Saturday, March 2, 2013

Making history in Beasley

By Wally Mersereau
And so it came to pass, in a far-off land of rolling hills known as the Palouse: Stanford’s 2012-2013 Pac-12 Conference schedule came to a fitting end. There were few in Beasley Coliseum to see it happen—official attendance was 656. But on television and computer screens throughout the world committed fans watched in living color and high definition.

Season’s end found the Cardinal tied for the Pac-12 championship with the Golden Bears of Berkeley. Each of these teams beat the other once and lost to the other once. That’s pretty doggone close when you stop to think about it.

Pullman is the most remote location the Stanford women play, but games played there count just as much as those played anywhere else and some of those games are historic. It was in Beasley that Candice Wiggins broke the then-Pac-10 career scoring record with only 3 Stanford fans looking on.

And it was in Beasley today that Chiney Ogwumike continued her steady progress through the record books.

In my early trips to Pullman I flew into that pleasant college town and stayed near the university. However, I discovered flights there are often delayed because the Moscow-Pullman Airport lacks advanced landing aids. So I’ve changed to flying into the more capable Spokane Airport. This also allows me to enjoy the luxury of The Davenport hotel.

As I made the 75-mile drive to Pullman this morning I reflected on my good fortune in having dry weather in eastern Washington, easing my Stanford road journey.

The 54th game between Stanford and Washington State ended, as have all the others, with a Cardinal victory. As the perpetual loser in this rivalry one could forgive the Cougars for giving up, but they battled on to the end. I thought WSU started each half with tight defense, but that this deteriorated into rough play. Two Cougars fouled out and a third had 4 fouls. Once again the officials did not effectively stop the overly aggressive play.

Stanford led the entire game. At the half it was 35-21 and the final score was 72-50. The Cardinal had a 30-point lead with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. At that point Tara started subbing from the bench. Washington State took advantage of Stanford’s reduced level of play and cut the lead to 20 with 4 minutes to go. Tara put a couple of rotation players back in and this stabilized the lead.

Chiney had a double-double in the first half. She left the game with more than 10 minutes to play. Her stats were: 28 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 28 minutes. Her free throw shooting fell off to 5 of 8.

Jos had 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists/1 turnover in 29 minutes. Sara had 9 points, 6 rebounds and a block in 24 minutes. Mikaela had 7 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists/0 turnovers in 26 minutes.

Bonnie was 2 of 7 from 3. She ended with 6 points and a rebound in 18 minutes. Amber had 3 points, a rebound, a steal and 5 assists/1 turnover in 26 minutes.

No WSU player got to double digits. Galdiera was high scorer for the Cougs with 8 points.

Surprisingly, WSU outrebounded the Cardinal throughout the entire game, ending with a 49-43 advantage. But Stanford led in field goals 42.9% to 28.6% and in 3-point shooting 25% to 7.1%. Stanford again excelled in defense.

As I made the drive back to Spokane after the game I reflected on my good fortune of being in Beasley Coliseum today to again watch history being made as the remarkable Stanford women clinched the co-championship of the Pac-12. This will allow “2013” to soon be added to the board at Maples, extending consecutive championships to 13, which certainly is a lucky number. Furthermore, today’s win at Beasley makes Stanford the #1 seed for next week’s Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle. The team is healthy going into the Tournament, except for Toni.

Cal assured its share of the conference title with a win over Washington this afternoon, 78-50.

The final aspect of my favorable day was to have the team on my flight from Spokane to SFO. Some people have all the luck.

So ends the regular season. Let the tournaments begin.

Tomorrow: A big round-up of food, drink and fun around Seattle Center!


  1. Thanks Wally, for all your great reporting this season. I look forward to your perspective after each away game. Wish I could join you on all that travel!

  2. I haven't forgotten about you, Marian. Great work, as usual. And Dave. Thanks for the wonderful photos. See you all in Seattle next week!