Monday, November 24, 2014

A Report from The Pit

It is scarf and gloves weather in Albuquerque. The high temperature today is 46, the projected low is 28 and there’s a wind chill factor as a bonus. Fortunately, it is not umbrella weather. The arena is a 20-minute brisk walk from my hotel, providing me with some pre-game stimulation, which it would turn out was not needed. This game had more than enough stimulation.

The University of New Mexico had a promotion for the Stanford game called “Pack the Pit” with all seats priced at just $2. The Pit wasn’t packed--it looked about half full and I calculated that to mean about 7,500 seats filled. Official attendance was 6,594. It was a good thing the arena wasn’t full because the fans that were present were deafening enough when the they came alive as they did midway in each half when New Mexico started cutting into Stanford’s lead. Once the crowd got going it didn’t stop. The Pit is a very intimidating place to play under these circumstances. The crowd worked itself into a frenzy when New Mexico was threatening or when Stanford was at the free throw line. This was nerve-rattling. The Pit acoustics must amplify the noise.

The crowd shouted at the refs at every call against New Mexico. One man near me kept shouting varied insults at the officials in a booming voice throughout the game. His favorite line which he angrily roared over and over in the final minutes was: “They’re #1, they don’t need your help!”

Lili was present, but not suited up. I asked Eileen before the game the reason and she told me she didn’t know. I was unable to ask Ashley, the KZSU announcer, so I never did learn why Lili did not play. She walked normally and looked ok, but did not participate in warm-ups. Just now, from the Stanford website I see Lili was ill. That’s better than an injury. Hopefully, she will recover before the Hawaii tournament. She was missed. Without Lili Stanford was on the ropes at the end of each half. This team needs Lili.

Stanford started in splendid fashion, led by Karlie with three 3s in the first 6 minutes. Stanford led 22-6 at the 14-minute mark. That 16-point lead was the peak of the first half. I felt sorry for New Mexico at that point for being so out-classed. Was I ever wrong--they were not out-classed. The Lady Lobos suddenly found their footing midway in the half and began cutting into the Cardinal lead. The crowd went especially wild when the Lobos got within one point at the 5:39 mark. At the same time New Mexico became effective, Stanford seemed unnerved, lost its poise and couldn’t get anything to go in.

Kaylee was getting offensive rebounds, but couldn’t make put-backs. She got to the free throw line, but couldn’t hit the basket. Tara tried many player combinations in the first half, but none worked once the Lobos went off. Stanford was down 32-35 as the half ran down when Amber delivered one of her clutch shots with a buzzer-beater three to tie the game 35-35.

Stanford started the second half almost as well as the first, going on a 12-2 run to achieve a peak 12-point lead at 15:34. Then when the Lobo defense caused a Stanford shot clock violation, the crowd went wild to begin its second half frenzy. And again, about half way through the second half, New Mexico began to shave the Stanford lead and the crowd never quieted down. During its lead-cutting runs in both halves, New Mexico played as if inspired and with luck on its side while Stanford looked plodding and pedestrian. There is one Lobo guard who shoots high, arching threes as Lindy LaRoque once did. It seemed to me she could launch these in profusion endlessly, although the box score does not support this impression.

Then came the ending. With two minutes to go the Stanford lead was 64-62. The Lobos tied the game at 1:30 64-64. Both teams were in the bonus. A Lobo got to the line, but made only 1 of 2 free throws, bringing the score to 64-65. And then the miracle of the Stanford free throws began. Amazingly, Kaylee, the poor free throw shooter, made two under the pressure of saving the game and with the crowd on its feet in a bedlam of noise. Tara, anticipating New Mexico desperation fouls, put Bonnie and Karlie in. Bonnie was almost immediately fouled and calmly plunked in two. Then Amber was fouled and calmly plunked in two. And then it was over, with the six Stanford free throws being the final points scored, resulting in a final score of 70-65.

Wow, what a game! What difference might Lili have made?

Three Cardinal players scored in double digits and Kaylee had a double-double.

Karlie had 23 points, 2 rebounds, 6 of 12 threes, 1 of 2 free throws in 34 minutes. Amber, the dependable clutch player, had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 1 of 3 threes—her buzzer-beater—and 3 of 4 free throws in 35 minutes. Kaylee, the remarkable freshman, had 10 points, 22 rebounds, 6 of 10 free throws and 2 blocks in 34 minutes. Twenty-two rebounds! Taylor Greenfield had one of her best games, ending with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, no threes, no free throws in 30 minutes. Bonnie’s great contribution was those two free throws at the end.

