Friday, January 9, 2015

A Whole Lot Better

I entered the Alaska Airlines Arena at the University of Washington tonight with trepidation. What a difference a year makes! Last year the U-Dub game in Seattle was a painful loss with Stanford unable to get its shots to fall—even with Chiney. I recall writhing in my purple plastic seat in agony as Bonnie’s long desperation threes clanged off the rim down the stretch as Tara figured threes were the only hope of getting out of the hole the Cardinal was in. Nothing worked. Stanford just couldn’t shoot and it seemed as if Washington couldn’t miss.

Tonight’s game was a whole lot better. The score was relatively close for the entire game and the final four minutes went Stanford’s way, thanks to clutch shooting by Lili, Bonnie and Amber. At the 4-minute mark Stanford was down one at 49-50. Lili got the lead back with a jumper at 3:39, Bonnie increased the lead to 55-50 with her fourth three at 2:39. Amber tossed in a jumper at 1:10 and Lili delivered the coup de grace with 27 seconds left with a magnificent three off the backboard to achieve a 60-55 victory. Whew! Way to go, Stanford!

Lili made 13 of her 15 points and Amber 12 of her 14 points in the second half. This dynamic duo has been getting the job done of late. Lili has left her slump behind and Amber is providing senior leadership. Kaylee continued her improved play with 5 points, 13 rebounds and only two personal fouls.

Stanford was down at the half 22-24, but outscored the Dawgs in the second half 38-32. Kelsey Plum had 16 points, Jazmine Davis had 13 and Aminah Williams 12. Stanford didn’t stop these Husky stars, but kept them sufficiently under control to come away with the win.

Seven Stanford players had 12 minutes or more—the starting five plus Taylor Greenfield and Brittany. All seven contributed. I found I was most comfortable with the starters on the floor.

This was a big win. Washington is a better team than either Colorado or Utah and Stanford won this game on the Huskies’ home court despite lots of fan support for the Dawgs. Official attendance was 2,677 and that matches my eyeball opinion. There were about 35 Stanford fans present. Brittany had a cheering section of a dozen or more and was identified by the game announcer as a local product.

It was a nice dry day in Seattle with the temperature only a few degrees cooler than in the Bay Area. I enjoyed my 75-cent ride on the light rail line from the airport to downtown. I discovered an upscale sushi place across from the art museum. It was almost full at 4:30 and I figured that was a better recommendation than a bunch of strong Yelp reviews and that proved to be the case.

If Stanford can do as well in Pullman as it did tonight in Seattle this will be a splendid road trip indeed. It would be nice to return home 4-0 in the Pac-12.

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