March 1, 2021

Tuned up for tournament time

Tara joins Anna, Kiana and Alyssa right after Senior Day. (Stanford Athletics)


The Stanford women’s basketball team celebrated Senior Day and completed its regular season with a 72-33 home victory over Cal on Feb. 28.

Thus the team will take its 22-2 record and Pac-12 season championship to the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas March 3-7. As the No. 1 seed, Stanford has a bye and will meet the Arizona State-USC winner at 2 p.m. March 4. The complete bracket is on this Fast Break Club site.

The first half of the Cal game saw Stanford with only a 31-25 advantage after Cal outscored the host team 18-17 in the second quarter.

Team gets tough in the third quarter

However, after coming out of the locker room, the Cardinal turned up the pressure both offensively and defensively, including some full-court pressure. The result allowed only two points by Cal and gave Stanford a 58-27 advantage after three quarters.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer tapped bench players to complete most of the fourth quarter and clinch the win. For the game, the bench scored 36 points, half of the total and three more than Cal’s total for the game.

Although the young Cal team has won only one of its 16 games this season, Stanford fans have reason to be heartened by what the Cardinal accomplished in this game.

For example, all 11 available players scored. Junior guard Lacie Hull remained on the bench while recovering from an injury.

Hannah is congratulated by Haley and Kiana. (Stanford Athletics)


Hannah leads the way with 14

No one played more than 29 minutes. Perhaps by coincidence, that player was sophomore guard Hannah Jump, coming off the bench to lead the team with 14 points. Her four 3-pointers accounted for most of those points.

Also in double figures were sophomore guard Haley Jones with 10 and senior guard Kiana Williams with 12. During the game, Kiana rose to 10th on the program’s all-time scoring list, passing Alanna Smith, ’19.

Besides Hannah’s four 3’s, the team got treys from Kiana and junior guard Lexie Hull with two each, and from freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek and senior forward Alyssa Jerome with one each for a total of 10.

The team had only six turnovers while logging 15 assists, four of them by sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel. The team had four blocks and 12 steals, with fifth-year guard Anna Wilson and Hannah snaring three each.

Stanford had 44 rebounds to Cal’s 37.

On the minus side, the team had 11 fouls, while Cal had five. However, the team (actually Anna) made both of its free throws.

For the game, Stanford shot 41.7 percent, Cal 25.9 percent.

TV airs Senior Day ceremony

The game ended in time for the TV broadcast to show the Senior Day ceremony, hosted by Tara.

It began with the other players’ video tributes to Kiana, a science, technology and society major; Alyssa, a human biology major; and Anna, an art practice major and now focusing on media studies.

Then each senior’s many accomplishments were enumerated.

Holding flowers, all three of them thanked their families, the fans and their teammates for their support throughout this unusual season, which kept the team out of Maples for 72 days because of coronavirus restrictions.

“Being on the road” for all that time was among Anna’s favorite memories of her time at Stanford, she said. It gave everyone a chance to bond.

Alyssa cited her sophomore year when Stanford defeated UCLA 65-51 on Feb. 15, 2019, just a few days after suffering a 40-point loss to Oregon, its worst-ever during Tara’s tenure.

Kiana recalled walking along Palm Drive early in her freshman year and feeling how blessed she was “to be here.”

The seniors’ families also saluted them via Zoom.

After the Pac-12 tournament, seeding for the NCAA tournament will be announced March 15. All of the tournament games will be played in Texas from March 21 to April 4.

The first-round games will be in San Antonio, San Marcos and Austin. Subsequent rounds will be in San Antonio. Last year’s tournament was scrapped because of the pandemic.

February 25, 2021

Sweep of Arizona schools clinches Pac-12 championship

 Kin

Kiana holds the trophy as her teammates celebrate. (Jeff Chiu/AP)


It was rough sailing at first, but the Stanford women’s basketball team soon righted the ship and cruised to a 62-48 victory over Arizona at Maples on Feb. 22.

Thus the Cardinal clinched the Pac-12 regular season championship, its first in seven years. This win followed the 80-41 win over Arizona State at Maples on Feb. 19.

With just over four minutes to go in first quarter against Arizona, Stanford was down 5-8, plagued by cold shooting, turnovers and missed rebounds.

The quarter ended in a 13-13 tie. With about four minutes to go in the second quarter, Stanford had edged ahead 22-21, but pulled further ahead to end the quarter 31-25.

Coming out of the locker room, Stanford took over the third quarter 48-36 and never looked back.

