This young Stanford team picked up a few
things about winning tight games this year. In the first two
games of the season against
Although she failed to score in the first
half, Sebnem Kimyacioglu looked to be Stanford's savior in
the second period. She hit two key threes to quell the Gophers'
momentum. With left in the second half she made the most
important four points of her career thus far. She drained a three
and drew the foul from Lindsay Whalen in the process. She made
the free throw to complete a four point play and put Stanford
within five, 58-53. Stanford kept it close, but couldn't
string together two good plays to close the gap.
The Cardinal would have needed an good night across the board to stop Center Janel McCarville and the backcourt duo of Lindsay Whalen and Shannon Schonrock. They needed an excellent night when senior Corrin Von Wald went off for 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
It was a scrappy first half, with both teams putting in a strong defensive effort. Stanford frustrated the Gophers by denying them high percentage shots in the lane. They held McCarville scoreless, and Lindsay Whalen's only first half field goal was a long three.
Powell hit all of her 9 first half points in
a flurry of action after a made layup on a third attempt. The
play was typical of the frustration that the Cardinal faced all
After the half, Stanford came out cold. They
were held scoreless as
When the brackets showed the three-seeded Cardinal with a chance to play at home until the Final Four, many of the other teams in the West were crying foul before the first tip of the tournament. Prior to the loss to Minnesota, Stanford owned the second longest home winning streak in the country, 26 home wins in a row, dating back to a December 2001 loss to Tennessee. 2,926 strong attended Monday evening's game. A hearty band of a few hundred Gopher fans were dwarfed by the deafening crowd in their cardinal red. When Kimyacioglu tried to help Stanford mount its comeback, Maples was shaking like it hasn't since the mid-1990s.
After Stanford's early exit in the
tourney, some may wonder if the added pressure of hosting a
regional hurt the Cardinal as much as it helped them. In the
post-game press conference, Coach VanDerveer acknowledged that
some players looked like they were "pushing it" at
times, trying to do too much by themselves and not "relaxing
and letting the game come [to them]." The limp heads and
downcast eyes of the players after the game hinted at their deep
disappointment at the tough loss. Fortunately, their last effort
of the 2002-2003 season is not the last time this group will take
the court. With no seniors, everyone will return for next year
with the added help of new recruit Kristen Newlin, a highly
touted 6-5 center out of