Women’s basketball completes tournament sweep in Hawaii

Nov. 28, 2022, 1:54 p.m.

No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball (8-1, 0-0 Pac-12) comfortably defeated Hawaii (1-6, 0-0 Big West) 68-39, completing a three-game sweep at the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu.

After the first two games were played in front of friends and family, the Cardinal won the tip in front of a lively crowd and a boisterous band. Stanford initially struggled to get a foothold while Hawaii got off to a hot start with a quick 3-pointer.

Sophomore forward Kiki Iriafen — who was shooting a solid 60% over the first two games in the tournament — opened plenty of opportunities for the Cardinal, regaining momentum for the Cardinal. Then, the dynamic All-American duo of junior forward Cameron Brink and senior guard Haley Jones came alive, as each player scored and forced fouls to give Stanford its first lead of the day.

As the quarter progressed, Stanford went on an 18-0 run leaving Hawaii reeling. The Rainbow Warriors committed fouls and conceded a pair of 3-pointers from senior forward Ashten Prechtel. The defense was strong too, with head coach Tara VanDerveer notably deploying a high-pressure formation for the first time this year.

Prechtel capped a strong first quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to firmly put Stanford in control, 25-7.

“Personally, I just wanted to play hard and finish strong,” Prechtel said.

Hawaii continued its scoring drought in the second quarter, going six minutes without a basket. Two freshmen who have had a significant impact on the Cardinal in the opening weeks of the season — guards Talana Lepolo and Indya Nivar — each scored their first points of the game.

One blemish for Stanford in the second quarter was a high number of turnovers as they committed six in just seven minutes. However, Brink — who is third all-time in blocks for Stanford — remained stoic, anchoring the defense with a huge block that sent her opponent to the ground. On offense, Brink was equally effective and went seven-for-seven at the free throw line as Stanford extended its lead to 40-17 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, Hawaii scored a triple and forced Iriafen into an offensive foul. But the Cardinal did not let up and the high-pressure defense paid dividends when senior guard Hannah Jump stole the ball and fed Iriafen, who responded immediately with a finish.

The third was Stanford’s lowest-scoring quarter of the game, yet they still pulled away for their largest lead of the night, 51-32, highlighting the strength of their defense in this contest.

“I thought we played very well defensively,” VanDerveer said. “Give [Hawaii] the credit for us not shooting well.”

Stanford rested many of its starters in the final quarter as they took control of the contest. However, the intensity remained as Hawaii was forced into three shot clock violations in the second half.

The Cardinal went on a 7-0 run, led by Prechtel, whose five 3-pointers were a career-high. She also had 11 rebounds, marking her sixth career double-double and first of the year.

“I thought Ashton had a great game,” VanDerveer said. “She stepped up really well.”

The Cardinal finished assertively and won by a final score of 68-39. The weekend in Hawaii was a success as Jones was named the MVP of the tournament, putting up 11 points in this game. Brink, who had 15 points and 5 blocks against Hawaii, was named on the All-Tournament team.

Stanford returns to Maples Pavilion to take on Santa Clara (5-3, 0-0 West Coast) on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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