Widgets Magazine

Women’s basketball finishes strong with wins over No. 7 OSU, Oregon

Needing just one win out of its two home games, No. 13 Stanford women’s basketball (24-6, 14-4 Pac-12) could feel pretty confident it would reach its 1,000th program victory at some point during its last weekend of conference play.

What the team almost certainly could not expect was that it would hit this mark in a drubbing of the No. 7 Oregon State Beavers (25-4, 16-2) with their star player out of their lineup.

(SANTOSH MURUGAN/The Stanford Daily)

Junior forward Erica McCall (above) set a new career-high with 25 points in the Cardinal’s thrashing of No. 7 Oregon State at home on Friday before tying the mark en route to a double-double during Stanford’s following drubbing of Oregon to close the regular season. (SANTOSH MURUGAN/The Stanford Daily)

Still, the 76-54 final score said it all as Stanford tore apart the conference-leading Beavers on Friday evening. The Cardinal shredded Oregon State’s defense, ranked eighth in the nation, and kept their own mistakes to a minimum, pushing three players into double figures as they earned their fourth win over a top-25 team this season.

“It’s historic, and it wasn’t just an ordinary win for us either,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer, who has led the team through 824 of its wins. “It was a big game, and it was fun that 1,000 wins was this game.”

With lead scorer Lili Thompson unavailable for family reasons, the Cardinal were forced to turn to their other offensive stalwart, junior forward Erica McCall, to make up the difference. McCall did just about everything the team could have asked for, scoring a career-high 25 points — including the first three 3-pointers of her career — as Stanford exploited monster second and third quarters to put away a Beavers side that hadn’t lost since Jan. 4.

“I was pretty excited [to hit my first three],” McCall admitted. “I was supposed to act like I’ve made one before. I knew once the first one went in, I had the go-ahead to shoot the rest, and I think that kept me going for the rest of the game.”

McCall led a Cardinal effort that saw important contributions come from a number of different sources. Junior Karlie Samuelson earned her first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore Brittany McPhee, filling in for the absent Thompson, showed she could handle the job just fine on her own, adding 15 points and holding OSU All-Pac-12 guard Jamie Weisner to just 4 points on 1-of-8 shooting.

“Going into the game, I had watched a lot of film on [Weisner] with the coaches, so I knew what she liked to do,” McPhee said. “They told me to have a ‘pitbull’ mentality, and so I just zoned in, locked in.”

Two days later, Stanford was able to keep its momentum rolling with a 69-42 victory in its season finale against the Oregon Ducks (20-9, 9-9).

McCall once more proved to be the Cardinal’s focal point, again hitting her career-high 25-point mark while this time adding a career-best 18 rebounds. The junior was just a rebound away from a first-quarter double-double as Stanford came out of the gate firing, effectively putting the game away before it had properly started by outscoring the Ducks 24-4 in the first quarter.

“We needed a really big boost going into [the Pac-12 Tournament], so the captains said, ‘Don’t take this game lightly,'” McCall said. “The way we started — with a lot of energy — just carried over to the whole game.”

Junior Briana Roberson followed McCall with 10 points, while freshman Alanna Smith added a nice boost off the bench with 9 points in 17 minutes as the team continued to extend its lead over the course of the afternoon.

Though No. 14 UCLA’s perfect record on the weekend will keep Stanford out of the fourth-place spot when the Pac-12 Tournament starts this Thursday, Stanford’s victories should give the team momentum as it attempts to win its second consecutive conference tournament title.

The Cardinal will play the winner of Washington/Colorado in Seattle at 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Pac-12 Networks in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

 

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Andrew Mather

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. Growing up a devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brings this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he occasionally feels a strong sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.