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Stanford Says "Not So Fast"

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Erica McCall was undefended much of the time by Oregon State, and had a career night as a result.
Erica McCall was undefended much of the time by Oregon State, and had a career night as a result.
Image by Andy Wooldridge

7th ranked Oregon State came into tonight's game in Palo Alto looking for a school record 15th win in a row, and their first ever win at Maples Pavilion, and amidst premature talk of a second consecutive Pac-12 regular season championship and maybe even a 1 seed, certainly a 2, in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford coach Tara Van DerVeer and the Cardinal, and especially Erica McCall said "Not so fast."

Oregon State came in unprepared, for McCall, for a disciplined defense that was determined to shut down Pac-12 Player of the Year Jamie Weisner, or to make adjustments to much of anything Stanford did.

The result was a 76-54 blowout loss that wasn't anywhere near that close, having been a 30 point game midway in the 4th quarter. It was Oregon State's worst loss in over 3 years, since, ironically, a 90-53 rout at Stanford Feb. 22 of 2013.

And Stanford did this without one of their starters, Lili Thompson, who is missing this weekend's action after the passing of her grandfather this past week.

And had it not been for Ruth Hamblin, who sank 7 off 11 shots for the Beavers, for 14 points, it would have been worse.

Oregon State actually jumped out to an 8-2 lead, on back to back 3s by Gabriella Hanson and Deven Hunter, but Stanford responded with a 16-7 run, bookended by Brittany McPhee baskets, and anchored by a pair of baskets by Kaylie Johnson, who was held scoreless in the first meeting of the season in Corvallis, when the Beavers mounted a massive 4th quarter comeback to pull out a 58-50 win.

There would be no such comeback tonight, and the deficit would get so large even a similar rally would not have been effective.

Oregon State pulled back into the lead late in the first quarter, but Stanford took a 21-19 lead into the second half, on Alana Smith's 3.

That basket began what would be a 15-2 Cardinal run to a 33-21 lead, with McCall accounting for 7 straight points, including her first career 3 pointer.

McCall hit another 3, and raised her game total to 14, and the Cardinal opened as large as a 16 point lead, before a pair of Sydney Wiese free throws made it 41-27 at the half.

Until Wiese's free throws 45 seconds before the break, no one had scored for Oregon State in the 2nd quarter but Hamblin.

Stanford was within 8 points of Oregon State's average points allowed per game by halftime, and a large part of that was 61% shooting from the field by the Cardinal, including 71% on 5 of 7 shooting on 3s.

Hamblin had 10 points at the break, but Weisner had only 2.

And inexplicably, the 2-3 zone that Oregon State coach Scott Rueck had employed that shut down the Cardinal in the second half in Corvallis never appeared until the second half, and then it was pulled back off only a few possessions into the third quarter.

McCall, McPhee, Katie Samuelson, who was on her way to her first ever double double, and others, continued to pour it on for the Cardinal, and the lead grew to 26 on McCall's 3rd 3 of the game, and her career, before Weise's only 3 of the game pulled the Beavers within 63-40 at the end of the third quarter.

Stanford then opened the 4th quarter with a 9-2 run, opening their largest lead of the game, going up 72-42, before coasting home to the 22 point win.

And instead of Oregon State getting a historic first win ever at Maples, Stanford notched the 1,000th win in the program, becoming only the 7th women's basketball program to reach that landmark.

McCall finished with a career high 25 points, and McPhee added 15, while Samuelson had 13 and a game high 12 rebounds.

The Beavers had no plan to match up with McCall, who opened up her floor game, inviting Hamblin or Hunter to step out, but more

Hamblin's 14 points was the only double digit stat for Oregon State. Wiese and Marie Gulich both finished with 7, while Hunter and Hanson both finished with just 5. Weisner was held to only 4 points.

Stanford also out-rebounded Oregon State 32-27.

Oregon State slipped to 24-4 for the season, and 15-2 in the Pac-12. The Beavers will still have at worst the second seed in the Pac-12 tournament next weekend in Seattle, but Arizona State, after the Sun Devils pulled away from USC for a 50-45 win tonight, will win the conference and claim the top seed with either a win Sunday at UCLA or another Oregon State loss at California.

Stanford improved to 23-6, and 13-4 in conference, and can claim the 3 seed with a win over Oregon, who is now without Jillian Aileen, who'se collegiate career ended when she tore her ACL this week in practice, and an ASU win over UCLA.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com