Connecticut Ends Stanford’s Home Winning at 82 Games
By Joe Lami
Follow me on Twitter@joe_lami
In one of the most highly anticipated games of the year a matchup the would feature the top two teams in the nation. It sure didn’t live up to its’ name though, as both teams shot horribly. Stanford shot 11 for 57 (19.3%) and UConn shot 21 for 56 (37.5%). As Tara Vanderveer stated “you have to credit the defense as we struggled to run our offense, but I blame it on us.”
The game started on a good note as Stanford won the tip and immediately got a bucket from Joslyn Tinkle, and as coach Vanderveer joked that was the only basket she was pleased with. The two teams then traded a couple of buckets to eventually tie things up at five, but this is when Connecticut won the game. Over a span of nearly 14 minutes the Huskies went on a 24-4 run to make the game 29-9 in favorite of UConn. The Cardinal would eventually grap four more points before the half to make the score 31-13.
At the half Stanford had only made eight total buckets, with three of them coming from the line. The Cardinal went 5 from 33 from the field in the first twenty minutes. They also hadn’t knocked down a three-pointer in eight attempts. On the other side the numbers weren’t all that impressive either. The Huskies were 10 for 28, and they only knocked down three of the 12 shots from beyond the arc. UConn’s bench players were almost beating Stanford at half as they scored 10 points. Most of them coming from star freshman Breanna Stewart as she had nine.
The second half wasn’t all that impressive either as Stanford shot 25% and Connecticut shot 37.5%. An interesting point of the second half was at the 13:22 mark of the second half where Geno Auriemma was given a technical foul with his team up 40-22. Chris Dailey was there to calm him down. It sent Bonnie Samuelson to line where she not knocked down both foul shots. The packed house of 7,000 plus started to get back into the game, until just moments later Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the leading scorer of Saturday’s game, silenced the crowd with two of her 19 points. The second half felt kind of like a trade-off of buckets between the two teams.
Both coaches agreed that they could have played a lot better, however Auriemma was proud of his defense that they could step up and win a game, where they didn’t get an offensive explosion like they are used to. He also stated that the seniors are going to have to step it up and she (Dolson) did. He was especially proud of how Dolson handled herself guarding one of the best players in the country in Chiney Ogwumike.
One can assume that Geno wanted revenge for what happened two years ago at Maples in him losing the NCAA record of the nation’s longest winning streak at 90 wins, however both him and Stefanie Dolson stated otherwise. Dolson explained that it was not on their minds to end the nation’s longest winning streak of 82 games, they just needed to go out and play their game plan that their coach prepared for them. Auriemma later stated that “this win isn’t as big as their win two years ago. The win they had was a national event to end our winning streak, this was more of a local event with the home streak. For us it is no bigger than a big win on the road in December versus a good team.”
As expected Tara Vanderveer was not happy, she knows that this game is not only a measuring stick for her team, but also for her coaching staff as they should learn what they have to do additionally to prepare her team. “I hope it puts fuel to a fire to bring this team.” She was questioned about if she may change up her lineup, a good question after a performance like this. She strictly stated that if I have a better lineup I would have played it, we need to work with what we have. Chiney Ogwumike had maybe one of the worst performances of her career, shooting just 6 of 22, she and Tara credited the defense as they triple teamed her on almost every time Chiney touched the ball. On one bright note for an extremely cloudy day for Stanford women’s basketball Ogwumike recorded her ninth double-double of the season.
Stanford has almost a week to recover from this loss, as they take on the #24 Colorado Buffaloes in Bolder to kick off the Pac-12 season.