Newly minted No. 1 Stanford set to face Cal in Bay Area clash

Dec. 12, 2020, 4:39 p.m.

In a season riddled with uncertainty,  No. 1 Stanford (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has claimed the top ranking in the nation, surpassing fellow powerhouse USC. This Sunday presents the women’s basketball team with another chance to extend their winning streak and hot start to the season against Bay Area rival, Cal (0-4, 0-1 Pac-12). 

Sunday’s game will be the first for the Cardinal since Dec. 6, when Stanford defeated Washington (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12) 83-50. Since then, scheduled games against Washington State (1-0, 1-0-Pac-12) and UC Davis (1-0, 0-0 Big West) were postponed and canceled, respectively. The game against Washington State — originally scheduled for Dec. 8 — was indefinitely postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak among both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The game against UC Davis was canceled in accordance with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s directives and Yolo County health orders affecting UC Davis.

For the fifth season in a row, Stanford starts its season 3-0. So far in those three games, the Cardinal have outscored their opponents in all but one quarter. Last week, sophomore guard Haley Jones put up a career-high 29 points against Washington. She also achieved the best shooting percentage in a single game by a Stanford player since 1981, going 14 of 15 from the floor, and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for her efforts. Junior guard Lexie Hull also posted double digit points against Cal Poly and led the team in rebounds against UNLV, Stanford’s first two opponents. While Hull struggled from the field against Washington, she led Stanford’s defensive charge, allowing just one Washington player to infiltrate the double-digit realm.

Cal has struggled to find its rhythm so far this season, most recently suffering a tight loss to San Francisco (1-2, 0-0 WCC) on Dec. 10. Despite the loss, several players recorded career highs. Forward Evelien Schipholt scored a career-high 20 points and contributed 10 rebounds and three blocks. Freshman forward Dalayah Daniels posted a career-best 24 points and three assists. Following the close loss, the Golden Bears will be fighting for the first win of their season against Stanford.

Over the course of their 94-game rivalry, the Cardinal have amassed a 73-21 record against the Golden Bears. Since winning their first matchup in 1975, the Cardinal have improved to 34-8 at home and 31-13 away. More recently, Stanford has a four-game win streak over the Golden Bears, winning the teams’ most recent matchup this past January by a score of 79-65. Senior guard Kiana Williams and Jones both scored game highs of 21 points to lead the way to victory.

Sunday’s game also presents Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer with the opportunity to tie Pat Summit as the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history. With 1,097 career wins, a Sunday win against Cal would tie Summitt’s record.

Tipoff is currently scheduled for 7 p.m. PT at the Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.

Contact Zora Hudson at zorah ‘at’

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