Stanford Shuts Down the Sooners

In their most convincing win this season, the Cardinal defeated their nemesis of two years past. Both teams looked very different from the teams that met in the NCAA tournament in 2001, yet Stanford's win over a good Oklahoma squad will no doubt secure their place in the top ten.


The Cardinal held #19 Oklahoma to only 38 points, the lowest scoring total for any opponent this year. It was a game filled with bright spots: Azella Perryman had her fourth double-double, King and Suminski ran some of the smoothest offensive sets of the year, the tight player-to-player held Oklahoma to an abysmal 28% field goal percentage, and last, but certainly not least, Nicole Powell returned to the lineup for the first time this season.


Stanford's efficient passing lead them to a quick ten point lead. The Sooners' quick duo of Maria Villarroel and Dionnah Jackson mounted a backcourt comeback that brought the Sooners within two with 3:48 left in the half. The 22-20 margin was as close as they would come. Villaroel and Jackson combined for 22 of Oklahoma's 38 points, but their missed lay-ups and free throws at crucial moments contributed to Oklahoma's downfall.


In contrast to Oklahoma, Stanford relied on a multitude of luminaries to contain the Sooners. Perryman lead the way with 14 points and 14 rebounds on 7 for 11 shooting. Azella's moves down low continue to look stronger and more athletic each game. Out on the wings, Kelley Suminski and Susan King, fed by good passes from each other, came in with 10 and 12 points respectively. Under the category of making the most of limited playing time, Chelsea Trotter played a busy seven minutes, pulling in 2 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, and 5 rebounds. T'Nae Thiel complemented the play of Trotter and Perryman by shutting down Oklahoma star Theresa Schuknecht in the post. Rounding out the balanced attack was a bench player no one had seen yet this year, junior Nicole Powell.


In her first game back from nursing a painful bulging disk in her lower back, Nicole Powell wasted no time showing the Maples crowd that she was ready to play. She showed no signs of discomfort as she dived and jumped on defense, and drove and spun on offense. She ended the game with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Although Powell was right back to trying out all of her favorite moves, at times she looked out of synch with her teammates. Practice and game experience will no doubt work out the kinks in Powell's game, but it will be interesting to see what her role will be in this year's version of the Cardinal. How does an All-American blend into a team that has been characterized by an all for one and one for all spirit? If anything, Powell's presence will be a positive one, providing yet another weapon in Stanford's arsenal.


Stanford's November 30 win against #2 Kansas State marked their only other contest against a Big XII opponent. With two victories against ranked teams from a strong conference, Stanford should see their RPI and their cache increase with the NCAA committee in March. If they can pull out a convincing victory against Pepperdine on Sunday afternoon, that win will put the cap on a very successful non-conference season. Add their non-conference success to two early wins in the Pac-10 and a bolstered roster of twelve players, and Stanford has prepared themselves well to begin the week in-week out grind of January and February.

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