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No. 8 Stanford heads to Corvallis searching for regular season conference title
Sophomore forward Alanna Smith has been one of the leading underclassmen throughout the season, averaging 7.7 points per game and 4.9 rebounds each game. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

No. 8 Stanford heads to Corvallis searching for regular season conference title

Following an emotional final match at Maples against Bay Area rival Cal (17-11, 5-11), No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (24-4, 14-2) embarks on their final road trip of the season looking to clinch the Pac-12 conference championship when squaring off against the pair of Oregon conference opponents. The Cardinal first open the weekend against No. 10 and co-conference leaders Oregon State (25-3, 14-2) before finishing the regular season in Eugene against the Oregon Ducks (18-10, 10-3).

With their senior night win, the Cardinal women extended their four-game winning streak and continued their momentum heading into the final stages of the regular season. Stanford’s recent success sprouts from increased ball movement and accuracy in addition to suffocating defense that held opposing offenses to under 55 points in three of the four wins in the streak.

When heading into hostile territory in Corvallis against the Beavers, the Cardinal will need to continue their momentum and accuracy in order to avenge their loss earlier this season against a highly talented Oregon State squad. In that double-overtime victory, the Cardinal simply couldn’t overcome two costly turnovers in the second overtime period and were upset by the then-No. 16 Beavers.

This time, Stanford will clash against their intense competitors at Gill Coliseum with the conference regular season title on the line as the two teams are currently tied atop the Pac-12 with a record of 14-2 each. If the Cardinal can effectively exit Corvallis with a victory, Stanford will own the conference lead, with only one game left in the season against the University of Oregon.

In order to defeat the Beavers, Stanford will need to focus on senior guard Sydney Wiese, who has led this Oregon State team throughout the year, averaging 15 points and 4.6 assists per game while running point throughout the year. In the Cardinal’s last loss to Oregon State, Wiese shredded the Stanford defense for a game-leading 26 points including going 5-9 from downtown in her 47-minute showing.

Furthermore, in addition to stopping Wiese, Stanford will need to focus on continuing its offensive accuracy and ball movement if they hope to win on Friday and ultimately claim the regular season title. The Beavers tout the best rebounding team in the conference, leading the Pac-12 in rebounding margin and rebounding offense and defense per game all by a landslide, showing their physical dominance and defensive willpower.

The Cardinal need to be able to rely on their offensive depth in order to clinch the conference title and continue building success toward the postseason. While mainly led by the senior core that features wing Karlie Samuelson and double-double machine Erica McCall, key contributions from sophomores such as Alanna Smith or Marta Sniezek have further boosted this Cardinal roster and continue to be a critical reason why Stanford remains atop the Pac-12.

After exiting Corvallis on Friday, the Stanford women will take on the Ducks in their final match of the season. While No. 10 Oregon State will be the crux of the upcoming road trip, the Cardinal must not overlook this strong Ducks team that currently sits tied for fifth in the competitive Pac-12.

The Ducks have had a strong showing this season, led offensively by freshman guard/forward combo Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard, averaging 14 and 15 points respectively. However, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer will surely feel confident that if the team’s levels of accuracy and defensive play continues, they look poised to compete for yet another conference title and ready for the postseason following this weekend’s actions.

You can follow the action on gostanford.com, the Pac-12 Network and recaps here at The Daily.

 

Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.