Palo Alto, CA — Early in the second quarter, the Yale Bulldogs turned the ball over, it was then inhaled by Stanford guard Marta Sniezek, who threw it ahead to a sprinting Briana Roberson who, at last, found forward Alanna Smith, diving to the basket. The play elicited ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the crowd at Maples Pavilion as the ball never touched the ground.
It was that kind of afternoon for the Cardinal.
Stanford rolled to a 102-44 victory over Yale on Wednesday. It was the first time all season Yale, who’s currently on a California road trip, played a top-25 opponent all year. For Stanford, it was their last game before they begin conference play in the Pac-12 this Friday.
“We needed a really good game for momentum going into the Pac-12 season, and I think we got it,” head coach Tara VanDereer said. “We came out aggressively and played that way the whole game.”
That Cardinal aggression started from the opening tip, as they forced 19 turnovers and held the Bulldogs to just six first quarter points. Yale amassed a deficit that touched 60 points in the fourth quarter and shot only two free throws.
A bright spot for the Bulldogs was the play of freshman guard Megan Gorman, who tied a game-high in scoring with 21 points. Yale fans at the game had more to cheer about when Mountain View native Paige Vermeer entered the game in the fourth quarter.
But that wasn’t enough to stifle the balanced Cardinal offense. Every player scored, and they had four players in double figures. Guard Karlie Samuelson led her team in scoring with 21 points and shot 80% from distance. Forward Erica McCall was close behind with 19.
VanDerveer spoke about the importance of her team’s offensive balance and getting underclassmen into a game that was in hand early for the Cardinal.
“I think it’s real important for [everyone to play]. If they did some good things, that builds their confidence, and if they make mistakes then we can make corrections in a game that’s not a two-point game,” she said.
Also notable for the Cardinal was the play of freshman guard Anna Wilson, who made her season debut during the second quarter. Wilson poured in 11 points in 17 minutes of play. She also shot 3-5 from beyond the arc.
While there was no sign of older brother, Russell Wilson, at the game, whose Seattle Seahawks play the 49ers down the road this Sunday in Santa Clara, Anna said it “is a great feeling [knowing her] brother is nearby.”
Stanford is now 10-2 and will travel to open up Pac-12 play against No. 18-ranked Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Friday night.