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Defense leads the way in Seattle

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The mark of a good team, at times, is winning when you are not at your best. Despite shooting 32.8% from the field as a team and turning over the ball as many times in the second quarter (five) as all of last game, No. 6 Stanford (19-2, 8-1 Pac-12) picked up the road win 58-41. 

“I liked how hard people played position defense, scouting report defense, we’ll call it,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer. “Knowing the personnel, knowing what things to take away from them.”

The Cardinal held Washington’s (10-10, 2-7 Pac-12) starters to seven points and 2-of-21 shooting. Amber Melgoza, who has torched Stanford in the past, including for 17 earlier this year and 40 in 2018, went 0-for-8 for the game. 

“Somebody like Amber is a terrific player. For her not to score … I’m like, ‘wow,'” VanDerveer said.

The start was brilliant for the Cardinal, as they took the first quarter 16-3. The Huskies then opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run. If not for four consecutive made 3-pointers to close out the first half, VanDerveer’s squad would have faced a lot more scrutiny in the locker room. 

Regardless, the point differential was just 10 and the two teams had nearly identical first-half stats. The Cardinal and Huskies had taken the same number of shots, were tied in free throws and offensive and defensive rebounds, while the difference in steals was one. The separating factor was 3-point shooting. Stanford’s 7-of-18 was nothing to write home about, but bested Washington’s 3-of-9.

Sophomore guard Lexie Hull continued an impressive sophomore campaign with 11 first-half points, including 3-of-5 from range, and four rebounds. Although she was 1-for-6 from the field in the second half, Hull pushed her total to 17 points and 11 rebounds. 

Senior forward Nadia Fingall contributed nine more boards, and freshman forward Fran Belibi had eight — in just 11 minutes. Belibi left the arena buzzing after missing on a breakaway dunk attempt early in the second half. Junior guard Kiana Williams put up 16 points while shooting 7-of-16 with five assists. Freshman guard Hannah Jump was just 3-of-11, but all three were from beyond the arc. 

The Cardinal travel to Pullman to face Washington State on Sunday at noon PT.

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

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Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a staff writer in the sports section covering football, women's soccer, women's basketball and baseball. He is originally from Berkeley, California. Contact him at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.