After picking up its fourth and fifth straight wins in a road sweep of the Washington schools, No. 6 Stanford women’s basketball (20-2, 9-1 Pac-12) returns to the Farm on Friday in a battle against the No. 10 Bruins (19-2, 8-2 Pac-12). The Cardinal will finish off the weekend at home with a Sunday game versus USC (11-10, 3-7 Pac-12) at noon.
For Stanford, sophomore guard Lexie Hull has dominated on both offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Her 13.5 average points per game paces the Cardinal as does her 102 defensive boards. Alongside Hull in the realm of double-digit averages is junior guard Kiana Williams, who records 12.7 points per contest on average. In Stanford’s only loss in conference play — a Jan. 16 defeat by No. 6 Oregon (20-2, 9-1 Pac-12) — the duo recorded 10 and 15 points respectively, with Hull converting on four of five attempts from the field, but Williams struggling at a mere four of 10.
The Bruins are led largely by junior forward Michaela Onyenwere, who has posted an average 19.4 points per performance over the course of 20 games. She also leads the Bruins in field goals made, having netted 153-of-305 attempts (50.2%). Onyenwere is hardly the only threat from the Bruins, however, whose defense as a team has held opponents to an average of 59.5 points and snagged 212 steals this season — significantly higher than the 177 Stanford boasts.
Aside from utilizing the strong offensive skills of Hull and Williams, Stanford could also look to take advantage of UCLA’s recent struggles to maintain momentum. The Bruins opened the season with 16 straight wins, including five in Pac-12 play but has dropped two of its last five matches. The LA team’s biggest letdown came last Friday in a 92-66 loss to Arizona.
In Sunday’s contest, scrappy defense could be a surefire way to destroy USC chances of securing a victory in Maples. While UCLA and Stanford both score around 75 points per game, the Trojans’ average hovers around 63.6, just over 1 point more than their defense allows. Additionally, USC has managed to score on just 39.4% of attempts from the field and 28.7% from behind the arc; the Cardinal have had better success rates in both categories at 45.4% and 34.9% respectively.
With more than half of conference play having already elapsed, the LA teams are the only Pac-12 foes the Cardinal has yet to face during this season. Stanford-UCLA action is set to tip off at 8 p.m. on Friday evening at Maples Pavilion, and Stanford-USC will be at noon on Sunday (all times PT).
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.