Taking over in overtime, Lexie Hull scored eight of Stanford’s 14 points to lead her team to victory. The sophomore forward finished with 20 points on 7-of-15 from the field, adding eight rebounds and two assists.
No. 3 Stanford (4-0, 0-0 Pac-12) persevered 76-70 in overtime in its biggest test so far this season against Gonzaga (2-1, 0-0 WCC). Coming into the game, the Cardinal averaged 93 points per contest, but shot just 59% from the charity stripe and 23% from range on Sunday.
Lexie Hull and her twin sister Lacie Hull went to Central Valley High School in Spokane, Washington. In last year’s trip home to play Gonzaga, Lexie Hull was unable to play due to injury, and Stanford fell 79-73. This time, Lacie Hull fouled out at the end of regulation, so it was Lexie playing without her sister in overtime.
“Lexie gave it her all,” VanDerveer said. “She was working really hard out there, hit some big shots, made some great defensive plays.”
It was a back and forth game with 13 ties and 10 lead changes. Junior guard Kiana Williams sank two free throws to extend Stanford’s lead to three with under a minute to play in the fourth quarter, then Gonzaga’s Jill Townsend answered with a three to tie the game.
“We were playing with them the entire game and we knew we had a chance,” Townsend said. “The whole team was playing with a lot of confidence.”
Half a minute later, Stanford found itself down two with 16 seconds to play in regulation, but a scoop layup from Williams sent the game to overtime. The play came with three freshmen and a sophomore on the court with her.
“That’s the best way you can grow is to be in a game like that and understand the importance of each possession,” VanDerveer said.
“Our first few games we were blowing teams out, it was like a walk in the park,” Williams said. “They’re a really well-coached Gonzaga team and now we’re telling [the freshmen] we’re going to have to lock in.”
Williams led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 7-of-17 with three rebounds and five assists. Townsend, on the other hand, fouled out with two minutes remaining in overtime, preventing her from adding to her team-high 18 points.
Junior forwards Alyssa Jerome and Nadia Fingall appeared in the starting lineup together for the first time this season, meaning the Cardinal were without a freshman starter for the first time this season. Lexie Hull, Williams, and senior guard DiJonai Carrington each made their fourth consecutive start.
Between nine turnovers and shooting 2-of-14 from deep, the Cardinal offense put together a season-low 28 first-half points. The two made three pointers came on back-to-back possessions from the Hull sisters, with Lacie splashing first followed by Lexie.
“We had to battle through some bad turnovers in the beginning,” VanDerveer said.
Freshman forward Ashten Prechtel provided a spark off the bench, scoring eight points, with six coming in the second quarter. Stanford went more than six minutes without a field goal in the second quarter before a Williams layup. Those were the only two points of the first half for Williams, while Carrington was held scoreless on the game for the first time since the 2018-19 season opener.
“They’ve got such smart kids who make great reads,” said Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier. “They’re well versed in what to do when the defense does this and what to do when the defense does that.”
The third quarter belonged to another freshman, this time guard Haley Jones. Combining with Williams to score 24 consecutive Stanford points, including all 17 in the third quarter, the duo kept the Cardinal in the game.
“They’ve just got player after player that they can bring in,” Fortier said. “We out-rebounded them by one and we had one fewer turnover. But that wasn’t enough.”
Williams and Lexie Hull each knocked down clutch threes in the fourth quarter, both of which flipped the score in Stanford’s favor. Lexie Hull was 1-of-5 before taking her three and Williams finished 2-of-7 in the department.
“We really struggled from three,” VanDerveer said. “We’re not going to win big games going 5-for-22 from three.”
Stanford dominated in the paint, 36-22 and seven Cardinal players each recorded a single block in the game. Stanford’s largest lead, eight, came in the final minute of play. Gonzaga’s largest lead of the night was six.
Stanford hosts Buffalo next Sunday at 2 p.m. for the final of five consecutive home games to open the season.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.