Stanford Soars Over Eagles

A brilliant first half Saturday at Maples Pavilion was enough for Stanford to record their fourth victory over a ranked opponent this year. The win extended the Cardinal's winning streak to six, and in doing so, Stanford broke BC's 11-game run and grounded the #14-ranked Eagles. It was a sweet victory, though not a complete game...

The Cardinal never trailed in the game and played one of their best halves of the season to start the day. Stanford and Boston College played an even first 10 minutes with the Cardinal up 16-12, before the Pac-10 host went on a game-altering 12-0 run. Stanford held BC scoreless over the three and a half minute spurt to take control of the ballgame. Susan Borchardt King provided the energy and the shooting. First, she riled up Maples by stealing an inbounds pass away from Boston College and finishing the lay-up. The next possession down the court, the Cardinal found their fifth-year senior, and she drilled a three-pointer to put Stanford up 11. A Kelley Suminski three and a Kristen Newlin jumper pushed Stanford's advantage to 16 with 7:36 to play in the first half. BC turned the ball over five times and only attempted one shot during Stanford's spurt. The Cardinal's lead hovered between 14 and 18 until the half's final moments when Brooke Smith's 12 foot jumper off a Suminski feed pushed the lead to 20.

Stanford played a complete first half with stifling defense and crisp offensive execution. In the first half, Stanford forced 10 Boston College turnovers while BC had just four assists on their 10 field goals. Stanford meanwhile shot 56% in the half paced by Smith's perfect 6-of-6 performance. The redshirt sophomore center led a balanced Cardinal attack with 13 points at the intermission. Newlin added eight points on an array of jump shots as the Cardinal took advantage of the fact that Kathrin Ress, BC's starting center, was sadled with two fouls and stuck to the bench.

If Stanford's first half was everything a coach could ask for, the second half provided ammunition for next week's practice. Boston College began the half on a 7-0 run to cut the Stanford lead to 13. The Cardinal didn't score until a Kelley Suminski triple from the left wing broke the Cardinal's three-minute drought. Stanford held a double digit advantage for much of the second half, but BC used a 13-2 run to cut the Stanford lead to just seven with 2:18 to play. Neither team made a field goal over the next minute, but Candice Wiggins drilled four free throws to ice the game by pushing the lead back to eleven points. Three-pointers, two by Brooke Queenan and one from Jessalyn Deveny, keyed BC's late run. It's fairly remarkable that the Eagles, which played only seven players all day, had the stamina to make its late charge. Four of the BC starters logged thirty minutes or more while Deveny played 39 and Marshall, the point guard, 40. By contrast, Stanford had two players play over 30 minutes: Kelley Suminski (38) and Brooke Smith (31); Candice Wiggins logged 18 second half minutes.

A fan might wonder whether to be upset by the second half letdown. In response, remember that BC was ranked #14 in the country, and they merely started playing like it in the second half. It is hard to maintain the type of intensity and excellence that the Cardinal had in the first half, as the second half proved. On the other hand, T'Nae Thiel mentioned on the post-game interview that "we need to learn to put the hammer down," and get better at "maintaining what we were doing in the first half throughout the game."

The Cardinal held BC, which was leading the country in assists per game at 20, to just eight on Saturday afternoon compared to 17 turns. Stanford coaches were impressed by BC's execution coming into the game, so Stanford's ability to disrupt the Eagles' offense is all the more impressive.

Notes: Saturday was Alumni Day so the halftime featured Stanford's greats who each received a piece of the old Maples floor... BC was the second Big East team, besides Rutgers, that Stanford has played in this century.

Complete game box score

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.

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