As the Cardinal heads East to take on the No. 5 and No. 1 teams in the nations, Ellie Chen, Gregory Block and Laura Anderson discuss Stanford’s lineup strength and weaknesses.
Before playing No. 8 Ohio State in its season opener on Nov 10, No. 9 Stanford women’s basketball starts at home with an exhibition game against UC San Diego on Saturday. The occasion for head coach Tara Vanderveer to adjust her lineup, the game will also serve as the first on-court appearance for Stanford freshman class.
Last season, Stanford women’s basketball’s three seniors, Erica McCall, Briana Roberson, and Karlie Samuelson averaged a combined 95.4 minutes per game — almost half of the 200 minutes per game for the whole team.
With the three starters graduating this year, the team will see new leaders emerge, and less familiar faces will be seen on the court more often. Coming back from injury, or playing the shadow of the three superstar seniors last year, here are the players that should see more action this season.
Renewing with Final Four play for the first time since 2014, Stanford women’s basketball brought the school chills during their playoff run, climaxing with McCall’s game saving block with less than two seconds left on the clock against Notre-Dame during the team’s final win of the season in the Elite 8.
Imagine a franchise composed of a three-player core of scoring point guard Damian Lillard, combo guard Jerry West, and dominant power forward Draymond Green. The three seem wildly different in terms of personality and style, yet as it turns out, it’s the perfect symbiosis — at least for the Stanford women’s basketball team.
Despite being the tournament comeback team after completing a victorious comeback in three of the Cardinal’s first four games, a cold-shooting second half from No. 6 Stanford women’s basketball (32-6) ultimately provided too large of a deficit to climb out of as the Cardinal dropped their Final Four against No. 3 South Carolina (32-4 SEC) by a final of 63-52.
Down by 14 heading into halftime against the fast-paced and streaking first-seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish (33-4) with a Final Four bid on the line, No. 6 Cardinal women’s basketball (32-5) entered into what Erica McCall defined earlier in the tournament as “code red”–a “do this by any means necessary” mindset that unifies the team during struggling runs.
Stanford then utilized a pivotal third quarter in addition to some late-game heroics from frontcourt senior Erica McCall and Alanna Smith, including a game-winning bucket and block, in order to upset the Fighting Irish and escape the Lexington region by a final tally of 76-75.
The No. 6 Stanford women’s basketball team had to wait until the final selection before hearing their name called during Monday’s selection show as the second-seed in the Lexington region of the 2017 NCAA women’s basketball tournament. The Cardinal will travel to Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday to take on the 15th-seed New Mexico State (24-6, 14-0 WAC).