FSN's Mary Murphy Gives Her U.S. Bank 'Tip of the Week'

Jan. 16, 2008

U.S. Bank Tip of the Week

'Crunch time' is a term you hear often when watching a sporting event. It is the time in a game, match or season when the decisions made and actions taken will most likely determine the outcome. An early 'crunch time' will take place over the next two weekends in the Pac-10 women's basketball Conference race. On Thursday, Cal plays at Arizona State followed by a Sunday battle between Stanford again at host ASU. Next weekend it's the women's basketball version of 'The Big Game,' California will visit Maples Pavilion and match up with their Bay Area rival, the Stanford Cardinal.

With preseason favorite Stanford losing two games in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, California and Arizona State now find themselves sitting on top of the Pac-10 with Stanford fighting to get back in the race. No doubt it is 'crunch time' for the Cardinal. Synonymous with 'crunch time' is Stanford guard Candice Wiggins. She is at her best when a big game is on the line. Her contributions can come in a variety of ways--a timely three, a steal or a sensational run of plays that makes you shake your head and realize you are watching one of the country's great players.

California and Arizona State both have individual players who rise to the occasion when the need arises. Ashley Walker, the junior forward for Cal, is one to watch. She senses 'crunch time' by responding with power basketball--a physical box out, a rebound with emphasis and terrific decision making in the post area once her teammates get her the ball. For Arizona State, when you talk 'crunch time' you must be referring to junior guard, Briann January. I love watching Briann play not only because of her basketball talents, but also her innate sense of timing--she understands when her team needs a steal, a rebound or a drive through traffic to deliver a big basket.

'Crunch time' is upon us in the Pac-10 and as you watch the next two weekends try to feel each game. See if you can sense when that game-changing moment is approaching or has arrived. Focus on Stanford's Candice Wiggins, California's Ashley Walker and Arizona State's Briann January and appreciate the subtle and spectacular things these players do at the game's most important moments.

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