Once again I raced home from work, only to find the Stanford Women’s Basketball game vs. USC to open Pac-12 play is not on TV. I thought the PAC-12 was supposed to change this? The reason for the merger was more exposure for teams, especially women. Just when is this going to happen, people?
I did have a place on the web, supposedly, that I could see that game. It is the CBS All Access site. So I went to the All Access site and discovered you have to pay a monthly fee. Hmm, on December 29th, if I buy it, do I only get it for 3 days and then have to pay for a new month? I am cheap. It was a Hard Candy Christmas (Dolly Parton song, go look it up).
So I made the executive decision to go free and cheap with Gametracker, which is why I am not an executive. By the time I got to Gametracker, the website that had the play-by-play acted out by little red icons, we were already down 2-5 to the Women of Troy. Stanford’s Player of the Year candidate Nneka Ogwumike is shooting ice cold, already 1-4 from field in the early minutes.
USC was without their star player Jacki Gemelos, who tore her ACL for the FIFTH time. The jokester in me started to think of some witty word play to write, but then reality hit me; there’s nothing funny about an injury, and to tear up your knee for the fifth time is just heartbreaking.
Back to the game. This time Gametracker was really bad. There were jumps in scores, omissions of Stanford scoring, phantom fouls. Nneka shooting but no foul called? I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it, so went to get a sandwich.
When I returned with said sandwich, we were up 13-5. My, how fortunes change! Nneka still looked like she was cold, though.
Finally I switched over to ESPN’s website and play-by-play. You don’t get to see the little red icons running around, but it is more reliable. At the official TV timeout at 9:36 in the first, it is 15-14, Stanford. Wait a minute, TV time out? What TV time out? This game isn’t on TV! Then Stanford was up by 10. ESPN website has a lag, so I switched back and forth between the two to try to keep current. Yeah, it’s just not the same to read the play-by-play as seeing it live or digitally.
Then Chiney Ogwumike got a foul with 3:51 left in the first. It was her first of the game, which is a record for her. Usually she fouls in the first minute of the game and head coach Tara VanDerveer makes her take a seat for most of the half. This game she got to play a lot early on and Stanford was up by 9. Jos Tinkle played in her stead. With Chiney out, if Gametracker is to be believed, USC made a comeback. The score was 31-28 and the Stanford lead was only 3 with 48 seconds left, so Tara made a bold move to put Chiney back in. It was a risky move if she picked up a foul in such a short time. She didn’t, but Toni Kokenis made the a bad choice to foul USC’s Briana Gilbreath with 6 seconds left. She is a good shooter and hit both free throws to go into the locker room with her team only down by 3, 33-30, and enjoying an emotional boost. (By the way, she plays with her older sister Stephanie Gilbreath, like the Ogwumike sisters).
Wish we could tell you who did what in the second half but we were limited. Stanford clung to the same three point lead for the first 13 minutes of the second half. Well, it was more like a three point swing for those 13 minutes, with the teams staying neck and neck and trading baskets and the lead. At one time USC went up by one. Then in the final minutes Nneka got a little hotter, Chiney also heated up, and Toni decided to score. Nneka would end the night with 19, Chiney 12, and Toni 15. Everyone else for Stanford would have one point, to make the final score 61-53. In other words, the same 3 did all the scoring. Should we look a gift horse in the mouth? They did get the win. Or should we be troubled Stanford can’t get five consistent scorers?
One thing that did stand out on Gametracker was missed free throws, in particular Chiney who went 4-9 from the line. The team as a whole was 13-22, for a total of 59% free throw shooting percentage. Tara cannot be happy about that. Floor shooting was not much better. Of our big three scoring threats, Nneka was 6-16 and Toni was right behind her going 7-16. Chiney was a more respectable 4-6 from close range. Lindy LaRocque, also a starter, was 1-9. Hmmm. Maybe the air down there is affecting them. The bad news is they have to stay and play UCLA next.