Following 13- and 15-day long breaks from competition, respectively, Stanford men’s and women’s basketball both look to continue successful seasons this weekend. Men’s hoops (8-1, 0-0 Pac-12) takes to the road to battle San Jose State on Saturday, and the No. 1 women (8-0, 0-0 Pac-12) take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at home in Maples on Sunday.
The most recent test for women’s basketball came on Nov. 30 against then-No. 10 Mississippi State (8-1, 0-0 SEC) in the championship of the Greater Victoria Invitational. Relying on double-digit offensive performances from four Cardinal players — including freshman guard Haley Jones and forward Fran Belibi — Stanford narrowly bested the Bulldogs 67-62 to claim the crown.
Labeled the No. 1 recruit in the nation leading up to her first year on the Farm, Jones has averaged just over 10 points per game for the Card, split time at the one guard and posted a collegiate career-high 19 against Syracuse during the semifinals of the Thanksgiving-week tournament. With the third highest scoring average on the team, Jones’ presence on the hardwood is nearly impossible to ignore, though the guard attributes much of her success to her teammates.
“It’s really exciting just for me, being a freshman out there,” Jones said following the final victory in Vancouver. “[But] what our freshman class is doing for this team right now, the impact we’re trying to make, we could not do it without our upperclassmen.”
Though Sunday’s matchup will be the first time the four Stanford freshmen face Ohio State, a victory would be a first for all 15 members of the women’s team; the last two meetings between the teams — played just 15 days apart in November 2017 — both resulted in double-digit defeats to the Buckeyes.
On the men’s side, freshmen have also been crucial components in the team’s best start to a season since 2011, when Stanford also won eight of its first nine games. Especially notable has been guard Tyrell Terry, who has tallied eight double-digit offensive games — including four 20-point performances — in nine starts. A Dec. 1 showdown with UNC Wilmington was the first game in which Terry was unable to break the 10-point mark.
With that being said, the young guard has managed to go 22-for-25 from the foul line on the season. Terry’s 88% mark from the charity stripe is a team high.
Fellow freshman Spencer Jones has established himself as a danger from deeper, sinking 29 buckets from long range in the nine games played by the Cardinal thus far. The forward’s first 17 successful shots came from behind the 3-point line, and only three of his 32 total field goals have been posted from inside the arc.
Saturday’s tussle with the Trojans will be the first true road test for men’s basketball after seven home games and two neutral-site matchups at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri. In two previous meetings between the teams, the Cardinal has come out on top, though last year’s 5-point margin of victory could suggest a challenge is on the horizon for Stanford and its 8-1 record.
Cardinal action versus San Jose State tips off at 4 p.m. PT Saturday in San Jose, while the women’s team looks to protect its perfect 8-0 record — and recently-acquired No. 1 ranking — on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT in Maples Pavilion.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.