Eight Stanford players were in the game for 10 minutes or more and carried the load, and the strain of playing in a hostile environment: Amber, Karlie, Kaylee, Kailee, Taylor G, Bonnie, Erica M and Alex.

Holy Moly, that was really something. I saw only a handful of Stanford fans scattered here and there in the arena. My guess is that less than 50 Cardinal fans were present, swallowed up in the semi-packed Pit. Those who were there saw a doozy of a game.

So, all’s well that ends well. Right?

Let’s see, I guess it’s on to North Carolina in Hawaii.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving banquet in Honolulu open to fans

The Cardinal's Thanksgiving banquet in Honolulu has been made open to fans. If you will be in Honolulu on Thursday the 27th you may attend for a fee of $60. To reserve a spot, email Eileen Roche, eroche at stanford dot edu, before noon on Thursday the 20th.

The time and location of the banquet was not publicized yet.

Update: The banquet will be at 5:30pm Thanksgiving day at the team hotel.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Things to do in Honolulu

The Cardinal play in a tournament at the U of Hawaii on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 28th-30th November. The game sessions each day begin at 2pm, meaning we have a good part of each day for touristification. The following are suggestions from some FBC members (specifically, Arlene Rusche and Wally Mersereau) of things to do in Honolulu.

  • The National Memorial Cemetery at Punchbowl offers quiet reflection in a spectacular setting.
  • At the Battleship Missouri you can walk the decks of the massive ship on which the Japanese surrender was signed. Explore the ship on your own with an audioguide, or sign up for a guided tour.
  • The USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the lives lost when the ship was sunk during the Pearl Harbor attack. Opens 8am daily; visit early as the free tour tickets are often all distributed by noon.
  • Next door to the Arizona memorial is the USS Bowfin, a restored submarine that fought in the Pacific during the war, and is now a museum of submarine warfare.
  • Inexpensive but not bad food among the hotels in Waikiki, the Wailana Coffee House on Ala Moana.
  • The Pacific Aviation Museum is located in Ford Island hangars that were targets during the attack. Today it houses restored aircraft of WWII and Korean War vintages, as well as other exhibits related to wartime aviation.
  • Diamond Head is a pleasant open space inside a volcanic crater, with walking trails.
  • Saturday and Sunday 8am-3pm, over 400 local vendors descend on the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet selling everything under the sun from fresh fruit to spare hubcaps.
  • Manoa Falls trail, an easy (but sometimes muddy) 2-mile walk to pretty falls.
  • Five minutes downhill from Manoa falls, the Wai'Oli Tea Room.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Early access to PAC-12 Tournament Tix

As you probably know, the PAC-12 Tournament is Thursday March 5th through Sunday March 8th at the Key Arena in Seattle. The Seattle Storm organization handles the ticketing for the tournament, and they are making an early outreach to prior attendees. You can take advantage to book excellent seats now.

If you are planning to attend the Tournament, go to this Storm page now. You will see a map of Key Arena with most of the seating colored yellow. Most of those seats will be general admission. An unknown amount of the yellow seats will be alloted to the individual schools.

Two areas on the map are not yellow: section 128 is purple, and the courtside seating is brown. These seats are for sale now. Scroll the page down a bit to see the prices for all-session passes with reserved seating in these areas.

Just to refresh your memory, this is what Key Arena looks like:

You can see where the purple and brown areas are situated.

In order to see what seats are available, you can load an interactive seat-choosing map by clicking the "Buy Tickets" button under the all-session pass prices. However, when I did this, the interactive map did not load in Firefox or in Chrome. I could only get it to load in Safari. So good luck on that. If you do get it to load, in order to complete a purchase you will need to supply your Seattle Storm account name and password—the one you set up last year when buying tournament tickets, perhaps.

Although we did fight through and bought some very nice seats in the second row of the purple section, probably the better way is for you to call or email Kirk Bighaus, a member of the Storm's staff who is very eager to sell tournament tickets. His phone number is 206-272-2554, and his email is kbighaus at stormbasketball dot com. He can tell you where the best seats are and can sell them to you right away.

