By Hawe Adugna
A spirited crowd cheered on No. 3 Stanford women’s basketball (1-1, 0-0 Pac 12) until the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday at Maples Pavilion. Despite a solid team effort, Stanford came up short against No. 25 Texas (2-0, 0-0 Big 12). The final score was 56-61.
The contest was neck-and-neck, and the two teams found themselves tied on seven different occasions. Stanford held the advantage at the beginning of the second half, but Texas sealed the deal after a run in the fourth quarter.
The Longhorns’ starting lineup was well-balanced and highlighted by freshman guard Rori Harmon. Harmon scored a game-high 21 points, while junior guard Aliyah Matharu came off the bench for 17.
Although freshman guard Kyndall Hunter — who scored 27 points in her collegiate debut last week — did not see much action, the Texas backcourt still produced against the Cardinal.
Stanford’s starting lineup was bolstered by junior guard Haley Jones and senior guard Lexie Hull, who tallied 15 and 16 points, respectively. Jones found most of her success at the free-throw line, where she went 11-of-13 for the game.
Despite Hull and Jones’ scoring, the Cardinal were undoubtedly missing the presence of Kiana Williams ’21 at the point guard position.
“Our lack of experience at our point guard was on full display, and we just have a lot of work to do, but I have a lot of confidence.” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.
Indeed, filling the point guard role against a stifling Texas defense was no easy task. Jones, senior guard Lacie Hull and sixth year guard Anna Wilson split time at point had varying degrees of success. Jones turned the ball over five times, while the Cardinal totaled 20 turnovers as a team.
The Cardinal out-rebounded and out-blocked Texas for the game. Lexie Hull recorded 11 rebounds and two steals, before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, Texas brought the heat in its full court and perimeter pressure, making Stanford’s trips into the key more difficult.
Texas head coach Vic Schaefer stressed the importance of Texas’ aggressive defense after the game.
“We can’t go toe-to-toe against Stanford and be out-sized at five positions unless we try to offset that and do what we do defensively.” Schaefer said.
Despite the loss, the Cardinal enjoyed the postgame, as they celebrated their 2021 NCAA championship. The returning players and staff on the team received rings that are, as VanDerveer put it, “pretty nice.”
Next up for Stanford is a date with Portland (2-0, 0-0 WCC) on Tuesday at Maples Pavilion. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.