STANFORD, Calif. — Unable to play at home for the first two months of the season, Kiana Williams and No. 6 Stanford are feeling much better now that they’re back at Maples Pavilion.
Williams scored 18 points and had three steals to lead a Stanford defense that held Arizona State without a basket for the first nine minutes of the game and the sixth-ranked Cardinal throttled the Sun Devils 80-41 on Friday night.
“I think for Ki getting back in our gym and having opportunities to get shots up (is big),” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “She’s staying late after practice, taking advantage of this and that is making a big difference for her. She’s playing at a really, really high level.”
Hannah Jump added a season-high 17 points for Stanford (20-2, 17-2 Pac-12). Lexie Hull had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Haley Jones scored 11.
Stanford never trailed, led by 41 and dominated in the paint on both ends of the floor while winning its ninth straight.
Stanford’s defense made the biggest impact, tipping passes and converting the deflections into turnovers and easy buckets. The Cardinal allowed seven points in the first quarter, 11 in the second and seven in the third.
“Our defense played really well,” VanDerveer said. “I like how consistent our team was. I like how hard they played. Everyone stepped up and tried to do what we asked them to do. Arizona State is difficult to play against because they’re super aggressive.”
The Cardinal made sure the Sun Devils never got going offensively.
Arizona State (10-8, 5-8) missed its first 10 shots and was on the brink of not making a basket at all in the first quarter until Taya Hanson’s 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds remaining. Prior to Hanson’s bucket, the Sun Devils only points came on four free throws.
Eboni Walker scored 11 points for Arizona State. Hanson had 10.
Williams, who had 13 points in the first half, scored five as part of an 12-0 run that put Stanford ahead 58-23 in the third including a fadeaway shot as she was falling out of bounds at the baseline. Williams was held out of the fourth quarter when VanDerveer pulled her starters.
“We’ve been working really hard to play four quarters,” VanDerveer said. “Not have one good quarter then get bored and go to sleep or lose focus.”
Before the game players from both teams formed a huge oval around the court in a symbol of unity in the fight to end racial injustices. A moment of silence was held as coaches from both teams and the referees stood by.
Arizona State: Hard to believe this is the same team that lost 68-60 to then-No. 1 Stanford in January. Then again, five of the Sun Devils eight losses this season have come against teams ranked in the Top 10. This was more about what Stanford did than what Arizona State didn’t do. It’s the Sun Devils most lopsided loss to the Cardinal since losing 82-35 on Jan. 8, 2011.
Stanford: The Cardinal have won nine straight since back-to-back losses against Colorado and UCLA. With a big game looming against a ranked opponent Monday, the Cardinal could have got caught overlooking the Sun Devils. Instead they came out aggressive and focused both offensively and defensively.