In day two of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu, Hawai’i, No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (5-0) improved their undefeated season record with a 71-49 victory over American University (3-2). Led by senior forward Alanna Smith’s career-high 25-point performance, the Cardinal produced 26 points in the fourth quarter to outscore the Eagles.
Both teams entered Saturday’s competition on little rest after opening the three-game weekend trip with wins on Friday. The Cardinal opened their weekend with a decisive 88-65 win over Florida Gulf Coast University (3-2) in their first meeting since last March, when the Cardinal won a contest in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Friday also featured a win for the American Eagles as they outlasted host University of Hawai’i (1-6) 73-67.
With wins on their backs, Stanford and American clashed Saturday afternoon on less than 24 hours of rest. Smith, who was held to a season-low six points on Friday, shot 10-18 from the field and 3-6 from the distance for a total of 24 points on Saturday. She also led the team in defensive rebounds, grabbing seven boards. Smith’s career-high performance came just one day after junior forward Nadia Fingall had her own record-breaking performance, scoring a personal best 24 points.
In Saturday’s contest, Fingall contributed 10 points, shooting 3-8 from the field and 3-4 from the stripe. She also grabbed five boards. Sophomore guard Kiana Williams produced nine points and a team-leading seven assists. Junior guard DiJonai Carrington had a fantastic game on both sides of the court. Carrington combined 6-7 from the field and 1-1 from the stripe for 13 points in a performance that also included seven rebounds.
“I thought DiJonai was a real big difference for us,” head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “She got that post-up, she got that offensive board, she made a free throw, she made that really nice pitch, so I thought she played really well. I’m very happy with how she’s playing.”
The Cardinal lead by as much as 12 points in the first half, which saw the Cardinal produce 30 points to the Eagles’ 23. By halftime, Smith racked up 10 points and four rebounds. The Cardinal only shot 32 percent from the field (10-31) to the Eagles 35 percent (9-26).
American kept the game close through the third quarter, shrinking the Cardinal’s lead down to six points by the end of the third. But the wear and tear of two games in two days began to settle in for the Eagles when the Cardinal’s stamina was on display in the fourth. Stanford pulled away in the final quarter, scoring 26 points to the Eagles’ 10. The Cardinal women shot 60 percent from both the field (9-15) and the arc (3-5) in the final quarter, putting the game out of reach for the Eagles.
“We haven’t really played in that many tournaments where we’re playing two games in two days, so this will be a real challenge for us, I think, and just not having enough rest time and enough prep time,” American head coach Megan Gebbia said. “I mean, I thought we did a good job with the time that we had, but I think we were tired and I don’t play a ton of people — I think I go about eight deep — so you could see like in the fourth quarter it wearing on us.”
Eight of the 12 women who saw playing time contributed points to the Cardinal’s win. Others found different means of making an impact, including freshman forward Lucie Hull, who had a spectacular night despite shooting 0-3 from the field and 0-1 from the distance. Hull set a personal career-high for both minutes played and steals. She accumulated seven steals in 33 minutes.
The Cardinal will conclude the road trip to Honolulu on Sunday with a game against Hawai’i at 4:30 p.m. PST.
Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu