Sports

Thompson scores early and often in Stanford's Pac-12 hoops win

 

Lili Thompson got rolling offensively again and that's good news for the 16th-ranked Stanford women's basketball team as it heads into the second half of Pac-12 Conference play.

"It was nice to finally knock down some shots," Thompson said following the Cardinal's 69-53 victory over visiting Washington on Friday night. "It felt good. I was trying to go for it."

Thompson scored a season-high 27 points, one off her career high, for Stanford, which was playing for the first time since suffering a 20-point loss to UCLA on Sunday. She scored 17 of those points in a first quarter that saw the Cardinal open a 26-13 advantage.

"I thought she was phenomenal," Huskies coach Mike Neighbors said. "She put the team on her shoulder in the first quarter. That's as good a quarter played against us since I've be"en a coach. She was dominant, a calming influence and showed confidence."

Thompson's leadership role was vital. Stanford was coming off its worst loss since ending last year with a 21-point loss to Notre Dame and needed to respond.

"The team responded well," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "The leadership from Lili, from Erica (McCall), was all about let's get back to work. They came back."

Stanford (16-5, 6-3 Pac-12) played its first home game in 19 days and just the third of the calendar year. The Cardinal owns a 64-6 record in January over the past seven seasons and three of them have come this year.

"It's great to be home," VanDerveer said. "The team really needed this. I thought we played well defensively, really, the whole game."

Washington's Kelsey Plum, the nation's leading scorer, was held to seven points in the first half on 1-of-7 shooting. She finished with 23 on 5-of-19 shooting and an 11-of-12 effort from the foul line. Plum, a junior, needs three points to reach 2,000. She's needed 87 games to produce 1,997, the fastest in Pac-12 history.

"People really worked hard on her," VanDerveer said. "We needed to know where she was at all times and to keep her in front."

The Cardinal plays six of its final nine games at home, including Sunday's noon game against Washington State (12-8, 3-6), a 74-71 loser to California earlier in the evening. Stanford also hosts the conference's top two teams in Arizona State and Oregon State.

Thompson set a career high for field goals made, shooting 11-of-20 from the field. She scored a combined 25 points, on 11-of-40 shooting, over her previous three games. The last time she scored 20 or more was a 21-point effort at Texas on Dec. 13, a span of 13 games.

Stanford played without junior Kailee Johnson a second straight game. She started 12 consecutive games before getting injured (lower leg) against the Beavers in Corvallis. Johnson could return Sunday, though Tuesday's game against California is more likely.

Brianna Roberson got the start against the Huskies. She came off the bench the past five games and did not play against USC.

"We need to get her shot back," VanDerveer said. "She shot very well at the beginning of the season. She's also a good defender."

Roberson has not scored more then nine points since recording a career-high 26 against Purdue on Nov. 29. She's also missed her past 20 3-point attempts, since a 3-for-3 showing against Chattanooga in late December.

Erica McCall and Brittany McPhee each added 12 points and Karlie Samuelson added 10.

Kaylee Johnson grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds as the Cardinal out-boarded Washington by a 49-30 margin. She also blocked four shots and had four assists. Marta Sniezek recorded a game-best six assists.

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