On its last Pac-12 road trip of the season, in its penultimate Pac-12 game of the season, Stanford women’s basketball finds itself in an unfamiliar situation when it plays No. 7 Oregon State on Thursday.
With four losses in conference and sitting squarely in third place in the Pac-12 standings with not much chance of moving up before the Pac-12 tournament, the No. 17 Cardinal have nothing to lose in this game and everything to gain – a position in which many of its opponents in the past have found themselves but Stanford has never really found itself in recent memory.
With freshman Brittany McPhee coming off of two unexpectedly impressive performances in the two Battles of the Bay, the Samuelson sisters consistently delivering from behind the arc and Kaylee Johnson continuing to suggest that she has magnets on her hands by attracting every rebound, the Card can treat these final games as primers for next season, when three out of four of those aforementioned players will either return to or enter the starting lineup.
In the loss against Cal last weekend, the Card did not receive much in terms of consistent scoring from the team’s leading scorers. Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange only scored a combined 13 points despite averaging 26.5 points per game together on the year. While questionable refereeing in the final minutes did not help the Card’s cause, the team did not play as a cohesive unit for 40 minutes of basketball.
A win for the Cardinal would reestablish them as a top team of the Pac-12, whereas a win for the Beavers would clinch the Pac-12 regular season title outright – the first in school history – and would be the first over Stanford since 2001. For the first time in a while, Oregon State will be playing from the top and Stanford will aim for the upset.
Oregon State is led by sophomore guard Sydney Wiese, who earlier this month became the school’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers. She was also recently named one of 15 finalists to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List honoring the nation’s best point guard. Weise, however, is only the third-leading scorer on the team despite these accomplishments, averaging 12.4 points per game.
The Cardinal tip off against the Beavers in Corvallis, Oregon, on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.