By Asia Zhang
Winning their first three games in the first time in three years, the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 0-0 Pac- 12) mercilessly crushed the University of San Francisco Dons (1-1, 0-0 West Coast Conference) with a stunning 34-point lead Thursday Night at Maples Pavilion, ending the phenomenal game with a final score of 96-62.
Stanford started the first quarter with two triple buckets by junior DiJonai Carrington and senior Alanna Smith, who both shot and assisted one another’s shots, putting the Cardinal into the lead: a lead they would maintain for the remainder of the game. USF responded with combative rebounds, but the Cardinal shot impressive 4-8 three-pointers, bringing the first quarter to an end with a nine-point lead, 21-12.
The second quarter was characterized by consistently exceptional rebounds with Alanna Smith, using her advantageous height at 6-foot-4, leading the team with seven outstanding defensive rebounds and solid blocks. “Our defense, our rebounding are the things that we are really hanging our hats on,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer after the game. The Cardinal held strong, even with the Dons committing only one turnover within these 10 minutes.
The Dons countered the Cardinal after halftime with a three ball from senior Shannon Powell, assisted by freshman Luciga Kostic, and fast breaks from senior Veronica Preciado. With a series of aggressive plays, rebounds and turnovers in the last four minutes of the third quarter, the Dons pushed the Cardinal to play harder as they returned the pressure with two consecutive three-pointers from sophomore Kiana Williams and freshman Lacie Hall, pulling Stanford into a 20-point lead at the end of the quarter.
Quarter four can only be described as prodigious with Stanford making four three-pointers within the first three minutes, with Alanna Smith making three of the tree-pointers and Lacie Hull slamming one in for good measure, bringing the Cardinal into a 37-point lead. Unbeknownst to her, with her first basket of the night, Smith moved ahead of Molly Goodenbour and into 37th place on Stanford’s all-time scoring list. Furthermore, another notable moment from Thursday night was Stanford making 15 of 32 three-pointers, creeping onto matching the record 16 of 41 in a 115-71 victory over Idaho last Sunday.
It ultimately was a phenomenal night for the Stanford women’s basketball team as their improvement-focused mindset brings all around positive energy and motivation for the team’s success. Succinctly put by Alanna Smith, “”I think that just comes with us working hard and being confident shooters. If that means a record, all the better.”
Catch the fiery Cardinal spirit at Maples Pavilion this Sunday against Ohio State at 1 p.m. as they gear up to bring set new precedents with four-consecutive wins.
Contact Asia Zhang at asiaz ‘at’ stanford.edu