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Women’s basketball claims season opener, smashes UC Davis

The No. 7 Stanford Cardinal walked all over the Aggies in the first game of the 2018-2019 season

Sophomore guard Kiana Williams (above) scored 14 points and the led the team with 3 assists in 18 minutes. She was 5-8 from the field and 3-5 from behind the arc as the women won their season opener. (BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

The No. 7 Stanford women’s basketball team (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) took on the UC Davis Aggies (0-1) to open its season yesterday night. The Cardinal had a game fraught with turnovers, yet filled with impressive debuts by freshman and solid performances by veterans. The Cardinal easily won the game, with a final score of 71-43.

Stanford started out the game with two turnovers, beginning the game on shaky footing, but quickly gained steam. Sophomore guard Kiana Williams’ quick feet served her well as she drove to the basket multiple times and put up six points in the first five minutes. With the team still finding their footing in the first quarter, it executed a nice play. Williams drove to the middle of the paint, drawing two defenders, and then kicked the ball out to sophomore forward Maya Dodson for a nice shot off the backboard.

Stanford was putting up points, but a decent amount of its shots were second chance shots. The Cardinal did capitalize on fast breaks, however. With a few minutes left in the first quarter, the Cardinal came up with a steal and rushed the ball down the court. With a pass down to senior forward Alanna Smith, the possession yielded a nice layup. This play highlighted the teamwork the team showed all night.

Throughout the first quarter and particularly in the second quarter the Cardinal defense was really working. The Aggie shooting percentage was 20 percent at the half and Stanford’s was 35 percent. The strong man defense by the Cardinal put pressure on the Aggies to play a passing game. As a result, the Aggies had minimal opportunities to drive to the basket. In an exhilarating play, Dodson blocked a shot, which was followed by a Stanford possession, leading to a shot attempt by Williams, who missed, but Smith put back the second chance shot. This play was the epitome of the Stanford performance during this game. The team had a strong defense, but the offense was mired by multiple missed shots. They ultimately made up for those missed shots with good offensive rebounding and second chance shots.

Williams had an especially stellar night. She was the second-best Stanford scorer on the night with 14 points. She wowed the crowd with multiple fast breaks down the court. Towards the end of the half, Williams traveled down the court and stopped short of the three-point line with a bounce. She tossed up a shot at least six inches behind the line that perfectly hit nothing but net. Kiana Williams asserted her three-point dominance soon after with a stealthy step-back with seconds left in the half. She put up a three that swished through the net. The shot was effortless and pure. At the end of the half the score was 36-24.

The first half was filled with multiple turnovers and lost opportunities for points in shots. However, by the second half, the Cardinal really hit their stride. In successive plays out of the gate Smith posted up in the paint and put up a nice layup. Then freshman forward Lexie Hull hit a three at the top of the court, and immediately after that Smith sunk another three to the excitement roaring crowd.

In the second half Lexie Hull got her chance to shine. She ended the game with a team-leading 11 rebounds. Her debut game was a combination of impressive drives to the basket as well as a determined energy, even in the face of missed shots and turnovers.

While discussing Lexie Hull’s performance, VanDerveer had a moment of confusion about a play in which Lexie got beat, and mistook her for her twin sister, freshman forward Lacie Hull. “Was that you or was that Lacie? I get them mixed up all the time.”

By the end of a dominant third quarter, the score was 57-34, and the Cardinal had the game under wraps.

The fourth quarter was filled with multiple possession changes. With a whiplash-inducing play, three straight possession changes in a matter of seconds ended with Stanford possession and a Lexie Hull layup. She followed it up with another layup in the next play.

The Aggie offense had to work hard to fight against the Cardinal. The total game shooting percentage for the Aggies and the Cardinal were 22.6 percent and 42.6 percent, respectively, but the Aggie offense was essentially live by the three, die by the three. By only making eight out of 31 three-point field goal attempts, UC Davis died by the three.

As a result of the game turning into a blowout, every single player on the Stanford team got playing time except for the injured player on the team, Marta Sniezek. The final score of the game was an impressive 71-43.

Alanna Smith was the team’s leading scorer with 16 points, in addition to two rebounds and one assist. Lexie Hull led the team in rebounds with 11, while scoring 11 points and playing a team-high 27 minutes. Kiana Williams set the pace for assists, dishing out three to add to her 14 points and one rebound.

The next women’s game is set to hit the Maples Pavilion court this Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Idaho Vandals.

 

Contact Nandini Naidu at nnaidu ‘at’ stanford.edu

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