Sports

Guard play leads Cardinal to season opening victory

 

Amber Orrange took charge of Stanford's new offense and ran it fluidly, leading the sixth-ranked Cardinal to its 14th consecutive season opener, a convincing 96-63 victory over visiting Boston College on Friday night.

Orrange lit up the stat sheet with 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting, six assists and nine rebounds, which matches her career high.

"It was a great game for us to start with," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It's early and I'm happy to give everybody a look."

The Cardinal has it hands full with top-ranked Connecticut and its 47-game winning streak coming to Maples Pavilion for a 6 p.m. game Monday night.

"We want to come out and be aggressive," VanDerveer said. "We've played great games with. I see it as a win-win."

It should be an eye-opening experience for sophomores Lili Thompson and Erica McCall, both of whom recorded career highs in scoring against the Eagles and both of whom will have to grow up in a hurry against a Huskies team that walloped UC Davis on Friday night.

"I think it will be a great game," McCall said. "We have to do our jobs and just get after it."

With Stanford's new offense in its infancy, and the Huskies ability to press, that may be too much to ask. Still, Orrange and Thompson showed a guard-oriented offense could be productive.

"It's a little more wide open, a little more spread out," Thompson said. "With this new offense I have to knock down shots so people won't double on Bird."

'Bird' is McCall's nickname, given to her by last year's National Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, whose role McCall will have to help fill this year.

Thompson scored a career-high 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including 3 of 4 from range. McCall added a career-high 16 points. Taylor Greenfield scored 10.

The Cardinal shot 64.9 percent from the field, its fifth best in program history and the best since setting the record at 67.3 against Oregon State in 2010.

Boston College stayed in the game in the first half thanks to its 9 of 16 shooting from 3-point range. The Eagles never made another one.

"I just told them if they make a 3 on you, you're coming out," VanDerveer said. "We had to tighten up a little bit and we buckled down in the second half."

There were other things to like too. Tess Picknell grabbed six rebounds in seven minutes and Kailee Johnson matched her career high with three blocked shots.

Another test comes Monday.

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