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 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.