No. 8 Stanford women’s basketball (25-5, 15-3 Pac-12) ended its season in a deflating two-game road trip, in which the Cardinal lost their chance at the Pac-12 regular season championship in a 50-47 loss against the No. 10 Oregon State Beavers (27-3, 16-2) on Friday night in Corvallis. The Stanford women then turned around and closed out the season with a win, commanding a late fourth-quarter push and holding off a persistent Oregon Ducks (18-12, 8-10) squad in a 65-59 win.
Friday night featured a championship clash between the two leaders of the highly competitive Pac-12, and the match didn’t disappoint. In the fourth quarter alone, the lead changed six times as the two teams battled to decide the Pac-12 regular season championship with only one game left in the regular season.
After the Cardinal tied the game at 43-43 with eight minutes remaining in the fourth, the two teams traded punches for the rest of the quarter. Neither team was able to build off any lead and take control of the game. Up by one with only 16 seconds on the clock, Stanford forced a missed layup, only to allow Oregon State junior center Marie Gülich to grab the offensive board and make the second-chance shot to take the lead.
With only seconds remaining, the Cardinal found guard Karlie Samuelson — the Pac-12’s second best 3-point shooter by percentage — for a go-ahead three, but the senior failed to convert. Stanford ultimately dropped the game by a 3-point margin after desperation fouls.
Despite the loss in Corvallis, head coach Tara VanDerveer took a lot of positives in her postgame interview as the Stanford team prepares for yet another postseason run.
“I thought our team really battled and we played really hard,” she said. “I thought we played great defense. Unfortunately, we just gave up some shots at the end.”
In such a low-scoring, defensive match, senior guard and playmaker Sydney Wiese was the obvious difference-maker for the Beavers, as she has been all season. Wiese utilized her smooth step-back shot en route to dropping a game-high 22 points, with five made from beyond the arc. The team leader in points, steals and assists played all 40 minutes on the night and ensured her third conference championship in her four-year tenure.
On the other hand, the Cardinal walked away knowing that their 47-point performance was far from their best effort. The Cardinal were out-rebounded 47-37 on the night, which posed problems as Oregon State finished with 13 second-chance points off 20 offensive rebounds. This statistic — four points above Stanford’s count — easily could have changed the outcome of this game.
In addition to being dominated on the glass, the Cardinal could not find a way to make their baskets sink against a high-pressure Beavers defense, shooting a measly 35 percent from the field while going 0-for-8 from downtown. Stanford scored no points from threes while the Beavers totaled 21, a hard statistic to battle back from and claim victory.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball as well as we needed,” VanDerveer said. “We played great defense, but we didn’t rebound the way we needed to. We didn’t find a way to win; it’s disappointing.”
Moving on from Corvallis, the Cardinal women finished their season with a victory in Eugene over the persistent Ducks by a final of 65-59. In Sunday’s match, Stanford grabbed the second seed for the upcoming conference tournament and ensured a well-deserved first-round bye.
Following only their third loss in the conference season, the Cardinal women competed with the Ducks, who were led by freshman guard Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu totaled 18 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
The Ducks continually pressured Stanford in the win by keeping the score close despite never taking advantage and capitalizing on Cardinal mistakes. After leading for the majority of the second half, Oregon tightened the game with less than two minutes on the clock after Ionescu made two free throws to bring the margin back to only four. Despite this late push, consistent free-throw shooting and inept Duck defense ultimately allowed Stanford to finish the season victorious.
Senior duo Erica McCall and Karlie Samuelson reminded Stanford fans of the senior talent that will surely be missed next season by leading the team with 16 and 18 points, respectively. Samuelson recovered from her 0-for-5 night on Friday to drain four of seven from beyond the arc in Eugene. McCall also dominated the glass, earning yet another double-double with 14 rebounds.
With the win, Stanford now prepares to travel to Seattle to participate in the Pac-12 Tournament next week and will hope to continue momentum following its first-round bye.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.