November 17, 2018

Team chalks up win over USF

Wearing a turquoise uniform, Jenna goes in for a layup against USF. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Three things made the Stanford women’s basketball team’s 96-62 defeat of the Dons from the University of San Francisco special on Nov. 15 --- two of them positive, the other not so much.

The positive aspects were the honoring of Native American Heritage Month with turquoise uniforms trimmed in red and the signing of three players in the No. 3 nationally ranked (by espnWHoopGurlz) 2018 recruiting class.

Destined for the Farm next fall are Fran Belibi of Aurora, Colo., Hannah Jump of nearby Los Altos Hills and Ashten Prechtel of Colorado Springs, Colo. They signed letters of intent on Nov. 14.

Ohio State game canceled because of unhealthy air

The negative aspect was the Bay Area’s unhealthy air caused by the fire raging in Butte County. Some people wore masks as a precaution. Others  might have stayed home, for attendance was only 2,077. Many schools closed, including Stanford, and many athletic events were moved, postponed or canceled.

They included the Nov. 18 home game against Ohio State, according to a Nov. 16 announcement from Stanford. It will not be rescheduled this season. Games in other sports were affected, too. See the announcement at

Now for the best part --- the win that gave the Cardinal a 3-0 record to start the season.
Once again the starters were senior forward Alanna Smith, junior forward Nadia Fingall, freshman forward Lexie Hull, junior guard DiJonai Carrington and sophomore guard Kiana Williams.

Sophomore forward Maya Dodson and freshman forward Lacie Hull were first off the bench, followed by junior guard Anna Wilson, freshman guard Jenna Brown and sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome in the first quarter.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, all 14 players had seen action. Three were in double figures: Kiana with 21, Alanna with 18 and Maya with 10. USF used its nine available players with eight scoring.

Seven players contribute to team’s 15 three’s

Boosting the host’s score were 15 three’s from seven players: Alanna with five, Kiana four and Lacie two. Nadia, DiJonai, Alyssa and sophomore forward Estella Moschkau had one each.

The team boasted 24 assists with only nine turnovers, while USF was eight and 15 in those categories.

Eleven blocks were impressive, too, with four each by Alanna and Maya, two by Alyssa and one by senior center Shannon Coffee.

Each team had four steals. However, in a stat unusual for Stanford, USF had 39 rebounds to Stanford’s 34. Many of the Dons’ rebounds seemed to come when Stanford missed a three and no Stanford players were close enough to the basket.

Quick start for the Cardinal

The Cardinal came out blazing. Alanna got the opening tip, and the team immediately made four three’s in a row, starting with DiJonai, followed by Alanna, Kiana and Nadia. Just slightly over three minutes into the quarter, Stanford led 14-4 with 100 percent shooting.

That total accuracy didn’t last. It ended at 51 percent for the game, compared with USF’s 33 percent. Free-throw shooting was 60 percent, compared with USF’s 73 percent.

Fans had a few minutes of anxiety when Kiana limped off the court and headed for the locker room shortly before the end the first quarter, but she quickly returned to action for the second quarter. She limped off again in the third quarter but returned to action.

Starters become fans for final 10 minutes

Like the other starters, she stayed on the bench to cheer her teammates during the fourth quarter with the game firmly in hand.

Only two kids showed up for Conga on the Court after the first quarter. Cardinal Categories in the second quarter featured a fan trying to name as many musical instruments as possible in 15 seconds, followed by a video of Mikaela doing the same.

A lucky fan won $100 by emulating Mikaela’s underhanded free throw as Copy the Cardinal started halftime. Next came Stanford’s Polynesian dance troupe of eight women and four men, one of whom lost his sarong but continued to dance the final moments in his black shorts.

The game was a mini-reunion for head coach Tara VanDerveer, as she welcomed two of her former players: USF head coach Molly Goodenbour, ’93, and associate head coach Katy Steding, ’90.

Next on the schedule is a three-game tournament in Hawaii on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.