Editor's Note: Here's a great take on last night's game between Stanford and UConn.
Well, it comes as no surprise that the Stanford Women's Basketball Team lost to UConn tonight by a score of 76-57. Since Stanford "only" lost by 19, it was a moral victory of sorts after getting blown out at home last year.
Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said some insightful things, saying now her young team (Five Freshmen) now know "what the best team plays like". And "I think this kind of let our team know we're 20 points away."
We could concentrate on what Stanford did wrong, but we hate to kick a player when they are down. So instead let’s focus on what UConn did right. Oh wait, let’s let Coach Tara tell the players what they did wrong, "We gave up too many `O' boards for baskets. We sent them to the free throw line for no reason. We need to do little things correctly and focus on that for the rest of the season."
Getting back to UConn, they played smothering defense at the three-point line and also did not let Stanford get the ball inside (that’s tough to do). Coach kept putting in three-point specialist Bonnie Samuelson and occasionally her freshmen sister, but there were no open looks to be found there. Bonnie was 0-2 behind the line and Karlie did not get a shot off. And Stanford could not get it inside to their star, Chiney Ogwumike. When they did, she was pushed outside the paint and outside her comfort zone (like last year). Chiney took her obligatory one-shot-a-game-outside-the-paint and made it, but when she is limited inside, as UConn showed, she has a hard time scoring.
Both teams started out cold, staying stuck at 2-2 for about five minutes. UConn had one of their stars, Breanna Stewart go to the bench with two early fouls (and the new, tougher foul-calling did seem to favor Stanford), but their bench is deep. Very deep..
Let’s list some things Stanford did right. Amber Orrrrange. Stanford did Amber Orrange right, or rather Amber Orrange did Stanford right. She scored from just about anywhere and really kept Stanford in the game. She set a new career-high with 22 points, Chiney, while limited by long tall bodies such as UConn’s Stephanie Dolson and then Kiah Stokes, still posted a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards. That was her 60th-career double-double, and second of the season. Mikaela Ruef played well, especially in the first 10 minutes or so, and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshmen guard Lili Thompson was also a bright spot. She scored six, but when she first went in she showed plenty of fire and energy, something a typical Stanford player needs more of. She called for the ball and aggressively drove to the basket when UConn was trying to limit that. And she popped two threes with authority, getting her first collegiate three (collegiate, that’s the biggest word C and R know!).
Chiney Ogwumike and Amber Orrrrange combined for 38 of Stanford’s 57 points, although we are not so sure that is a good thing. And that in a nutshell is how Stanford’s season went last year, and how this year is starting off. Chiney, Amber and ???? It showed tonight. The good news is there is a whole season for someone to emerge..
Scary moment when Chiney went down (yes, she lost a contact earlier, about the 60th time in her career, too, but this was different). Chiney was on the ground during an offensive rebound and UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis inadvertently tripped over her, landing hard on her elbow. She shrieked in pain while a completely silent arena of 10,000 plus people held their breath. She was taken to the locker room and did not return, and it looked at least dislocated. Chiney is pals with her from USA basketball and we could see on the replays she looked very disheartened when Kaleena went down. Basketball fans everywhere hope she will heal quickly..
Well, Tara took the couches out of the players’ locker room and replaced them with cardio machines. Now they know they need another 20 points to be in the hunt for at least the final four. What else can Tara do?