Lexie leads the way

Junior guard Lexie Hull led the team with 16 points and nine rebounds, closely followed by senior guard Kiana Williams with 15 points. Right behind them were sophomore guard Haley Jones with 13 and freshman forward Cameron Brink with 10.

Cameron had to go to the bench after getting her third foul early in the third quarter. She returned later and fouled out with just over two minutes to go in the game.

Eight 3’s helped the Stanford cause with three by Kiana, two by Lexie and one each by Cameron, sophomore guard Hannah Jump and sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel.

Despite Arizona’s early advantage in rebounds, Stanford finished with 39, compared with Arizona’s 32.

Arizona won the turnover battle, committing 12, compared with Stanford’s 16 (seven by Haley). In the same vein, Arizona had 11 steals, Stanford three.

After the game, Kiana accepted the championship trophy and held it aloft as she and her teammates celebrated.

Cal, tournament next on the schedule

Stanford completes the regular season by hosting Cal and celebrating Senior Day at 1 p.m. Feb. 28. Pac-12 Networks will air the game.

Then it’s on to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament running March 3 to 7. As the No. 1 seed, Stanford won’t play until 2 p.m. March 4, when it’s scheduled to meet the No. 8 or No. 9 seed.

The semi-final games are at 5 and 8 p.m. March 5. March 6 is an off day. The championship is slated for 5 p.m. March 7. The Pac-12 Networks will air all games except for the championship, which will be on ESPN2.

See the bracket at https://pac-12.com/2021-pac-12-womens-basketball-tournament.

Haley goes for a layup against ASU. (Stanford Athletics)


Bench players finish the Arizona State game

In the meantime, with the Arizona State game firmly in hand, 60-25, by the end of the third quarter on Feb. 19, head coach Tara VanDerveer rested the starters and turned the last quarter over to the other players.

Thus they helped to deliver the 80-41 victory. For the game, they produced 32.

It truly was a team victory as all 12 players contributed in some way, and nine players scored.

They were led by Kiana with 18 points, but Hannah, coming off the bench, was right behind with her season-high 17. She made three of the team’s six 3’s. Kiana, Lexie and freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek added the other three.

Also in double figures were Lexie with 12 and Haley with 11.

Ashten, returning after a three-game absence due to a concussion protocol, led the team with 11 rebounds. She also had four points in her 15 minutes.

Right behind her in the rebound column was sophomore forward Fran Belibi with 10. The team had a total of 48 rebounds, compared with ASU’s 21.

Defense helps make the difference

Defense played a strong role with 10 steals and six blocks.

No one played more than 28 minutes, and everyone played at least eight minutes.

The Cardinal held the Sun Devils scoreless for almost the first seven minutes of the game. The visitors’ first point came from a free throw at 3:37, when the hosts had already scored 11.

More free throws and a trey, coming with eight seconds left, ended the quarter with the score 19-7. Stanford dominated the next three quarters and won handily.

Even when the starters were on the bench, they stayed keenly involved, erupting in cheers when anyone, especially players who don’t get much time, scored or did something else praiseworthy. They literally jumped for joy when freshman guard Agnes Emma-Nnopu made a basket. She also had five rebounds in her eight minutes.

This game was a far cry from the Jan. 3 contest at ASU, when Stanford won by only eight points, 68-60.

February 17, 2021

Stanford sweeps Oregon schools

 

Haley and her teammates celebrate the win at Oregon. (Andy Nelson/AP)


After a decisive 83-58 win at Oregon State on Feb. 13, the Stanford women’s basketball team gutted out a 63-61 squeaker at Oregon on Feb. 15.

At first the win at Oregon seemed certain as the Cardinal led by six points after the first quarter, seven points after the second and five after the third. Its biggest lead was 15 points late in the second.

But the Ducks refused to go away. Instead they tied the score several times during the fourth and pulled to their first lead, 51-49, with just over six minutes left.

The score seesawed after that. Oregon amassed its biggest lead, five points, with less than four minutes to go.

Kiana, Cameron help in final minutes

Senior guard Kiana Williams drained a three-pointer to tie the score again with less than two minutes to go. Freshman forward Cameron Brink made two free throws with less than 30 seconds left to ice the game at 63-61.

In her post-game press conference, head coach Tara VanDerveer likened the game to a heavyweight bout. Each team had its pluses and minuses, but in the end, Stanford had a few more pluses.

