Women’s basketball faces UNLV in second game of season

Dec. 4, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

As the saying goes, “third time’s the charm” — and it looks like, after two cancellations, the women’s basketball team will finally play their second game of the season. Following Stanford Athletics’ announcement of schedule modifications on Dec. 2, including the postponement of the Cardinal’s next three home games, women’s hoops will travel to Las Vegas for a matchup against UNLV on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT.

Originally scheduled to play Pacific on Sunday, Nov. 29, a positive test within Pacific’s women’s basketball program sparked a precautionary cancellation of the game. No. 2 Stanford (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) quickly replaced that game with a matchup against San Diego on Monday, Nov. 30, but new Santa Clara County public health guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on all indoor sports for at least three weeks, led to a last-minute cancellation of that game as well. 

Stanford’s updated announcement today confirmed that the Cardinal will continue to practice and play games in Las Vegas through Dec. 21, when Santa Clara County’s current public health order is set to expire. The Cardinal will play Washington and Washington State at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Sunday, Dec. 6 and Tuesday, Dec. 8, respectively.

After the Cardinal blew out Cal Poly 108-40 in their season opener on Nov. 25, Saturday’s matchup will be their first game action in over a week. In Stanford’s first game, all three freshmen saw between 14 and 19 minutes of action, with forward Cameron Brink scoring 17 points in 19 minutes on 6-7 shooting. Her 17 points were good for second-highest on the team behind junior guard Lexie Hull, who scored 19 points on 7-10 shooting, including 4-5 on three-point shots. Brink’s scoring total was also the highest point total scored in a Cardinal freshman debut since Candace Wiggins scored 24 in 2004. Sophomore guard Haley Jones, in her first game back from a knee injury that caused her to miss the latter half of her freshman season, played 25 minutes — behind only senior guard Kiana Williams’s 26 minutes — and scored 16 points to complement a team-high 11 rebounds. 

UNLV (1-1, 0-0 Mountain West) has also dealt with pandemic-related cancellations, as Saturday’s game against Utah Valley was canceled due to a positive test within their program. They were able to quickly schedule a game against Stanford, in part due to connections with new head coach Lindy La Rocque ’12, who played in four straight Final Fours on the Farm from 2009-2012 and was an assistant coach under Tara VanDerveer from 2017 until this past spring. A Las Vegas native, she replaced former head coach Kathy Olivier in March 2020 to become the eighth full-time head coach in UNLV women’s basketball history.

UNLV started their season on Nov. 25 with a close loss to Northern Arizona but rebounded with a win over Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. Sisters Bailey and Jade Thomas, both guards, rank first and second on the team with averages of 18.0 and 13.5 points scored, respectively. The Lady Rebels have struggled in the early minutes of each game this season, allowing Northern Arizona to shoot 65% en route to a 28-18 lead in the first quarter, and also turned the ball over four times in the first few minutes of the game versus Cal State Fullerton. Despite their slow start, the Lady Rebels managed to tie a school record with 12 made three-point shots in that game, a trend that they will look to continue as they search for their second win of the season against Stanford. 

In eight previous matchups, the Cardinal hold a 6-2 edge over the Lady Rebels. Stanford lost the first two matchups, in 1982 and 1983, but currently own a six game winning streak since those two losses. In the teams’ most recent matchup in December 2017, the Cardinal won 74-33 as Williams led the team with 14 points. 

Hall of Fame coach VanDerveer, owner of 1,095 career wins, is just four wins away from surpassing Pat Summitt’s record of 1,098 career wins. Tuesday’s game against Washington State will be VanDerveer’s first opportunity to tie Summitt’s record.

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

Sofia Scekic '22 is a former managing editor for the sports section. She is from Wisconsin and is 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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