Three shots in the final seconds and not one of them falls.
The Cal players looked stunned in the moments after the buzzer sounded on their 77-75 loss to 12th-ranked Ohio State at Haas Pavilion on Saturday.
Three losses this season. All to ranked teams. By a combined total of six points.
This one might have been more brutal than the others because it happened at home, it happened after the Bears battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit against the unbeaten Buckeyes, because it seemed like if they had played only a minute of two longer, the Bears would have finished the job.
“I think this was a litmus test that told us that we are not quite there yet, not quite where we want to be,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said after the game. “We want to be an elite team. We want to be a top-10 team. We want to be where Ohio State is and where other teams are now. We’re not quite there yet, but it does feel good to know that is within reach.”
The Bears look fast, deep, aggressive and talented. Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray are dynamic, impact freshmen. Layshia Clarendon, Eliza Pierre play with the confidence of veterans. Gennifer Brandon, with her 24 points and 24 rebounds, plays as if her last name should be Ogwumike.
They look like a strong candidate to be the second-best team in the Pac-12 with the conference season just a week or so away.
They look like they are this-close.
Archive for the 'National News' Category
Join me for a live blog of one of the biggest games in the Bay Area this season. It’s going to be a big couple of days with Tennessee coming into town on Tuesday.
Before boarding my fight home…
To play Connecticut on the road in November in the week before Thanksgiving is less about winning than information gathering for Stanford.
But, and that’s a big but, winning would be good too.
Winning would mean you are farther than you thought you were, matching up with a team that could very well again be the best team in the nation by the time the season’s over.
Winning could mean that you’ve executed well the things you’ve been practicing over the last month and a half.
Winning would have been cool.
Stanford will have to leave Connecticut this morning with the consolation prize that Monday night’s 68-58 loss to UConn was a winnable game.
The Cardinal could have silenced the crowd at the XL Center, could have knocked the Huskies back. Could have. But they didn’t.
And maybe the valuable lessons on Monday night are ultimately more valuable.
Lesson No. 1 – Turnovers will cost you. Should be an obvious one, and there was a portend for this in Stanford’s game against Gonzaga more than a week ago when the Cardinal struggled to take care of the ball in the first half against the Zags, but did a better job in the second.
But 16 turnovers against the Huskies translated into 16 lost opportunities to score. Can’t do that against Geno’s team.
It was a rough night for guard Toni Kokenis, who had three turnovers. It was even rougher for Chiney Ogwumike, who turned the ball over five times. And neither could make up for mistakes with offense, combining to shoot 5 of 25 from the floor.
Lesson No. 2 – Foul trouble will cost you too. Grouse about the officiating if you’d like, but Nneka picking up her second foul trying to take a charge was a high risk choice on her part and it led to her spending 14 minutes on the bench in the first half. Minutes that Stanford needed her on the floor.
Lesson No. 3 – Defense needs some shoring up. Connecticut missed a lot of shots, but they weren’t bad shots. The Huskies might not have taken advantage of every opportunity, but there were a lot of them. It would sound like holding the Huskies to 35.7 percent shooting would be a win. But it’s a deceiving number.
Ok on the positive side…
Bright spots – Sarah Boothe. Boothe had her best game in a very long time. She was 4 of 5 for eight points in 19 minutes on the floor and did good, physical defensive work on Connecticut’s Stefanie Dolson, who ended up hitting just two shots from the floor.
Jasmine Camp. The freshman guard was the Cardinal’s most productive backcourt player. She scored 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting and dished out three assists with no turnovers. She was poised and played well under pressure.
Next up is a Xavier team that is frankly a shell of its former self with the departure of coach Kevin McGuff and the graduation of Ta’Shia Phillips and Amber Harris.
Time to start applying lessons.
My Pac-12 preview for Pac-12.org.
Working a lot of different angles right now, including the weekly Stanford Total Access series for espnW. Will get some preseason content up over the weekend.
The second installment of the Stanford series…
Working on league preview for the Pac-12 and endeavoring to get schedule reviews done this week.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said she found out about Pat Summitt’s diagnosis of early onset dementia before the story was released to the press, getting a call at her Minnesota vacation home from Tennessee Director of Operations Kathy Hairston.
“Pat didn’t want people to find out on the news,” VanDerveer said Tuesday afternoon.
VanDerveer said the news was “shocking” and “numbing.”
And the Cardinal coach then did what she always does – her research.
“I read up as much as I could,” VanDerveer said. “There are treatments and information about what they can do. But it’s very serious. It’s just nothing something I would ever have expected.”
VanDerveer also issued a statement through Stanford athletics regarding her longtime coaching colleague and rival. Stanford and Tennessee have been playing an annual non-conference series that dates back to 1988.
Tennessee will be coming to Stanford to play on Dec. 20 and with Summitt committed to remaining with the team, the legendary coach will be in Maples Pavilion.
“Hearing today’s news about Pat Summit’s diagnosis was numbing to me,” VanDerveer said. “Pat is not only a great coach but she has been an outstanding mentor and friend. She has shown great courage in announcing this news. I know that she has the best support group around her that anyone could ask for, and I know that Pat will fight this development with the strength, spirit and determination that she has shown throughout her Hall of Fame career. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”
Jetted back from Springfield this morning after last night’s impressive ceremony in Springfield.
Might feel compelled to post a few parting thoughts once I’m back in California after I’ve had a few hours of sleep.
My story for Pac-12.org on Tara VanDerveer’s Hall of Fame induction