Both the men and women of Stanford basketball played sloppy games on Thursday night, but the women were able to grind out a win in Tempe while the men fell to Arizona in Maples Pavilion. With the first game of the second half of conference play now history, the women sit at first in the PAC-10 standings, while the men are clinging to a four-way tie for 6th place in the league.
Men fall to Arizona, 78-69
Although the Card played the Wildcats tight for most of the first half, Arizona pulled away in the game’s final four minutes to grab the 9-point road win. Arizona got its biggest contribution from top NBA prospect Derrick Williams, who put in 21 points and 8 rebounds despite playing with an injured hand. The sophomore also caused trouble down low when Stanford had the ball, as no Cardinal had the bulk and aggressiveness to consistently compete with the 6′ 8″, 241-pound forward.
Guard Lamont Jones, whose last trip to Maples Pavilion ended with a game-winning buzzer-beater, followed up his classmate’s performance with 15 points of his own. Jones, who spent the better portion of the post-game deliberations flaunting himself to the Stanford crowd, says he loves playing in Maples. “In certain places you feel a groove,” he said following the game. “This is one of those places. I don’t know why — it’s just one of those places that fuels my fire. The crowd does that to me also.”
On the Stanford side, Jeremy Green had a bounce-back game, and netted 21 points in his first game without the knee brace that’s he’s sported throughout the season. He still needs to improve upon his shot selection, though, and tonight’s numbers are not what a coach likes to see from a top scoring option: 8-21 shooting from the field and 2-9 from three. Thankfully, the Cardinal offense showed marginal signs of improvement and broke 60 points, but they could not keep up with a bigger and more athletic Arizona squad.
The Cardinal continue to shoot poorly, especially from three, where the team shot 24%. Johnny Dawkins’s men only shot 41% from the field and 61% from the line, compared to an Arizona team that shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from downtown.
But perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Thursday’s loss was the coaching in the final minutes of the second half. Stanford displayed very little sense of urgency despite trailing with little time left on the clock, and Johnny Dawkins chose not to attack Derrick Williams, who scored 6 points while playing with 4 fouls. (He did foul out with 54 seconds left on the clock.) Some of that mental error can be attributed to the youthful inexperience of a Stanford team that has no seniors or any players that have participated in meaningful games on the Farm, but part of the game mismanagement has to be the fault of a coaching staff that does not appear to be making progress with an unorganized and underperforming (yet talented) roster.
Stanford falls to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in the PAC-10. They will face conference bottom-feeder Arizona State (9-13, 1-9) on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM in Maples Pavilion.
Women defeat Arizona State, 72-54
It wasn’t pretty, and the Card led by just 5 at halftime, but Stanford took care of the pesky Sun Devils in Tempe. Even the fairly substantial 18-point victory margin was the Cardinal’s slimmest since the UConn game in December, and Thursday’s game proved much closer than the one that these same teams played back on January 8th in Maples (Stanford won, 82-35). Stanford didn’t display the offensive polish they typically have on a nightly basis, but the usual suspects led the Card to the win in the desert. Senior point guard Jeanette Pohlen led all scorers with 19 points, and Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen followed closely behind with 17 points and 15 points, respectively. Pedersen also recorded a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds.
Junior wing Kimberly Brandon was the one offensive bright spot for the Sun Devils, who shot 30% from the field and 10% from three. Brandon went for 18 points and 5 rebounds in 29 minutes of playing time, but none of her teammates scored even 8 points.
Thursday’s production marks the lowest point total for Stanford since scoring 64 points in a home win over then-#8 UCLA on January 20. But even without an explosive scoring night, Stanford will go into their Saturday game with Arizona with a perfect conference record and sole possession of first place in the PAC-10.
Stanford is now 19-2 overall and 10-0 in conference competition. Their Saturday game will tip off at 1:00 PM from Tucson.