Should you do this? Or should you wait for Tournament time and order through the Stanford ticket office? It's hard to say. The only thing we know for sure at this point, is that Stanford's allotment will not be in section 128 or the courtside seats. The first year in Seattle, the Stanford seats were terrible, many rows high and in a corner. Last year they were somewhat better. If you think it's important to sit behind the Stanford bench, or if you are not certain you will attend the tournament, you might wait. Otherwise, it would be a good idea to Call Kirk and lock down some good seats now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014-15 Travel Page Update

The FBC Travel Page has been updated for the 2014-15 schedule. If you think you might attend some away-games, check it out. There's a bunch of links to help you schedule flights and get to and from the airport, suggestions on flight logistics for each of the away trips, and lots of links on things to do in the distant cities.

Here are the trips you can take this season:

Do you know things about these destinations that other traveling fans should know? Or, would you like to organize a fan meet-up for a drink or a meal on one of these trips? Please tell me and I'll update the page. Leave a comment here, or email feedback (at) stanfordfbc.org with your hints.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Facing the Music in Music City

We've made this mistake before: gone to the Final Four arriving the middle of the day before the first games. There's quite a bit of stuff on the two days before that would almost justify the cost of another hotel night. Game day minus two, there's the WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaching Association) awards dinner. The major attraction here is seeing your favorite players all poshed up in their best frocks.


Frame grab from "Real Ladies of Maples"

You have to be a WBCA member to get in (fan membership is $85/year) but anyone can stand outside and see the teams enter on a red-carpet walk.


Frame grab from "Real Ladies of Maples"

So we didn't see that. Some years, there's the WBCA's High School All-America game. It wasn't held this year. On game day minus one, there are the team open-practice sessions, highlighted this year by the impromptu line dance (don't miss the video). We didn't see that; it was happening about as our plane was landing. There's a battle of the bands, that should be fun. Stanford's band won it this year.

Wandering around "Tourneytown" on game day we did happen into the mascot play-off, won by the Tree on a trivia question.

Closer to game time there was a no-host reception for Stanford fans in the lobby of the team hotel.

Finally it was game-time. And you know how that went down, with the hopeful first half and the struggling second half, ending with the final team huddle of the season.

For the above pictures at higher resolution, as well as a bunch more photos of Nashville and things before and around the games (Muffet's green shoes ... E. Payne's award ... the Pedal Tavern ... the Terp being adorable...), check out the photos in the gallery.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

(For lots more pictures, see our Smugmug gallery!)

Yesterday was clear and bright, but when we peeped out this morning we found the ground (and our car) covered in an inch of fluffy, dry snow.

The roads were already wet so we did the short drive to Café Diem again, but did not venture the drive down to Des Moines to see the inside of the Capitol. Maybe some other time (not likely). At three we drove all of four blocks to the Gateway Hotel on the other side of the street for the team send-off.

Heading for the game we noted patches of blue sky and remarked that we hoped it would hold, as tomorrow we have to drive back to Omaha.

The game didn't start well, with Florida State leading by 7 or 8 for several minutes.


Ruh-roh!

Then Stanford clamped a smothering defensive blanket on the Seminoles and went on a 26-2 run to end the half 32-16. The second half the teams were almost exactly equal and the game ended 63-44.

Whew, we breathed in relief, back to California and Maples! And headed out the door to find...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day Off in Des Moines

Each tournament trip has at least one day off. Well, we suppose the team is watching film and practicing. But we fans have to fill the time somehow. This is a brief account of how we did that, to accompany our gallery of pictures. (Yes, click that link!)

We checked out the free breakfast at the Best Western. Blah. So we headed into downtown Ames and had a very pleasant time at the Café Diem on Main Street. Nice room with lots of comfortable tables, decent capuccinos, and cranberry scones just out of the oven.

Then we drove the 30 miles to check out Des Moines. ("It is named after the Des Moines River, which may have been adapted from the French Rivière des Moines, meaning 'River of the Monks.'" Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Main target was the state Capitol which turned out to be an outrageously gold-domed structure sticking up like a yellow beacon on a hill visible from many miles away. We walked around it for an hour in bright sunshine, but got thoroughly chilled in the 35F breeze.

Then we took a slow ramble through downtown Des Moines, and stumbled onto a sculpture park in the middle of the city. Lots of whimsical art works certainly brighten an otherwise not especially memorable place.

Further down Grand street we came to the Des Moines Art Center, a large and interesting gallery specializing in art of the 19th century to now. The building, with its three parts designed by three different major architects in different eras, was interesting and fun to see.

