Acting upon Dave Cortesi’s FBC travel suggestion of taking in the USC-Cal game at noon before leisurely moving west for the Stanford-UCLA game at 4 pm, I trod the familiar path to the Galen Center on a sunny Sunday in Los Angeles. This was a good idea. I was able to warm up for a day of women’s college basketball while conserving my emotional energy for the second game of this double-header.
It was Senior Day at Galen. Cassie Harberts, Desiree Bradley and Kate Oliver were given tearful thanks and a fond farewell.
If I hadn’t been there to see it I wouldn’t have believed this was the USC team that pushed Stanford to the limit on Friday. In this game Cal immediately took the lead and never gave it up. The first half was fairly close with Cal up a maximum of 8 points. In the second half Cal led by an average of 11 points, with a final score of 76-67. Brittany Boyd’s ankle was not taped or braced and she only winced once after landing after a rebound. Otherwise she seemed her usual frisky, overconfident self.
I then set off across the great metropolis to the haunts of the Bruin. It was “Going to College Day” at UCLA and there was a large turnout of children who greatly increased the attendance in Pauley Pavilion. My guess was that there were about 6,000 seats filled
Pauley still has a brand-new feeling. And it far surpasses Galen in the quality and quantity of concessions. Galen has no ice cream. Pauley has five kinds, presenting the difficult problem of which to choose.
It also was Senior Day at UCLA with Thea Lemberger and Atonya Nyingifa the honorees.
For a reason unknown to me, Tara surprisingly started Briana, Erica M and Bonnie along with Chiney and Amber. Once substitutions began, the usual starters began taking the floor. Every player appeared to be in shape to play.
UCLA held the lead for most of the first half, but not by the large gap USC had achieved on Friday. In general, the scoring gap was 5 points or less. Stanford tied the score shortly before the half and led at the halfway mark 29-25. The Cardinal was pretty sloppy much of the first half and contributed generously to the UCLA lead.
During the first 10 minutes of the second half Stanford kept a 4- to 8-point lead. Then the Cardinal increased the gap slightly to between 9 and 14 points for the last 10 minutes. The final score was 65-56. Chiney finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 steals and 8 of 12 free throws. Amber was the only other Stanford player in double digits with 13.
Team statistics were not encouraging. Only 2 of 9 3-point attempts went in for a lowly 22.2%. Worst of all, the team had 9 assists to 16 turnovers—evidence of sloppy play, especially in the first half.
Bonnie played extremely well, more than her stats indicate. As usual, Mikaela also was a real warrior with 7 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block and 3 of 5 free throws.
This game became increasingly comfortable to watch. While Stanford had come back from a big hole against USC, it stayed clear of a hole against the Bruins. This game was much preferable. In the second half today Stanford played much better on offense and defense, closer to expectations. Overall, it was not pretty, but the right team won.
This was a rough and tough weekend, as the trip to LA often is. The final result was another two notches on the Cardinal belt. A win is a win and Stanford is returning with two more of the desired W and none of the dreaded L.
The frosting on this weekend’s cake, achieved this afternoon in Westwood, is the clinching of the Pac-12 championship once again. I am hoping to see “2014” added to the board in Maples for next weekend’s final Pac-12 season’s games.