Stefanie Dolson was tasked with limiting Stanford All-American candidate Chiney Ogwumike effectiveness and came up with an outstanding effort as No. 2 Connecticut upended the top-ranked Cardinal’s 61-35 at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 29. Dolson, a 6-5 junior, held Ogwumike to 18 points on 6-of-22 shooting from the floor.
UConn (11-0), using their full-court man-to-man pressure defense, took Stanford out of their rhythm offense from the get go. The Cardinal’s kept the game tight for the first five minutes of the game and then things unraveled.
With the game tied at 5-5, UConn guard Bria Hartley knocked down a three-pointer to ignite a 17-2 to give the Huskies a 22-7 lead with 9:57 left in the first half. UConn, known for their tough defense under head coach Geno Auriemma, held Stanford to just 15.2 percent shooting in the first half (5-33). The Huskies took a 31-13 halftime as they also struggled shooting from the field.
Ogwumike opened up the second half scoring with a pair of free throws to get Stanford within 16 (33-15). The Cardinal’s kept battling but could not get any closer until the 11:42 mark, when Bonnie Samuelson knocked down consecutive three-pointers to trim the deficit to 44-29.
UConn would respond by going on a 17-5 run over the next 8:11 to go up 61-34.
UConn’s victory over Stanford is their fifth in the last six meetings and first at Maples Pavilion (1-3). The Huskies lead the all-time series 8-6.
The Top five performers
1. Dolson, Most Outstanding Player -UConn
Dolson is mainly in the top spot for her defensive effort on Ogwumike but she was also effective on the offensive end.
Defensively, Dolson forced Ogwumike into a bunch of tough shots as she kept her body in front of Ogwumike every time Ogwumike drove to the basket. Dolson also did a nice job rebounding the ball and keeping Ogwumike off the boards. Dolson, who grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half, finished the game with 14 rebounds including 11 on the defensive end.
Offensively, Dolson scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. She also contributed three assists. Dolson has scored in double figures eight times this year.
2. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - UConn
Mosqueda-Lewis is so smooth that her contributions often go unnoticed. She led the Huskies with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. Mosqueda-Lewis also grabbed six rebounds and doled out an assist.
Mosqueda-Lewis has scored in double figures 10 times this year. She leads the squad with 16.7 points a game.
3. Breanna Stewart – UConn
Stewart, the leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year, wasn’t her fantastic self, however, she was still effective off the bench.
Stewart scored all nine of her points during UConn’s decisive 24-7 first half run. She finished the half shooting 2-of-7 from the field but was 5-of-5 from the free throw line and also grabbed four rebounds.
For the game, Stewart shot 2-of-9 from the floor, grabbed six rebounds and had two steals in 24 minutes.
4. Ogwumike –Stanford
While Ogwumike struggled shooting from the field, she still managed to record her ninth double-double of the season (18 points and 13 rebounds). Ogwumike was relentless on the offensive boards (seven) and went all out the whole game despite being frustrated by the UConn defense.
Ogwumike did force several shot attempts.
5. Kelly Faris –UConn
Faris had an outstanding all-around game. She scored 10 points, seven of which came in the first half, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists. Faris shot 3-of-8 from the field including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, and came up with three steals in 38 minutes.
Faris, who has started at power forward the last three games, helped the Huskies hold Joslyn Tinkle to just two points on 1-of-5 shooting. Tinkle came into the game as the Cardinal’s second leading scorer, averaging 13.9 points a game.
Who won key matchups/ important parts of the game?
1.Geno Auriemma vs. Tara VanDerveer
In the battle of Naismith Hall of Famers, Auriemma without a doubt out coached VanDerveer.
Auriemma had an excellent game plan, especially on the defensive end. The Huskies, who used multiple defensive strategies to shut down Ogwumike, kept the Cardinal’s offense from getting into any kind of rhythm. UConn played Ogwumike straight up and on occasion came with double as well as triple teams.
Stanford made just 11 field goals and shot 19.3 percent (11-57) from the field, both of which are record lows for the program.
It was just a bad day all around for VanDerveer and the Cardinal’s. Stanford couldn’t get anything going and looked one-dimensional offensively.
Stanford did get to the bucket on a regular basis on dribble penetration by the guards.
The loss was Stanford’s worst home defeat in 26 years under VanDerveer and it snapped the Cardinal’s 82 game-home winning streak. Stanford had not lost at Maples Pavilion since March 2007.
On a positive note, Stanford held UConn to a season low 61 points.
2. Dolson and Stewart versus Tinkle and Ogwumike
Dolson and Stewart won this matchup, thanks in large part to Dolson’s defense, as they permitted Stanford just 16 points in the paint all game.
Dolson and Stewart combined for 19 points, 20 rebounds and three steals. The duo also combined to shoot 6-of-15 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
While Ogwumike went all out, Tinkle was invisible for most of the game. The two combined for 20 points, 19 rebounds (11 offensive) and four turnovers. They also combined to shoot 7-for-27 from the field.
3. Amber Orrange versus Caroline Doty/Bria Hartley
Doty and Hartley harassed Orrange all night. Orrange, who came into the game averaging 10.9 points and 5.36 assists a game, did not tally a point or an assist versus the Huskies. Orrange was 0-for-6 from the field and committed four turnovers. She also hauled in six rebounds.
4. Turnovers: UConn 7, Stanford 14. UConn converted Stanford’s turnovers into 15 points while the Cardinal’s were only able to produce four points off of UConn’s miscues.
5. Rebounding: Stanford slightly edged UConn 44-40 in total but dominated the offensive glass (17-6). While offensive rebounding did not hurt the Huskies in this game, it is a cause for concern. Offensive rebounding and defending the three-point shot are the two chinks in UConn’s armor (if you want to call it that).
6. Three-point shooting: Both teams struggled mightily from beyond the arc. UConn was 6-of-24 from the three-point line while Stanford was just 2-of-12. The Huskies are shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc while the Cardinal’s are shooting at a 33.1 percent clip for the season.
7. Bench production: UConn’s bench outscored Stanford’s reserves 12-9.
UConn, ranked number one in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll, improved to 12-0 on the season with a 95-51 victory over Oregon on Dec. 31. The Huskies received 37 of the 40 first place votes and sits 49 points ahead of second-ranked Baylor.
UConn will host fifth-ranked Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 5. The game, which has been sold out, will be televised by CBS at 4 p.m. EST.
Stanford fell to fourth in the AP Poll and will try to right themselves when they face 20th-ranked Colorado in Boulder on Jan 4.