Saturday, December 28, 2013

Worth the Drive to Fresno

By Wally Mersereau

I made a leisurely 3 ½-hour Saturday drive to Fresno, including a half-hour sandwich stop at the Black Bear Diner in Los Banos (pop. 37,000). The only brief traffic congestion I encountered was just north of Gilroy. Most of Highway 152 has been upgraded to four lanes. Highway 99 north of Fresno is being widened, with completion scheduled for 2016.

Once over the Pacheco Pass and down into the Central Valley, you are in the world of agriculture, primarily orchards. The road is flat, mostly straight and easy to drive, in contrast to the ascent up the pass. The large San Luis Reservoir is at a low level because of the lack of rain this season.

I was enjoying a good episode of This American Life on KQED that provided an inside look at the operation of a new car dealership when radio reception was cut off in the canyon through the pass. Once in the Valley I listened to classical music on Capital Public Radio from Sacramento State.

I made a quick visit to the small Fresno Art Museum and then headed to the Save Mart Center. A nice representation of Stanford fans were on hand. The Center is a pleasant facility with a lot of concessions. I indulged in a rocky road ice cream cone that seemed well deserved after my road journey.

The women’s game started 30 minutes after a Fresno State men’s game that the Bulldogs dominated. My guess at the attendance for the women’s game was something under 1,000.

Sara and Karlie were not suited up. Taylor started in place of Sara and continued her fine play. Bonnie and Taylor were in together for quite a while and tossed in four threes each. Amber made three threes and Mikaela one. The team total from beyond the arc was 12 of 29 or 41.4%. Free throw shooting reverted to a troubling level of 55.6%.

Chiney had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. Taylor had 18 points, Amber 15 and Bonnie 14. The team had 26 assists to 8 turnovers. Fresno State had 4 assists and 14 turnovers. Stanford had 7 blocks and 7 steals, the Bulldogs no blocks and 4 steals. Nine Stanford players were on the floor for 10 minutes or more.

Stanford led at the half 43-31 and won the game 86-54. Tara started clearing the bench with about 7 minutes to go. Tess was last off the bench with 5 minutes remaining. Briana was the point guard for the end of the game and did ok, but not outstanding. Stanford had a 33-point lead at the 7-minute mark, which shrunk a bit with the regulars out, but was back up to 32 points at the end.

Taylor Thompson, the Fresno State point guard is an excellent player.

I thought I detected Taylor Greenfield with a very slight limp, but her play was unaffected.

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