Widgets Magazine

Women’s basketball finds itself on the wrong end of history

For the first time since the 1987-88 season, No. 12 Stanford women’s basketball (17-7, 9-3 Pac-12) suffered a season sweep at the hands of the No. 10 Arizona State Sun Devils (21-2, 10-1) with the 53-52 loss on Friday. To follow up the loss, Arizona (9-14, 2-10) completed their first weekend sweep against the Cardinal since 2007-08, beating Stanford in the final eight seconds of the game, 60-57.

“It was a heavyweight fight,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer, “and we didn’t do what we wanted to do.”

Both Arizona teams kept the score close throughout and wouldn’t let Stanford stretch its lead to any more than 14 points in either game. Stanford knocked down the shots that needed to be hit but wasn’t able to prevent the big shots on the other end, as defense was the killer for the Cardinal in both losses. Turnovers also factored into each loss, as Stanford committed 12 against ASU and had four against Arizona in just the last 1:57 of game time.

This weekend proved that basketball is a game of spurts and runs as the Cardinal experienced scoring droughts and produced scoring runs throughout the entirety of both games.

On Friday against ASU, the Card lost a 9-point lead at halftime when the Sun Devils scored 12 unanswered points in the second half. ASU capitalized on four Stanford turnovers during that stretch and eight missed shots to go up 53-47 with 5:37 remaining.

“They’re very physical and very aggressive and don’t back down, and I thought that our team worked hard but not enough,” VanDerveer said. “We had some free throws at the end that could have given us the lead. It’s tough to lose that type of game when you have a good firm sense on it and then just make too many mistakes.”

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Despite Lili Thompson’s 3-pointer, Stanford was unable to pull out the victory. (MIKE KHEIR/The Stanford Daily)

Although ASU never scored again in the game, after sophomore guard Lili Thompson (11 points) knocked down a 3-point shot with 4:35 remaining, Stanford was unable to score again as well, trailing ASU by 1 point until the final buzzer sounded. Senior point guard Amber Orrange was the Card’s leading scorer with 15 points.

While it was guard Promise Amukamara of ASU that was the thorn in the Card’s side in their initial loss to the Sun Devils (scoring 17 points in that game), it was the post presence and scoring of reserve center Quinn Dornstauder that put the nail in the coffin against the Cardinal the second time around.

The 6-foot-4 center scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Sun Devils on the offensive front. After allowing her to score 15 in the first half, the Card were able to contain Dornstauder to just 7 points in the second half. The Card, however, struggled to knock down shots on the offensive end and struggled to guard the perimeter in the latter part of the second half. Kelsey Moos added 12 points, all scored in the second half.

“In that stretch, we made a lot of mistakes and unfortunately they took advantage of them,” VanDerveer said. “They made shots; they got momentum and got their crowd into it.”

With mere seconds left in the game, the Card trailing by two, Stanford in-bounded from the sideline next to their basket. It was sophomore guard Bri Roberson who got the last shot of the game just before the buzzer sounded announcing ASU’s 1-point win.

“We didn’t run the out of bounds play; they made it tough on people, really being aggressive,” VanDerveer said. “But we didn’t run the out of bounds play as well as we needed to.”

On Sunday, the game similarly came down to the final seconds of play. After allowing Arizona to take the lead in the opening minutes of the first half, the Card rallied to head into the locker room at halftime with the 12-point advantage. Both teams had their spurts in the second half, but it was Arizona that had the final say in the game, going on a 14-3 run in the final 1:57 of game time and taking advantage of three Stanford turnovers in that span.

Arizona knocked down a 3-point shot from the top of the key to start the run, answering a Bonnie Samuelson shot from downtown that put the Card up by 7 points with 1:18 remaining. After that, it was all Arizona, as Stanford would not score again, allowing the Wildcats to go on a 10-0 run in the last minute of regulation.

The game’s leading scorer, Candice Warthen (19 points), scored the Wildcats’ final 7 points of the game. Warthen got the inbounds pass with three seconds remaining, dribbled twice to her right to create space and knocked down the mid-range jumper that gave Arizona the 1-point lead. Stanford tried to make the long cross-court pass and set up a desperation shot with the time remaining but the pass sailed out of bounds, giving Arizona the ball with a second left. Warthen was then fouled on the next play and knocked down her two free throws to ice the game.

Thompson and Orrange led the Cardinal in scoring with 13 points each. Orrange also had 4 steals and 6 rebounds in the loss.

The Card do not have at least a share of first place in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2009. With Cal’s upset win over Arizona State on Sunday, Oregon State’s first Pac-12 loss on Friday and Stanford’s two losses this weekend, it’s a close race between the top four teams in the conference. OSU sits atop the conference standings with Cal and Arizona State tied for second and the Card sitting in fourth with three conference losses.

Stanford will return to Maples this Friday to take on USC at 6 p.m.

Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Ashley Westhem

Ashley Westhem was Editor in Chief of Vol. 248 after serving as Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Sports. She is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She graduated in 2016 and is currently a Communications masters student. Ashley is from Lake Tahoe, California.