When the third-ranked Stanford women's basketball team hosts Cal Poly on Friday in its season home opener, you can bet Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer will have made changes.
VanDerveer will have dissected tape of Monday's 76-57 loss to top-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut in detail and shaped a practice plan that would improve weaknesses exposed by the talented Huskies.
The Cardinal (1-1) has a long way to go before considering itself a national title contender. That's good news for Stanford because it has plenty of players capable of stepping up.
"We play Connecticut with no illusions, VanDerveer said. "This is a tough place to play and a tough team. A game like this right now is helpful for us."
Amber Orrange and Chiney Ogwumike each had productive games. Orrange scored a career-high 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting and Ogwumike recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds for her 60th career double-double.
It wasn't nearly enough against a team with five solid starters and depth that runs the length of its bench. Orrange and Ogwumike combined to shoot 14 of 30. No other Cardinal made more than two field goals.
Freshman Kailee Johnson and senior Mikaela Ruef hung in on the boards, combining for 16 rebounds.
Last year the Cardinal struggled when no one else stepped up with Ogwumike or Orrange. That's a lesson this year's squad needs to learn quickly.
"This is what the best team plays like," VanDerveer said. "We need to really understand it and internalize it and come out and work on it. We need to do little things correctly and focus on that for the rest of the season."