From there we ambled back to Ames via minor roads. Pretty boring drive, actually, with everything colored beige with accents of gray. For a few weeks in May this region is probably stunningly lovely. (Then it gets hot.)

Streamed the OSU trouncing of Middle Tennessee on the computer, and so to bed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Smack Dab in the Middle

OK, technically speaking the geographic center of the USA is near Lebanon, KS, more than 300 miles east of Ames, IA. But from a California perspective Ames is close enough. So here we are in the middle of the country, courtesy of the Selection Committee, to see some basketball games.

Flights to Des Moines were few and expensive; it was much less costly to fly from SJC to OMA. Since we would have a rental car anyway, and the weather forecast was favorable, the 275-mile freeway run from Omaha to Ames was acceptable.

Saturday morning was clear, but to Californians arctic-cold at 35F with a gusty wind. We had breakfast at a Starbuck’s in downtown Omaha, which on this brief viewing seemed quite nice, with a number of impressive bronze statues of buffalo and pioneers scattered around the streets. Then we headed out for Ames.

The drive was an uneventful 75mph tour of what would probably be very attractive farming country in the spring. Right now everything was in shades of beige, with ice on all the ponds and a few patches of old snow on the roadsides. One impressive feature was the large number of huge wind turbines scattered across all high ground. More are being built, at least we saw one of the 100-foot-long vanes being trucked down the freeway.

Game 1

In Ames we opted to forego the send-off at the team hotel in order to be sure of not missing any of the first game of the day, the host school Iowa State Cyclones, seeded 7th, versus the 10th-seed Florida State Seminoles. The very large Hilton arena was quite full, the lower bowl at least 3/4 full and quite a few people in the upper reaches, mostly Iowa State fans. (Iowa State has averaged over 10,000 attendance this season.) The atmosphere was exciting and cheerful with a horde of happy fans clogging the aisles.

Unfortunately for the local fans, FSU dominated the game from the outset. They began with a quick 3, then two more 3s in the first couple of minutes, and had a ten-point lead before the Cyclones scored anything but free-throws. The Seminole’s hustling defense left Iowa State clearly discomposed, rattled, and out of rhythm. At the half the Cyclones had but a zephyr’s 18 points on a miserable 18% shooting pace.

During the second half Iowa State seemed to be trying to control the pace and their own emotions, but the only result was that their offense seemed slow and plodding. The final score was 55-44, showing that neither team had much offensive power. It was a very sloppy game: the ESPN recap notes that in this game, there were more turnovers than there were field goals!

Game 2

Toward the end of the recent TV documentary on Tara Vanderveer, after the loss to USC, Tara’s voice is heard saying “For the last month our offense has been stagnant, we need to work on that.” (She might have said “static” not “stagnant” but that was the general idea.) As a result we had hoped to see the Cardinal come out with new offensive fire for this game and dominate it.

They did not dominate from the start; the Coyotes (pronounced “coy yotz”) scored first and still led 13-12 after 5-1/2 minutes. Then Stanford surged to an 8-point lead and retained a large lead to the end. Bonnie really led the offense with six 3-point shots made, as well as some impressive rebounds. Lili hit three more (of six attempts) and also grabbed rebounds.

Chiney was the scoring leader at 23 points, but to our eyes she was not playing at her best. It’s perhaps heartless to say that the player who got 23 points and 8 rebounds, and became all-time scoring leader for Stanford, wasn’t at her best. And possibly it’s the defensive attention she now gets from every opponent that keeps her from controlling the paint as she used to do; or perhaps she’s just tired after a long season of being the heart and soul of the team.

Mikaela was a force in the first half, with 6 gritty rebounds, 3 assists and 4 points in only 13 minutes of play. At one point during a rebound, a South Dakota player’s arm hit her head and dislodged her scrunchy so her pony-tail came undone. She jogged down the court and through much of the next possession trying to get it under control until Tara subbed for her.

During a scrimmage for a loose ball, Mikaela tried to save the ball from going out of bounds, fell backward, and hit her head on the floor with a thump we could hear on the other side of the arena. She left the game and didn’t return, although word later is that there is no sign of concussion and she is available to play Monday. That’s a major relief because the team was clearly working better when she was on the floor.

On to Monday

Monday the vibe in Hilton Coliseum should be quite different from today’s crowded, county-fair atmosphere. First, it’s a weekday game that will start at 5:30. Very few of the South Dakota “howling pack” will stay; with their team gone they’ll head back to their day jobs. And a lot of the thousands of Iowa State fans will probably stay home as well. So it will be a much quieter place with probably plenty of choice of seats. Stanford should be pleased at not having to play in front of a roaring crowd of Cyclone fans.

