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Zafran: Is it time to hit the panic button?


It finally happened: dominant, impenetrable and invincible (no early season overtime pay) stanford women’s basketball team lost.

Yes, it was my first time falling to a Pac-12 opponent in 40 matches. Yes, they were in the tail end of the expedition. Yes, it was the third loss in over a calendar year. So why all the hype over Sunday’s 55-46 loss to USC, a team with a winning percentage over his 75%?

The simple (and reasonable, cold) answer is no. None of the Cardinal’s vital parts have fallen. They stand above the Pac-12, but now he’s tied with No. 8 Utah and he No. 24 Colorado. They still boast defenses that smother paint and dominate glass.

But perhaps the loss to USC points to something bigger. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to single out just one game. Sometimes it’s just not your day. Saturday night’s revelry isn’t kind to these games on Sunday noon. But seriously, Stanford shot 31% from the field, 19% from behind the arc, and, perhaps most surprisingly, scored zero points in transition. Watching the Trojan sink his two quarters, his end buzzer, his beater and his 3-pointer through the glass at a pivotal moment certainly doesn’t help either.

But Sunday’s loss sheds light on just a few reminders that this team isn’t foolproof.when kiana williams ’21 graduated champion after Stanford’s latest national championshiphead coach Tara Vandelbier apparently didn’t realize that the resignation of the floor general would be a stumbling block two years later.

Despite last year final for runthe lack of a reliable ball handler caused major problems throughout the season.When Texas invaded the Maples Pavilion and forced 20 turnovers, Early season upset, it was clear that something had to change. Vanderveer experimented with Lacy Hull ’22, Anna Wilson ’22, Jordan Hamilton ’22 and Hayley Jones each in lead guard duties, but ultimately fell to the floor on offense that required his generals. A long-term solution may not have been found as it has leveled off. at UConn last year.

Fast forward to this year and freshman Telana Lepolo not only stepped up to the challenge.with her 11 assists and zero turnovers debutit was clear from the start that a local kid could fill the void created in Williams’ absence. I often ask for it.

And since the turn of the new year, there has been a sharp shift in offensive power as opponents have adapted to the Stanford team. It took Cardinal nearly four minutes to get on board. win It was the defense that led them to victory over No. 15 Arizona and, as Vanderveer admitted in the post-game presser. The team’s next game at Cal saw just 26% of their shots from the field in the first half, and they faced a legitimate upset until seven unanswered points were allowed. escape berkeley with victory. Things looked bleak at No. 8 UCLA heading into the fourth quarter last Friday, but 15-0 runs Cameron Brink’s six blocked shots in this period (yes, that’s right) gave him the victory over what appeared to be the Pac-12’s primary threat.

Sheer talent, physicality, and defensive presence overshadowed those shortcomings, but it was only a matter of time before Stanford landed on the losing row, even on a day when USC shot 27% from the field. , the cardinals could not win.

The attack plateaus past the point of letting Cam and Haley off. With Hannah Jump guarding his face, Stanford went to the perimeter, where his lack of shooting allowed the opposing team to clog the lane. Lepolo is the only player who shoots more than 40% of his shots from deep. Statistically the next best shooter? Agnes Emma Nunop’s dropoff is her 8%, and her one-third of her 3-pointers this year have come in the past two games.

The resulting spacing reduces the Cardinal’s offense to a series of on-ball screens, moving the defenders down and allowing the help-side defenders to rotate without worrying about their assignments being opened up to jumpers. Brink has shown dramatic improvement in the post, demonstrating his ability to flip over both shoulders. But unless she shows an open look from her flex cut, Junior doesn’t have time to maneuver low as her team is digging in the moment she touches the ball.

So what do you get? Well, I never thought the day would come when I thought VanDerveer should change her approach. Access to Meyer Green from Rath En Mall.

In essence, it’s time for the offensive game plan to accommodate the team’s strengths and weaknesses. A low field goal percentage is not the result of a player’s performance. Haley Jones has been in tears since being criticized against South Carolina. Hannah Jump has evolved into more than just his 3D player. Kiki Iliafen continues to show terrifying flashes of her potential. Cameron Brink has established himself as one of the best in all of college basketball. Declining marks from the field are the result of poor shot selection, much of which occurs at the end of the shot clock after half-court offenses have led to chances.

Throw Ashten Prechtel on the perimeter for the playmaker to maneuver. Get Brooke Demetre or Elena Bosgona out of the screen on the weak side to open up a pass lane to the strong side of the low post. Evolved Offensive His set produces better looks, and the talent in this roster does the rest.

Another note about Sunday’s game: It was the first time all year that Stanford faced real adversity on the scoreboard. Even in a loss to South Carolina, the Cardinals’ early lead meant they led all but one minute in regulation.Sunday saw them start from behind since last year’s season-ending loss against UConn. It was my first time playing. As the season progresses, relying on your identity is essential to overcoming adversity. But perhaps this Stanford his team has yet to establish its identity.A win is a win, but the winning team doesn’t chase victory, it chases it quality win.

That said, this team is 17-2. They hold his fourth-highest scoring differential in the country. they are ok They did the unthinkable, so it’s time to half-heartedly examine them top to bottom? single game?My previous thoughts may have answered that question.? But with another Pac-12 championship and deep tournaments looking imminent, is it time to panic?

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