Women’s basketball to play San Diego for first time since 1994

Nov. 29, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Fresh off a season-opening rout of Cal Poly, the No. 2 Cardinal (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) women’s basketball team will face off against the University of San Diego (0-0, 0-0 WCC) at Maples Pavilion on Monday for their second game of the season. The game, scheduled for 2 p.m. PT, was added to the Cardinal’s schedule on Thursday following the cancellation of Sunday’s game against Pacific due to a positive COVID-19 test within its program.

The state of California moved Santa Clara County to the Purple Tier in terms of COVID-19 restrictions yesterday, while the county’s health officer implemented additional restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Among the new restrictions is a three-week ban on college and professional athletics, with the exception of sports that operate outdoors and whose athletes are able to stay at least six feet apart at all times. At the time of publication, the game is still scheduled to be played, and Stanford Athletics has not yet responded to The Daily’s request for updated information.

The game will be the first of the season for the Toreros as their first opponent, UC-Santa Barbara, canceled its first three games due to a positive COVID-19 test among their coaching staff.  In their season opener, the Cardinal also kept associate head coach Kate Paye on the sidelines as a precautionary measure following a delayed game-day COVID-19 antigen test result.

The Cardinal are coming off a 108-40 victory in which five players scored at least 13 points. Junior guard Lexie Hull led the team with 19 points on 7-10 shooting, including 4-5 behind the arc, while freshman forward Cameron Brink added 17 points on 6-7 shooting and six rebounds in her Cardinal debut. Brink’s 17 points marked the most points scored by a freshman in their Cardinal debut since Candace Wiggins in 2004. Sophomore guard Haley Jones returned from a knee injury that caused her to miss the latter half of the 2019-20 season to lead the team with 11 rebounds to complement 16 points. The 68-point margin of victory was the third-largest in program history. 

San Diego, meanwhile, has not played since early March. They lost an overtime heartbreaker to Portland in last year’s WCC Championship game before the Women’s National Invitational Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19, putting an abrupt end to an otherwise impressive season. The team finished 20-11 overall, including 13-5 and in second place in the West Coast Conference. A 2019-2020 All-WCC First Team selection, senior guard Myah Pace will likely lead the Toreros this season as they look for an unlikely upset at Maples to open their season. 

The teams have only played three times in the past, with Stanford holding a 3-0 record against the Toreros and an average margin of victory of 33 points. The last matchup came in late December 1994, with the Cardinal prevailing in a dominant 96-54 victory. 

The Cardinal averaged 90 points per game in the three previous matchups, but the Toreros boasted one of the better defenses in Division I basketball last season: They ranked among the top 25 in steals, steals per game, turnover margin and turnovers forced. Last Wednesday, the Cardinal turned the ball over 10 times after averaging over 13 turnovers per game last season, an area in which head coach Tara VanDerveer will be looking for team-wide improvements.

VanDerveer now owns 1,095 career wins among her stints at Idaho, Ohio State and Stanford. With a victory on Monday, she will be just three wins shy of passing Pat Summitt as the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history.

Contact Sofia Scekic at sscekic ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Sofia Scekic is the deputy managing editor for the sports section. She is a senior from Wisconsin studying Public Policy. An avid Green Bay Packers fan, she has watched nearly every game for the past nine years. Contact her at sscekic 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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