On the other hand, Stanford will have to play a team that has a hustling, pressing defense not unlike that of Colorado or USC, two teams that gave the Cardinal trouble this season. If the lessons of the PAC-12 tournament have been learned, Stanford will keep their composure and execute against FSU. If they do, then FSU’s sloppy ball-handling and frequent fouls should make it a fairly easy win.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Not the desired outcome

By Wally Mersereau

I’m not sure what the opposite of “all’s well that ends well” is--probably something like “all’s bad that ends badly”. That pretty well describes my mood on this rainy Saturday evening in Seattle. Before entering Key Arena for tonight’s Stanford game I had endured two four-game, ten-hour days in that venue. One of the games was a challenging Stanford win over Colorado, but I could have done without the other seven games and not felt deprived at all.

As I entered the arena this evening my confidence in Stanford winning the tournament was high. I expected two difficult, but winnable games. I was pleased that the first 8 games were over and only three remained. I anticipated Stanford would be in two of those games, would win them both and would emerge once more as tournament champion. I thought the hardest game would turn out to be last night against Colorado.

At a chalk talk at the Westin hotel this afternoon, Tempie told us the game plan included tight defense, leaving no USC player unguarded. This was a good plan, but it was not executed well. USC outplayed Stanford, especially on defense. The Trojans achieved a much tighter defense—just the kind Tempie said was Stanford’s objective.

Southern Cal should have been more tired, having played two games in two days. Stanford had only played one. But USC started off ahead. Stanford struggled back after 10 minutes or so and managed to take a small lead, but at the half it was a 32-32 tie. Chiney had 13 points and Lili 7. Crooks had 13 points for the Trojans.

I had expected some effective halftime adjustments. Instead, USC jumped to an 8-point lead and held it until midway in the second half. Stanford then whittled away and finally got a 3-point lead with 3 minutes to go. But in less than a minute the Trojans had taken back the lead, built it to 7 and then held on against Stanford’s frantic efforts. Before the final horn Stanford got within one point, but could get no further.

The desperate fouling by Stanford in the final minute was reasonably effective, but was not enough and the final score was 72-68 with the wrong team on top.

As Stanford fans, we are not conditioned to deal with losses. They are too few and far between to build our tolerance and toughen us to take a loss or two in stride.

Chiney did her part, ending with 30 points despite a lot of misses. Lili and Amber got in low double digits. But it wasn’t enough. The primary reason for the loss was not being able to carry out the game plan of tight defense on every USC player.

This is an elimination tournament and Stanford was eliminated tonight. USC deserved its win after fighting like Trojans.

Another Long Day

By Wally Mersereau

The second day of the Pac-12 Tournament was sunny and dry. Stanford Red was much in evidence in Key Arena. Attendance was much the same as yesterday: 300-400 in the afternoon and 700-800 at night.

Game 5

#1 Stanford took on #9 Colorado at noon. This was a game of two halves—the first one was unsatisfactory, adjustments were made and the second half represented a nice comeback and a taking control of the game by the Cardinal. Chiney had only 5 points in the first half, but ended with 19. Lili came alive in the second half. Alex played 17 minutes and made nice contributions. Mikaela made key shots and grabbed rebounds. Bonnie continued her fine play on offense and defense.

Colorado led at the half 23-21. The final score was 69-54 with Stanford on top. In the first half Stanford was unable to capitalize on rough play and resultant fouls by missing most of its free throws. The weak start by the Cardinal was troubling. Stanford needs to play more consistently well if it is to win this tournament and stay alive in the NCAA tournament to follow.

Chiney ended with 19 points and 11 rebounds; Mikaela with 10 points and 16 rebounds; Lili with 16 points and 3 rebounds and Bonnie with 15 points and 4 rebounds.

Nneka was in the stands.

Game 6

I was so emotionally drained by urging Stanford on in the first game that I did not have much energy or interest for the second game between #4 Arizona State and #5 USC. I had no preference as to which team won. ASU generally led in the first half, USC in the second. The game was tied with two minutes to go, but the Trojans squeaked by to win 59-57. Stanford will play USC in the 6 pm game on Saturday.

Amy, Kate and Tempie scouted this game.