Perhaps the biggest plus was that Stanford shot 46.4 percent, while Oregon shot 41.8 percent. Both teams had 18 turnovers. Other stats were slightly in favor of one team or the other. 

There were many jump balls, indicative of the battle.

Kiana led the team with 20 points followed by Cameron with 16, plus nine rebounds. Junior guard Lexie Hull with 13 was the only other Cardinal in double figures. Uncharacteristically, the bench added only three points.

The team’s six 3’s were produced by Kiana and Lexie with two each, and by fifth-year guard Anna Wilson and, off the bench, sophomore guard Hannah Jump with one each.

Sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel did not appear to be with the team on this trip. She reportedly is being held out while in the concussion protocol.

Sophomore guard Fran Belibi sported a new hairdo. At first glance she could have been mistaken for Nadia Fingall, ’20.

During halftime, the NCAA revealed its first look at the possible Sweet Sixteen in the upcoming tournament in the San Antonio area. Stanford was the No. 3 seed behind UConn and South Carolina.

Lexie defends against an Oregon State player. (Amanda Lohman/AP)


Beavers fall 83-58

The trip to the Beaver State began Feb. 13 with the 83-58 victory over the Oregon State Beavers.

Kiana started the scoring with two consecutive 3’s. By the time the first half ended, the team had sunk five 3’s .

Nevertheless, the first half was tight with the score fluctuating. At one point in the first quarter, the Beavers were ahead by three, but that quarter ended 23-18 in Stanford’s favor. The Cardinal were up 43-40 at the end of the second quarter.

After halftime, though, the Cardinal turned on the jets, especially in the fourth quarter, when the team’s stout defense held OSU to just six points while scoring 23.

Eight players scored, five of them in double figures.

Haley records double-double

They were led by sophomore guard Haley Jones, whose 17 points and 10 rebounds gave her a double-double. Right behind her were Kiana with 16, senior forward Alyssa Jerome with 14, Cameron with 13 and Hannah with 11.

Hannah moves inside to shoot against OSU. (Stanford Athletics)


Besides five 3’s in the first half, the team added eight in the second half for a total of 13. Alyssa had the most overall with four, followed by Hannah with three, Kiana and Lexie with two each, and Cameron and Anna with one each.

One of the most gratifying statistics was only five turnovers, while OSU had 13. The team also was good about sharing the ball, logging 19 assists to OSU’s 12.

The team returns to Maples for its final three regular-season games: Arizona State at 7 p.m. Feb. 19, Arizona at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 and Cal at 1 p.m. Feb. 28.

Pac-12 Networks will air the ASU and Cal games. The Arizona game is supposed to be on ESPN2.

The Pac-12 tournament is March 4-7 in Las Vegas.

February 8, 2021

Happy return to Maples with two wins

Tara confers with the team during a time out against Colorado.


Home sweet home. There’s no place like home.

No matter what cliché you choose, the Stanford women’s basketball team is happy to be back at home in Maples Pavilion for the first time since Nov. 25. After that, it was on the road for the next 16 games because of coronavirus restrictions in Santa Clara County.

For a detailed look at the team’s odyssey, read Mechelle Voepel’s “Inside Stanford women’s basketball’s nine-week road trip – Six states, 12 flights and DIY haircuts” on espn.com.

The team celebrated its return to Maples by defeating Colorado 62-54 on Feb. 5 and Utah 83-41 on Feb. 7.

Revenge over Colorado

Beating Colorado was especially sweet because the Buffaloes had handed the team one of its only two losses on Jan. 17.

However, it was a tale of two halves. The first half was the best of times as the team cruised to a 37-15 lead by the end of the second quarter.

The second half started well enough. The team enjoyed its largest lead of 25 points about halfway through the third quarter, which ended 49-26.

Fourth quarter a nightmare

Then came the almost disastrous fourth, when Colorado steadily closed the gap, came within four points and outscored Stanford by 15.

Flustered by Colorado’s full-court press in the latter part of the quarter, the Cardinal made only one basket the entire quarter, but had a game-saving 10 free throws.

Several of those free throws came as Colorado deliberately fouled to regain possession. Luckily, Stanford made most of the freebies and came away with the win. Overall, Stanford made 76.5 percent of its free throws, Colorado 62.1 percent.

Just to illustrate the difference in halves, Stanford shot 46.67 percent in the first quarter, a sizzling 60 percent in the second, 25 percent in the third and a dismal 12.5 percent in the fourth. For the game, Stanford shot 38.9 percent, Colorado 36.4 percent.

