"This was Ros' night," VanDerveer said.
Indeed, it was. The senior guard from Queens hit her first six three-point field goals en route to a career high 26 points on 9-13 shooting as the Cardinal had little trouble dispatching the Hawkeyes in a second round NCAA tournament game.
An Iowa team braced to contain Stanford's ‘big three' post players had no answer for Ros, and the best shooting night of her Stanford career.
"When [Ros] came out and hit those three-pointers, you could tell that gave them a lot of confidence," Iowa coach Lisa Blunder said. "You could tell they felt really good out there."
But the good vibes on the Stanford sideline weren't just limited to Gold-Onwude. Star forward Nneka Ogwumike had a prototypical dominate performance with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen chipped in 11 points apiece.
As far as Stanford's future in the 2010 tournament goes, the play of Jayne Appel was the biggest positive from tonight's contest. Playing on a sprained ankle, Appel had one of her best games in some time, scoring 16 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and chipping in three assists and two blocks for good measure in 23 minutes of game time.
Appel and Ogwumike also helped limit Iowa's starting front line of Morgan Johnson and Kelly Krei to a combined 4-14 shooting.
Still, the story of this night was Ros. After Iowa cut an early Stanford lead to 16-14 with 14:44 left in the first half, Gold-Onwude began to impose her will. She hit back-to-back three pointers then assisted on an Ogwumike lay-up to put Stanford up 26-16, and the Cardinal were on their way.
"It's just huge," Appel said of Ros' unexpected offensive performance. "We depend a lot on Ros for defense. She is our No.1 defensive stopper on our team and everyone is aware of that. When Ros is coming out and hitting big shots for us everyone just starts building energy off of each other. It's hard for the other team to stop and that's kind of what happened tonight."
In large part due to the 29-4 first half run sparked by Gold-Onwude, Stanford extended its lead to 61-34 at halftime, and cruised the rest of the way.
Although Iowa shot fairly well from the field, (44% for the game) Stanford was otherworldly from beyond the arc (11-18), from the field (56%) and on the boards (41-27 rebounding edge.)
"We've had some great games this season but we definitely got out of the blocks fast tonight," VanDerveer said. "Obviously our shooting and our three-point shooting [were strong, but] I thought our defense was good. We really locked down on [Kamille Wahlin] and [Jaime Printy]. [Kachine Alexander, who scored a career high 27] was a tough match-up for us and we struggled with her a little bit, but we were willing to give those shots, trading the twos for the threes."
And now, it's onto Sacramento, as Stanford prepares to take on fifth seeded Georgia, who squeaked out a 74-71 overtime victory over Oklahoma State earlier today in Tempe, Arizona. Although it may seem like the Cardinal played the perfect game against Iowa tonight, VanDerveer would like to see an even better effort come Saturday.
"I think we can improve and come out and play next week up in Sacramento even better," she said.
Notes and Quotes
-Although the story of the game was obviously the play of Gold-Onwude, Ogwumike's athleticism and rebounding abilities stood out to Iowa coach Lisa Blunder.
"She's beautiful to watch," Blunder said. "This place should be sold out every game just to watch her. She's just a physical specimen. You can't box her out. She just floats over the top of you."
-Appel had one of her better games since spraining her ankle, but seems to still be dealing with some nagging pain.
"Well I think Jayne just blocks out pain and she just wants to play so badly," VanDerveer said. "I think she's the leader of this team. She's an All-American in not just how she plays but how she does other things with our team. She's a great player. Jayne is a very special player and a very special person and I'm very fortunate to coach her. She's the real deal."
-Stanford's first half scoring output of 61 points marked a season high total for the Cardinal. Their previous high from the 2009-2010 campaign was 59, on November 29 against Gonzaga and Oregon on February 18.
-Stanford ended their 2010 home schedule adding onto their winning streak at Maples Pavilion which now stands at 46.
-After the game, both Ros and Jayne took some time to reflect on their last home contest at Maples.
"Our fans at Maples Pavilion are wonderful and not just tonight but throughout my entire career they come in game in and game out, for big games, [and] games that might not be as big," Ros said. "But tonight for my final game at Maples Pavilion I really couldn't have scripted it any better. I feel really special and happy right now and the fans really made me feel really nice tonight and I thank them for just elevating me like that, and my teammates as well."
Appel added: "Ros tried to have a special moment when she came out of the game and I kind of shut her down and told her she wasn't allowed to have that because we have four more," Appel said. "That's our goal, but we've had fans come out and support us in the little games and the big games and to have a crowd like tonight and to play as well as our team played it's a great feeling. Really, it kind of helps get the train really moving along the way to the national championship game, which is our goal."
-If there was one negative from tonight's performance, it was probably the struggles of the end of the Cardinal's bench. The nine reserves not named Joslyn Tinkle who saw game action tonight combined to go 0-7 from the field and commit four turnovers against two assists. Still, VanDerveer made a point to appreciate their contributions.
"We have 14 players who are healthy and on our team right now," VanDerveer said. "I think Joslyn is getting very valuable experience. I thought she did a very good job in the second half but honestly we need more. I think Michelle Harrison is playing very well for us. She's had an excellent two games in this tournament. JJ hones came in and had three steals, played great help side so she really helped us, and Mel Muprhy – those are the top four that come in off the bench. "Then basically when we have two minutes left I like to play everyone. Hannah [Donaghe's] been hurt, Mikaela [Ruef] has a long way to go, she's coming in as a freshman. I want to get them game time but I think the most important thing is for people to understand they're all very important to our team's success and getting in is a reward and take advantage and play hard and do the right thing. So I thought Ashley Cimino did very well. She came in add did the things we wanted her to do."
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