Card Pelt Beavers in Pac-10 Opener

For Cardinalmaniacs™, any wait was too long to see the Stanford Women's Basketball team play again after (another) difficult loss to Tennessee. Monday night in Corvallis the Cardinal bounced back with a dominating victory over Oregon State, 83-45. The Card dissected the Beavers, both inside and outside, but the biggest news was the return of a fifth-year senior...

The Cardinal dominated the Beavers 83-45 Monday night to run their record to 9-1, and make it nine in a row over the River Rats. The Cardinal trailed only once in the game at 2-0. It was almost disarming how completely Stanford controlled the game, nearly from its outset. Stanford's recipe was simple early: get the ball inside. Brooke Smith scored the first six Stanford points, all from within six feet of the hoop. Two of those early hoops came on feeds from Sebnem Kimyacioglu, who finished with a career-high ten assists, which, combined with her ten points, yielded Stanford's first double-double of the year.

Smith's early success inside, combined with strong rebounding opened up three-point looks for Stanford's shooters. The Cardinal took early control with a 9-0 run that included threes from Kelley Suminski and Kimyacioglu, who played her finest game of the season, to extend a three-point lead to 12 points at 19-7. Stanford enjoyed a double digit lead for all but a few seconds the rest of the way. Moments later, the Cardinal were at it again, this time reeling off seven points in a row to put themselves up 15 points with six minutes to go in the first half. Stanford's lead was as large as 18 in the first half, and 15 at halftime.

Oregon State managed to shoot only 29% in the first half against the Cardinal, who spent lengthy stretches in a zone which limited Shannon Howell's ability to drive. Candice Wiggins started off defending Howell, the Pac-10s leading scorer who was averaging 22.4 ppg, but Kimyacioglu spent time on Howell as well. Stanford limited to Howell to just two points in the first half on 1-of-9 shooting. Howell missed some chippies, and she allowed her frustration to show in her body language.

One remarkable statistical note: at halftime, the Cardinal had assists on 15 of their 18 field goals.

The biggest news for the Stanford Cardinal Monday night came with the first half nearly complete, and the Cardinal already up by double-digits over the Oregon State Beavers, when Susan King Borchardt entered the game. King-Borchardt had just one practice, Sunday night in Eugene, to get ready for 2004-05 debut. However, she hardly looked out of sync, knocking down her first shot, a jumper from the free throw line.

It has been a rapid return for King-Borchardt. She was allowed to participate in very limited drills on December 20, at the practice in Knoxville prior to the game vs. the Tennessee Lady Vols. In Knoxville, King-Borchardt was not allowed to cut, nor allowed to run the offensive plays, even when the team was rehearsing sets without defenders. King-Borchardt called the timing of the team's Christmas break, "perfect" because it allowed her to shoot in the gym with her family and ease herself back. Sunday's scrimmage was her first of the season, and even then, it was abbreviated, in part because her flight to Oregon arrived late, and she joined the practice in progress. She admitted that tonight's action was "the longest I've played on it, [but] it felt good to be out there." The coaching staff will bring her along very carefully. Tara VanDerveer thought that, barring any setbacks, it "might be a month to six weeks" before King-Borchardt was operating at full strength and up to her full complement of playing time. (The answer is 'no', for the Cardinal diehards who want to ask the next question. King-Borchardt's effect on the rotation has not been determined yet.)

All season long, Coach Tara VanDerveer has talked to her charges about "putting the hammer down," and the Cardinal listened, hammering away at the Beavers with an 8-0 run that was part of a larger 16-4 surge to begin the second half. Just as they did at the beginning of the first half, the Cardinal began the second half by getting the ball down low to Brooke Smith. Smith and T'nae Thiel combined for six of Stanford's first eight points. Again, that opened up outside looks for Suminski and Kimyacioglu who knocked down threes on assists from Smith. The Cardinal, secure with a lead that didn't dip below 25 for the final 14 minutes of the contest, coasted home with their first conference win of the year.

Toby Hyde is the voice of the Stanford Cardinal on the all new 1220 KNTS, the new home of Stanford Women's Basketball on the radio. KNTS will carry all 28 of the Cardinal's regular season games, and all of the postseason action.

Complete game box score

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