No. 3 Stanford women’s basketball will open regular season play this Saturday on the road at Boston College before it moves on to Storrs, Conn., to take on No. 1 Connecticut on Monday.
Stanford played its only exhibition game last Sunday at Maples against Vanguard and dismantled the Lions 79-47 to start its 2013-14 campaign. Stanford is expected to finish atop the Pac-12 for the 14th consecutive season in a conference that boasts four teams in the top 25, according to ESPN’s preseason poll.
In the midst of numerous injuries, the Card will have to look to new players for contributions in order to be successful in its first road trip of the season. Considering the sharing of the wealth in the scoring against Vanguard (every player to get on the court scored), it does not look to be as big of an issue this year.
Four Stanford upperclassmen sat out of Sunday’s game, including senior Sara Jam
es, who started at guard last year, and sophomores Taylor Greenfield, Bonnie Samuelson and Erica Payne. Greenfield and Samuelson are expected to return soon, but Payne probably will not be ready until Pac-12 play.
With the absence of James as a returning starter and the power forward position left open with the loss of Joslyn Tinkle ’13 to graduation, there were two open spots in the starting lineup for the Cardinal to fill to compliment senior Chiney Ogwumike, redshirt senior Mikaela Ruef and sophomore Amber Orrange. Those two starting spots ended up being taken in the exhibition by freshman Kailee Johnson and redshirt sophomore Alex Green.
Ogwumike led the team in scoring with 27 points and 15 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play and went into the halftime break already having a double-double under her belt. Ogwumike was recently named one of five players to the 2013-14 preseason Associated Press All-America Team for the second straight season, joining Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, Baylor’s Odyssey Sims and Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Other preseason accolades included a candidacy for the Wade Trophy Player of the Year honor and the John R. Wooden Award.
Coming off of the bench in Sunday’s win, freshman Erica McCall was the second-leading scorer with 14 points, while Johnson was a huge offensive force throughout the game, netting 13 points to go with nine rebounds. Freshman Lili Thompson also saw a lot of playing time as she split time at point guard with Orrange, a member of last year’s All-Pac-12 team. From there, scoring was equally spread among the remaining three starters and three bench players.
Although it was just an exhibition game, the Vanguard game gave the Card great confidence to work off of despite its limited roster heading into this week’s road trip.
Boston College is projected to finish 11th in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which is led this year by No. 2 Duke. This will be the Eagles’ first regular-season game of the season as well. They return last year’s two leading scorers: seniors Kristen Doherty (12.3 points per game) and Katie Zenevitch (12.1 points per game).
Tip-off for Saturday’s game at Boston College is set for 10 a.m.