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No. 1 Stanford 61, San Francisco 46

December 9, 1996

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Although it’s no easy feat to throw top-ranked Stanford off guard, San Francisco’s aggressive defense gave the Cardinal cause for concern.

Stanford (8-0) couldn’t get it together against the Lady Dons until midway through the second half Sunday, turning a 39-38 deficit into a 61-46 victory.

``I don’t think we looked very polished,″ said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. ``We were turning the ball over. It looked out-of-sync offensively.″

Olympia Scott, who led the Cardinal with 18 points and six rebounds, blamed Stanford’s poor early shooting for the struggle. Stanford hit only seven of 25 shots from the field in the first half.

``They were playing tough, but we were missing some wide open ones,″ she said. ``They did play aggressively, but we were just missing.″

San Francisco (4-2) took their narrow lead on Andrea Kagie’s layup with 9:36 to go in the game, but Stanford answered with a 17-2 run to pull ahead 55-41 with 3:14 to play.

Vanessa Nygaard, who finished with 13 points, had a pair of consecutive 3-pointers during the run.

The Cardinal led by as many as 18 points in the final minutes.

``Our execution kind of ground to a halt,″ said San Francisco coach Bill Nepfel. ``We were really struggling to find a way to get the ball in the basket. We didn’t have much offense in the last few minutes.″

San Francisco, which lost its season opener then won four straight, held Stanford to just four points in the first five minutes of the game, taking a 6-2 lead on Renee Demirdjian’s jumper at 15:24.

Trailing by 11-10 midway through the half, the Cardinal went on a 12-0 run, capped by Nygaard’s 3-pointer, to take a 22-11 lead.

The Lady Dons answered with six consecutive points before Nygaard scored again to put the Cardinal up 24-17. San Francisco closed the gap to 26-23 at halftime on a pair of free throws by Denise Woods and Julie Murdent’s layup.

Kate Starbird, Stanford’s leading scorer, was held to 14 points and nine rebounds.

Murdent had 10 points for the Lady Dons before fouling out late in the second half. Demirdjian also had 10.

Woods, a freshman guard who was 6-for-6 from the free throw line and contributed nine rebounds, said the experience proved to her that even the top teams can be challenged.

``No one is really above us,″ she said. ``We can play against anybody.″

The game was attended by 4,678, a women’s record at Memorial Gym. It was the first game between the teams since the 1989-90 season, when Stanford beat San Francisco 90-46.

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