Coming off a rare Pac-12 loss, everyone, including C and R, was curious to see how the Stanford Women’s Basketball team would respond. Well, if it is a Tara VanDerveer coached team, you know it will be with intensity and focus. And Valentine’s Day was a great time for the fans to give their team some extra lovin’, not that they needed it.
So yes, Stanford came out extremely focused on defense against Arizona State University. I am sure the message TVD hounded into them that their defensive efforts the last two games (included a loss to Washington) needed much improvement. So how did Stanford respond? They held ASU without a bucket for the first 8 minutes. ASU scored just 12 points in the first half. Yes, 12 points, tying the Pac-12 record of the lowest point total for a half. The final score was 61-35 and those 35 points ASU scored was one away from tying another Pac012 record for fewest points scored in a game. Stanford also held ASU to 24% shooting for the whole contest. Stanford by contrast shot 53% for 40 minutes.
On the offensive end, Stanford was just as intense. Last game Stanford took 41 three-point shots. That is not necessarily a problem. But when you only make nine of them, really six for the game and three in a final fury in the last two minutes, it really is (a problem, I know long sentences). Couple that with NO one from Stanford driving to the basket and the other team collapsing on your best inside player of Chiney Ogwumike, well, it is no wonder Stanford lost that game. This game, however, the guards showed they received the message and drove and slashed inside to score. The first three-point attempt came many minutes into the game. And maybe they were too tight, as Stanford did not make a single three. They were 0-4 from the field. Interestingly, the San Fran Chron said ASU limited Stanford’s three point attempts, as the stats would bare out, but I honestly think Stanford limited themselves and was in a mode to score off of drives then from threes. Potato, potatoe.
Guards Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange were aggressive scorers inside (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo)
No, they are not holding Chiney Ogwumike (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo)
So how did Stanford score? The guards drove and slashed inside, which resulted in ASU leaving Chiney guarded one on one. And what folks, do we say when Chiney is left alone one on one in the Pac-12 or against most other teams? Chiney all day. She scored 20 (18 in the first half) and was only limited by coach TVD who sat her with 12 minutes left to play. And hats off or hearts out to Chiney who can score 20 and grab 13 rebounds for her 19th double-double of the season in just 27 minutes and with ASU clearly holding her, meaning physically holding her for much of the game. And when Chiney came up high to the foul line it opened the back door up for the guards, in particular Amber Orrrrange and Lili Thompson. Lili scored eight and Amber had 14.
And hats and hearts out to guard Amber Orrange (so much we will spell her name correctly. It is with two "R"s). She had one of her best hustle games in a long time. She definitely took the message to heart and amped up every level of her game. She had a career-tying five steals. She was leaping for steals, picking pockets for steals and hustling for steals and one steal and incredibly quick fast break to the basket, wow, hope to see that type of play every game.
Stanford is firmly in the drivers seat for the rest of Pac-12 play and to get that bye in the Pac-12 tournament Game again on Sunday.
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