Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Long Day

By Wally Mersereau

The second day of the Pac-12 Tournament was sunny and dry. Stanford Red was much in evidence in Key Arena. Attendance was much the same as yesterday: 300-400 in the afternoon and 700-800 at night.

Game 5

#1 Stanford took on #9 Colorado at noon. This was a game of two halves—the first one was unsatisfactory, adjustments were made and the second half represented a nice comeback and a taking control of the game by the Cardinal. Chiney had only 5 points in the first half, but ended with 19. Lili came alive in the second half. Alex played 17 minutes and made nice contributions. Mikaela made key shots and grabbed rebounds. Bonnie continued her fine play on offense and defense.

Colorado led at the half 23-21. The final score was 69-54 with Stanford on top. In the first half Stanford was unable to capitalize on rough play and resultant fouls by missing most of its free throws. The weak start by the Cardinal was troubling. Stanford needs to play more consistently well if it is to win this tournament and stay alive in the NCAA tournament to follow.

Chiney ended with 19 points and 11 rebounds; Mikaela with 10 points and 16 rebounds; Lili with 16 points and 3 rebounds and Bonnie with 15 points and 4 rebounds.

Nneka was in the stands.

Game 6

I was so emotionally drained by urging Stanford on in the first game that I did not have much energy or interest for the second game between #4 Arizona State and #5 USC. I had no preference as to which team won. ASU generally led in the first half, USC in the second. The game was tied with two minutes to go, but the Trojans squeaked by to win 59-57. Stanford will play USC in the 6 pm game on Saturday.

Amy, Kate and Tempie scouted this game.

Game 7

The 6 pm game was the Friday highlight. #7 Washington State put itself forth as a Cinderella candidate by defeating #2 Cal 91-83 in a hard-fought game. The Cougars led 45-44 at the half. Lia and Tia were the stars for WSU with 24 and 19 points, but the victory was a real team effort with strong performances by many Cougar players.

Brittany Boyd fouled out with 5:48 to play. Gray and Brandon led Cal’s scoring with 25 and 19 points. The Bears started desperation fouling with a minute to go, but WSU plunked in free throws to assure its upset win.

Game 8

The final game of the day matched #3 Oregon State and #11 Utah. The Beavers jumped out to a quick lead and built on it to a half-time score of 32-13. Utah could not get its shots to fall. OSU looked much more poised and polished than early in the season. Jamie Weisner played for the first time in 8 games with two pins in her broken left hand, but did not score. Wiese and Hamblin were the dominant players for the Beavs.

The final score was OSU 50, Utah 35. Only three players scored in double digits, Wiese for the Beavers and Plouffe and Potter for the Utes. Utah shot only 21% from the floor.

Looking Forward

At the end of this second long day, two days remain, but 72% of the games have been played and only three remain. Eight teams have been eliminated. The semi-final games on Saturday will be Stanford vs. USC and Washington State vs. Oregon State. I’m looking forward to the three remaining games on a more humane schedule. I’m hoping Stanford will take care of business early on both days and come away with the championship. The WSU-OSU game tomorrow should be a good one. I have no prediction as to the winner. Washington State had to work harder for its win today than did the Beavers and has had to play an additional game. So Oregon State will be fresher. A deciding factor will be whether the Cougars can sustain their will to win into a third day.

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