Cardinal Outmuscle Vanguard
Stanford's second and final exhibition, a comfortable 87 – 41 victory over defending NAIA champs Vanguard, was a contrast in size and style. The undersized Lions took exactly half of their shots from beyond the three-point arc (32-64). They shot only 21.9% from distance and 25% overall and were never in the game. The Cardinal worked in close with their centers and forwards accounting for 71 of their 87 points. Stanford shot 55.7% for the game despite making just 4-14 threes on the night. This was a game that seemed sloppier than it was. Stanford committed only 12 turnovers but appeared to be harried at times by the scrappy Lions. Vanguard had already played three regular season games and looked like a well-prepared and active squad. They did their best to be pests on the perimeter and often lurked at the half court line ready to trap unwary Cardinal guards, but they were so overwhelmed inside, not only could they not find an answer, they could not even pose a reasonable question. The take-away images on the night were the Lions conceding the opening tip to fall back into their defense, Stanford center Jayne Appel powering to the basket over three desperately clinging Lions, and Card forward Nneka Ogwumike snatching lobbed passes out of the air for easy scores. The Lions had been an exceptional three-point shooting team both in number and percentage in their first three games, all of which they won in blowout fashion, but they were unable to counter Stanford's power with good shooting. The Lions did control the ball well (only 12 turnovers) and made Stanford work to defend on the perimeter. "They're a very nice team. They screen really well and they shoot the ball very well," commented Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. "Defensively we could have done a better job. We could have been more aggressive." Stanford also did some successful although unwanted tinkering with the line-up. Two starters sat out. Sophomore F Kayla Pedersen rested a nagging ankle injury and junior G JJ Hones had a sore foot. Their status for the game next Friday against Minnesota is uncertain. Sophomore G Jeanette Pohlen started at the point with RS sophomore G Melanie Murphy getting the remaining bulk of the minutes at that spot. Pohlen contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists while Murphy did not score but dished out 9 assists and grabbed 3 rebounds. In two exhibition games, Murphy has 15 assists, which is especially impressive considering that she has not played in almost a year. Freshman F Nneka Ogwumike started at forward and romped over the Lions to the tune of 16 points on 8-11 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The centers also had big nights. Junior Jayne Appel went for 20 points (10-13), 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Freshman Sarah Boothe double-doubled her fun with 13 points and 10 boards. Senior F Jillian Harmon was high rebounder with 12, including 4 offensive, and chipped in 8 points. RS sophomore F Michelle Harrison had a good night with 14 points on 7-9 shooting and showed that her latest knee injury is behind her; she had no trouble zipping around defending the quick little Lions and was efficient and comfortable on the court. Said VanDerveer, "I thought Jeanette played really well - high energy, made great plays. Jayne was just too big for them inside. Nneka did really well. Jeanette was playing the "1." It's very disruptive when you don't have your point guard (Hones). I was very pleased with Michelle. She really stepped up and showed me great things today. This is the best I've seen her play. I'm very excited about that. We were playing 10 people and 9 played major minutes. It's difficult without JJ but I was really looking at our point guards. I was dissatisfied with the number of turnovers. Sometimes instead of just taking what the defense was giving them, they tried to do too much. But we were playing a lot of freshmen and players who did not play last year. This was a game to play lots of different people." The Cardinal shared the ball extremely well. Twenty-seven of their 39 field goals were assisted and their team assist to turnover ratio was over 2:1. As you would expect the rebounding differential was huge; the Cardinal (56) more than doubled up the Lions (26). Vanguard never did pose a threat to win and did not challenge the Card bigs. Stanford scored the first 16 points of the game. However the Lions did not let the Cardinal guards relax too much, which provided good experience for the Hones-less line-up. Next up is Minnesota. The Golden Gophers beat Concordia-St. Paul 69 – 54 in an exhibition on November 2nd. Minnesota has been picked to finish in the middle of the Big 10. Four starters return from a team that reached the NCAA tournament and finished 20-12 in 2007-08. Senior G Emily Fox (17.2 ppg) is their top returning player and an All-American candidate. Junior G Katie Ohm (7.6 ppg) is their best three-point shooter (40.1%). Defending the Gophers' outside attack will be critical. If the Cardinal can contain the Gopher guards successfully, the Card should be in great shape, as the Gophers may have trouble coping inside. The Gophers do not have a lot of size. 6'2" F/C Ashley Ellis-Mann averaged 9.9 points and 7.1 rebounds last season but Minnesota does not have much experience inside otherwise. This will be a good opening test for the Cardinal, especially if Hones and Pedersen are not available. For Don Anderson's photo gallery and slideshow from this game, click HERE.
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