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Stanford basketball teams gear up for winter break matches

No. 11 Stanford women’s basketball and unranked Stanford men’s basketball keep their seasons going through December

Sophomore forward KZ Okpala (above) ranks third in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage (.451) and second in points per game (17.9). (BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

While a majority of students are returning home at the close of the quarter, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are already preparing for games over winter break.

No. 11 Stanford women’s basketball (6-1, 0-0 Pac-12) heads into the break games with a near-perfect record and only a recent hiccup against No. 24 Gonzaga (8-1, 0-0 West Coast). Dominant performances defined the beginning of the season for the Cardinal women; in fact, Stanford had beaten every opponent besides the Bulldogs with more than a 20-point margin. The 73-79 loss against Gonzaga precipitated due to a variety of factors, including an 11-point deficit at the end of the first half and a pair of team injuries: meteoric freshman guard Lexie Hull with a leg injury and junior guard Anna Wilson with a neck injury. The match turned into one of the biggest home wins for the Bulldogs and a close contest for the Cardinal, who came back several times throughout the match thanks to sophomore guard Kiana Williams and junior guard DiJonai Carrington.

Stanford is undoubtedly looking for redemption as it begins the over-break matches, starting with a pair of games against two top-10 teams — No. 4 Baylor (7-0, 0-0 Big-12) and No. 9 Tennessee (6-0, 0-0 SEC). Baylor has decimated foes from across the nation and recently overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat No. 23 Arizona State (5-2, 0-0 Pac-12). The game against the Bears will take place on Dec. 15 at 12 p.m. PT at Stanford. Tennessee, like Baylor, possesses a spotless record. The match against The Volunteers is set to happen on Dec. 18, 3 p.m. in Knoxville.

Next, the team will go to Buffalo (5-1, 0-0 Mid-American) to face the Bulls on Dec. 21 at 9 a.m., followed by a home match against CSUN (4-5, 0-0 Big-West) on Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. The last two matches of break will be played at home against conference opponents, starting the team’s Pac-12 play — the first against USC (8-0, 0-0 Pac-12) on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. and the second against UCLA (3-5, 0-0 Pac-12) on Jan. 6 at 1 p.m.

This past Saturday, Stanford men’s basketball (4-4, 0-0 Pac-12) kept No. 2 Kansas (6-0, 0-0 Big-12) on its toes after taking the Jayhawks into overtime and nearly clinching what would have been a legendary upset. The 90-84 final score masks that the Cardinal were able to hold a six-point lead by the end of the first half, a half defined by remarkable defense and record-setting shooting as Stanford ended up hitting a season-high of 12 three-pointers. In what seemed like the closing moments of the game, Sophomore guard Daejon Davis, scoring 19 points total, hit two free throws that gave Stanford a 75-72 lead with only 13.3 seconds remaining. It was the Jayhawks’s Lagerald Vick, after an assist from Devon Dotson, who found the net for a three-pointer that tied up the match and pushed the game into overtime, ultimately leading to a KU victory. This defeat may have marked Stanford’s third loss against a ranked opponent, but the fight that the Cardinal put up stands as a testament to Stanford’s talent and growth.

The men’s team begins their over-break schedule with a home game against Eastern Washington (1-5, 0-0 Big Sky) on Dec. 15 at 4 p.m., followed by another home match on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. against San Jose State (1-6, 0-0 Mountain West). The first away game in the schedule will take place at San Francisco (7-1, 0-0 West Coast) on Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. before another home game against Long Beach State (2-7, 0-0 Big West) on Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The final two matches will be away games at UCLA (6-2, 0-0 Pac-12) on Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. and at USC (5-3, 0-0 Pac-12) on Jan. 6 at 5 p.m.

 

Contact Arman Kassam at armank ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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