|Flanked by Alyssa (left), Marta and DiJonai, Alanna congratulates the team on a job well done.|
The Stanford women’s basketball team celebrated Senior Day by honoring its three seniors and defeating Arizona State 71-50 at Maples on Feb. 24.
After the sounding of the final buzzer and the tossing of victory balls, forward Alanna Smith, center Shannon Coffee and guard Marta Sniezek, accompanied by their families, were given flowers and lauded by their teammates and head coach Tara VanDerveer.
Australian anthem honors first international recruit
Before the game, the traditional singing of the U.S. national anthem was preceded by a recording of the Australian national anthem in honor of Alanna, the team’s first international recruit. As she sang along with the anthem, the Australian flag hung in the lower floor corner.
To top it off, Shannon used sign language to interpret “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as did the Dollies.
Tara then gave flowers to ASU’s four seniors.
The first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie, but after that, the Cardinal offense and defense took over. Subsequent quarters ended with Stanford up 29-22 at the half, 53-37 after the third and finally 71-50. The team led for nearly 36 minutes.
|Lexie goes for a layup for two of her 11 points.|
Balanced scoring helps
Contributing to the win was sophomore guard Kiana Williams with a game-leading 15 points. Alanna was right behind with 14, followed by junior guard DiJonai Carrington with 13 and freshman forward Lexie Hull with 11.
It was a nicely balanced offensive attack with eight points from sophomore forward Maya Dodson and seven from sophomore forward Alyssa Jerome. As a team, Stanford shot nearly 62 percent and held ASU to 30 percent.
In many of its possessions, ASU was forced by Stanford’s defense to shoot just before the shot clock expired.
|Maya goes up for one of her four baskets.|
Maya was among the sharpest shooters, making four of five shots, while Lexie and Alyssa each made three of four.
The Cardinal had six threes --- three by Kiana and one each by Alyssa, Alanna and Lexie.
Everyone contributes to win
All 13 available players got in on the fun, and all contributed in some way, whether with points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.
Starters were Alanna, Alyssa, DiJonai, Kiana and freshman forward Lacie Hull.
Still recovering from a foot injury, Maya played 24 minutes. Most of the time when she wasn’t on the court, she peddled the stationary bike.
During Conga on the Court between the first and second quarters, one energetic boy wearing a Shannon button ran ahead of the entire pack. As was discovered during the post-game ceremony, he was her cousin A.J.
With the game well in hand toward the end of the fourth quarter, Alanna went to the bench as the crowd of 3,057 gave her a standing ovation. Shortly thereafter, Shannon also got one as she returned to the bench.
Post-game festivities started with a salute to practice player Trey Turner.
Tara introduces seniors
Tara then introduced the seniors, starting with Marta. Although Marta has missed all of this season with a hand injury, she was 12th in career assists in her three years of playing.
An American studies major, she wants to earn a master’s degree in communication, Tara said. She was accompanied by her mother, Edwina, and a brother. (She’s one of nine siblings).
The coach remarked on the three threes that Shannon scored in this season’s upset of Baylor, its only loss of the season. She later called Shannon “a bear killer,” noting that she tended to score crucial threes whenever Stanford played a team with a bears nickname.
Relatives join Shannon and Alanna
A human biology major, Shannon wants to become a physician assistant. She was accompanied by her parents, Karen and Chris, and her grandmother while other relatives sat nearby.
|Alanna's mom, Simone; sister, Andie; and dad, Darren (in back) walk to center court.|
Joined by her parents, Simone and Darren, and 10-year-old sister, Andie, Alanna is a psychology major who wants to play professionally before going into developmental psychology.
She has accrued a laundry list of honors and is in line for possibly more before the season ends.
Tara foresees Marta as a good coach
Saying the team has missed Marta’s “elite point guard play,” Tara said she would make a good coach. DiJonai followed by saying that Marta is tough, “an incredible teammate.”
Marta declined to answer a question about where she’ll go next year. Since she played only three seasons, she has another year of eligibility.
Alyssa and sophomore forward Estella Moschkau teamed up to salute Shannon. Alyssa said she “welcomed us and took us under her wing. … (She) always steps up in huge minutes.”
Estella said she’s the “captain of energy” on the bench. Alyssa concluded that she’ll “always be part of the sisterhood.”
Shannon’s mother said Shannon was always in motion as a child and started walking at 8 months. She always tried to keep up with her older brother and sister.
Players appreciate fans’ support
Tara noted that Shannon had a summer internship involving a study of concussions. As a player, “she is a great communicator” on the court and “will never let her teammates down.”
Junior forward Nadia Fingall, who’s recovering from a ACL surgery, was the one to salute Alanna. She said they have a pre-game ritual in which Nadia asks, “Who are you,” and Alanna answers, “I’m a b-a-a-a-d woman.” She complimented Alanna’s finesse as a player.
Because she’s so far from home, her freshman year was rough, Alanna said, but “I wouldn’t be able to call this place home if it weren’t for you,” she said to her teammates. She added that she cherishes the fans and their loudness.
Alanna shares praise with teammates
When one fan asked if it has dawned on her that she’s one of the best players in the nation, she shared the praise with her teammates.
During the summer, she played on the Australian national team for the FIBA World Cup in Spain. The Aussies placed second to the U.S. team.
Alanna said she was thrilled to play against some of the nation’s best players, including Elena Delle Donne, Brittany Griner and Stanford grad Nneka Ogwumike, ’12. “It taught me a lot,” she said.
Alanna’s father said he’s glad to know she’s in such nice place.
“We have a very special culture” of supportive players, Tara said.
Still more games to play
Although this was the team’s last regular season home game, it’s expected to return to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in March.
In the meantime, it will wrap up the conference season by flying north to face Washington State at 7 p.m. March 1 and Washington at 2 p.m. March 3.
Then it’s off to Las Vegas for the Pac 12 tournament. Because Stanford has clinched a first-round bye, its first action will come March 8, time and opponent to be determined. The tournament ends March 10.
Photos by Cody Glenn/Icon Sports Wire