"The pressure of our defense absolutely disrupted them. To be able to hold them to 62 points…very, very pleased with that number," Interim head coach Joseph Anders stated. "But again, to beat a team that is an elite basketball team, you have to be able to execute on both ends of the floor. Their players made plays. That's the mark of a great basketball team. To find a way to make a play." Guard Micaela Pickens added, "Their players are really good. They're just everywhere, and it's really hard. They move around so much, and we have to have more pride. We have to box them out more, and just play really good defense on them."
Cardinal sisters Chiney and Nnemkadi Ogwumike played great offensive and defensive games, making them significant threats to the Lady Devils. Chiney finished the game with 30 points, and 16 rebounds, while Nnemkadi scored 22 points, and had 16 rebounds as well. When asked if there was a secret to outplaying the Ogwumike sisters, Anders stated that there is indeed a secret, and that secret was to pressure the 3 guards, making it difficult for the sisters to get the ball.
"You have to be able to make those sisters play on both ends on the floor," Anders claimed. "They really frustrated Kim all night long. Kim has been our anchor for a great deal of the last 5-6 ball games, and when they were able to take her away it really made it difficult for our basketball team to put points on the board."
Aside from the Ogwumike sisters, another substantial player for Stanford is Toni Kokenis. Averaging 10.0 points and 2.7 rebounds a game, ASU was able to hold her to 7 points and 1 rebound.
"We made Toni work for everything that she got," proclaimed Anders. High FGA game for her… not as many makes, but she was able to get to the basket a couple of times."
Stanford took advantage of ASU's lack of aggressiveness under the basket, out-rebounding the Devils 48-24. With 20 of those 48 rebounds happening offensively for Stanford, the team was more than displeased with this statistic, and made it dually noted. "You make them take a difficult shot, and then they get an offensive rebound," explained Anders. The offensive rebound number of 20…far too many to expect an upset of a very good basketball team."
ASU suffered a major loss when Kali Bennett had to exit the game on two separate occasions due to two unrelated injuries, (nose and back). Bennett leads the Devils in blocks, and it second in rebounding, assists, and scoring, and is tied for third in steals. In the midst of Bennett's injuries, Stanford went on a 14-0 scoring run, ultimately solidifying their win, as ASU was not able to bounce back without the presence of Bennett.
"Kali's injuries did affect us," explain Pickens. "She's really big inside the post, getting those rebounds. We really needed her." Coach Anders adds, "anytime you've got two pieces of white whatever clogging your nostrils, that's going to affect you a little bit, (referring to Bennett's precautionary measures taken to stop her bloody nose).
Bennett returned to the game after her nose injury, only to take a hard fall, furthermore injuring her back. Although cleared by the medical trainers, she did not return for the remainder of the game, due to fear of injuring herself even more.
With a difficult game versus Cal on Saturday quickly approaching, the Devils feel confident in their ability to move past this loss, and finish this weekend with a split between these Northern California teams.
"It's easy to get past this," Anders stated. "There's nothing we can do about the one that's already in the books. As far as learning from it, that is the biggest thing that the team must do. To learn from what we just encountered. Stanford is one of the top 5 teams in the country. And they're that because of the fact that they don't make mistakes." Pickens added, "we're going to take all of this frustration right now and put it on Cal."
With both ASU and Cal fighting for the second place spot in the Pac-12, Saturday's game at Wells Fargo Arena is expected to be a heated match between these schools.