Game 7

The 6 pm game was the Friday highlight. #7 Washington State put itself forth as a Cinderella candidate by defeating #2 Cal 91-83 in a hard-fought game. The Cougars led 45-44 at the half. Lia and Tia were the stars for WSU with 24 and 19 points, but the victory was a real team effort with strong performances by many Cougar players.

Brittany Boyd fouled out with 5:48 to play. Gray and Brandon led Cal’s scoring with 25 and 19 points. The Bears started desperation fouling with a minute to go, but WSU plunked in free throws to assure its upset win.

Game 8

The final game of the day matched #3 Oregon State and #11 Utah. The Beavers jumped out to a quick lead and built on it to a half-time score of 32-13. Utah could not get its shots to fall. OSU looked much more poised and polished than early in the season. Jamie Weisner played for the first time in 8 games with two pins in her broken left hand, but did not score. Wiese and Hamblin were the dominant players for the Beavs.

The final score was OSU 50, Utah 35. Only three players scored in double digits, Wiese for the Beavers and Plouffe and Potter for the Utes. Utah shot only 21% from the floor.

Looking Forward

At the end of this second long day, two days remain, but 72% of the games have been played and only three remain. Eight teams have been eliminated. The semi-final games on Saturday will be Stanford vs. USC and Washington State vs. Oregon State. I’m looking forward to the three remaining games on a more humane schedule. I’m hoping Stanford will take care of business early on both days and come away with the championship. The WSU-OSU game tomorrow should be a good one. I have no prediction as to the winner. Washington State had to work harder for its win today than did the Beavers and has had to play an additional game. So Oregon State will be fresher. A deciding factor will be whether the Cougars can sustain their will to win into a third day.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Endurance

By Wally Mersereau

Endurance is essential to survive certain challenging ordeals: running a marathon, persevering in the dog sled race to Nome, and being a fan for all of the first day of the Pac-12 Tournament. The latter event goes on and on. Fortunately, the seats in Key Arena are well upholstered.

In four games, eight teams went at it like cats and dogs, as if their very survival depended on it—which it did. Four teams won and will play at least one more game. For the other four it was one and done--their 2013-2014 season ended in defeat in Key Arena.

The competition began at noon and concluded ten and a half hours later.

Game 1

First up was #8 UCLA against #9 Colorado. The Bruins led slightly at the half, but the Buffs tied the game midway through the second half and then took the lead and held on to win 76-65. The Wilson sisters finished with 16 and 17 points each. Stanford will play Colorado at noon on Friday. Kate and Tempie scouted today’s game. A key Cardinal objective will be to control the Wilsons.

Game 2

Next up was #5 USC vs. #12 Arizona. This should have been an easy win for the Trojans. Arizona only came out on the winning end of one Pac-12 game this season. But Arizona fought like Wildcats and led at the half 30-25. The teams traded the lead in the second half and USC managed to do just enough to come away with the win 59-54. USC will play Arizona State on Day 2.

Game 3

This 6 pm tip-off game was the most fun to watch. #7 Washington State took on #10 Oregon. Oregon brought its run-and-gun offense and the Cougars matched the fast pace and then some, led by Tia and Lia. At the half the Cougs were ahead 59-55. In the second half the Ducks twice cut the lead to three, but the Paul Westhead era ended as WSU triumphed 107-100. Four players led the scoring: Presley and Galdeira for the Cougars with 31 points apiece and Rowe and Alleyne for Oregon with 29 and 28 points each. WSU will play Cal on Friday.

Game 4

I began yawning in this final game of the day as fatigue began to show itself. But the game was not a yawner. #6 Washington, the slayer of Stanford, met #11 Utah. The Huskies did not have their magic touch today and allowed the Utes to come away with the upset of the day. Utah led at the half 31-28 and at the finish 65-53. Plouffe scored 28 for Utah and Plum 20 for UW. The Utes are the lowest seed to progress to the second day when they will meet #3 Oregon State.

Most fans did not stay all day. Only a few of the hardiest or most foolish did so. The majority came to watch their team and then departed, usually arriving early or lingering to watch part of another game. My guess is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people were present for at least one game. At any one time attendance varied from about 200 to 300 for the afternoon games and from 700 to 1,000 for the night games.

Friday will again be an endurance test for ardent fans with another slate of four games. The top four Pac-12 teams will arrive fresh and confident to meet the tired survivors of Day 1, all of whom were forced to give their all to earn the right to play another day.