Palo Alto, CA -- The Stanford Cardinal and the Tennessee Lady Vols matched up Wednesday night--in what was predicted to be a close matchup, but Stanford kept control of the game the entire night and didn't let up.
Tennessee won the tip, but Stanford came out hot out the gates forcing an early timeout for the Lady Vols, as the Cardinal spurred an 8-0 run to start the game.
Lili Thompson lit the spark for the Cardinal with back-to-back shots fired, first off a putback and the second was an offensive gem, with a head fake at the corner perimeter as she blew by her opponent and laid it in.
Stanford's stingy man-to-man defense held the Lady Vols to 11 points in the first quarter, causing them to settle for mid-range jump shots and that tempo continued throughout the match.
Tennessee's defense was ineffective early on as they picked up in a 3-2 full court press that the Cardinal broke with ease and finished successfully on the other end.
Stanford continued to find holes in the Vols' defense, as Coach Holly Warlick came out at the 10 minute mark in a halfcourt 3-2 matchup zone. The Cardinal extended their lead, 27-13 with 5:57 left in the first half of play.
The Cardinal disciplined halfcourt defense held the Lady Vols to 20 points at the half, 35-20 and Stanford stood out on the boards--outrebounding Tennessee 20-9.
With 4:48 left in the third quarter, Stanford's momentum continued to roll leading the Vols by 15 points, shortly followed by a shot clock violation as time expired for the Lady Vols, proving Stanford's defense was key to their success and tempo of the game.
Erica McCall kept the crowd on their feet with her hustle plays, fast break momentum and huge block in the third quarter to protect the paint. She was making herself a threat offensively and defensively.
The final 10 minutes of the game started with an 18 point lead for the Cardinal, and that comfort allowed them to continue to run their halfcourt offense.
With 8:16 left in the game, the Lady Vols shifted a change in momentum with Bashaara Graves' shot from under the net off of a fast break by the ladies in orange.
Lili Thompson followed that by driving hard to the middle of the paint and finishing with a teardrop over two defenders. However, the Vols answered back with a quick transition layup, keeping things interesting with under six minutes of play.
Tennesse's Jaime Nared's steal and putback, cut the lead to seven with just three minutes to go, but Sniezek's and-1 finally pushed the Card's momentum and morale forward closing out the final minutes of play.
Time was on Stanford's side as they were up 62-51 with 1:38 to go and a running clock; Lili Thompson came out of the Card's timeout with a back breaker three point.
Thompson's back breaker three pushed Stanford up 14 with a minute to play, and they closed out the game with the same tenacity with a final score of, 69-55.
Thompson finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and Erica McCall totaled 14 points and 10 boards. Diamond DeShields and Jaime Nared lead Tennessee with 12 points apiece, respectively.
The Cardinal will take on Cornell, Saturday at home, while the Volunteers look to get a W at Oregon State.