On Thursday, Stanford’s opponent had the best player on the court. Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu blew the Cardinal out of the water in a 32-point rout.
“Sabrina,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said was the reason for the loss. “They had Sabrina, and we didn’t, and she was phenomenal.”
On Sunday, however, the No. 3 Stanford (16-2, 5-1 Pac-12) team may have found itself with the best player, at least down the stretch. Junior guard Kiana Williams did just enough to escape No. 8 Oregon State (16-2, 4-2 Pac-12) with a 61-58 victory.
At first, the story was eerily similar. The Beavers’ Destiny Slocum recorded 21 first half points, shot 9-of-13 from the floor, and in the same way the Cardinal could not stop Ionescu the game prior, it seemed Slocum was ready to run rampant.
Then, Slocum was shut down in the third quarter. Oregon State only added six points in the quarter, and none came from Slocum, who was 0-for-3 from the field. The quarter was not much prettier for Stanford, as VanDerveer’s squad scored just 10 points, and was held scoreless for over five minutes. But Williams found her stroke for four points on two shots.
Oregon State would not go away. Slocum finally hit a shot and Aleah Goodman nailed a 3-pointer to open up a five-point lead, forcing a timeout from VanDerveer.
Out of the timeout, freshman forward Ashten Prechtel missed two free throws and with sophomore guard Lexie Hull, the team’s leading scorer at that point, mired in an 0-for-4 shooting slump, Stanford needed Williams to step up.
It started on defense, where Williams picked up a steal and then dished to Hull under the basket for an easy two. On the next trip down the court, Williams sank her own jumper, cutting the deficit to one.
Two minutes later, after a timeout with the game tied, Williams pulled up from behind the arc. Following a Beavers response, Williams found sophomore guard Lacie Hull for her own 3-pointer. Although there were more than three and a half minutes on the clock, that was Stanford’s final made field goal.
The teams combined to miss their last 14 field goal attempts, including 10 taken by Stanford. With 16 ticks remaining, Slocum missed a layup, so Oregon State sent Williams to the free throw line. She sank both.
Although the Cardinal held a five point lead, Lacie picked up her fourth personal foul on Kat Tudor’s 3-point attempt, gifting the Beavers three points at the charity stripe. Williams made one of two free throws; Slocum could not convert either. Even though Oregon State came down with the offensive rebound, this time Tudor was not fouled, and Williams came down with the defensive rebound — her first of the game.
Williams finished the game with a team-high 17 points, went 6-of-13 from the field and dished out five assists. In 40 minutes, Williams did not commit a single turnover, and her team had a season-low seven. Her 12 second half points were twice as many as any other player on either side.
Lexie had 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists and Prechtel recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman guard Haley Jones had eight points, but suffered an apparent right leg injury in the third quarter.
Stanford will host the Mountain schools this week, beginning with Colorado on Friday.