Saturday, February 4, 2012

Waltzing to a win over the Wildcats

By Wally Mersereau

Q. What happens when the top team meets the bottom team in the Pac-12?
A. The top team wins—and wins big. Like 40 points big.

The seemingly self-evident truism of top team over bottom team was proven on Saturday afternoon in Tucson when the Cardinal waltzed over, around and through the Wildcats 91-51. Stanford paced itself nicely, scoring 20 points more than Arizona in each half.

It was a nice sunny day for basketball and Stanford completed its desert sweep before a paltry crowd of about 1,000 fans on the University of Arizona campus (don’t believe the official attendance of 1,831).

Unlike the ASU game, Stanford did not have to battle back in this one. The Card jumped off to a 10-0 start and led 51-31 at the half. Playing time and statistics were shared much more broadly than against ASU. All 11 players played and 10 had 12 minutes or more.

Joslyn led all scorers with 22 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. Chiney also had a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks in 22 minutes. Nneka had 15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in 22 minutes. Toni had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover and 5 steals in 28 minutes. Amber had 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 turnover in 20 minutes.

It was good to see Amber put the ball in the basket five times. Off the bench, Erica was noteworthy with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block in 14 minutes.

The 3-point shot returned to the Stanford repertoire with four players contributing long baskets. Joslyn made 3 of 4, Toni and Taylor each made 2 of 6 and Lindy made 1 of 3. Bonnie was cold on this pleasantly warm day, shooting 0 of 5 in her 17 minutes on the floor, but most just narrowly missed.

Team-wise, Stanford did better than Arizona in free throws with 79% to 71%, led in rebounds 47 to 34, led in assists 19-8, had 9 turnovers to 13 and led in steals 8 to 4.

Sarah Boothe was the only injured player to make the trip to the desert. Mikaela, Jasmine and Alex stayed home.

As a reward for traveling to games in Arizona, Stanford fans get free parking and free programs at both venues. That may not quite offset travel costs, but it helps a little.

Widely worn by Arizona fans were red T-shirts reading on the back: “We’re nuts for Butts”. This ringing endorsement has not benefitted head coach Niya Butts this season and certainly did not aid her in any discernable way on Saturday afternoon.

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