Stanford women’s basketball returned from the road with its second straight weekend sweep, this time against Arizona (4-12, 0-5 Pac-12) and No. 19 Arizona State (15-3, 4-2).
Against Arizona on Friday, the Cardinal set multiple new season highs with 96 points scored, a 46-point margin of victory, 40 field goals made on 63 attempts, 15 3-pointers made and 32 3-pointers attempted when it beat the Wildcats 96-52. Stanford also matched a season high with 28 assists.
A win this big meant that multiple players got to contribute, and all 15 players on the roster saw playing time — for only the second time this season. Seven different players hit a 3-pointer in the Card’s downing of the Wildcats — the most in a single game this season — with the Samuelson sisters combining to go 7-for-14 from behind the arc.
“We’re not concerned with who we’re playing, just that we play well,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer. “The best thing on this team is that they keep each other accountable — if there’s someone not playing well, there’s someone right there who can come in and do well. We have a lot of different weapons, and they stepped up and played well.”
Senior forward Chiney Ogwumike had yet another dominant game, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds (her 12th double-double of the season). However, it was not a Chiney-centric game by any means. Freshman Karlie Samuelson had an electric night in shooting with 16 points, while fellow freshman Lili Thompson contributed 12 points and tied her career high with six assists. Although in the beginning of the season she seemed to be a solid backup for junior point guard Amber Orrange, Thompson has set herself apart as a shooting guard and is playing her own game with consistency and confidence.
“We’ve been working on working together [as a team] and trying different things and playing with the offense,” said Thompson. “I’ve been starting at [shooting guard] now for most of the season, so I’m just starting to adjust into that position.”
The Card only had a one-possession lead at 15-13 with 14:47 to play in the first half, but then Stanford hit four 3-pointers in consecutive possessions as a part of a 26-7 run initiated by a layup from Ogwumike.
“[Ogwumike] is a lot more confident [this year],” said VanDerveer. “She’s got a nice face-up shot, she rebounds the heck out if it, and she doesn’t force things. I think she does a really nice job of playing within herself. To me, she’s the best player in the country hands down.”
Ogwumike shot an impressive 92 percent, going 12-for-13 and getting the rebound on the one shot she missed, putting it back in anyways. Ogwumike and Thompson have developed a successful two-player game similar to that of Ogwumike and Orrange: Ogwumike sets the screen for a jumper, or Thompson or Orrange hits her for the pick and roll.
“We don’t think; we just make eye contact while playing,” Thompson said. “It’s been fun, and it’s working so [we’ll] stick with it.”
After Friday’s win, Stanford headed to Tempe, where it took on the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils on Monday. In the battle of “Fear the Fork” versus “Fear the Tree,” it was the Tree that prevailed. After recovering from a sluggish first half, the Cardinal capitalized on an early 9-0 run to beat the Sun Devils 80-56.
Ogwumike had another 30-point game, grabbing 16 rebounds and dominating with three blocks. Ogwumike again had help from multiple other Cardinal players to prove that Friday night’s game against a poorly matched Arizona was not a fluke — Stanford is a much deeper team than last year and can consistently rely on scoring from a multitude of players, even against top-25 opponents.
Junior forward Taylor Greenfield came off of the bench for 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. The freshmen continue to be represented well by Thompson and Samuelson, as they contributed 11 points each. Thompson also dished out four assists and snatched two steals.
Stanford and Arizona State were neck and neck for most of the first half. Arizona State controlled the boards and points in the paint thanks to freshman Sophie Brunner, who finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Card came alive in shooting and intensity in the second half, however, putting the game away with ease.
Stanford continues Pac-12 play at home this Friday against UCLA with tip-off set for 8 p.m.
Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.