Preview: #2 Stanford WBB runs it back against Gonzaga on The Farm
On Sunday at 3:00 PM PT on Stanford Live Stream, #2 Stanford women’s basketball will take on Gonzaga at home. This will be the second time the teams will face this season. Back on November 21st, Stanford picked up a 66-62 victory in Spokane. Stanford is now 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-12 while Gonzaga is 10-3 overall and 1-0 in the WCC.
Last time out: On Friday, Stanford defeated Oregon 80-68 behind a career-high 33 points from Lexie Hull.
On Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have a pretty balanced attack with senior forward Melody Kempton (11.8 points), junior guard Kaylynne Truong (11.3 points), junior guard Kayleigh Truong (10.4 points), and sophomore forward Yvonne Ejim (10.2 points) all scoring in double figures. As is evident by their close game against Stanford in Spokane this season, this Bulldogs team is for real and they’re looking to win the WCC.
In addition to Stanford, Gonzaga has also played Utah in Hawaii and Washington State at home. Against Utah they won 89-71 and against Washington State they lost 51-49. They’ve shown that they are Pac-12 level.
As a team, the Bulldogs average 68.2 points per game on 44.4% shooting from the field, 35.9% shooting from 3-point range, and 76.3% shooting from the foul line. They average 40.0 rebounds per game, 13.5 assists per game, 7.7 steals, 4.2 blocks, and 15.6 turnovers per game. They also average a +12.2 rebound margin and a -1.5 turnover margin. Their opponents are averaging 55.3 points per game on 38.1% shooting from the field, 28.1% shooting from 3-point range, and 63.2% shooting from the foul line.
Keys to the game: Looking back on the first meeting from earlier in the year, there are three things that Stanford needs to do better in order to win with more ease. The first thing is Stanford needs to win the free throw battle. Stanford shot 8-18 from the foul line in Spokane while Gonzaga shot 17-19. Stanford has picked things up at the foul line since then, shooting 10-12 from the foul line in their most recent win over Oregon. If Stanford shoots well at the line and keeps Gonzaga away from the line, Stanford should win this game with less trouble.
The second thing Stanford needs to do is take better care of the ball. In Spokane, Stanford had 13 assists and 13 turnovers while Gonzaga had 14 assists and 11 turnovers. Stanford needs to be the more efficient team if they want to avoid another nail biter.
Lastly, Stanford needs to shoot better from 3-point range. Stanford shot 6-16 from 3-point range in Spokane while Gonzaga shot 5-16. Stanford has to have more of an advantage in the 3-point shooting department. Hannah Jump had four of those six threes. If she can get more help, that will help a lot. As was evident by Lexie Hull’s 33 point explosion on Friday night, Jump isn’t the only player who can hit threes on this Stanford team.
Prediction: If Stanford beat Gonzaga on the road earlier in the year, it stands to reason that they’ll win again on The Farm. However, I don’t think it’s a slam dunk Stanford wins. They’re going to have to adhere to my keys to the game and play Gonzaga tough. Gonzaga is a team that isn’t afraid of Stanford and believes they can beat them at home, on the road, or on the moon. Stanford 72 Gonzaga 62 is how I see this playing out. Gonzaga will play Stanford tough for much of the game, but in the end, the Cardinal will pull away.
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