Monday, January 26, 2015

A Sweep in LA

By Wally Mersereau

The starting line-up in Galen Center on Sunday was the same as at UCLA, but this time the Cardinal tried something different. Instead of starting out in a deep hole it chose to start in a shallow one and it began climbing out earlier than in recent games despite Kaylee picking up two early fouls.

Kaylee was replaced by Bird who made 6 quick points and then made another bucket to increase her first-half total to 8. McCall’s above-average shooting when she entered the game was crucial to putting Stanford in front. Tess was put in to face USC’s maulers, primarily Simmons, and to reduce fouls on Kaylee and Bird. I think this was a good decision by Tara.

Lili regained her shooting ability and had scored 13 points by halftime. Despite an assortment of missed early lay-ups, by the mid-point of the first half the Cardinal was up by 10 and kept this lead relatively steady to achieve a halftime lead of 36-27.

Stanford held a lead of from 10 to 15 points throughout the second half. The final score was 71-60.

The Cardinal had to deal with rough play by big-bodied Trojans while having to endure ear-splitting noise during time-outs from an over-the-top DJ who seemed intent on trying to cause hearing impairment. Fans should have been given ear-plugs.

Lili’s improved shooting gave her a team-leading 21 points, followed by Bird with 11 and Amber with 10. Bonnie and Kaylee had 8 points apiece and Bri contributed 7.

Fortunately, USC’s maul-ball play resulted in a larger share of foul calls on the Trojans while Stanford’s free throw shooting improved wonderfully and this helped to maintain the lead. Lili was splendid from the line with 12 of 14 and the team made 20 of 24.

Based only on watching both LA teams this weekend, my opinion is that UCLA is the better team with more skilled players and consequently is more dangerous. The Trojans played rougher. Current Pac-12 rankings appropriately reflect the difference in the LA schools.

This was a challenging weekend and winning both games was a splendid accomplishment, allowing Stanford to share second place with Arizona State.

Attendance was higher than Galen’s usual 500 or so, although a significant number were groups of children.

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