In a weekend of highs and lows, the Stanford women’s basketball team (19-4, 9-3 Pac-12) dominated the No. 7-ranked Oregon State Beavers (20-4, 10-2) in an upset victory on Friday night before being dissected by the No. 3 Oregon Ducks (23-1, 12-0) on Sunday. The Cardinal walked all over the Beavers, winning 61-44, but were obliterated by the Ducks, falling 84-44. This loss marked the first time the team has been beaten by 40 points since 1985.
“We’re used to looking at the scoreboard with the numbers reversed,” head coach Tara VanDerveer said after Sunday’s game.
Starting the weekend ranked No. 11, the Cardinal are now installed as the No. 10 team in the country, despite the loss to Oregon. Even with its strong early season performances, the team is now 2-3 in its last five conference games.
Friday’s contest was marked by a strong defensive performance from the entire team, and an incredible offensive first half by sophomore point guard Kianna Williams.
“We were focused,” Williams said after the game. “We locked in on defense and collectively did our job. That helped me get into a rhythm.”
Despite not scoring for the first few minutes of the game, and falling into a 6-0 deficit, the Cardinal were not fazed by the Beavers, and eventually gained a lead that they would not surrender for the rest of the game.
Senior forward Alanna Smith was unstoppable defensively for the Cardinal, registering three early blocks in the first half that excited the crowd and kept Stanford in control of the game’s momentum. Smith turned in another vintage performance, contributing 17 total points and seven rebounds.
The defensive intensity of the team locked Oregon State out of any chance of a comeback. Known as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, the Beavers shot a paltry 4-21 from beyond the arc, thanks to solid closeouts and incredible wing defense from Smith, as well as freshman forwards Lacie and Lexie Hull and sophomore forward Maya Dodson. Dodson, in her third game back from injury, contributed the team’s other four blocks, and had a team-leading 10 rebounds.
The Beavers were led by Destiny Slocum, who had a game-high 23 points, but who was unable to carry her team to the finish line. Slocum was the only Oregon State player in double digits, while the Cardinal had both Smith and Williams driving their offense forward.
Williams’ transcendence in the second part of the first half was truly something to behold. The sophomore pushed the team on fast breaks, racked up four assists, finished at the rim and could not miss from three-point range. Williams matched a career high in three-pointers made with four, all made in the first half of the game, including a positively disrespectful pull-up three right over the opposing point guard’s unsuspecting nose. Williams finished with 18 points, 16 coming on her unstoppable offensive run.
The Cardinal shot 9-31 from behind the arc, including a first-half, buzzer-beating three by Lacie Hull, which blew the wind out from the Beavers’ sails. The second half was marred by bad foul calls on both teams (Stanford fans let the refs know how they felt about those), but was largely unspectacular, as the Beavers were only able to pull the game to within nine points, and only for a moment. Stanford closed out the game 61-44.
The aura of triumph that followed the upset victory over the Beavers was quickly wiped away on Sunday, as the Ducks absolutely abused the Cardinal, handing the team its worst loss of the season, and likely the program’s worst loss in a long time.
“We made one little run early, and then it was a train rolling down the tracks pretty fast. Very disappointing, but I’m hoping our team will respond in a really positive way,” VanDerveer said.
The loss to Oregon marked the end of a 22-game winning streak by the Cardinal in Maples Pavilion.
Stanford’s shooting turned stone cold in this game, particularly that of Smith, who turned in her worst performance of the year. Smith shot 3-14 from the field for six total points. Also inefficient was Dodson, who shot 4-13 for eight points. The Cardinal’s leading scorer was junior guard Dijonai Carrington, who had 13 points on 4-8 shooting, making it to the free throw line six times.
The Cardinal were dominated by Bay Area native Sabrina Ionescu, who nearly notched a triple double for the Ducks, finishing the game with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in an immaculate effort. The Ducks had four players in double figures, compared to Stanford’s lone Carrington.
On the bright side, the Ducks came into this game scoring 100+ points in their last two contests against Colorado and Cal. Stanford can carry the fact that they held the high-powered Oregon offense to only 84 points, rather than 100.
The Cardinal will attempt to rebound heading into this weekend on a road trip to Los Angeles to take on UCLA on Friday and USC on Sunday.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu