"She was spectacular, she just played great," Geno Auriemma said.
Added Kayla Pederson: "She was awesome, she put this team on her back."
But really, it was a total team effort. For the game, Stanford shot 44.6% from the field, out-rebounded the Huskies 38-33, and shot 77.8% from the free throw line. Nneka Ogwumike scored 12 points on 5-9 shooting, Pederson scored 8 points and had 11 rebounds, and Lindy La Rocque, Joslyn Tinkle, and Chiney Ogwumike all chipped in six points.
But just as, if not more significantly, Stanford's defense clamped down on Connecticut's attack all game. The Huskies shot only 33.3% from the field and 32.1% from three-point range.
"We tried our best to really work defensively and I think we did a very, very good job of disrupting their offensive flow," Nneka Ogwumike said.
The Cardinal did a particularly effective job of containing the Huskies' All-American Moore. She made just 5-15 shots and scored only 14 points.
"They were just playing a physical ballgame," Moore said of Stanford's defense.
From Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma's perspective, Stanford's defense keyed on stopping Moore and making other players beat them. Katie Farris and Bria Hartley did score 19 and 14 points respectively, but the strategy seemed to work.
"They were determined to make sure somebody else on our team other than Maya Moore was going to carry our team." Auriemma said.
Between that defensive strategy, a few well-timed offensive rebounds, and few Cardinal mistakes (Stanford committed only 11 turnovers to Uconn's 13), the Cardinal was able to disrupt the Huskies' flow.
"Stanford the way they played took us out of our character," Auriemma said.
And really, the Huskies seemed out of form from the opening tip off. After the teams traded baskets early, Stanford went on an 11-0 early run gave Stanford a 20-7 lead. Connecticut answered with a scoring spurt of its own to trim the Cardinal lead to 24-19, but Stanford went ahead 32-19 with an 8-0 run. Although the Connecticut cut Stanford's lead to 34-30 entering halftime, Stanford had proven it could stick with the vaunted Huskies.
And as it turned out, 34-30 was just about closest Connecticut would get to the Cardinal. Despite the best efforts of Moore and Farris, who scored 22 of their combined 33 points in the second half, Stanford maintained a steady lead for the duration of the contest.
UConn did cut the Stanford lead to 48-44 midway through the second half, and then to 61-55 with 2:45 left, but Stanford made most of its free throws down the stretch (and Tinkle grabbed a key offensive rebound), and the Cardinal preserved the win, to the delight of the crowd and several prominent former Stanford players in attendance.
Still, despite the apparent enormity of the game, with 30-40 media members in attendance in the post-game press conference, Tara VanDerveer looked to keep the victory in perspective.
"Honestly, it's December, and I know will help our team improve," she said. "What's most important to me is that our team came out and played really well together.
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