WSU Game Stats & Notes

We've been waiting for the onset of Pac-10 play for months, so now that the conference opener against Washington State is in the books, what did we learn? Maybe not so much, as Stanford played at home against the team destined to finish last in the conference, but we did see some things with the rotation and individual performances of note...

  • How is this for irony: Washington State came in with a reputation of very hard-nosed defense and struggling offense, yet your Stanford Cardinal allowed the Cougars to shoot the second highest field goal percentage of the year and highest three-point percentage of any opponent this 2003-04 season. On the other end of the court, Stanford managed 9% better field goal shooting and 12% three-point shooting above their offensive season averages.
  • Despite WSU's relative success shooting the ball, their 51 points were the fewest by the Cougars in a Pac-10 opener since their 1983-84 conference opener against Washington, when they scored 48 points.
  • This win was the 15th straight against Washington State for Stanford.
  • To put in perspective the quick-producing offense we saw from Josh Childress, take a look at the previous nine games Stanford has played this season. Childress scored 10 points in just seven minutes of play, while the next shortest double digit performance this year was Joe Kirchofer's 13-minute 10 points in the Kansas game. And of course, this was Childress' first game of the season after a six week layoff. Just incredible.
  • Even in a home game against the team projected to finish dead last in the Pac-10, we saw the anticipated tightening of Stanford's rotation. The five starters saw an average of 15.6 minutes each in the first half. In both halves, sophomore post player Matt Haryasz was the first off the bench, which is something I expect to see throughout the season.
  • In another interesting rotation note, there was a lineup for a couple minutes in the second half where Nick Robinson played at shooting guard. That "big" lineup put him alongside Josh Childress at the wing, plus Chris Hernandez at the point, Justin Davis at power forward and Rob Little at center. Robinson also played point guard in the final three minutes of the game. His versatility and ability to play four positions will also keep him on the floor in games, even when Josh Childress reclaims his starting job at the small forward. Other players will see time as needed, but I will bet the five starters plus Haryasz and Robinson will dominate the minutes in many conference contests.
  • Chris Hernandez snapped his streak of 31 consecutive free throws when he missed the second of two attempts at the line, five minutes into the second half. He did hit 3-of-4 in the game and has missed just two FTs on the season, now averaging 94.7% from the charity stripe.
  • If you had money riding on Stanford in this game, then you can thank Dan Grunfeld for bailing you out. With the Cardinal up 20 in the final minute of play, the sophomore wing grabbed an offensive rebound with 30 seconds remaining and scored on a put-back. Then on the other end, it was Grunfeld who successfully defended the last offensive attempt by Washington State. Stanford won the game by 22. They were favored by 21.
  • I said it earlier in the season, but even now in conference play it holds true: freshman Fred Washington has the best instincts for the defensive steal on the roster. The 6'5" wing reads passes and has that quickness and long arms to reach out and poke the ball away. Within a minute of getting into the game late in the second half, Washington swatted at a pass and was ready to take to the rack before he was fouled. Less than a minute later, a bobbled ball by a WSU guard was snagged again by the Stanford freshman and this time taken all the way for an easy lay-in. 10 games into the season, Washington leads the team in steals per minute by a large margin. If you normalize all steal statistics on this team, he stands tall at 5.4 per 40 minutes of play. The next closest Cardinal is Justin Davis at 2.3 steals per 40 minutes.
  • How about Matt Haryasz and his instant rebounding that he is providing off the bench? The 6'10" sophomore was big on the boards early in the WSU game, grabbing four rebounds in his seven minutes of first half play and tied for game high with seven at the end of regulation. Normalized rebounding numbers show Haryasz with 12.1 boards per 40 minutes, just barely trailing senior starting power forward Justin Davis (12.5).

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