Senior guard Kiana Williams led the way with 16 points, followed by freshman forward Cameron Brink with 13, fifth-year guard Anna Wilson with 11 and junior guard Lacie Hull with 10.

Besides free throws, tough defense was instrumental with nine blocks versus Colorado’s three. Cameron contributed six.

Offensively, the team had seven three-pointers versus Colorado’s four. Lacie had three, Kiana two, and Anna and sophomore guard Hannah Jump one each.

Fran and Jana do some celebrating during the Utah game.


Utah game a cakewalk

The 83-41 win over Utah on Feb. 7 was much easier, as indicated by the score.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer substituted freely, giving all 11 available players significant minutes. Sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel didn’t play because she’s in the concussion protocol, the TV announcer said. However, she was at the game.

Four players were in double figures: Kiana with 13 (in just 13 minutes), and Cameron, sophomore guard Haley Jones and freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek all with 12. Everyone scored and contributed in some other way.

Three-pointers boost score

Nearly half of the score came from 10 three-pointers: Kiana with three; Lexie, Jana and Hannah with two; and Anna with one.

Adding 38 points, bench players were on the court for all of the fourth quarter and about half of the third. Jana logged the most time with 27 minutes, followed by Hannah with 23. Otherwise, no one played more than 19 minutes.

Agnes is greeted by Ashten at the end of the game.


Of note: Freshman guard Agnes Emma-Nnopu played 17 minutes, had only one point but eight rebounds, second only to Cameron.

Some other bright spots among many: only seven turnovers, 51.6 percent shooting, nine steals and 18 assists. Something to work on: 19 fouls.

The team takes to the road again to play Oregon State at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 and Oregon at 4 p.m. Feb. 15. The Oregon State game is iffy because the Beavers had to cancel their Feb. 5 and 7 games against the Arizona schools because of a coronavirus issue.

The Cardinal finish off the regular season at home with games against Arizona State on Feb. 19, Arizona on Feb. 22 and Cal on Feb. 28. The next stop is Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament.

Photos by Stanford Athletics

February 2, 2021

Three wins in Washington

 

Bench players polish off the win over Washington. (Bettina Hanson/Seattle Times) 


After sweeping Washington State 71-49 on Jan. 27 and 77-49 on Jan. 29, the Stanford women’s basketball team flew across the Cascades to brush off Washington 74-48 on Jan. 31.

The Washington game really was no contest. Stanford fielded all 12 players, while Washington was missing three starters and had only nine players available. That was barely enough to practice, according to the TV announcers.

Coming off the bench, sophomore guard Hannah Jump led the team with 15 points. In all, the bench contributed 29 points.

Three starters -- junior guard Lexie Hull, senior guard Kiana Williams and sophomore guard Haley Jones -- each had 12 points. No one played more than 29 minutes (Lexie and Hannah).

Eight three-pointers helped to boost the score. Hannah had three, Lexie and Kiana had two each and senior forward Alyssa Jerome had one.

The team got a scare late in the first quarter when Haley went down hard on a  knee. She sat out for the rest of that quarter and all of the second but returned to action in the third.

Only when it came to steals did Washington do better than Stanford. The Huskies had 10 to the visitors’ nine.

Weekend starts with win over WSU

The five-day marathon started auspiciously with Stanford’s 71-49 whipping of Washington State on Jan. 27, a game that made up for one postponed by a coronavirus concern at WSU.

On her way to a team-leading (with Kiana) 17 points, Lexie scored the first six points.

The Cardinal dominated both the first and second quarters, but WSU tried to stage a comeback in the third quarter and outscored Stanford 19-10. However, it wasn’t enough, as the quarter ended 54-37 in the visitors’ favor. WSU never held the lead.

Besides 17 points each from Lexie and Kiana, Haley with 10 and freshman forward Cameron Brink with 12 scored in double figures.

Cameron goes for the tip in the first Washington State game (WSU Athletics)

Cameron also nailed a double-double with 14 rebounds and led the team with five of its eight blocks. She accomplished all this with no fouls, a welcome change from some of her previous games.

The team popped in nine 3’s, with three by Kiana, two by freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek, and one each by Lexie, Cameron, Haley and sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel.

Thus WSU had never defeated Stanford in 68 tries.

Stanford remains undefeated against WSU

That number rose to 69 as the Cardinal downed the Cougars 77-49 on Jan. 29.

