Since the men’s upset of #17 Washington on Thursday night, Stanford basketball has followed a trend that’s become something of a commonplace in the last few years: the women win handily, and the men lose. We start off with the women’s systematic beat-down on Washington.
Women defeat Washington, 80-51
Stanford had no problem going on the road to take on the Huskies. Stanford ran away with a game in which 5 Cardinal players had double-digit scoring performances while holding UW’s leading scorer (center Mackenzie Argens and forward Charmaine Barlow tied for the team lead) to just 9 points. Nneka Ogwumike once again led Stanford with 16 points, and also pulled down 11 rebounds to register another double-double. Senior guard Jeanette Pohlen scored 15 for the Card, and dished out a team-high 4 assists.
Once again, Tara VanDerveer’s team was able to both limit the opposition’s shot attempts and hold the Huskies’ field goal percentage well below where it would have needed to be in order to beat the #4 team in the nation. Washington shot only 39% from the field and 38% from three, but didn’t take enough shots from beyond the arc to pose a significant threat to Stanford’s PAC-10 winning streak. Stanford’s size proved once again that very few women’s teams can compete on the boards with the Card, and Stanford outrebounded Washington by a 19-board margin.
Stanford is now 13-2 overall and 4-0 in the PAC-10. Stanford has won its conference games this season by an average of 35.5 points.
The Cardinal will travel to Pullman to play Washington State on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
Men fall to Washington State, 61-58
After a big win on Thursday night against the heavily favored Washington Huskies, it certainly appeared that Stanford would be able to sustain their momentum and knock off an average Washington State team at home in front of a packed 6th Man section and a surprisingly full Maples Pavilion. Instead, they let a 9-point halftime lead slip away en route to falling by 3 to the Cougars.
Stanford had no solution to the Cougars’ one-two scoring punch of guards Klay Thompson (21 points) and Faisal Aden (20 points). Despite Thompson’s two fouls early in the first half, Stanford opted not to attack him on defense and force him out of the game with foul trouble. Stanford’s own scoring duo–forward Josh Owens (12 points) and guard Jeremy Green (13 points)–combined for just 25 points in 68 minutes of playing time.
The bright spot of the night came from freshman Anthony Brown, who came off the bench to score 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting from three. In addition, fellow freshman Dwight Powell nearly notched his second career double-double by contributing 9 points and 10 rebounds. Andrew Zimmerman, who had not played in two of the Card’s last three games, also got 8 minutes off the bench in the second half, and provided the physical presence that Stanford desperately needed.
The question now is how and when Stanford will begin to implement a solid scoring offense. Stanford last scored 60 or more points nearly two weeks ago, and has scored 70 or more points in just 5 of their 16 games this season. Often it appears that the Card are just running a free-form, setless offense, which usually yields an undesirable shot just in time to beat the expiration of the shot clock. When the Card call a play, it’s almost always “high-low,” an offensive set featuring 3 guards around the perimeter with one big man on the right elbow and the other on the block. The guards swing the ball around and look to get the ball to the elbow big man or to a perimeter player for a three. If the big on the elbow can’t shake his defender, the player on the low block swings up and switches with the elbow player, sometimes with a down screen to get the arriving player open on the elbow. High-low didn’t work tonight, and resulted in several forced passes to the elbow player. Washington State keyed in on the play, defending against the pass, and forced multiple turnovers.
Offense has been the shortcoming of the Stanford team this year, and tonight’s 34% shooting from the field and 32% performance from downtown reveals once again that above all else, Johnny Dawkins has to help these players get open looks and take advantage of good shots when they get them. Although the Washington win was exciting, it will become irrelevant if Stanford cannot score more points to finish off PAC-10 opponents.
Stanford falls to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in conference competition; Washington State is now 13-5 overall and 3-3 in the PAC-10.
Stanford will travel to Los Angeles next weekend to face USC on Thursday night at 7:30 PM and then UCLA on Saturday at 11:00 AM.