By Asia Zhang
After a slamming weekend at Maples Pavilion in which No. 6 Stanford women’s basketball team (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) swept the USC Trojans (10-3, 0-2 Pac-12) and fought off the UCLA Bruins (9-6, 2-1 Pac-12) to secure two consecutive wins in their conference opener, the Cardinal look to increase their record to an eight-game winning streak against No. 22 Arizona State (11-3, 2-1 Pac-12) on Friday at 6 p.m.
The Cardinal were reminded of the sheer tenacity and talent of the Pac-12 conference last Sunday as they held off the Bruins with six hard-fought points in a nail-biter of a game that had fans on the edge of their seats. Sunday’s unpredictable game was nerve-wracking for the players, coaches and fans alike as UCLA led the game for 18:50 and Stanford led for 18:43, with UCLA holding their lead by 12 points in the second quarter for a mere 03:08 and Stanford holding their largest lead by 11 points in the fourth quarter for 09:15. The lead changed a total of seven times throughout the duration of the game.
The Bruins started off strong with senior Kennedy Burke making three of her four initial shots and senior Japreece Dean shooting eight straight buckets in the first quarter, pushing UCLA into an early 17-6 lead. UCLA then proceeded to sink seven of nine shots from deep in the first half and took advantage of their 16-3 run to push them ahead 40-29 5:20 minutes into the second quarter, leading with a score of 45-38 at the end of the second quarter.
The Cardinal, however, would no longer bear this damage with senior forward Alana Smith stepping up and hitting consecutive three-pointers halfway through the third quarter during an 18-3 Stanford run, helping the Cardinal take a 56-50 lead. The last few minutes of the game were characterized by an intense back-and-forth finish with sophomore Alyssa Jerome, who replaced junior Nadia Fingal who is lost for the season due to a torn ACL in her left knee from Friday night, making a triple with 1:03 left. UCLA’s sophomore Michaela Onyenwere answered with a pair of free throws with 2:26 remaining to cut the Stanford lead to 75-73 before Kiana Williams replied with a 3. Although UCLA almost (b)ruined the Cardinal’s winning streak, the team showcased its resilience and ability to recover from slow starts.
The Arizona State Sun Devils are coming off a great weekend with high spirits, as they unexpectedly beat the Utah Utes 65-63 last Friday and finished off the weekend with a 76-70 win over the Colorado Buffaloes. Senior Kianna Ibis scored a season high of 27 points and added seven rebounds, and tied with junior Robbi Ryan with two steals, leading the Sun Devils to their first double-digit lead of the season at 64-53. Much like the UCLA-Stanford game, the last few minutes of the last quarter were hotly contested with ASU ultimately nabbing a close win.
Watch Stanford recharge their fiery cardinal spirit as the Sun Devils put them on the hot seat this Friday at 6 p.m. in Tempe, AZ.
Contact Asia Zhang at asiaz ‘at’ stanford.edu.