Anna's defense was a big factor in the second victory over WSU. (WSU Athletics)


In her post-game press conference, head coach Tara VanDerveer credited fifth-year guard Anna Wilson for holding WSU’s and the Pac-12’s leading scorer Charlisse Leger-Walker to two points, 17 below her season average.

“Anna’s defense was phenomenal,” Tara said. “She's a lockdown defender. ... Her defense really sets the tone for our team.”

Stanford held WSU to 33.3 percent shooting, while Stanford logged 52.5 percent.

Haley and Kiana both had 16 points to lead the team. Ashten was the only other  Cardinal in double figures with 11, but a total of nine players scored, with 30 points coming from the bench. Bench players finished off nearly three minutes of the game.

As happened in the earlier game, Stanford had nine 3’s: Ashten with three, Kiana and Hannah with two each, and Anna and junior guard Lacie Hull had one each. 

Another standout statistic was 10 blocks: five by Cameron and one each by Haley, Ashten, Fran, Lacie and Alyssa.

After these three victories raised their record to 15-2 and after a grueling two months on the road, the players finally were allowed to return to campus and their home court, thanks to an easing of restrictions by Santa Clara County.

The team will have a chance to avenge one of its two losses when it hosts Colorado at 6 p.m. Feb. 5. Utah will visit at 2 p.m. Feb. 7.

Both games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.


January 25, 2021

Nice recovery after two painful losses

Freshman guard Agnes EmmaNnopu (right) and Kiana slap hands in the USC game.


After losing to Colorado on Jan. 17 and to UCLA on Jan. 22, the Stanford women’s basketball team bounced back by soundly defeating USC 86-59 on Jan. 24 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.

It seemed as if much of what had gone wrong in the 70-66 loss to UCLA went right against USC.

For example, the Cardinal had 53 rebounds against USC versus 31 against UCLA.

Bright spots against USC

Fouls were another area of improvement, 12 on Jan. 24, 18 on Jan. 22. Stanford cashed in on USC’s 14 fouls by making 10 of 12 free throws, or 83.3 percent.

And then there were the three-pointers. After making only two against UCLA, the Cardinal women made 10 against USC.

Senior guard Kiana Williams contributed five of those 3’s on her way to 16 points. Also getting into the trey game were junior guard Lexie Hull and sophomore guard Hannah Jump with two each, plus fifth-year guard Anna Wilson with one.

Kiana was second in scoring to sophomore guard Haley Jones, who had 18. Also in double figures were Lexie and sophomore forward Fran Belibi with 12 each.

The first quarter started slowly with the teams trading the lead until Stanford came out ahead 22-18. The Cardinal led in each quarter thereafter.

Cameron aims to score against USC.


Starting lineup changes

Head coach Tara VanDerveer tweaked the starting lineup, inserting freshman forward Camero Brink in place of Fran. Cameron produced eight points to go with nine rebounds and three of the team’s six blocks.

The team’s substantial lead gave Tara a chance to use all 12 players. No one played more than 30 minutes (Kiana).  

Foul trouble had hampered Stanford against UCLA. Three of the team’s most prolific players, Fran, Haley and Cameron, amassed four fouls each, thus limiting their  playing time.

In the second quarter, for example, both Fran and Haley had to sit out for several minutes because they already had two fouls apiece.

Although the Stanford bench is usually regarded as deep, this time it added only eight points.

Three games slated in Washington

Giving everyone a chance to play against USC was helpful because with only a few days’ rest, the team travels to the Evergreen State for three games.

Washington State is on tap at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 and noon Jan. 29. One of those games makes up for a game postponed because of COVID issues at WSU.

Then the team will cross the state to play Washington at 1 p.m. Jan. 31.

Pac-12 Networks will televise all three games.

Maya to play elsewhere

Maya

On another note: As allowed by a COVID-related NCAA policy, senior forward Maya Dodson isn’t playing this season. Instead she’s home in Georgia and taking her classes online.

She recently announced that she will graduate in March with a degree in engineering and ethics and will enter the graduate portal. That means she’ll play elsewhere next season.

“During these tumultuous times, I have found a new perspective on what matters to me the most. Family is the strongest of these things,” she tweeted. Therefore, she wants to play closer to home. “Even though my Stanford journey is coming to an end, Stanford will always have a piece of my heart no matter where I go,” she concluded.

USC photos by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

 

 

January 18, 2021

Mixed results in the mountains

Lacie (left) and Lexie play defense against Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)


Visiting the Pac-12’s two mountain schools, the No. 1 Stanford women’s basketball team coasted over Utah 82-54 on Jan. 15 but lost to unranked Colorado 77-72 in overtime on Jan. 17 and fell to No. 5 in AP rankings on Jan. 18.

