Skip to main content

Pac-12 Hoops Central

All things Pac-12
Men's & Women's Basketball

Michelle Smith: Stanford women's basketball faces a familiar opponent in a familiar place in the Sweet 16

Mar 24, 2022
Al Chang/Stanford Athletics

A familiar opponent in a familiar place awaits Stanford in its quest to repeat as NCAA champions.

Not that any player on either team might remember it. It was 2008 in Spokane Arena when the No. 2-seeded Cardinal and No. 1-seeded Terrapins met in the Elite Eight with Stanford looking to return to the Final Four for the first time in 12 years.

It was a high-scoring matchup between two high-powered teams and it ended with Candice Wiggins, who scored 41 points that night, dribbling time off the clock with a 98-87 win over Maryland.

Stanford, looking to reach its ninth Final Four since that day in 2008, is the lone Pac-12 team remaining in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think we are in a very tough bracket,” said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, whose team, should they win, face a potential rematch with No. 2 seed Texas in the regional finale. Texas will face No. 6 seed Ohio State on Friday. “We’re playing teams that we know, that we’ve played against, so let’s see who’s improved the most.”

Spokane Regional Semifinal

No. 1 Stanford (30-3) vs. No. 4 Maryland (23-8) • Friday • 6:30 p.m. PT • ESPN

  • Series Record: Stanford leads 2-1, with the Cardinal winning a November 27 matchup earlier this season, 86-68.
  • Stanford’s 2022 Tournament: Defeated No. 16 Montana State 78-37; defeated No. 8 Kansas 91-65.
  • Maryland’s 2022 Tournament: Defeated No. 13 Delaware 102-71; defeated No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast 89-65.
  • Stanford Starters: G Lacie Hull, Sr.; G Lexie Hull, Sr.; G Haley Jones, Jr.; G Anna Wilson, 6th; F Cameron Brink, So.
  • Maryland Starters: F/G Angel Reese, So.; G Ashley Owusu, Jr.; G Diamond Miller, Jr.; F/G Chloe Bibby, Gr.; G Kate Benzan, Gr.
  • Stanford’s Story: The Cardinal has the longest winning streak in the country - 22 games - coming into this regional semifinal. Playing in the hometown of senior twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, the Cardinal is hoping for the same emotional boost it got last season, when it played in Kiana Williams' hometown of San Antonio on the way to the NCAA title. Lexie Hull’s 36-point performance propelled the Cardinal into its 14th consecutive Sweet 16 on Sunday, and Stanford looked impressive at home, winning its two games by an average of 33.5 points.
    • While Haley Jones has scored just 11 points in two tournament games, Stanford has utilized its offensive depth to outgun its first two opponents. Stanford has won 27 straight games when four players score in double figures. Four players scored in double figures in the first matchup with Maryland on Thanksgiving weekend, with junior Hannah Jump leading the way with 21 points on seven 3-pointers and Lexie Hull, Haley Jones and Fran Belibi contributing 15 points each.
  • Maryland’s Story: The Terrapins are making their 29th NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th in a row. Maryland is one of the most offensively potent teams in the country, averaging 79.2 points a game. That number has popped the past two games, as Maryland has scored a combined 191 points in its two tournament wins thus far.
    • This is a team, like Stanford, that has a multitude of scoring options, with five players averaging in double figures. Leading the way is Angel Reese, who leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg). Ashley Owusu is averaging 14.7 points a game, and Diamond Miller is kicking in 13.2. That trio combined for 65 points in the second round against FGCU.
    • Brenda Frese’s team played short-handed in the last matchup against Stanford, only dressing seven due to illness and injuries. Owusu put up 30 points in that game, including going 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.
  • Stanford’s X-Factor: Fran Belibi, the junior from Colorado, made national news for her first-round dunk, but her role for the Cardinal is a vital one. Belibi provides high-percentage offense (58.5 percent from the floor) and rebounding off the bench, and is a key cog in Stanford’s transition game with her ability to get down the floor. 
  • Maryland’s X-Factor: Shyanne Sellers, the freshman guard from Ohio, could come in and give the Terps a jolt on both ends of the floor, having hit 32 3-pointers off the bench this season and collecting a team-leading 55 steals.
  • Matchup of the Game - Angel Reese vs. Cameron Brink: The two sophomore posts have become two of the top interior players in the country. Brink has a small size advantage, but Reese is averaging a double-double this season and will be one of the most talented post players the Cardinal has faced. Brink will need to keep Reese off the boards, limit her ability to get second-chance points and stay out foul trouble.
  • Stanford Wins If: The 3-pointers are falling and the Cardinal’s key players, Brink included, stay out of foul trouble. When Stanford defends well, it wins. The Cardinal hasn't given up more than 77 points to an opponent since the end of the 2019-20 season.
  • Maryland Wins If: The Terrapins need to defend the perimeter and keep the scoring pressure on Stanford to keep up. Stanford has been susceptible to turnovers in the past and forcing the Cardinal into unforced errors (Maryland forces 17 turnovers a game) is a path to an upset.


Meanwhile, two of the conference’s stalwart programs over the past decade - Oregon State and UCLA - are alive and kicking in the third round of the WNIT, each hoping to nail down a spot in the quarterfinals with a win on Thursday night.

UCLA (16-12) is taking on Wyoming (17-12) in Laramie and Oregon State (16-13) is hosting New Mexico (26-9) in Corvallis. If both the Bruins and the Beavers win, they will face one another in the quarterfinals.

The Bruins have won five of their last six games coming into the matchup against the Cowgirls, a team they defeated just last spring in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Graduate transfer Ilmar’l Thomas scored a game-high 17 points for the Bruins against Air Force in a 61-45 win on Sunday.

Oregon State advanced Sunday with a 74-56 win over Portland in Gill Coliseum, getting a career-high 16 points from Kennedy Brown.