Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the new Bruin Lair

By Wally Mersereau

For something a little different, three Stanford fans made the lengthy trek to Santa Ana Saturday night to watch a CIF Southern Section high school playoff game between Mater Dei (“back-to-back-to-back State champion” we were repeatedly reminded) and Long Beach Wilson. Starting for Mater Dei were Stanford-bound Karlie Samuelson and younger sister Katie Lou. Bonnie and family members sat behind the Mater Dei bench. Attendance was about 200. Mater Dei won 89-31.

Watching this game confirmed the younger Samuelson sisters are difference-makers. Both have Bonnie’s quick release and shooting style and primarily shoot threes. Because they left the game well before the end I’m not sure of their final point counts, but Karlie had at least 12.

Family resemblance (Karlie Samuelson)

(The team was on my flight home. I told Bonnie we went to see her sisters play last night. She was surprised and pleased. Her face lit up. She said, "They did pretty good, didn't they?" I agreed.)

Sunday afternoon was Stanford’s first visit to the newly remodeled Pauley Pavilion.

South-east corner (nearest the car park)

The renovation came in under-budget at about $130-million. In comparison, 6-year-old Galen Center, built from the ground up, cost $147-million. Pauley is larger, seating almost 14,000 in its maximum configuration. Galen seats about 10,250. Although characterized as a renovation, it’s hard to find any evidence of the original Pauley. Everything looks and even smells new.

I really like the new Pauley. Its spacious concourse gives a pleasant, open feeling—and is bright in daylight.

All seats are cushioned and with armrests, although the cushions are a tad hard. One gold seat is reserved for John Wooden in his favorite location. Pauley is almost a shrine to Wooden with several display cases devoted to him and his era.

Pauley acoustics magnified the noise of the crowd of 3,100, making it one of the noisiest places Stanford has played this season. UCLA has techniques for getting its fans aroused and keeping them fired up that are worthy of study and emulation.

This game was rough and bruising. It’s ironic that Tess was called for a flagrant foul for throwing an elbow. UCLA played so rough it merited multiple flagrant fouls. UCLA has good and skilled players. It’s unfortunate that Cori Close has them playing maul ball. I’m proud of how the Cardinal stood up to the onslaught, holding on to its lead. UCLA narrowed the lead in both halves, but could never completely close the gap. Stanford led by 5 at the half and won by 11, 68-57.

In addition to being rough, UCLA played with frantic effort for the entire game, bringing a pressing and determined defense at all times. Stanford kept its poise and withstood all the Bruins threw at it.

Chiney did not get a double-double, but she deserves the game ball for her heroic efforts in leading the team to victory. She had 26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals and played the entire 40 minutes. Her statistics don’t do justice to all that she brought to this game. Mikaela did get a double-double, her second, with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a steal in 31 minutes. No one on the team puts forth more effort than Mikaela and she was essential for the win.

Jos fell just short of a double-double with 10 points, 9 rebounds, a block and a steal. She also played the entire 40 minutes. Amber, as usual, was multi-talented for another great stat line: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists/5 turnovers and 5 steals in 38 minutes. Bonnie produced two valuable 3-pointers, plus 3 rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes. She also provided excellent defense.

As a team, Stanford was outshot by the Bruins 54.5% to 39.7% and only made 4 of 19 3-point attempts for a poor 21.1%. But in other categories the Cardinal did better, leading in rebounds 38 to 31, in steals 11 to 9 and had fewer turnovers, 15 to 21 for UCLA. And Stanford free throw shooting was excellent making 18 of 20 for 90%.

This was as rough and unlady-like a game as Stanford has encountered this season. UCLA did get a lot of fouls called against it late in the game that gave Stanford many bonus free throws and these were an important part of the win. But the mounting fouls did nothing to subdue the Bruins. The Cardinal showed today that it can deal with the most unpleasantly aggressive play and keep doing what needs to be done to come out on top. Stanford had many women warriors on the court this afternoon.

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