Thus the Cardinal’s season record was no longer unblemished, standing at 11-1. 

And the homecoming for the three players from Colorado – freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek and sophomore forwards Ashten Prechtel and Fran Belibi – was spoiled.

Stanford takes early lead over Colorado

The Colorado game started well enough with Stanford taking an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes before the Buffaloes scored. Six of those points came from junior guard Lexie Hull, who finished the game with a team-high 19 points.

Colorado's Mya Hollingshed tries to wrest the ball from Haley. (Cliff Grasmick/Boulder Daily Camera)


After that, things got tight. The first quarter ended 17-14 in Stanford’s favor. The half resulted in a similar margin, 32-29. The third quarter tightened even more with the Cardinal ahead 53-51, and the fourth quarter ended with a 67-67 tie.

The teams were fairly well matched in some statistics, like assists, 12-12; rebounds, 41-40 in Stanford’s favor; and turnovers, 14-15 in Colorado’s favor.

Bigger disparities were seen in fouls, 16-20 in Colorado’s favor. That disparity was seen in free throws, with Colorado cashing in with 15 while Stanford made nine, almost accounting for the difference in the final score.

Besides Lexie with 19, the only other players in double figures were sophomore guard Haley Jones with 16 and freshman forward Cameron Brink with 13. This game marked Haley’s return to the starting lineup after missing the Utah game for undisclosed reasons.

Team makes 14 3’s against Utah

While Stanford had only five 3-pointers against Colorado (two by Lexie and one each by senior guard Kiana Williams, Cameron and Ashten), the Utah game was highlighted by 14 3-pointers. When the first quarter ended 23-8, the team had already amassed five of its 14 3’s.

Ashten fights for a rebound at Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)


When all was said and done, Kiana tossed in six, while sophomore guard Hannah Jump added five. Ashten joined the trey party with two, and Jana had one.

Kiana also was the team’s scoring leader with 18 points, followed by Hannah with 15, Lexie and Ashten with 14 each, and Fran with 13.

Two of the more encouraging statistics were only nine turnovers to go with 17 assists. On the other hand, the team had 19 fouls, while Utah had 15. Cameron fouled out in the third quarter after playing only eight minutes.

Everyone gets to play

Given the altitude and the team’s overall performance, head coach Tara VanDerveer was able to rotate players in and out, giving everyone at least eight minutes and no one more than 24.

Hannah, Lexie and senior forward Alyssa Jerome returned to action after being held out of the Oregon game for coronavirus contact tracing.

Thus the starting lineup featured Kiana, fifth-year guard Anna Wilson, Lexie, Alyssa and Fran. In her post-game press conference, Tara lavished praise on several players, including Ashten, who had one of her best games so far.

Interviewed after the game, Lexie said that the team stays together mentally because “our team is really close … We’re having fun.”

Up next: UCLA at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 and USC at 4 p.m. Jan. 24, both at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz and both televised by PAC-12 Networks.

 


  

January 9, 2021

More hurdles, yet another win

Anna displays the kind of determination that helped her team to win.


Despite missing three players and being down by as many as seven points in the second quarter, the No. 1 Stanford women’s basketball team kept its record unblemished at 10-0 by defeating No. 11 Oregon 70-63 on Jan. 8.

Listed as a Stanford home game, it took place in the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. Home of the Golden State Warriors’ G League team, it’s also home for the Cardinal because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Santa Clara County.

Stanford Athletics had announced that because of COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing after the Arizona State game Jan. 3, three players would miss this game.

They were senior forward Alyssa Jerome, junior guard Lexie Hull and sophomore guard Hannah Jump.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer said after the game that “they’re doing very well.” AP reported that it was hoped they would return to practice next week and the Utah game on Jan. 15.

All three missing players have been key contributors. Lexie has been a starter all season, but she was replaced by her sister, junior guard Lacie, in the starting lineup. Otherwise the starters were the same with senior guard Kiana Williams, fifth-year guard Anna Wilson, sophomore guard Haley Jones and sophomore forward Fran Belibi.

Haley goes for the basket.


Haley leads in her hometown

Haley, whose home is close to the arena, led the relatively balanced scoring with 18 points. Kiana had 14 and Anna 11. The other five players who got into the game all scored.

Notably, freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek chipped in eight points on 3-3 shooting, and freshman forward Cameron Brink, who had missed the last game with an injury, returned to action with four points plus six rebounds and two blocks.

