They kept saying, this was going to be the close Pac-12 rematch, and then Stanford comes out and stuns them in the first half. How stunned was OSU, or how stunning was Stanford? Well, at the half, Stanford’s contender for player of the year, Nneka Ogwumike scored 16, and the OSU Beavers had 16. Other Stanford players chipped into make it 36-16, Stanford. If you can’t stop Nneka, you might was well go home, which OSU already was.
Watching Stanford play is fun because you get to see some smart and athletic players and the genius of a Hall of Fame coach. How Genius? Well, early in the game with the score 10-5 Stanford, OSU was packing the paint on defense trying to limit Nneka and her sister Chiney. Stanford Women’s Basketball coach Tara VanDerveer instantly subbed in freshmen three-point specialist Bonnie Samuelson. She promptly hit a three and Tara looks like the genius she is. Then Toni Kokenis nails a three followed by a pop by Lindy LaRoque and it was 23-7 in the span of about 5 minutes. It’s like one big chess game. You take away Tara’s pawn, she sends in the castle-thingie to clean up. (Or something like that, I don’t know, C never really liked chess, too slow and no ball to chase.)
Tara kept her starting five in to open the second half and they kept a consistent 20-point lead. Nneka got to 27 points in 30 minutes when Tara decided to rest her for good. Some players who don’t normally get a lot of playing time took Tara’s call to action literally and everyone, and we mean everyone, was making threes. Stanford would make 10 of them, on 10-22 shooting. Bonnie and Toni Kokenis would tie in the shootout, each with 3 made three-pointers, each with a total of nine points in the game. (Shout out to Jos Tinkle for her 14 rebounds)
The final score for the game was 78 Stanford, 45 OSU. With that win, Stanford clinched a share of the Pac-12 title. The papers list it as Stanford’s 12 straight conference final dating back to when it was the Pac-10, but Tara VanDerveer proudly pointed out in one of her video interviews, it is their first Pac-12 title.
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