I DVR'd last night's Stanford-UConn game in hopes of making it through dinner with friends and back home without hearing whether the Huskies extended their winning streak to 91 or the Cardinal put a stop to a run that probably should have ended in April. There was no avoiding the stream of congratulatory text messages. I watched the game anyway, free of suspense, and here's what I saw:
- Jeanette Pohlen was the story of the game offensively for Stanford, but I was even more impressed with the defensive effort, led by freshman Chiney Ogwumike, to contain Maya Moore. "They were just playing a physical ballgame," said Moore, who was visibly frustrated at times and was never allowed to get into a rhythm. Credit Tara VanDerveer and the Stanford coaching staff for employing a "head of the snake" defensive strategy that was a whole lot more effective than this one.
- Some of Kayla Pedersen's biggest contributions didn't show up in the box score, as The Daily Axe pointed out in their summary of the game. Her hustle and aggressive play epitomized Stanford's attack mentality against the Huskies and her rebound of Moore's missed free throw with 1:42 remaining and the Cardinal leading by six all but sealed the game.
- The Stanford men could learn a thing or two from VanDerveer's squad about the importance of good free throw shooting. While the Cardinal missed two free throws in the final minute, Pohlen was 6-for-6 from the line to ice the game and Stanford shot 14-for-18 as a team.
- Maples was rocking. It was great to see former players Jayne Appel, Candice Wiggins, JJ Hones, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, and the former Secretary of State supporting the Cardinal.
- Hats off to Geno Auriemma for an incredible run. He was very complimentary of Stanford and practically laughed at the idea that the Huskies were expected to win this game after losing three of their best players from the team that was held to 12 points in the first half of last year's title game. Auriemma probably would've taken issue with the "Stanford Shocks UConn" headline that appeared throughout ESPN SportsCenter's postgame coverage.
- I had no idea that the last time UConn lost consecutive games was 1993. That blows my mind.