Oregon had seven 3’s, while Stanford had five. Anna contributed three, and Jana had two.

Stanford had the advantage with six blocks to Oregon’s one. And it had fewer fouls, seven to Oregon’s 18, several of them deliberate in the final minutes to try to stop the clock and perhaps gain possession.

On the other hand, Oregon had 15 turnovers, Stanford 17. Oregon made 12 steals, Stanford six.

Rebounding was close, 39-37 in Stanford’s favor.

Lead changes six times

It was a seesaw game that saw the lead change six times. The Ducks outscored the Cardinal in the first and fourth quarters, but leads in the second and third quarters were enough to clinch the win.

This was the first time this season that an opponent posted more than 61 points against Stanford.

There was no official word on the status of four staff members, including coaches, who had missed the two previous games because of COVID-19 protocols.

However, it appeared from the TV broadcast that assistant coach Britney Anderson was back. Associate head coach Kate Paye was not seen. It was difficult to discern much about the Stanford sideline because the TV cameras focused mainly on the Oregon sideline.

Haley’s mom supplies goodies

Interviewed after the game, Haley said that her mother was helping to fuel the team with oatmeal cookies and brownies. “My mom’s an elite baker,” she said.

It was reported that the team would have a practice in Santa Cruz on Jan. 9, then stay in San Mateo before leaving for Salt Lake City on Jan. 13.

The Cardinal visit Utah at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and Colorado at 11 a.m. Jan. 17.

The team will host UCLA on Jan. 22 and USC on Jan. 24. Times  and locations haven’t been announced.

The Jan. 10 game against Oregon State was postponed because of COVID issues at OSU.

Photos by Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press


January 4, 2021

Dominant in the desert

Sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel shoots over an Arizona player. (AP photo)


The undefeated Stanford women’s basketball team brought its winning ways into the new year by defeating Arizona 81-54 on Jan. 1 and Arizona State 68-60 Jan. 3. Both games were in Arizona.

Tough defense and tenacious rebounding were key factors in the No. 1 team’s win over the No. 6 (but not for long, it seems) Arizona.

Stanford Athletics said it was the largest road victory against a top-six opponent in program history.

The Cardinal limited Arizona to 25.8 percent shooting versus Stanford’s 46.2 percent. As for rebounds, Stanford had 51 while Arizona had 32.

Stanford dominated in all other categories except for its 16 turnovers, compared with Arizona’s nine. Of special note is Stanford’s 89.3 percent success at the free-throw line, 25 of 28.

Everyone gets in on the act

All 12 players got into the game, and no one played more than 32 minutes (senior guard Kiana Williams).

Also noteworthy were the team’s eight 3’s with three from fifth-year guard Anna Wilson, two from sophomore guard Hannah Jump and one each from Kiana, junior guard Lexie Hull and sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel.

Four players were in double figures: sophomore guard Haley Jones with 18 points plus 10 rebounds for a double-double, Lexie with 13, sophomore forward Fran Belibi with 12 and freshman forward Cameron Brink with 11.

About halfway through the fourth quarter, Cameron was fouled, fell and was slow to get up. However, she went down to Stanford’s end of the court and made both of her free throws. She then limped to the bench and didn’t return.

Injury keeps Cameron out of ASU game

Later she reportedly was seen with ice on a knee. In her post-game press conference, head coach Tara VanDerveer said she’d probably play against ASU. However, she didn’t suit up for that game and was missed.

Prior to the Arizona game, Stanford Athletics announced that because of COVID-19 protocols, four members of the coaching and support staff wouldn’t be at either weekend game. Tara offered no further details in her press conference.

However, the TV broadcast showed that associate head coach Kate Paye and assistant coach Britney Anderson weren’t there. It wasn’t clear who the other two were.  

ASU gives team a hard time

Continuing the trip through the desert, the Cardinal had a tougher time against ASU, winning by only eight points, the closest game of the season.

The first quarter started like many other games with Stanford scoring 13 points before ASU made its first basket with 3:30 left. The Cardinal ended the quarter with a 19-4 lead. ASU had only that one basket plus two free throws.

Things got rougher after that, with the second half ending 34-25. The third quarter was close for a bit, but ended it 56-42.

Free throws and three-pointers kept ASU in the game.

Fran powers her way to a double-double. (Michael Chow/The Republic)


Fran gave her team a major boost with her career-high 23 points along with 12 rebounds. Kiana with 16 points was the only other Cardinal in double figures.

