The Stanford women’s basketball team (15-5, 7-1 Pac-12) earned its seventh straight sweep of the Los Angeles schools after beating UCLA and USC over the weekend.
For the fourth time in the past five games and the ninth time this season, the Card found themselves down at halftime against UCLA 40-37. For the third time this season, Stanford bailed itself out of a double-digit deficit and came out with the win.
UCLA started the game on an 8-0 run after Stanford went on a run of its own, pulling within one of the Bruins. With 9:27 left in the half, Kari Korver sunk a three to put UCLA ahead 26-15 — the Card’s largest deficit of the night.
Issues on both ends of the court reflected Stanford’s slow start: The team shot 39.3 percent in the first half and struggled from behind the arc, going 4-14. After shooting 47 percent on field goals including 60 percent on threes, UCLA controlled the tempo for much of the first half, particularly due to Nirra Fields’ 17 first-half points, which included four threes. Additionally, Lili Thompson, Stanford’s best scorer, went 0-6 on field goals and scored her only point of the game from the free-throw line.
Briana Roberson kept the Card in the game with 13 points in her second career start. Bonnie Samuelson also contributed 10 in the first half to keep the team within striking distance. Most of her points came by penetrating the Bruins’ defense and attacking the rim.
Stronger shooting and defense helped the Cardinal gain the lead in the second half and win the game. Stanford had five threes from Orrange and the Samuelson sisters in a 21-6 start to the second half, putting Stanford up 58-46. The Card shot 51.9 percent and 58.3 percent from three-point range after the intermission en route to a 79-70 victory.
Roberson scored 8 more points in the game to reach her career high of 21 points. Roberson has begun to step up her play in the past few games: Before the SoCal road trip, she averaged 13 points on 53 percent shooting in the previous four games.
“The team did a really good job of finding each other,” Roberson told GoStanford. “We did a good job just breaking down the defense.”
Despite fouling out, Orrange had another strong performance and ended the game with 20 points and 5 assists. Bonnie Samuelson tallied her second 20-point game this season after notching 21 points, including four threes, and 7 rebounds. Freshman Kaylee Johnson posted yet another double-double – her fourth of the season – with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
The Cardinal then ended their weekend on a high note after a 71-60 win against USC on Sunday.
Although the Trojans went up 13-10 early in the first half, sophomore forward Erica McCall scored six straight points to put the Cardinal up 16-13, a lead that they would not relinquish. Sophomore guard Karlie Samuelson and Roberson also contributed to the squad’s 13-0 run, which put them up 23-13.
Thompson scored 13 first-half points to put the Card up 36-27 at the half. The Card’s impressive free throw shooting (10-11, including 6-6 from Thompson) gave them some distance from the Trojans, who went only 3-8 from the charity stripe. Despite Stanford’s 9-point lead, USC outrebounded the Card 19-17 and scored 10 second-chance points to Stanford’s two.
“I think we came in with an attitude that we didn’t want to get down like we have in past games and then try to battle back,” Thompson told GoStanford. “We wanted to commit to staying aggressive the entire game and I think we did that tonight.”
Although a three-pointer by Brianna Barrett brought the Trojans within six at the start of the second-half, this was the closest USC would get to catching up. The Card maintained a sizeable lead for the rest of the game, with the largest lead being 17 after a three-point play by Orrange’s with 8:48 left in the game.
Orrange also scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
Stanford is off until Saturday, when Washington State comes to Maples Pavilion. That game is set for 12:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Alexa Phillipou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.