By Sofia Scekic
Stanford women’s basketball ended the 2020 season with a bitter taste in their mouth. The last time they were on the court was in last season’s Pac-12 title game loss to then-No. 3 Oregon.
After a nearly nine month hiatus, No. 2 Stanford (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) now has a shot at redemption. The Cardinal will take the court on Wednesday for a matchup against Cal Poly (0-0, 0-0 BWC) at Maples Pavilion. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. PST.
The men’s game on the same day was canceled this morning, but as of the time of publication, the women’s team will still play.
The Cardinal finished the 2019-20 season with a 27-6 record (14-4 Pac-12), but the title game loss to Oregon proved to be their season finale as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the NCAA tournament.
Despite the transfers of guard DiJonai Carrington ’20 and guard Estella Moschkau ’20 (who graduated a year early) to Baylor and Wisconsin, respectively, and the graduation of forward Nadia Fingall ’20 and guard Mikaela Brewer ’20, the Cardinal return nearly 85% of last year’s scoring output.
Senior forward Maya Dodson, who missed 10 games as a sophomore in 2018 and 24 games last season with a foot injury, also opted out of the 2020-2021 season. Fifth-year guard Anna Wilson, however, won her petition for another year on the Farm after missing most of her freshman season due to concussion aftereffects. The gritty senior will provide leadership to the young team.
Sophomore guard Haley Jones, who missed the team’s final 15 games last season with a knee injury, will return to the lineup and give the Cardinal another versatile guard to complement senior guard Kiana Williams and junior guard Lexie Hull.
Head coach Tara VanDerveer also signed two five-star freshmen in forward Cameron Brink and guard Jana Van Gytenbeek, as well as Australia-native guard Agnes-Emma Nnopu last year, to give the Cardinal one of the top freshman classes in the nation this season.
Under head coach Faith Mimnaugh, who is in her 24th year with the Mustangs, unranked Cal Poly will be looking for a massive upset of the Cardinal on Wednesday morning.
Cal Poly, a member of the Big West Conference, ended the 2019-20 season with a 10-18 record (6-10 BWC) before the remainder of the conference tournament and NCAA tournament were canceled. The Mustangs return senior forward Sierra Campisano and sophomore point guard Abbey Ellis, who were the only two Cal Poly players to start all 29 games last year and scored averages of 17.2 and 15.6 points per game, respectively.
Stanford owns a 7-1 overall all-time record against Cal Poly, with the lone Cardinal loss coming in the teams’ second-ever matchup in February 1978 in San Luis Obispo. However, since VanDerveer took over for the Cardinal before the 1985-1986 season the Cardinal have posted a 6-0 record against the Mustangs. The most recent matchup between the teams was in November 2016 when Stanford won 83-55 in Maples.
With 1,094 wins as a head coach over 41 seasons with three teams, VanDerveer is five wins away from breaking Pat Summitt’s career wins record and becoming the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history.
The Pac-12 will not allow fans at any sporting events through at least January 2021, leading to little fanfare when VanDerveer breaks Summitt’s record — likely in December. But, as VanDerveer’s sister Heidi VanDerveer told the San Francisco Chronicle, “if that’s the way it happens, that will be just perfect for Tara.”
The game against Cal Poly will not be streamed on television; however, it will be broadcast on the Pac-12’s Stanford Live Stream, TUNEIN radio and KZSU 90.1FM radio.