Round One Goes to Stanford
PULLMAN, Wash. – (AP) There is perhaps no other team in the Pac-12 that has been as impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the Stanford Cardinal.
Despite the constant travel, subpar practice conditions and dropping back-to-back games to Colorado and UCLA earlier this month, things are finally starting to look up.
Stanford beat Washington State 71-49 Wednesday night for their second straight victory of 20 or more points. What's more, the sixth-ranked Cardinal will return to Maples Pavilion on Feb. 5 against Colorado after several months away from their home stadium.
"Our team is ecstatic. We have been living in a hotel since basically November," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "The wear and tear on people, the being in hotels and being on buses, practicing in high school gyms, no power in the gym and it is dark. No other team except for maybe our men's team has been dealing with what we are dealing with and we are absolutely thrilled to go back to Maples and it is just we want to play well this weekend so we can be back in our gym and enjoy it."
Lexie Hull scored 17 points and Cameron Brink had her first double-double of the season as No. 6 Stanford routed Washington State 71-49 on Wednesday night.
Brink had five assists and five blocks to go along with her 12 points and 14 rebounds in the first of two consecutive away games against the Cougars. Kiana Williams added 17 points and had five assists for Stanford (13-2, 10-2 Pac-12), which is now a perfect 68-0 all-time against Washington State.
This week is the first time Stanford has played two consecutive games against the same team in the regular season since 1988 vs. USC.
Johanna Teder had 12 points for Washington State (8-5, 6-5), which was undone by poor shooting and Stanford's smothering defense. Charlisse Leger-Walker, who entered the game leading the Pac-12 in scoring with 20.3 points per game, was held scoreless for the Cougars in the first half and finished the game with less than 10 points for the first time this season.
"I thought our defense really stepped it up," VanDerveer said. "That was really key for us."
Stanford shot 47.6% and dominated the battle in the paint 38-26 while Washington State made just 32.8% of its attempts, including 5 of 20 from 3-point range.
Hull and Brink combined for 25 points to help the Cardinal jump out to a 44-18 lead at the end of the first half.
The Cougars started to find the basket in the second half and managed to close Stanford's lead to 56-43 with 7:29 left in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late.
Stanford: The Cardinal is 32-0 in Pullman and has won its last last 12 matchups with the Cougars by at least 11 points. Stanford is now in the midst of five straight games against unranked competition starting with the Cougars again on Friday in Pullman.
Washington State: The Cougars struggled to find the basket in the first half and were dominated defensively by the Cardinal. Washington State will need to find a way to get its freshman star Charlisse Leger-Walker into a rhythm if the Cougars want to get revenge against the Cardinal on Friday.