By Ellie Chen
No. 10 Stanford women’s basketball beat UCSD 60-46 on Saturday in its exhibition season opener. Sisters Tara and Heidi VanDerveer coached against each other for the third time in four years as 2,523 loyal fans excitedly returned to Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal’s 12 blocks during the game tie the team’s third most blocks in a game. Offensively, the Cardinal jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, with Senior Brittany McPhee scoring the first three baskets of the game. McPhee, who scored 10 of the Cardinal’s 21 first half points, sat the second half with a tweaked ankle. Juniors Alanna Smith and Alexa Romano led the team with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
All four talented freshmen, Maya Dodson, Kiana Williams, Estella Moschkau and Alyssa Jerome made their career debuts on Saturday. Playing the most minutes out of the freshmen, Dodson had three blocks and a game-high seven rebounds as the Cardinal coasted to victory.
The Cardinal experienced a nine-minute scoring drought from mid-first quarter to late in the second quarter but maintained a lead heading into the third. The game was tied 17-17 late in the second quarter before Alexa Romano hit a critical three-pointer.
Stanford played a young lineup in the first half, which showed in their 10 turnovers. The Cardinal also shot nine-of-28 from the field, including one-of-10 on three pointers. The Cardinal did find offensive flow in the second half, with 18 points off the bench and 12 players scoring.
“For a first game, our team can learn a lot,” commenced Head Coach Tara VanDerveer.
The Cardinal came out of halftime energized and focused, jumping out on a 10-0 run. Smith started the quarter with a nice layup, and by midway through the third, Stanford led 31-20. Sophomore Anna Wilson hit a key three-pointer for her first basket of the season to extend the lead to 34-20, and fellow sophomore Dijonai Carrington closed the quarter with a lay-in on one of junior Marta Sniezek’s game-high seven assists.
“Alexa stepped up very big,” said VanDerveer after Romano opened the fourth quarter with her second of three treys from deep.
Stanford’s defense, with 12 blocks and 13 steals, helped fuel its offense. With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, sophomore Nadia Fingall stole the ball and passed it to classmate Carrington for a wide open layup that extended the lead to Stanford’s largest of the game, 51-28.
Stanford will next travel to face fifth-ranked Ohio State in its first regular season game on Nov 10 at 3 p.m. PST. The Cardinal will then stay in Columbus to take on the best team in the nation, the UConn Huskies, two days later.
Contact Ellie Chen at ellie170 ‘at’ stanford.edu.