NCAA

Stanford had gameplan, not talent, to beat Baylor

720286.jpg

Stanford had gameplan, not talent, to beat Baylor

DENVER, Co. Stanford has lost in blow-out fashion, to powerhouses like UConn and Tennessee.It has lost in heartbreaking fashion, blowing a lead to Texas A&M.Sunday Stanford lost in inevitable fashion, to Brittney Griners Baylor steamroller, which is expected to claim a national championship Tuesday night.But, the details of the losses start to fade and blur. The reality is Stanford lost again. The Cardinal are the Buffalo Bills of womens basketball. On the 20th anniversary of its last national championship, Stanford reached the ultimate stage the Final Four for the fifth straight time, only to leave without a national championship.Thankfully, Tara VanDerveer wasnt asked to explain her teams inability to reach its elusive title, after the 59-47 loss to Baylor at the Pepsi Center.Because there was really nothing to explain this year: the reasons behind the loss were obvious. The post game questioning had to do with the gameplan against Brittney Griner.And VanDerveer had a good gameplan. She just didnt have the players to execute it.She had one great player: Nneka Ogwumike, who tried to put her team on her back and kept fighting to the bitter end. VanDerveer had one extremely good player, Chiney Ogwumike, who fouled out with 7:39 to play.And she had some average players and some freshmen who could grow into something.VanDerveers plan contained Griner: her team relentlessly double-teamed the 6-8 player,limiting her to zero dunks and just 13 points, her second lowest output of the season, and three field goals, tied for her season low.But Stanford couldnt get its own offense on track.The Cardinal needed a perimeter game and went 2-for-17 from the three point line. Nneka Ogwumike started attacking Griner with success in the second half, and led all players with 22 points but it wasnt enough. She confessed to having to overcome a psychological hurdle against Griner.I was definitely psyching myself out, she said.We were too worried about her. In reality attacking her wasnt as hard as we thought it would be.Ogwumike, like Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen before her, has had every one of her Stanford seasons end in the Final Four. Its an incredible accomplishment, but a bittersweet one. Over the years, Nneka went from being devastated by the losses, to annoyed, to accepting. Sunday night she seemed philosophical. She knows its better to lose in the Final Four than the alternative.Now shes passing the torch to her sister.I really wish we could have won this game for her, Chiney said.I think she was the best player in the game tonight. She was the best player on the court, and I am proud to say that.Stanford, as always, gets an A for effort. An A for sportsmanship. An A for preparation and gameplanning. But the Cardinal still hasnt got what it really wants.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

love-ap.jpg
AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

lasco-ap.jpg
AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report