Friday, February 1, 2013

Downing the Ducks

By Wally Mersereau

Wally Mersereau caught on "Oblivi-Cam"
It was a murky day in Eugene. The sky was heavily overcast with the temperature in the mid-40s. Mercifully, it was dry and I walked about two miles from my hotel to attend the Stanford fan get-together at a restaurant across the street from Matthew Knight Arena prior to the 6 pm game. About 20-some fans turned up, about equally divided between visitors and locals.

Near-new Matt Court is one of the finest on-campus facilities in the country, primarily financed by Phil Knight of Nike and named for his son who died at age 34 while scuba diving in Central America. As far as women’s basketball is concerned it has not been a case of build it and they will come. Attendance for this evening’s game was 1,812 in the more than 12,000-seat arena.

Words on the wall at Knight Court.

Oregon has some good players, with Ariel Thomas the scoring standout with 17 points. Several Ducks played good defense and Oregon out-rebounded Stanford 48-40.

Stanford jumped out to what seemed likely to be a runaway game, leading 23-6 with 12 minutes left in the first half and held this lead to the 5-1/2-minute mark. Taylor made a 3-pointer during this period. Oregon then began to battle back, getting the lead down to 10. The score at the half was 38-27.

Once again I failed to win in the challenging bingo contest that is an enduring half-time tradition at Oregon home games, but there’s always next year.

Stanford quickly increased its lead in the second half to 51-29 after only 4 minutes of play and at one point was up by 29 points. Oregon reduced the lead a bit, but the final score was Stanford 86, Oregon 62. Taylor made a second three near the end of the game. Bonnie also made two threes. Chiney left the game with about 6 minutes remaining, followed shortly by Joslyn as Tara began moving down the bench.

Oregon’s major problem was keeping control of the ball. The Ducks had 17 turnovers to the Cardinal’s 8. Unfortunately, Stanford failed to score on several steals that led to fast break lay-up opportunities.

Chiney battled her way to another double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, a block and two steals in 28 minutes. She did not appear to be bothered by last weekend’s ankle injury. Jos added 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 4 steals in 26 minutes.

Sara did well in everything with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 26 minutes. Amber had 9 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists/2 turnovers and a steal in 20 minutes. Toni also made a diversified contribution with 6 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists/1 turnover, 2 blocks and 3 steals in 32 minutes. Jasmine played 12 minutes and had 2 assists/1 turnover, but did not score.

For a last place team with only one win in Pac-12 play, Oregon did well, out-playing Stanford at the end of the first half and requiring the Cardinal to keep its best players in the contest until near the end.

The most encouraging aspect of the game was that Chiney was given a lot of help from a goodly assortment of teammates. I was particularly pleased with Sara and Taylor coming through. Here’s hoping Stanford will be able to maintain a broad-based and productive offense to add to its reliable defense.

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