No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52


No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52

Dec. 28, 2010

STANFORD,Calif. (AP) Tara VanDerveer sent her players home for a short holidaybreak with a scouting report DVD. Her players sure showed up as ifthey'd studied the film and then some.Bring on unbeaten Connecticut.Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 23 points and11 rebounds and No. 9 Stanford pulled off a surprising rout offourth-ranked Xavier with an 89-52 victory Tuesday for its 51ststraight home win.What a tuneup for Thursday's highly anticipated showdown with top-ranked UConn."This was a real important game forour team," VanDerveer said. "I'm really proud of how everyone prepared.Everyone really knew what we needed them to do and they came out anddid it."Jeanette Pohlen added 19 points, ninerebounds, six assists and three steals and Kayla Pedersen had 14 pointsfor the Cardinal (8-2), who beat the third-seeded Musketeers in theSacramento Regional last March when Pohlen drove the length of thefloor in 4.4 seconds and scored the game-winning layin as time expiredfor a 55-53 victory. That win sent Stanford back to its third straightFinal Four. The play was shown over and over again on the highlightreels.This game lacked any such drama.Amber Harris had 18 points and ninerebounds for cold-shooting Xavier (10-2), which lost its secondstraight game after a 10-0 start.Special Jennings had 12 points andTa'Shia Phillips grabbed 12 rebounds for the overmatched Musketeers,who were coming off a 46-45 defeat at Duke on Dec. 21 for their firstloss of the season. They committed 30 turnovers and shot 38 percent inthat game, then didn't look much better in shooting 30 percent againstStanford."They won that game in the firstfour minutes. They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of intensityand we were kind of on our heels," Jennings said. "We just didn't showup today. I don't know what else to say. We did not play the way we arecapable, and the way we are known to play."The Cardinal came out with energy onboth ends of the floor in their first game since VanDerveer became thesixth women's coach to get 800 wins with a 100-45 victory over formerStanford stars turned coaches Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding at SanFrancisco last Wednesday.Next up: UConn on Thursday night atsold-out Maples Pavilion. It's a rematch of last year's NCAAchampionship won 53-47 by the Huskies after Stanford led 20-12 athalftime."It's coming and we're veryexcited," VanDerveer said. "This is December and I think we're reallymaking great progress. For us to have played who we've played, I feellike we've played a brutal schedule. With the exception of USF we'vehad to work really hard, and I think that will pay off for us Thursdayand pay off for us in the Pac-10. Our team will be focused. They willbe ready. I know they will have a great effort and we will learn moreabout our team."The Cardinal are the last team to beat the Huskies, in the 2008 national semifinals in Tampa, Fla.UConn was set to play later Tuesdayat Pacific in Stockton going for its 90th straight victory in what wasexpected to be a lopsided warmup for the game with Stanford."Today we came out and we were sofocused and we were very aggressive," Pedersen said. "We're going tohave to be even more aggressive than we were today. Going into halftimewe're going to have to keep the momentum and come out in the secondhalf and be the aggressor."Stanford held a 44-41 reboundingadvantage against the imposing front line featuring the 6-foot-6Phillips and 6-5 Harris - who combined for 34 rebounds in the loss toDuke. But Harris, the team's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game,wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday after sitting out Monday'spractice as a medical precaution after she was hit against Duke andsuffered concussion-like symptoms. Harris checked in at the 16:26 mark,started the second half and wound up 6 for 11 from the floor.Freshman Chiney Ogwumike added 10points, five rebounds and four steals for Stanford, which committedonly eight turnovers while forcing 17.Xavier missed its first 10field-goal tries before Katie Rutan hit a 3-pointer at the 13:49 markof the first half. The Musketeers went 2 for 18 from 3-point range inthe game and began 5 for 21 to fall behind 37-24 at halftime. Phillipsdidn't score her first points until a basket with 7:11 left in theopening half.Ogwumike had 15 points and eightrebounds by halftime, including making 5 of 5 free throws. Stanford gotto the line 11 times and converted 10.The Musketeers didn't look all thatinspired considering the way the tournament game ended. Xavier's DeeDee Jernigan missed two wide-open layins in the closing 12 seconds thatlikely would have sent the Musketeers to San Antonio for their firstFinal Four - but they watched as Pohlen won it instead.Last season's meeting in the NCAA tournament was the only other matchup between these programs.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.