After splitting a four-game conference road-trip, No. 16 Stanford women’s basketball (15-5, 5-3 Pac-12) looks to bounce back and gain two very important victories as it takes on No. 25 Washington (15-4, 6-2) and unranked Washington St. (12-7, 3-5).
On Friday, Stanford has a chance to make up its one-game conference deficit against the Huskies, which are third in the standings. However, inconsistency has plagued the Cardinal throughout their season. While remaining in the hunt for post-season success and three games behind Arizona St., the Cardinal have shown immense flaws on both sides of the ball. In their last game, the Stanford team could not find the basket, highlighted by their 4-point second quarter against UCLA.
This season, the Cardinal have been efficient and powerful while playing on their home court. Away from home, the team has been unable to find success, winning only five of their nine games on the road. The story has been entirely different when the Cardinal have the home-court advantage, as the team has compiled a 7-1 record at Maples Pavilion.
On their home court, the Stanford team is averaging 75 points per game (compared to 56 points per game on the road) and have been victorious in all of their conference games.
“You can’t just show up,” head coach Tara VanDerveer stated in a loss earlier in the season. “You have to come out and be aggressive.”
Against ranked teams, the Stanford team has an underwhelming and unconvincing 1-4 record, despite owning the higher ranking in three of those five matchups. Against No. 25 Washington, the Cardinal have yet another opportunity against another ranked opponent to show why they still belong in the Pac-12 discussion, as well as the March Madness discussion.
Stopping the Huskies will be a hard task for the Cardinal. For the first time since March 2003, Washington has gotten into the top 25 nationally, and from their recent form, the Huskies’ record is definitely well-deserved.
The Washington team is now 6-2 in Pac-12 play and currently riding a four-game winning streak in conference matchups. During this streak, the Huskies also decidedly defeated No. 20 UCLA, who crushed the Cardinal just nine days later.
For Stanford to win, it will need to find a way to stop Huskies’ standout junior guard Kelsey Plum. Plum is averaging 27.2 points per game on the season, good for the best scoring average in the conference. In addition to her scoring accomplishments, Plum leads her team with 77 assists on the season.
The second game of the weekend for the Cardinal is against unranked and struggling Washington State.
Washington St. sits on the opposite end of the conference from the Cardinal, going 3-5 and four spots from the bottom of the conference. After starting the season 8-2, the Cougars’ have stumbled and gone 4-5 in the past nine games.
Despite some shaky performances, the Cougars have demonstrated their ability to score the basketball. Freshman forward Borislava Hristova has put up amazing numbers in her first year and leads the team with 17.1 points per game.
Besides Hristova, the Cougars have no other player that is averaging in the double digits in points per game. Stanford will need to take advantage of the lack of offensive creativity from the Cougars as well as their vulnerability off the glass. Stanford already owns a 4.6 rebound per game margin, and the Cardinal’s frontcourt has the potential to shine in this game.
Both games will be played at home. Stanford will take on Washington on Friday at 8 p.m. and Washington St. on Sunday at noon.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.