Sunday, January 16, 2011

Card crushes Cougs

By Wally Mersereau:

At 9:30 am on Sunday morning I looked down from my 12th floor hotel room in Spokane and saw the Stanford team bus, with lights flashing, parked at the entrance of the Davenport Hotel Tower. The flag on the hotel roof was whipping strongly in the wind against the grey sky. As I watched, the team trickled out, pulling their rolling bags. I could spot Marcella because she was the only one with two bags. The bus departed at 9:45 for Pullman and I went down for breakfast.

I left a little after 11:00 and made the 73-mile drive to Pullman in 80 minutes. Parking at Beasley Coliseum is free and close in. I bought my reserved seat ticket at the door and got the 4th row, right behind Tara. Butch the Cougar, with his long curving tail dragging on the floor, was doing his thing: fist bumps for all, posing for pictures with small kids, peering into a TV camera, etc. Attendance was about 600. I didn't notice any students at the game except for the band, cheerleaders and Butch. In the pre-game warm-up the Cougars were making 3-pointer after 3-pointer.

As on Friday in Seattle, Stanford took command early and the game was never in doubt. At the half it was 38-24 and the final was 94-50. WSU scored 77 points against Cal for a 14-point win on Friday, but lost to Stanford by 44 points to maintain WSU's perfect record of 51 straight losses to the Cardinal with nary a win. A remarkable record. Beasley is a comfortable place, except for the scoreboard. Nothing is shown about individual players, so you have no idea of who has how many points. Fouls were easy to keep track of because the announcer always gave the cumulative number when each foul occurred. The replay screen is a small reflective movie screen at one end which gives only a dim picture, but the picture was clear enough to show Lindy did not intentionally foul the WSU player who was injured on a lay-up. The player seemed to injure herself because of the way she hit the floor. The refs watched a replay on a monitor and announced no intentional foul.

The Big Three were all out of the game with 7 1/2 minutes left and a 33-point lead. With mostly bench players in the game from then on, the lead was increased to 44. Sarah made several nice baskets during the last minutes, ending with 10 points. Mikaela played only 11 minutes, but scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds. Nine players had 11 minutes or more. All played except Mel. The Big Three were in for 26 to 30 minutes and Lindy played for 29 minutes. Joslyn had 12 points. Chiney again was bothered with fouls, but still made the only double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nneka led the scoring with 20 points. Jeanette had 14. Kayla had only 4 points, but 9 rebounds.

Stanford free-throw shooting was as good as at Seattle at 76%. Stanford 3-point shooting improved from 25% at Seattle to 40% today.

The weather improved during the game with the sky clearing enough on my return to Spokane to reveal the moon.

This was a satisfying trip with two nice wins. Both games had plenty of Stanford mistakes and shortcomings, but everyone played well enough and no one got hurt. And there was more opportunity to spread around playing time today.

I think the team will be on my early return flight to SFO tomorrow morning.

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