Sports

Stanford women lock in on defense in Pac-12 hoops victory

 
Alanna Smith scored 17 points and recorded three blocks. Photo by Hector Garcia-Molina/Stanford Athletics.

Kiana Williams drew on the defense to find an offensive flow. It helped ignite a long scoring run in the second quarter and the 11th-ranked Stanford women's basketball team never faded through a wild 61-44 victory over visiting No. 7 Oregon State on Friday night.

Williams scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half, sparking a run that doesn't happen much against one of the top defensive teams in the country.

"We were focused," Williams said. "We locked in on defense and collectively did our job. That helped me get into a rhythm."

It also helped Stanford move into a second-place tie with the Beavers and set up yet another showdown, this time with No. 3 Oregon at 1 p.m. Sunday in Maples Pavilion.

The Ducks, who lead the conference in scoring offense, beat Cal 105-82 on Friday.

Oregon State entered the contest as the conference's second-best offensive team and the best defensive team.

"We stepped up to the challenge of really playing defense," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We had to focus on getting out on their shooters. The defense was outstanding."

Alanna Smith added 17 points for the Cardinal (19-3, 9-2), who won their 22nd consecutive home game.

"If you would have told me that we would hold Stanford to 61 points, I'd say, great, we win," Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "Their defense was outstanding."

Smith blocked three shots early in the game that turned the momentum.

"Her defense at the beginning helped set the tone," Rueck said. "Those blocks were big."

Maya Dodson, in her third game back from an injury, had a career-high 10 rebounds and matched her career-high with four blocks.

After a slow start, Stanford rapidly pulled away, outscoring the Beavers 24-12 in the second quarter, and maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the contest. The Cardinal led by as many as 23 points.

Smith became the fifth Stanford player to record at least 200 blocks in a career.

Oregon State's 10-game winning streak in road conference games came to an end.

"We had a tough time getting shots," Rueck said. "I liked the way we defended early but all that went away once we started missing. In the second quarter we were searching for anything that might work."

Stanford took a 50-29 edge into the final quarter.

The Beavers scored the game's first six points, but that only served as a wake-up call as Stanford used a 17-1 run during the second quarter, with Williams hitting three of her four 3-pointers, to take a 19-point edge with 2:11 left in the first half.

The Cardinal played without Smith and DiJonai Carrington, both in foul trouble, for much of that run.

"That was awesome," VanDerveer said. "It shows great depth. We want more people to contribute."

Lacie Hull hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Cardinal a 36-20 halftime lead.

Smith also moved into 17th on the all-time scoring list. Stanford leads the Pac-12 with 5.1 blocks per game.

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