The No. 6-ranked Stanford women’s basketball (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12) returns to Maples to defend its 18-game home winning streak against Washington (8-9, 1-4) and Washington State (7-9, 2-3) this weekend.
Senior forward Alanna Smith has just been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the third time in her career and the second time this season for her efforts in a road sweep in Arizona.
In the Sunday game, a dominant win over Arizona, the Cardinal held the Wildcats to just 48 points, including a 27-0 Stanford run. Smith led the defense with seven blocks in that game, a career high and the second most in Stanford history. “We pride ourselves on our defense,” said Smith. “That’s something Stanford’s done for years and years. Especially in this game, you’ve got to pride yourself in getting stops.”
In the two game span, Smith tallied 45 points, 20 rebounds and eight blocks, while shooting .548 from the field and .556 from distance. Smith is the only player in the nation to top 54 percent from the floor and 48 percent from deep on the season. Not only is that precision from behind the arc the fourth-best in the country, but would blow away the previous 41.3 percent record for three-point shooting by a player at least 6-foot-4 set by Elena Delle Donne in 2009-2010.
In two wins over the Huskies last season, Smith averaged 34 points and 16 rebounds, and junior guard DiJonai Carrington contributed 17 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc.
Washington is led by Amber Melgoza, who is fourth in the conference in points per 40 minutes with 27.0, needing just 56 more points to reach 1,000 for her career. The Huskies defeated Colorado last week for their first conference victory, but fell to Utah despite holding the Utes to a season-low 58 points.
Stanford is 50-17 all-time against Washington, including 27-4 at home, winning the last 17 contests in Maples Pavilion. Meanwhile, Stanford has never lost against Washington State in 63 total games.
Last season, the Cardinal and the Cougars only faced off one time due to a cancellation stemming from the passing of Washington’s Director of Strength and Conditioning, David Lang. In that matchup, Smith scored 20 points and was a rebound shy of a double double, with sophomore guard Kiana Williams contributing 15 points. Carrington will have something to prove this year after missing all seven shots she took that game, despite helping her team with seven rebounds.
The Cardinal defense will be tasked with containing the conference’s second leading scorer, Borislava Hristova, who is averaging 21.9 per game. The Cougars’ Maria Kostourkova is fourth in the Pac-12 in both rebounds and blocks per game with 9.1 and 1.6, respectively. Chanelle Molina, who came off the bench to drop 19 on the Cardinal last season, is sixth in the conference with 5.7 assists per game.
Although the Cardinal remain at sixth in the AP poll, Stanford is now up to second overall in RPI. “We’re a great team and we’re aiming for big things this year,” said Smith, “and the way we’ve started, I think we’re going to do really well.”
With two victories this weekend, head coach Tara VanDerveer would reach 900 wins at Stanford. Friday’s game against Washington tips at 7 p.m., and the Sunday battle against Wazzu will begin at noon.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.