Toni only sat about 45 seconds more (right before coming back in to hit her 3 to key the second half run).  Amber gave them a couple of good minutes spelling Lindy in the middle of the second half against Vol pressure, but other than that, not enough of a contribution from Jos (16 minutes, 1 rebound, and missed her only shot, although she played some good defense).

But on a night when Nneka was this sublime, that might have been the best thing anyone could do.  Get the ball to her and get out of the way.  42 points (which would've been 44 and tied her for second all-time single game mark if she had made her easiest shot of the night, a transition layup attempt late that rimmed out) on 19-27 shooting, 4-4 FTs, 17 rebounds including 8 offensive, 3 assists, 2 steals and only 1 turnover.  My goodness.

Toni, though, I think was the difference in this and prior Stanford-Tennessee matchups. Yes, she had 26 points, and shot 5-10 from 3-point range.  Yes, she keyed important runs with initial baskets and drives.  But it was really her AGGRESSION in the face of the Vols defense that we've rarely seen from a Cardinal guard.  She drove at them, around them and over them, albeit being bailed out by a foul call late when she drove the length of the floor 1v3 and went right to the hoop.  With Stanford leading by 13 and 8 minutes left.  As the announcers put it, she wandered anywhere on the court while awaiting the FTs except close to the Stanford bench. 

But that willingness to take it into the other team's teeth has often been missing from Stanford.  Heck, even her 3 point shots early in the offense or in transition were plays of aggression - get the ball on the way to the hoop before the other team can get back, and also aggression of the "I'm open I'm shooting" variety.

Toni finished with 26 on 8-18 shooting (5-10 3pt), 5-6 FTs, 4 assists to 2 turnovers.

Chiney had a quiet 14 and 5, but hit her 2 FTs; I was worried Tennessee might go to a "hack-a-Chiney" defense, but I'm not sure it occurred to them; they rarely have to deal with being down that many points that late in the game.  Taylor played a quiet but effective game, and did nail two big 3s, including the important one near the end of the first half to push the 3 point lead to 6.  One amazing stat: Taylor, having played 193 minutes in the 9 games thus far?  FOUR turnovers.  Not bad.  (Samuelson, in a smaller sample size, equally efficient with only two.)

Then there's Lindy.  Sometimes frustrating, sometimes solid, and tonight, sometimes toasted.  In the first half, she was a prime culprit in the defensive blow-bys by Simmons and Stricklen, but she was giving up a ton of athleticism and length to those two.  She hit the three that tied the game at 20, but those were her only points of the night.  4 assists and only one turnover.  But at one wing of that strange zone we were trying to run, she was the one vainly trying to keep the ball from being easily tossed over the top of her into the corner for an uncontested shot, and also had a horrible foul against a 3-point shooter early in the second half.

So, room for improvement.  But as a TEAM?  Only 8 turnovers.  Against Tennessee.  Oh, and the second-biggest margin of victory in the nearly thirty game history of the rivalry.

I'll take it.

VG
Wonderful write-up, as always, VG.

A few questions/ observations.

1. Newspaper stories report that Jasmine Camp injured her foot in practice and that is why she did not appear in the game.  Anyone at the game see if Jasmine was there and what her condition looked like?

2. Agreed with your concerns, VG, about Joslyn's offense--but we have seen her have spectacular offense in the past.  While Joslyn played 16 minutes and had no points, she did have 4 blocks and no fouls.  It must be very hard to block four shots and never get called for a foul!  Perhaps solid defense is all we really needed from her tonight.

3. For a few minutes in the first half Tara had this rotation:  Nneka, Chiney, Joslyn, Bonnie, and Toni.  Just one guard.  That seemed effective and I think it was the group we had in place when we regained and extended the lead.  Is a 1-guard rotation viable for the future?

4. It took 15-20 seconds to bring the ball up court against the Tennessee press, but we usually did it carefully and without a turnover.  While I am sure that Tara wanted to avoid the turnover at all costs, it was almost painful to watch the players being so slow and meticulous.  On a couple of trips it left so little time to run the offense that we might as well have turned it over.  And on a few occasions Nneka bailed us out with a miraculous last second basket.  It seems to me that we have to learn how to break the press more quickly,  or we will see a steady diet of this in weeks to come.

5. This was a career high not only for Nneka, but for Shekina Stricklen.  Something in our defense did not work.
Wonderful write-up, as always, VG.

A few questions/ observations.

1. Newspaper stories report that Jasmine Camp injured her foot in practice and that is why she did not appear in the game.  Anyone at the game see if Jasmine was there and what her condition looked like?

