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Women’s basketball looks to finish season on high note

Stanford heads north to Washington hoping to leave with two more wins

Senior forward Alanna Smith (above) scored a career-high 34 points in the team's most recent meeting with Washington State. (BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

No. 7 Stanford (23-4, 13-3 PAC-12) concludes its regular season with a road trip in Washington. The Cardinal will first tip off against the Cougars (9-18, 4-12 PAC-12) before heading to Seattle to face the Huskies (9-18, 2-13 PAC-12) in the season finale.

The Cardinal are on a four-game winning streak after dropping three of five.

Stanford is 29-0 against the Cougars in Pullman and perfect in all 64 matchups between the two sides. Twenty of the last 21 wins have come by double digits.

In the most recent meeting, senior forward Alanna Smith went for a career-high 34 points and 15 rebounds. The 85-64 victory was head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 900th at Stanford.

The Cougars, however, have put together the second best shooting campaign in program history at 44.2 percent from the field. Wazzu is also posting a program record 35.8 percent from deep.

Borislava Hristova, a top-10 Cheryl Miller Award candidate, is third in the conference in scoring with 20.8 points per game. Chanelle Molina had eighteen points against the Cardinal in January and is fifth in the nation with 38.1 minutes per game.

Since then, Washington State has put just two more in the win column. Similarly, Washington has just one win since their first meeting with Stanford.

The Cardinal came away with a resounding 91-54 win over Washington in the season’s first meeting. Stanford held the Huskies’ Amber Melgoza to nearly 11 points below her average while forcing five turnovers.

Against the Huskies, Stanford is 51-17 all-time, but just 23-13 on the road.

This season, Stanford is 15th in the country with an average of 9.0 makes from beyond the arc per game. That comes just a year after posting the second-worst three-point percentage in program history at 31.9 percent.

The improvement in offense seemed to come at the expense of the defense, at least initially. Through the first twenty games, Stanford’s opponents were shooting 36.8 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from range and averaging 63.7 points per game.

Recently, the defense has begin to take shape. The last time out, a Senior Day victory over No. 17 Arizona State, the Cardinal held the Sun Devils to their second-lowest point total this season on just 30.0 percent from the field.

The beginning of the end for Stanford is Friday at 7 p.m. PT against the Cougars.

 

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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