Women's Basketball

Grind it Out

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SEATTLE (AP) — On a night the scoring only seemed to come in spurts, No. 6 Stanford leaned heavily on its defense.
Nothing came easy at the offensive end for Washington.
"I liked how hard people played position defense, scouting report defense, we'll call it," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Knowing the personnel, knowing what things to take away from them."
Lexie Hull had 17 points and 11 rebounds and No. 6 Stanford used a pair of big first-half runs to roll past Washington 58-41 on Friday night.
The Cardinal (19-2, 8-1 Pac-12) won their fourth straight following their lone conference loss against Oregon two weeks ago. It was Stanford's eighth straight win over Washington.
Stanford raced to an early 13-point lead after a dominating first quarter, watched the entire lead evaporate in a matter of minutes and managed to still hold a 32-22 halftime advantage, thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers late in the first half.
That run late in the second quarter proved to be decisive as Washington never pulled closer than eight in the second half.
Kiana Williams was the only other Stanford player in double figures with 16 points. The Cardinal rolled despite shooting just 33% and were 2 of 13 on 3-pointers in the second half.
"I really trust our offense and as long as we run through every option eventually something is going to get working," Hull said.
Washington's inability to make a second charge at the Cardinal was mostly because of Stanford's defense. Washington was the third team in the past seven games to get held under 50 by the Cardinal, and the Huskies shot just 28%
Specifically, Stanford was excellent at hounding Washington's leading scorer Amber Melgoza. The senior was averaging 15.4 per game, but missed all eight of her shots and was held scoreless for the first time since her freshman season.
Melgoza had 17 in the first meeting with Stanford and scored 40 against the Cardinal in 2018.
"Somebody like Amber is a terrific player. For her not to score ... I'm like 'wow,'" VanDerveer said.
JaQuaya Miller led Washington (10-10, 2-7) with 10 points, while Haley Van Dyke and T.T. Watkins each scored nine. It was Washington's seventh straight loss after opening conference play 2-0. The Huskies' previous two losses to USC and UCLA came in overtime.
"I think at times we play not to lose instead of playing to win and that impacts our game a lot," Miller said.
Stanford jumped to a 16-3 lead after the first quarter when Washington made just 1 of 13 shots. The Cardinal lead was gone in barely four minutes after the Huskies opened the second quarter on a 15-2 run, pulling even at 18-all.
But Stanford withstood the run by Washington and closed the half on a 12-3 spurt, coming on a series of four 3-pointers, including a pair from Lexie Hull.
VanDerveer was thrilled with her team's performance last Sunday when it committed just five turnovers in a dominant win over Utah. The young Cardinal regressed against Washington, committing 14 turnovers. She said Washington's defense played a role.
"It's different being out there playing against it and we did make some mistakes," VanDerveer said.
Stanford: Cardinal freshman star Haley Jones, ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country last year on some lists, missed her third straight game with a right knee injury suffered in Stanford's win at Oregon State. ... Freshman Francesca Belibi left the arena buzzing after missing on a breakaway dunk attempt early in the second half.
Washington: Melgoza was averaging 18.4 points in conference games, good for fourth in the Pac-12. Her previous season-low was six points, and she had scored in double figures in nine straight games. ... Washington had just one point from its starters in the first half and seven for the entire game.
Stanford: The Cardinal travel to Washington State on Sunday.
Washington: The Huskies host California on Sunday.