2. Agreed with your concerns, VG, about Joslyn's offense--but we have seen her have spectacular offense in the past.  While Joslyn played 16 minutes and had no points, she did have 4 blocks and no fouls.  It must be very hard to block four shots and never get called for a foul!  Perhaps solid defense is all we really needed from her tonight.

3. For a few minutes in the first half Tara had this rotation:  Nneka, Chiney, Joslyn, Bonnie, and Toni.  Just one guard.  That seemed effective and I think it was the group we had in place when we regained and extended the lead.  Is a 1-guard rotation viable for the future?

4. It took 15-20 seconds to bring the ball up court against the Tennessee press, but we usually did it carefully and without a turnover.  While I am sure that Tara wanted to avoid the turnover at all costs, it was almost painful to watch the players being so slow and meticulous.  On a couple of trips it left so little time to run the offense that we might as well have turned it over.  And on a few occasions Nneka bailed us out with a miraculous last second basket.  It seems to me that we have to learn how to break the press more quickly,  or we will see a steady diet of this in weeks to come.

5. This was a career high not only for Nneka, but for Shekina Stricklen.  Something in our defense did not work.
Very good commentary from VG as usual.  Totally agree that, while Nneka's performance was one for the ages, the most important development for the team tonight was the extraordinary job Toni did at the point.  As VG said, her aggressive drives into the teeth of the defense were critical in loosening up the always tough & physical Vols D.  After a good second half against Princeton where she again was channeling Jamilla Wideman with her floor leadership, I'm almost ready to designate her as the Third Sister on the team and the first real PG the Cardinal has had in a number of years (hopefully not premature optimism).  I thought that there were also some good work done by the lesser luminaries in tonight's very watchable game: Taylor played solid & hit two nice 3's at important junctures, Bonnie was a lot more composed than in the Princeton game & has a really sweet stroke (some murmurs about Kate Starbird comparisons were heard in the crowd) and Lindy while having an off night (the foul on the 3 pt shot was the bonehead play of the night) still seemed to inspire the team with her unrelenting hustle.  Hopefully we can get better play going forward from Jos (deer in the headlights tonight) and Booth (totally overmatched by the Vols inside players) so that we are not totally dependent on the Sisters inside.  Amber showed some flash when she spelled Lindy before fast-tracking herself back to the pine with a bonehead turnover.

All in all, have to feel good about how the Cardinal did in this "measuring stick" game against a team with lots of talent.  The team is still very much a work in progress and it will be interesting to see how Tara develops the supporting cast around the now Three Sisters.
Very good commentary from VG as usual.  Totally agree that, while Nneka's performance was one for the ages, the most important development for the team tonight was the extraordinary job Toni did at the point.  As VG said, her aggressive drives into the teeth of the defense were critical in loosening up the always tough & physical Vols D.  After a good second half against Princeton where she again was channeling Jamilla Wideman with her floor leadership, I'm almost ready to designate her as the Third Sister on the team and the first real PG the Cardinal has had in a number of years (hopefully not premature optimism).  I thought that there were also some good work done by the lesser luminaries in tonight's very watchable game: Taylor played solid & hit two nice 3's at important junctures, Bonnie was a lot more composed than in the Princeton game & has a really sweet stroke (some murmurs about Kate Starbird comparisons were heard in the crowd) and Lindy while having an off night (the foul on the 3 pt shot was the bonehead play of the night) still seemed to inspire the team with her unrelenting hustle.  Hopefully we can get better play going forward from Jos (deer in the headlights tonight) and Booth (totally overmatched by the Vols inside players) so that we are not totally dependent on the Sisters inside.  Amber showed some flash when she spelled Lindy before fast-tracking herself back to the pine with a bonehead turnover.

All in all, have to feel good about how the Cardinal did in this "measuring stick" game against a team with lots of talent.  The team is still very much a work in progress and it will be interesting to see how Tara develops the supporting cast around the now Three Sisters.
I can't add much to the great comments above.  I was thrilled to see the team playing aggressively on offense and defense for the entire game (I tuned in when the technical fouls were being made).  It's special to see a great player like Nneka having a career game.  Bottom line: I don't like Tennessee and that felt Goooooood.

Cheers,
Pete F.
I can't add much to the great comments above.  I was thrilled to see the team playing aggressively on offense and defense for the entire game (I tuned in when the technical fouls were being made).  It's special to see a great player like Nneka having a career game.  Bottom line: I don't like Tennessee and that felt Goooooood.

Cheers,
Pete F.
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