Cardinal payback: Stanford overcomes Gonzaga in OT, 76-70

Nov. 17, 2019 (Stanford, Calif.) - Stanford's Lexie Hull shoots over Gonzaga's Kayleigh Truong. Photo: Baraduin Briggs, all rights reserved.
Nov. 17, 2019 (Stanford, Calif.) – Stanford’s Lexie Hull shoots over Gonzaga’s Kayleigh Truong. Photo © Baranduin Briggs, all rights reserved.

STANFORD, Calif. – In a hard-fought overtime battle, No. 3 Stanford overcame Gonzaga 76-70 Sunday night at Maples Pavilion. The down-to-the-wire contest was a defensive battle that saw several players foul out. It was the first time that the Zags faced a ranked opponent this season. The outcome of the matchup also served as revenge for Stanford. In the last two regular-season contests between the teams, Gonzaga came out on top.

“I thought our team really battled especially in the second half in overtime,” head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “You know Gonzaga is an excellent team, Lisa [Fortier] does a fantastic job with their team. And they were extremely aggressive and physical. We had to battle through some bad turnovers, in the beginning, you know missing some shots I think people ordinarily make, but I’m really proud of how our team stuck with it and made plays down the stretch.”

The first quarter saw the Cardinal strike first with a jumper from senior forward Nadia Fingall that started an 8-2 run before the Zags began to retaliate with a balanced effort. It didn’t take long for the contest to become a back-and-forth effort as neither squad could build any momentum to run away and build some distance.

Gonzaga led 31-28 at the half with freshman guard Kayleigh Truong leading all scorers with 12 points.

Regulation came down to a defensive rebound with the game tied at 62. Gonzaga worked frantically to score but missed a bucket and Stanford junior guard Kiana Williams corralled the carom.

While at the outset, the overtime period was a topsy turvy affair, Cardinal sophomore guard Lexie Hull, along with Williams, powered Stanford’s offense in the final two minutes.

“Lexi made some big shots, big free throws, played great defense work really hard,” VanDerveer said. “[Kianna] stayed in there and battled…basically 43 minutes.”

Stanford outscored Gonzaga 14-8 in the final five minutes. Overall, neither team shot very well. Gonzaga was 32.8% from the field while Stanford was 44.3%. The Cardinal only made 17 of their 29 free throws (58.6%) compared to 23-of-29 (79.3%) by the Zags. However, the home team won the battle in the paint. Stanford scored 36 points in the paint compared to 22 by the visitors.

Williams finished with 22 points while Hull added 20 plus eight rebounds. Freshman guard Haley Jones was also in double figures with 11 points.

The Zags had four players in double figures with junior guard Jill Townsend leading the way with 18 points plus four rebounds. Fouls hampered her production as she accumulated five and exited at 2:17 in overtime. Teammate, junior forward LeeAnn Wirth, also fouled out in the game as did Stanford sophomore guard Lacie Hull. Wirth, who came into the contest averaging 11.5 points per game scored just two points. Her twin sister Jenn, who leads the team at 17.0 points per game, had three points.

Zags sophomore forward Melody Kempton scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Truong also finished with 12 while senior guard Jessie Loera added 10 plus six rebounds.

Gonzaga heads home to face Eastern Washington on Friday. Stanford hosts Buffalo on Sunday.

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