Santa Clara shocks No. 13 Stanford at Maples, 61-58
On one of the coldest nights so far this winter in Northern California, a cold breeze swept through Maples Pavilion as No. 13 Stanford (3-1) fell to unranked Santa Clara (2-2), a team that brought their own heat in the form of smothering zone defense. With their 61-58 victory, the Broncos earned their first defeat over the Cardinal since 1998, a win that took place at Santa Clara. The last time they beat the Pac-12 power at Stanford was Nov. 21, 1984. Stanford’s previous loss to an unranked, non-conference team was on March 19, 2007 during the second round of the NCAA tournament vs. Florida State.
“It feels amazing. I’m still in shock,” said senior forward Devin Hudson. “It was a great team effort all across the board. We talked to each other on the court the entire time, which is huge for us….It was just a great effort by the whole team. All week the coaches were preaching toughness and it paid off.”
For Stanford, sporting specially-designed turquoise Nike N7 uniforms to commemorate Native American Heritage month, the game was never in their control from the outset. Santa Clara swarmed the Cardinal on defense, never giving the home team players an inch to maneuver, causing a slew of turnovers.
Stanford committed 26 turnovers, the most since a game against Washington State in January 2003. Yet, they still managed to win that contest. Monday night was a much different story.
“I think they played a very effective 3-2 zone,” said Stanford junior guard Lili Thompson. “There’s some things we can look to do against it to improve, and I think that’s where we have to go from here. Just learn from this loss and learn from the things we weren’t able to execute today and move on and use that for the rest of the season.”
Both teams shot poorly. In fact, the field goal percentage was laughable in the first quarter, 16 percent for Santa Clara (4-25) and 16.7 percent for Stanford (2-12). However, the Broncos managed to earn four points in the first three and a half minutes while the Cardinal remained scoreless until 6:29. It was an ugly, back and forth battle that ended in both teams scoring just eight points in the first quarter.
Overall, the game was not a pretty clash, with the anemic offense from both squads and players flailing and falling over each other as both teams fought for shots while under intense, defensive pressure. The second quarter was even more excruciating as the shot clock malfunctioned several times causing a game delay of 15 minutes. It was a bizarre interruption as each time the officials tried to start the game again, the shot clock would go off within seconds, causing confusion on floor and in the stands for bewildered fans.
At the half, it was still an even contest, 22 all. The third quarter put the Broncos over the hump as they managed to outscore Stanford 19-11, shooting 38.9 percent from the floor to Stanford’s 39.5 percent. But the Broncos took more shots and went to the line twice (4-4) while Stanford did not make any free throws in the third period.
Santa Clara went into the fourth quarter with a 41-33 lead. They stretched their advantage to 10 points early in the last period but then Stanford’s offense began to show signs of life. The Cardinal went on a 12-2 run to tie the game up. However, Santa Clara turned it up as well and kept their opponent from making any inroads. They countered with a 12-5 run to take a seven-point lead. Stanford’s last attempt to overcome the Broncos came in the last minute with three-pointers from junior guards Karlie Samuelson and Thompson plus a layup from junior forward Erica McCall, but it was not enough. The free throws made by freshman guard Savanna Hanson and junior forward Lori Parkinson were enough to keep Santa Clara free and clear, taking down a ranked team.
“First of all, congratulations to Santa Clara, I thought they played a really gritty game,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer to start off her postgame presser. “Overall, our whole team is very disappointed, but we just have to go back the drawing board and really look at things. We did make a nice rally–I thought we played better in the second half offensively.”
It was just Stanford’s fifth loss at the hands of the Broncos in 34 total meetings. At times, it appeared as if Stanford players were sleepwalking during the game.
“We talked about [that] you can’t just show up. You have to really come out and be aggressive,” said VanDerveer. “We’re playing a lot of young people. [Santa Clara] came out very aggressive. They played some good competition, and I think they’ve learned from that competition, and they came in and they were fierce. Give all the credit to them [for] how hard they played. Their zone was very effective.”
Santa Clara was also effective in grabbing offensive rebounds to earn more second chance points than Stanford, 20 to 14. The Broncos had 23 offensive rebounds to Stanford’s 16. Head coach JR Payne attributed much of that effort to sophomore forward Morgan McGwire and junior forward Lori Parkinson.
“Both Morgan and Lori are capable of having big games like tonight where they bring the intangibles,” said Payne. “I’m really proud of Morgan. I saw her rip some balls and get on the floor. We’d like to shoot better than 1 for 16 from three but if we can have these types of intangibles then we’ll always have a chance.”
Hudson led Santa Clara with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Parkinson scored 11 with a team-high nine boards. McGwire also contributed 11 and grabbed seven rebounds.
Thompson paced Stanford with 21 points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals. McCall had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Next up for Santa Clara is the Cal Poly Invitational in San Luis Obispo. They will face Cal Poly on Nov. 27 and Evansville on Nov. 28.
Stanford will head to Florida later this week to play in the Gulf Coast Showcase, and is slated to face Missouri State on Friday and Dayton or Maine on Saturday. The tournament’s championship game is scheduled for Sunday. The team will take a two-week break from competition for final exams before returning to action at Texas on December 13.
Santa Clara earned their first win at Stanford since Nov. 21, 1984 with a 61-58 victory. Senior forward Devin Hudson led a balanced effort with 12 points and eight rebounds.