I’m sorry Stanford, I knew I shouldn’t have watched that Gonzaga-Louisville game. I was rooting too hard for Gonzaga that I used up all my good luck/wishing mojo (I mean, how do you lose a twenty point lead, Zags?). Think I’m being silly? Think I’m being superstitious?
Well, R called me Sunday morning to say UConn was losing to Georgetown, and when I tuned in UConn went on a 16-2 run. Before I started watching, Georgetown was raining threes and Maya Moore was 1 for 9 or something like that. When I stated watching, Georgetown couldn’t buy a basket and missed every three, and UConn stepped UP their game and Maya Moore made everything she touched, even though I was rooting hard for Georgetown to knock off UConn. Why did that happen? Because Geno’s such a great coach? No, it’s because I used up every LAST drop of good luck mojo rooting for Stanford to pull out their Sweet Sixteen victory the night before.
Well enough about UConn, after all this isn’t the C and R UConn Women’s Basketball Blog. Uweee, I don’t even like writing those words together! But I am delaying the inevitable to write about Stanford’s 72-65 win last night.
Yes, a win is a win is a win, and winners advance and non-winners go home and end their season, so C and R are definitely thankful Stanford is still alive in the tournament, but it was not pretty last night.
It’s funny, because C and R said all night Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike is having a "bad" game. She was bad for 19 points and she and sister Chiney scored the last 12 points for Stanford before Jeanette Pohlen iced the game with her free throws. North Carolina used their size (they have a 6’5 player, a 6’3 and a 6’0 player, similar to Stanford’s size) to deny and steal the entry pass to Nneka. You can’t score if you can’t get the ball. And when Nneka did touch the ball, they blocked her or pushed her out away from the basket to frustrate her all night long. (And the refs let a LOT of contact go uncalled).
Good thing for little sisters. Chiney would come to her big sister’s rescue to the tune of 16 points and eleven very critical rebounds. None was bigger than the offensive rebound and subsequent basket and the FOUL with 39 seconds left to give Stanford the lead, 69-65. She was a beast on the glass (guess her dislocated pinkie didn’t bother her) and saved Stanford many times.
So Stanford guard Jeanette Pohlen, is in a little, minor, just a teensy little bit, tiniest bit of a slump. It’s very small, so small we should hardly mention it. So small R didn’t even want me to mention it here in the blog because then we might be responsible for jinxing her for the rest of the tournament. She was 1-9 shooting for the night, yet she was 80% percent from the free throw line and she made 3 out of 4 free throws in the final 30 seconds. She is ice, ice baby. In fact, the other coach called a timeout to try and "ice" her first attempts and she was all like, huh, free throws I can do. So yeah the final score was 72-65 but it was a much, much closer game.
Kayla Pedersen had her usual "quiet night" scoring 15, yet was 5 for 13 from the floor, and only 2-6 from three-point land. Fifteen points is nothing to sneeze at, but Stanford’s shooting percentage is waaay down, shooting 36% for the game, and only 19% from beyond the arc. Gotta step that up for these next few games.
Kudos to Kokenis for playing on a sprained ankle that was encased in silver-plated armor. No, just kidding, but Toni’s sprained ankle was bandaged up good and tight and she scored 9 points from the bench and even on a busted ankle she was faaa-ssst, leading the fast break, which Stanford had so few of. But she also missed a lot of pull-up jumpers she normally makes, going 3 for 11 from the floor. Hope she can play or even walk by Monday.
And Tinkle bells were ringing for Joslyn Tinkle, another bench player who came in and contributed big time. She was 3 for 4 for the night with 7 points. It’s good to know the role players can step up when someone like a Jeanette is struggling.
Monday night we play home crowd favorites Gonzaga, and although we beat them before early in the seaosn, they gave us a game of it. We need all Stanford players to be "on" Monday and for the rest of the tournament.
More on Stanford's mojo at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog