By Asia Zhang
Closing off their regular season with a strong 72-53 win against the University of Washington (UW) last Sunday, No. 7 Stanford women’s basketball (25-4, 15-3 Pac-12) extended their winning streak to six games as the team enters the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas this weekend.
Seeking their 13th conference title, the Cardinal begin play in the quarterfinals against either seventh-seeded Cal (18-11, 9-9 Pac-12) or 10th-seeded Washington State (9-20, 4-14 Pac-12) on Friday at 6 p.m.
Stanford managed to swing into the conference tournament with massive momentum after No. 6 Oregon clutched the Pac-12 regular season title when they beat No. 21 Arizona State on Sunday, locking Stanford in for second place. In a Cardinal victory over UW on the same day, junior guard DiJonai Carrington led the team with 19 points and eight rebounds, while senior forward Alanna Smith cooked up a baker’s dozen. Sophomore guard Kiana Williams topped the dish off with 13 points of her own.
It was an exceptional first quarter for the Cardinal, as Carrington and Williams took advantage of the Huskies weakened defense and used a 17-2 run to obliterate any hopes of a lead. Outscoring Washington with 11 triples and 28-18 in the paint, Stanford solidified their win as they shot 60 percent from the field in the third quarter, bringing the Cardinal up to 62-39 by the end of the period. The fourth quarter saw Stanford lead by as many as 29 to seal the team’s sixth consecutive win.
With an all-time record of 42-5 at the Pac-12 Tournament, the Cardinal have claimed 12 of the last 17 titles. The team boasts a 15-1 all-time record in the quarterfinals, a 15-1 record in the semifinals and a 12-3 record in the finals.
Considering their two potential opponents, the Cardinal have gone 7-0 against Cal and 2-0 against Washington State in their quarterfinal history. As the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Stanford has an all-time 22-16 historical probability of claiming the championship. The team is 9-2 against No. 7 seeds and 3-1 against No. 10 seeds.
Suffering just one non-conference defeat for the first time in five years, Stanford entered conference play with a 10-1 record. By the end of the season, the team finished second in league standings. The Cardinal have been in a regular-season title drought for more than two years, which is a first in the program’s history. Across all 47 conference tournament games in program history, Stanford averages 68.3 points on 42.6 percent shooting and gives up an average of 54.3 points.
Take a fast break tomorrow night at 6 p.m. for a slam dunk of a game as the Cardinal either take on rival Golden Bears or seek a third season win over the Cougars. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Contact Asia Zhang at asiaz ‘at’ stanford.edu.