Despite being down by two at halftime, the No. 12 Stanford women’s basketball team (16-5, 8-1 Pac-12) came back and demolished the Washington State Cougars (13-7, 4-5) 75-56 on Saturday at Maples Pavilion.
The Card improved to 59-0 all-time against the Cougars off of a well-balanced attack from five different scorers in double figures. With the victory, Stanford improved to 8-0 when it has four or more players score 10-plus points in a game.
“[It was an] excellent team win for us,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer. “I thought we did a much better job in the second half. Mostly our defense I thought really helped us.”
Senior point guard Amber Orrange not only led the Card with 15 points, but she also earned her 500th career assist, one of only six other players in program history to have done so. Orrange ended the game with six assists as well as five rebounds.
Although the Card had a nine-point lead early in the first half, the team went down by three after Lia Galdeira scored off of a jump shot with 4:22 left in the half. A pair of free throws by sophomore guard Lili Thompson put Stanford within two of the Cougars at halftime, which marked the 10th time this season the Card had been down at half.
Stanford outplayed WSU in terms of shooting percentage (53.8 percent versus 43.3 percent), rebounding (22-10) and points in the paint (22-8). Yet the Card’s inability to take care of the ball led to 13 turnovers in the first half, off of which the Cougars scored 14 points.
The Card also struggled to contain Galdeira, the second-highest scorer in the Pac-12, who went into the intermission with 13 points.
A 6-0 run by the Card off of points from Orrange and freshman forward Kaylee Johnson put the squad up by four at the 17:22 mark in the second half. Although a 3-pointer by Tia Presley put the Cougars within one, the Card went on a 15-5 run that gave them a sizeable lead for the rest of the game.
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“We took better care of the ball, we pushed the ball a little bit more and I think our defense just really helped us,” said Orrange about the second half, in which Stanford had only five turnovers and forced the Cougars to commit nine.
Washington State faced difficulty scoring once Stanford buckled down and played better defense. Stanford outscored Washington State 38-17 in the second half, during which it shot 20 percent and went to the line only once. The Cougars scored on two of their last 18 field goals and did not score in the final three minutes of the game.
In addition, although Galdeira scored in the double digits in the first half, she only scored five points in the second. Presley, who came into Saturday’s game ranked third in the Pac-12 in scoring, was limited to four points after being well-guarded by Thompson.
Sophomore forward Erica McCall, who went 4-of-4 on her first few shots, ended the game as the Card’s second-highest scorer with 14 points. She also notched seven rebounds and two blocks.
“Bird came out with excellent energy, working hard on the glass and getting 14 points for us,” said VanDerveer. “She’s just [at] the tip of the iceberg of what she’s going to be doing for us the rest of the year, [as she’s] getting used to scoring in there.”
Sophomore guard Briana Roberson, who started her third consecutive game and had averaged 11.8 points in the Card’s previous five games, scored 11. Thompson and sophomore guard Karlie Samuelson both contributed 10 apiece.
Stanford will next take on the Pac-12’s leading scorer in Kelsey Plum and the University of Washington Huskies on Monday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.