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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Cardinal beat the Ducks?

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A huge game for the Iones-crew!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Stanford vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Today at 6 PM on ESPN, the #3 Stanford Cardinal will invade Matt Knight Arena in an attempt to dethrone the #6 Oregon Ducks. This game could decide the fate of the PAC-12, as well as the known universe.

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 15-1, 4-0 (2-1 Away)

BEST WINS: Gonzaga (16-1), Mississippi State (15-2), Ohio State (10-6), Tennessee (13-3)

WORST LOSSES: @ Texas (9-6)

COMMON OPPONENTS: Team USA, Syracuse

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • W (12/28) UC Davis, 67-55
  • W (1/3) Washington State, 77-58
  • W (1/5) Washington, 77-56
  • W (1/10) California, 73-40
  • W (1/12) @ California, 79-65

STAT COMPARISON

  • STANFORD scores 78.5 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 56.7
  • STANFORD shoots .469% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow .354%
  • STANFORD shoots .359% from three
  • DUCKS allow .264%
  • STANFORD averages 44.1 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.8
  • STANFORD allows 57.4 PPG
  • DUCKS score 86.5
  • STANFORD allows .329% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot .501%
  • STANFORD allows .308% from three
  • DUCKS shoot .360%
  • STANFORD allows 34.4 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 42.4
  • STANFORD averages 15.6 assists/14.3 turnovers

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Chicago Regional-Stanford vs Missouri State David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

SEASON RECAP

The Stanford Cardinal started the season with a couple of intriguing exhibition matchups at home: first against Beijing Normal University, in which they reached the century mark and had five players score in double figures, then against Team USA in an 80-to-95 loss.

Their first official victory of the season came against Eastern Washington and it was a dominating one. The Cardinal defense held the Eagles to just 27 points while their offense scored 92 against their outmatched opponent. The San Francisco Dons put up a better fight in Stanford’s first road test, but sophomore Lexie Hull scored a career-high 27 points and the Cardinal finished with a 97-71 victory. Their next opponent, the Northern Colorado Bears, amounted to little more than a practice as Stanford coasted to their third straight win, 90 to 36.

Coach Kelly Graves’ former team nearly delivered the upset at Maples Pavilion, but Hull was clutch against the Bulldogs (the sophomore’s hometown team), scoring eight of her 20 points during overtime in the Cardinal’s 76-70 victory. In their next game, Stanford relied on freshman Ashten Prechtel to pull away from Buffalo. Prechtel scored her first career double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Hull contributed 21 points to outscore the Bulls by 19.

The Cardinal then traveled to Victoria, BC for the Greater Victoria Invitational. Stanford went on to win the tournament by defeating CBU (83-78), No. 18 Syracuse (77-59), and then No. 10 Mississippi State (67-62) in three consecutive days. Against CBU, Stanford built a big lead in the second quarter, but the Lancers nearly rallied back late by nailing some three-pointers. Syracuse (one of two opponents shared between the Ducks and the Cardinal) was held to just 18 points in the first half while Stanford’s Hannah Jump hit eight triples in the victory. Mississippi State pushed the team to the brink, but the young talent on the squad came up big and the Cardinal was able to hold on against the talented Bulldogs.

Ohio State traveled to Maples Pavilion and had a hard time dealing with freshman Haley Jones - who tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists - as top-ranked Stanford won their ninth consecutive game. Then, junior Kiana Williams scored her 1,000th career-point against the No. 23 Tennessee Lady Volunteers and Stanford outscored the visiting team in every frame, ultimately winning 78 to 51.

But when the Cardinal traveled to Austin, Texas to take on the unranked Longhorns they suffered their first loss of the season, 64 to 69. Texas’ Charli Collier scored 20 points and snatched a career-high 19 rebounds, and the Longhorns utilized a strong first and fourth quarter to upset the former No. 1 team. Stanford rebounded from the loss with a 12-point victory over UC Davis, thanks to a season-high 21 points from freshman Haley Jones, and entered PAC-12 play with an 11-1 record.

Stanford started conference play with a couple victories at home against the Washington schools; in both games the Cardinal scored 77 points and held their opponents to under 59 points. Against Wazzu, senior Nadia Fingall showed she is fully healed from last year’s ACL tear by scoring a season high 20 points. Then, against washington, the No. 5 Cardinal wore down the visiting team for a 21-point win.

Back to back games against rival Cal ended in dominant victories (73-40 at Stanford, then 79-65 in Berkeley) and now No.3 Stanford has an opportunity to earn another key victory when they travel to Matt Knight to take on our beloved No. 6 Oregon Ducks.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Stanford vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

STANFORD STARTERS

  • #12 Lexie Hull - Sophomore - Guard - 6’0

16/16 GP/GS - .429% FG - .353% 3PT - .813% FT - 6.0 REB/G - 2.0 AST/G - 12.9 PPG

  • #23 Kiana Williams - Junior - Guard - 5’8

16/16 GP/GS - .431% FG - .288 3PT - .889% FT - 3.3 REB/G - 3.7 AST/G - 12.7 PPG

  • #30 Haley Jones - Freshman - Guard - 6’1

16/11 GP/GS - .542% FG - .300 3PT - .638% FT - 4.3 REB/G - 2.4 AST/G - 11.8 PPG

  • #4 Nadia Fingall - Senior - Forward - 6’3

16/14 GP/GS - .511% FG - .304% 3PT - .650% FT - 5.1 REB/G - 0.8 AST/G - 7.3 PPG

  • #5 Francesca Belibi - Freshman - Forward - 6’1

16/6 GP/GS - .563% FG - .000% 3PT - .667% FT - 5.1 REB/G - 0.9 AST/G - 6.3 PPG

PANIC LEVEL

21 out of 22 Triple-Doubles

The Ducks have already suffered an early conference loss, meaning this matchup is a must-win if they wish to finish ahead of the PAC at the end of the regular season. Not only is this game crucial for the conference race, it’s also vital for Oregon’s national reputation. If this game weren’t at home, it would be a full 22-Triple-Double threat. It’s basically a coin flip, but we’ll predict the Ducks pull this off almost purely because we’re homers.

SCORE PREDICTION

DUCKS 72- STANFORD 71