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Women’s basketball stifles Arizona at home

Only two days after hitting the 1,000-points career mark, senior Brittany McPhee (above) dropped a game-high 15 points on Arizona on Sunday. (RICHARD C ERSTED/isiphotos.com)

If you wanted a clinic on how to dominate a team in all facets of the game, all you had to do was head to Maples Pavilion on Sunday night. Stanford women’s basketball (14-8, 8-2 Pac-12) was lights out from beyond the arc, playing stifling defense and controlling the glass against Arizona (5-16, 1-9 Pac-12), jumping out to a massive lead on its way to a 79-42 victory.

The win comes days after the team beat No. 25 Arizona State (14-7, 5-4), after losing to the Sun Devils by seven points two weeks prior. Behind senior captain McPhee’s 24 points and junior point guard Marta Sniezek’s 13 points and six assists, Stanford cruised past Arizona State 74-50.

On Sunday against the Wildcats, the box score was full of Cardinal red as Stanford played a high-octane type of basketball, running up and down the court, shooting (and making) lots of threes and playing an airtight perimeter defense.

There was a lot to like about Stanford’s performance. The Cardinal suffocated Arizona’s offense, holding the Wildcats to a 28 percent shooting percentage and forcing 14 turnovers. Arizona had only 16 points at the half.

The Cardinal’s three-point shooting showcase was even more brilliant, as they went 7-12 from beyond the arc in the first quarter on their way to a 22-10 lead after just eight minutes. They finished the game with 14 three-pointers.

But above all, it was unselfishness that led to such an explosive offensive performance. Stanford assisted on 27 of their 30 made field goals, and at times the ball was dished around the court like a pinball.

“Everybody contributed and that’s what made it fun,” head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I think the team is real supportive of each other. They’re a very unselfish group and it was really fun to watch.”

In fact, Stanford’s offensive display was so fun to watch that VanDerveer made reference to a local NBA team who just happens to play a similar style of basketball.

“This was a great team win for us. I loved our assists — 27 assists on 30 baskets — that’s [Golden State] Warrior-ish. I like that a lot,” VanDerveer said.

While senior guard Brittany McPhee and junior forward Alanna Smith led the Cardinal with 15 points apiece, it was the strong play from the freshmen that allowed Stanford to take control. Freshman guard Kiana Williams had 11 points and seven assists, including back-to-back possessions where she cut through a porous Arizona defense for a fast-break layup and then hit a dagger of a three-pointer just moments later. Freshman forward Maya Dodson also contributed with ten points and five rebounds.

“They were soft on Kiana [Williams] — she won’t have that,” VanDerveer said. “She knocked it down and that set the tone for other people.”

Stanford’s big lead allowed VanDerveer to play her entire bench and gave key minutes to some role players, including sophomore guard Anna Wilson, who had eight points.

Sunday’s win capped off a big weekend for the Cardinal, who took down No. 25 Arizona State on Friday night. Stanford is currently tied for second place in the conference, but the Cardinal have a crucial road trip this week, as they travel north to face No.17 Oregon State (16-5, 7-3 Pac-12) on Friday and No. 7 Oregon (20-3, 9-1 Pac-12) on Sunday. The Ducks currently hold the top spot in the Pac-12, a game ahead of Stanford and UCLA.

Friday’s game starts at 6 p.m. and will be streamed live on Pac-12 networks, while Sunday’s game starts at 12 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

 

Contact Gregory Block at gblock ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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