Scouting the U of Hawaii team
Stanford notched win number seven with an 87-50 victory over the Grambling Lady Tigers on day two of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown. Unlike the game against the 26th ranked Florida Gulf Coast, the outcome of this game was never in doubt. Stanford went up by eight (10 to 2) on Agnes Emma-Nnopu's two made free throws with 5:44 to go in the first quarter and Grambling never got closer. It was abundantly clear early that, just as their record predicted, the Grambling team was totally overmatched in height and talent, although not in effort. Both teams played hard.
Stanford started the game with its now regular starting five: Cameron Brink, Haley Jones, Hannah Jump, Kiki Iriafen, and Talana Lepolo, but they didn't play long. Substitutions started early. The only Stanford players to be on the court 20 minutes or more for the game were Agnes Emma-Nnopu (21 min.) and Brooke Demetre (20 min). The only players in double figures were Hannah Jump (19 pts), Lauren Betts (11 pts), and Ellena Bosgana (11pts). Betts added 13 rebounds to those points; her first double-double of her collegiate career! Stanford's starters hit 14 of their 22 shots but only Jump (19 min) was on the floor more than 14 minutes.
Hannah Jump's five three-pointers (5 of 7) should help to keep her firmly situated among the national leaders in 3 pointers made and in percentage made. Cameron Brink's two blocks in eleven minutes may be enough to keep her among the national leaders in blocks. Although Talana Lepolo has slipped a bit in terms of her assist and assist-to-turnover ranking, she still is second in the nation among freshman point guards on those stats. Her continued solid play is a reminder of how helpful it is to have a solid point guard.
The mood among the spectators, almost all of whom were family of the players, was considerably lighter than the day before. There was laughter and a general sense of lightness. Of course, there was still some concern that players were being allowed to mug our posts. At one point spectators joked that there was no need to call a foul, after all, there was no blood and no broken bones -- but then Demetre got slammed in the face and it looked like there was blood. Finally, a foul was called.
It seemed clear that the coaching staff wanted to avoid injuries to key players while allowing less experienced players to develop. As can be the case against less skilled teams, especially when playing younger players, things got a bit slapstick at times. But, after the tense game the day before, this easy game was a pleasure for fans.
A Family Affair
The crowds for these games make a slow night at Maples look like a full house. There couldn't have been more than 75 fans present for most of the Stanford-Grambling game -- although the massive 10,300 seat arena made it virtually impossible to count. Almost all the spectators were Stanford fans, mostly the family of Stanford players. That was a real treat for us "regular" fans as we got a chance to see and sometimes meet the players' families and to watch them interact with their daughters (or sisters, or nieces, etc) after the game. For the players the multiple days in one location gives them time to relax together.
One More Game
Stanford has one more game remaining here in Hawaii. This one is against the host team, the University of Hawaii. They are a solid team with expectations to do well in their conference. It is not a game to be taken lightly although, at least on paper, it shouldn't be as big a challenge as the first game against Florida Gulf Coast.