Freshmen have a field day in women’s hoops opener

Nov. 5, 2019, 10:39 p.m.

Fueled by a 15-point performance from freshman Ashten Prechtel, Stanford women’s basketball (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) walked away from the 2019-2020 season opener with a 92-27 victory over Eastern Washington on Tuesday. The 65 point difference was the third largest margin of victory in the program’s history. 

Of the 13 Cardinal to check in, 12 scored, including all four freshmen. Even more impressive was the Cardinal’s ability to limit the Eagles to just over 14% shooting for the night–the lowest shooting percentage of an opponent since at least the 1999-2000 season. 

After Stanford took possession at tip-off, EWU perhaps set themselves up for trouble when they settled into a zone defense, encouraging the Cardinal to test its luck from the outside. Prechtel, who finished six for eight from the field, was eager to take advantage of this and netted nine of her points from behind the arc, as did junior guard Kiana Williams, who went three for four.

“Ashten’s a three-point shooter,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer of the 6-5 forward. “[H]er numbers back it up.”

Alongside Prechtel’s name on the leaderboard were those of fellow freshmen, guard Hannah Jump and forward Fran Belibi, who each contributed 12 of their own. Jump, a 6-0 guard from San Jose, led the Cardinal in three pointers with four. The trio combined to total 39 points in their cumulative 52 minutes 16 seconds on the floor—just over 42% and 26% of the team totals, respectively. 

In addition to her 12 points, Belibi also snagged 15 rebounds to post the team’s only double-double, 10 of which were pulled down by the 6-1 forward during the first half. 

“Fran doesn’t back down,” VanDerveer said. “She’s a very confident player…a very hard worker.” 

Despite only beginning her basketball career in high school, Belibi came to the Farm with a wide range of impressive accomplishments in the sport, including earning the titles of McDonald’s All-American, Jordan Brand Classic All-American, USA TODAY High School Sports Team All-American—to name a few—during her senior year of high school at Regis Jesuit. 

“Sometimes I’ll be on the sideline during practice and I’m like ‘Wow, Tara’s really my coach,’” said Belibi, of her experiences as a freshman. “Just being around her and being able to learn from her is just amazing.” 

With the 2019-2020 season now underway, VanDerveer is 31 victories away from earning the title of winningest coach in women’s college basketball history. Stanford’s next opportunity to lower this to 30 – and improve its record to 2-0 – comes on Saturday, with an away game against the University of San Francisco. The action tips off at 3 p.m. from the Chase Center. 

Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’

Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at'

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