Men's Basketball

January 20, 2011

Hoops Round-Up: 4 Teams, 2 Games, 0 Doubt

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By The Daily Axe Staff
Galen Center
Inside of USC's Galen Center during a pre-seas...
The Stanford men fell in the confines of USC’s Galen Center. (Image via Wikipedia)

The Stanford men and women both play the Southern California schools this weekend, and the women stay at home in Maples Pavilion while the men are in Los Angeles. In round 1 of the weekend action, both games were blow-outs, but only one Stanford team walked away with a win.

Women defeat UCLA, 64-38

#4 Stanford put on a show at home and blew out the eighth-ranked and the previously 15-1 Bruins. Stanford forward Kayla Pedersen led all scorers with 18 points, while Cardinal point guard Jeanette Pohlen (14 points, 4 assists) and forward Nneka Ogwumike (13 points, 3 rebounds) combined with Pedersen to form the bulk of the Card’s scoring. Pedersen also notched a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds and recording 2 steals.

Like virtually every other game the Cardinal have played this season, Thursday’s contest made abundantly clear the disparity in talent between Stanford and their opponent. Of all the women on UCLA’s roster (a roster that has destroyed all previous PAC-10 teams so far this season) only one–forward and Rutgers transfer Jasmine Dixon–scored 10 or more points. UCLA shot under 30% from the field, and just over 22% from behind the three point arc. Their 38 points against Stanford was easily a season low for a Bruins team that came into Maples averaging just over 61 points per game and had never scored fewer than 53 in 2010-11.

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer and several players insisted after the game that the team needs to tighten up its performance and play at a higher level. That might be true. But right now, Stanford is blowing out all comers, and sustaining their current execution could land them a national championship come April.

Stanford is now 15-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in conference play; UCLA falls to a similar 15-2 overall record but trails Stanford in the PAC-10 standings by one game with a 5-1 mark in the conference.

Stanford has Friday off before facing USC at 2:00 PM on Saturday in Maples Pavilion.

Men fall to USC, 65-42

There’s no other way to say it: this one was ugly. Really ugly. By a score not so different from the one on the women’s side–but with Stanford on the other end of the decision–the Card laid an egg in the Galen Center. As usual, the Cardinal defense was nothing to complain about. USC averages 68 points per game and the Trojans dumped 73, 70, and 65 points on the ranked teams they’ve played this season (as well as 67 on Washington, which was not ranked when they played USC on December 29 but is now #20 in the nation). The Cardinal even buckled down in the second half and only let the Trojans score 28 points after halftime.

But as has been well documented on this site, the Cardinal offense has still not found a way to utilize the talent of its players and put up a decent number of points against a quality opponent. Not a single Stanford starter scored more than 5 points, and freshman Anthony Brown led Stanford off the bench with 9 points. The starters (Gabriel Harris, Jarrett Mann, Jeremy Green, Jack Trotter, Josh Owens) combined to score only 12 points. And why that starting line-up? Freshmen Aaron Bright and Dwight Powell have shown continued growth since stepping into the starting five, and both Powell and Bright scored more on Thursday than did their replacements in the opening unit.

And, like in virtually every other game this season, Stanford was unable to hit shots. The Card shot 22% from the field and 17% from three; the Trojans shot 56% from the field and 50% from three. Even though the Cardinal took 18 more shots than their opponents and turned the ball over 6 fewer times than did the Trojans, USC built a safe lead–and one that they never gave up–just 9:40 into the first half.

In more concise formulation: the Cardinal need to start scoring.

Trojan forward Nikola Vucevic led all scorers with 20 points, while front court mate Alex Stepheson scored 10, rebounded 11, and blocked 4 shots.

Stanford falls to 10-7 overall and 3-3 in the PAC-10; USC bumps up to 11-8 overall and also 3-3 in conference play. Stanford, which was in 2nd place in the PAC-10 just one week ago, is now in 7th, while USC is 6th.

Stanford will play again on Saturday when they travel to Pauley Pavilion to play the UCLA Bruins at 11:00 AM.

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The Daily Axe Staff
The Daily Axe is an independent Stanford sports website covering Cardinal athletics year-round. Find The Daily Axe on and on social media via the links below.


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