Going into the game, No. 4 Stanford (24-3, 13-2 Pac-12) had a 0-0 record this season in games with only one scorer in double figures. Until Friday night’s meeting with No. 15 Oregon State (19-9, 7-8 Pac-12), such a scenario had never been a worry for a Cardinal roster that boasts three guards — junior Kiana Williams, sophomore Lexie Hull, and now-injured freshman Haley Jones — with double-digit averages.
Without much in terms of offensive help, Williams dropped 24 points and pushed Stanford’s record to 1-0 in such games with a 63-60 victory. Williams played all but 11 seconds of the game, while none of her teammates topped 30 minutes.
“I tell them we didn’t recruit any single one of them for their defense,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer. “All of them were double digit scorers in high school, and we’re just gonna need people to move the ball and knock down open shots. That’s what the game is about.”
That is not to say that Williams went without help altogether. Senior Anna Wilson and sophomore Lacie Hull were able to match up against the opposing point guard, Destiny Slocum, taking some pressure off of Williams’ defensive minutes. Consequently, Williams was fresh enough to score the final 6 of Stanford’s 9 fourth-quarter points.
Wilson and Hull also provided the most efficient scoring options outside of Williams. Wilson was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field for 8 points, and Hull was 2-for-3.
“A lot of different people helped us tonight,” VanDerveer said. “That’s why we’re talking about Anna, she made shots. We need other people stepping up and knocking down some shots for us.”
Williams final line was 9-of-19 from the field and 3-of-6 from range, with three rebounds, two assists and no turnovers. For most of the night, Stanford was nearly error-free with just one turnover through three quarters, but three in the final 10 minutes buoyed the comeback attempt of Oregon State.
The Cardinal grew their lead to 14 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Beavers run closed the gap. With 17 seconds on the clock, a turnover by Lexie Hull allowed Oregon State, down three points, an opportunity to tie the game. Lacie matched up with and shut down Slocum, who missed a 3-pointer as Stanford survived.
Slocum was not denied often, and for the second time this season recorded 26 points against the Cardinal.
“The bottom line [is that] she might have had 26, but our team had more,” VanDerveer said of Slocum’s game-high performance. “She’s tough to guard and players worked really hard against her. Maybe some other people didn’t have as good a game as they’re used to.”
“Destiny Slocum is a phenomenal point guard and they set a lot of screens and re-screens and someone as explosive as her, it can be difficult to kind of stay in front,” said Wilson, one of Slocum’s primary defenders.
“But I think that’s kudos as always to Tara’s scouting report,” Wilson continued. “Having an understanding of what we’re supposed to do, I’m able to lock in on things that we’ve done all week practicing for that.”
Taylor Jones was also prolific for the Beavers with 14 points on 6-of-11. While Mikayla Pivec eventually tallied 13 points, six came from the charity stripe, where she was perfect, compared to her 3-of-13 line from the field.
As a team, Oregon State did not miss a free throw, going 12-for-12. Stanford, meanwhile, did not get to the line until the third quarter, and finished 8-of-12.
In that third quarter, the Cardinal had 10 shots from the line and outscored the Beavers by seven. VanDerveer attributed the third quarter run to the aggressive defense of Wilson and junior forward Maya Dodson, who played in her third game of the season coming back from injury.
Dodson missed no time welcoming herself back to Maples Pavilion, scoring the first four points. Dodson started and played 21 minutes, though she is no longer on a minutes restriction.
“Seeing Maya out there playing is phenomenal,” Wilson said. “It’s fun because she’s been there supporting us this entire time. She’s been on the bench, she’s been at practice. She’s been working really hard.”
All six of Dodson’s points came in the paint, which was an area of concern for Stanford. Oregon State outrebounded the home side by six and Stanford’s main inside presence, senior Nadia Fingall, was scoreless on 0-for-4 from the field, taking just one shot from inside the arc. Although junior forward Alyssa Jerome was more successful at 2-for-5, all five of her shots were from 3-point range.
“[Maya] changes things for us,” VanDerveer said. “It was great to have Maya back and I thought she was a difference maker for us — her aggressive defense, her experience.”
Freshmen Ashten Prechtel and Hannah Jump also struggled to hit shots. Both went 1-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Now, Stanford can turn its eyes toward Monday’s nationally televised, top-five rematch against Oregon, who handed the Cardinal their worst loss of the season.
“We’ve been doing it all season,” Wilson said. “It’s gonna be a big game, but every game in the Pac-12 is a big game.”
Stanford and No. 3 Oregon tip off Monday at 6 p.m. PT on the Farm.