Three-point shooting was underwhelming with only four: one each from Kiana, Lexie, Lacie and Hannah. Turnovers were a problem, too, with 17, while ASU had 13.

And then there were the fouls, with a total of 20. ASU had 12, several of them coming late in the fourth quarter when the Sun Devils were trying to stop the clock.

Rebounding a bright spot

But once again rebounding was impressive with a total of 41 versus ASU’s 30.

So once again the team came away with a win, keeping its record unblemished at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Pac-12.

Celebrating her birthday, freshman guard Jana Van Gytenbeek played for four minutes during the first quarter.

Tara gives instructions to Kiana (left) and Lexie (right). (Michael Chow/The Republic)


Before the game ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne gave flowers to Tara to honor her becoming women’s basketball’s winningest coach. Charli, a 1988 Stanford graduate, played for Tara alongside now-assistant coach Katy Steding, ’90.

Schedule changes for Oregon and Washington schools

Stanford and the Pac-12 announced several updates to the Cardinal schedule on Jan. 4.

Listed as a home game for Stanford, the Jan. 8 game against Oregon will be played in Santa Cruz’s Kaiser Permanente Arena, home of the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors' G-League affiliate. Tipoff has been moved to 11:30 a.m. from 6 p.m.

The team moved its training and competition off campus in early December after the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's Nov. 28 emergency COVID-19 directive, Stanford Athletics said.

The Jan. 10 game against Oregon State has been postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols within the Beavers' program.

The trip to Washington also has changed. Stanford will play at Washington State on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29 and at Washington on Jan. 31. The Jan. 29 game makes up for a postponement in December. Times have not been announced.

For the complete updated schedule, go to https://gostanford.com/sports/womens-basketball/schedule.

 



December 22, 2020

Stanford women still perfect

Fran dunks against UCLA. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)

The No. 1 Stanford women’s basketball team passed its two toughest tests to date by defeating USC and UCLA to raise its season record to 7-0.

USC fell 80-60 on Dec. 19. Two days later, on Dec. 21, No. 10 UCLA went down 61-49. Both games were in Los Angeles.

These margins of victory were the lowest so far this season, but the opposing teams were tougher defensively.

Both games saw the same starters as all season with senior guard Kiana Williams, fifth-year guard Anna Wilson, junior guard Lexie Hull, sophomore guard Haley Jones and sophomore forward Fran Belibi.

Kiana goes for a layup against USC. (Associated Press)

Kiana, Lexie, Cameron in double figures

Kiana finished the USC game with 27 points in 39 minutes, making seven of 12 three-point shots. Lexie had 16 points and two of three three-point shots.

Also in double figures was freshman forward Cameron Brink with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting plus both of her free throws.

Haley contributed 11 of the team’s 52 rebounds, which were twice as many as USC’s 26.

All told, the team had 11 three’s. Besides the seven from Kiana and two from Lexie, Anna and junior guard Lacie Hull had one each.

After having no one foul out in previous games, both Cameron and Lacie went out.

Although USC never led, it kept inching to within single digits until the final few minutes made the outcome clear.

Trailed by Anna, Haley heads upcourt after a rebound against UCLA. (Los Angeles Times)

Rebounds help Cardinal defeat UCLA

Two days later, the final score was even closer, 61-49. Rebounds helped the Cardinal with a 51-37 advantage. Haley had 15 of them.

Assists also were a bright spot, 18-12, as were blocks, 10-3. Fran, Haley and Cameron each had three blocks.

The team had only five three’s: two from Lacie and one each from Anna, Lexie and Kiana.

Fran led the team in scoring with 15 points. The only other players in double figures, Kiana and Cameron, each had  10 points.

Fran dunks again

As she did against Cal, Fran produced a highlight play by dunking in the third quarter after picking up a loose ball that had been deflected by Lexie.

Everyone got a big scare when Kiana went down with an injury with just over a half-minute left in the game. She had to be helped off the court.

However, in the post-game press conference, head coach Tara VanDerveer, who raised her all-time winning record to 1,101 games, said Kiana will be fine. She didn’t elaborate.

The Associated Press reported that the team has held all seven of its opponents to 40 percent or less field-goal shooting.

Over the Christmas break, the team will return to Northern California and have a five-day break with no official practice, Tara said.

The players will travel to Arizona on Dec. 27 for the next two games: Arizona on Jan. 1 and Arizona State on Jan. 3.

In the meantime, happy holidays to all.