Timber! Tree falls on Huskies

The No. 4 Stanford women overcame a gutsy performance by the University of Washington Saturday afternoon en route to a 75-67 victory in front of a season-high Hec Edmundson Pavilion crowd of 5,672.

Before claiming victory, the Cardinal had to withstand a huge run from the Huskies. With 5:03 remaining in the game, the Huskies found themselves down 50-66 with momentum in Stanford's favor. But instead of folding and letting the score get out of hand, the home-town team put together a barrage of points in the final minutes that would cause the game to go down to the final 60 seconds before finally being decided.

Washington center Andrea Lalum led the charge, coming up big in the second half after scoring just two points before intermission. A lay-in from the sophomore and a free throw got the ball rolling for the Purple and Gold. Kellie O'Neill put back her own miss and Loree Payne drove the lane for a lay-in of her own to get the Huskies to within nine at 57-66. A short runner by Stanford star Lindsay Yamasaki pushed it back to an 11 point game, but the hot-shooting Payne answered with two consecutive three-pointers to close the gap to five with just 2:11 remaining.

Showing the kind of poise that championship teams possess, the Cardinal weathered the storm and got the ball in the hands of Yamasaki, its go-to player. The senior sharpshooter from Oregon City, Oregon put the team on her back, scoring the team's final nine points down the stretch to close the deal for the Cardinal.

Yamasaki ended the night with a team-high 19 points on 8-17 shooting.

"She was the dagger," said Washington Head Coach June Daugherty of Yamasaki. "It seems like she's on a mission. She is definitely an incredible player - she's talented and plays so hard."

Stanford (18-1, 8-0 Pac-10) looked to be well in control at half, holding a 17-point advantage, but coming out of the locker room the lead diminished quickly. Washington stormed out with a 14-2 run to draw to within five just 4:56 into the second half. But before the Huskies could get any closer, Stanford guard Sebnem Kimyacioglu nailed back-to-back three pointers to push the lead back up to 11 with at the 13:39 mark. The Cardinal lead would never go under nine again until the UW's scoring tirade in the final minutes.

Along with Yamasaki, three others finished in double-digits scoring for Stanford. Kimyacioglu had 14, Cori Enghusen poured in 13, and Suminski added 10.

Washington was led by the 19 points of Payne and the 17 of Lalum. Giuliana Mendiola added 11 despite 3-12 shooting from the field.

From the opening tip, it was apparent that the Huskies came to play. They benefited from the backing of a tremendous turnout from the home crowd to stay with Stanford stride for stride for the first eight minutes of the game. Limiting the Cardinal to just one shot attempt on each possession kept UW close early on, and the Huskies pulled even at 12 on a Kayla Burt free throw at the 11:50 mark. The teams headed to the benches as a timeout was called on the floor.

Coming out of the break in action, Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer sent reserve center Cori Enghusen into the game. The move paid off as the 6-7 senior from Inglemoor High School keyed 16-2 Cardinal run in barely over a five-minute span, using her height to score on four shots within five feet of the basket.

"Cori was a difference maker for them tonight," said Daugherty. "She was definitely a huge factor in the game."

Suddenly down 14-28, June Daugherty's squad battled back. Forward Emily Autrey made a lay-in inside. Kristen O'Neill stole the ball and finished with a fast break lay-in at the other end. Mendiola knocked in one of two free throws. And Payne went baseline on a slick crossover move and laid it in to draw the home team to within 21-30.

But Stanford withstood the run, and ended the first half with one of their own in the final 2:43. Three pointers from its two freshman guards, Kimyacioglu and Kelley Suminski, keyed a 10-2 run to make it 40-23 as the teams headed to the locker room.

That stretch stands out as the difference in the game according to Daugherty.

"The last three minutes of the first half is where I think we fell short tonight," she said. "That made the hole awfully big, and to me that was the ballgame."

Enghusen and Kimyacioglu led the Cardinal with eight points apiece before half.
Game Notes:

Palo Alto Passion: As usual, Stanford's traveling contingent came into play during the game. The Cardinal brought with them its band, four cheerleaders, its tree mascot, and quite a few rabid fans as well. No other school in the Pac-10 - both men's and women's considered - travels quite like Stanford.

Up Next: Washington will head to Pullman for a game against Washington State on January 25. It will be the team's lone game on the schedule next week before it heads down to Los Angeles for match ups against USC on February 1 and UCLA on February 3. The next home game isn't until February 7, when the Arizona Wildcats come to town for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Dawgman.com Top Stories