Horns down: Stanford women’s basketball beats Matadors in bullish performance

Nov. 9, 2022, 10:30 p.m.

On Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion, No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) produced a dominant display, beating Cal State Northridge (0-2, 0-0 Big West) 104-40. 

Stanford displayed great maturity in the contest, holding off a spirited Matador team to finish in convincing fashion. The Cardinal won this contest through a combination of unrelenting and varied offensive schemes as well as a superb ability to draw fouls, forcing CSUN into the bonus in every quarter. The team surpassed 100 points – a feat they had not accomplished since their NCAA title-winning season of 2020-21 – and had an impressive 47% three-point conversion rate on a night when, ironically, the NBA’s all-time three-point leader Stephen Curry was in attendance.  

At the start of the first quarter, a huge block by junior forward Cameron Brink and a travel called against CSUN allowed Stanford to prevent scores on the Matador’s first two possessions. Indeed, it was not until the fifth minute of the game that CSUN scored its first field goal, a testament to Stanford’s defensive prowess and early momentum. 

Stanford’s offense was similarly effective, with an early 3-pointer by senior guard Hannah Jump followed by a quick break resulting in an open lay-up for senior guard Haley Jones. 

Although the Matadors strung together five consecutive points – which reduced the lead to just six points – Stanford regained momentum through Brink, who drew an offensive foul, before driving to the basket and scoring in the very next possession. The first quarter ended with Stanford leading 23-11. 

The Cardinal did not let up after the break, with Jump scoring another 3-pointer as part of an 8-0 run to start the second quarter. It was impressive to see Stanford sharing the points around, with senior forward Ashton Prechtel, sophomore forward Brooke Demetre and freshman center Lauren Betts each scoring their first points of the game off the bench. 

Stanford continued to hit the channels, draw fouls and force their opponents into mistakes – most noticeably three travel calls in the Cardinal’s favor during the first half. Sophomore forward Kiki Iriafen led the team with seven points in the quarter as Stanford amassed a 50-19 point lead at halftime. 

The second half began with a frenzy of 3-pointers by team specialist Jump, who went 5-8 overall in the contest. 

“I can put Hannah against Steph [Curry] any day of the week,” joked head coach Tara VanDerveer, in response to Curry attending the game. 

“It’s great that he’s here supporting women’s sports,” Jump added. “And we put on a show tonight. It’s super fun that people wanna come watch,” 

Halfway through the third quarter, VanDerveer substituted her entire starting five, demonstrating both the margin of Stanford’s lead and the depth of the Cardinal roster. Betts, in particular, was a star off the bench, leading the team with 18 points on the night. 

“Lauren [Betts] was a difference maker…[she] finishes really really well,” VanDerveer said in praise of Bett’s contribution. 

“I’m just really thankful that my teammates trust me,” Betts remarked. 

Another special moment came in the fourth quarter when freshman guard Lauren Green scored her first two collegiate points and the Stanford bench erupted in cheers. Demetre put the icing on the cake with a big triple to push the Cardinal over the 100-point barrier in the final minutes of the game. 

Stanford had five players reach double-digit point hauls: Betts led with 18, Jump scored 17, Demetre scored 13, Brink scored 11 and Iriafen scored 10. The forward-heavy offensive output demonstrates VanDerveer’s ability to quickly adapt to the loss of three starting guards this summer and restructure the team’s spine ahead of the new season. Stanford only allowed six turnovers, another testament to the in-sync offense. 

“It’s so competitive… if people are turning it over, then they know they’re not gonna play,” VanDerveer said. 

It was another strong display by the Cardinal. Yet with tougher tests to come, VanDerveer hopes for an improvement in fouling, with the team committing 10 personal fouls.

“We fouled too much, especially early,” VanDerveer said. “We want to be aggressive without fouling.”

Stanford seeks to bring everything together in their next game as they hit the road for the first time this season. They face Pacific (1-0, 0-0 West Coast) on Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. PT. 

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