Coming off a season opening win against UC Davis, No. 7 Stanford women’s basketball (1-0) plays host to Idaho (1-0) on Sunday afternoon.
For the 19th straight season, the Cardinal are in the preseason top 25 rankings. After a “subpar” season – by Stanford standards – last year in which the team dropped out of the national rankings for the first time in 17 years, the Cardinal are excited for the new season.
Despite being an at times rocky season, last year’s squad still finished with a 24-11 record and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Stanford has gone at least that far in every tournament since 2008.
On Wednesday, Stanford took care of business to start the season, defeating the Aggies 71-43. Four players scored in double digits for the Cardinal. Senior forward Alanna Smith and sophomore guard Kiana Williams led the way with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Freshman forward Lexie Hall added 11 points in her first collegiate start. Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Maya Dodson contributed 10 points. In the rout of the Aggies, Stanford showed off its depth as all healthy Cardinal players received minutes.
Even though the victory was a blowout, Stanford will look to tidy up their play. In their opening effort, they had 21 turnovers and shot only 43 percent from the field. On the bright side, the Cardinal grabbed twice as many rebounds as the Aggies, collecting 50 boards. Overall, Stanford was good in the paint, scoring 38 of their points from close range.
With Wednesday’s win over the Aggies, Stanford has won 12 straight games at Maples Pavilion, dating back to a Dec. 21, 2017 loss to Tennessee. Looking to extend the streak, the Cardinal welcome Idaho to the Farm.
The Vandals began the season on Tuesday with an 88-73 win over CSUN in Idaho. Expect Idaho to score from behind the arc. Against the Matadors, the Vandals made 15 three pointers, shooting 54 percent from long range. Ten of their treys came from their two highest scores, senior guards Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce. In their collegiate careers, the two have scored a combined 627 three-pointers and are both shooting roughly 40 percent from deep. Against the physical Cardinal defense, expect the Vandals to attempt to gain momentum from behind the arc.
Hailing from Moscow, a city of 25,000 near the Washington border in Idaho’s panhandle, the University of Idaho competes out of the Big Sky conference. Stanford is 2-0 all time against the Vandals, but the last competition between the two squads was during the 1981-82 campaign.
The Cardinal will look to clean up their turnovers and survive a flurry of Vandal three-pointers in this non-conference tilt. Tip-off on Sunday at Maples Pavillion will be at 2 p.m.
Contact Jake Stuebner at jstuebs ‘at’ stanford.edu.