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The Scholarly Spotlight: Stanford Cardinal Women's Basketball

When discussing successful women's basketball programs, few people will go without mentioning the # 8 ranked Stanford Cardinal. After a stunning second round loss to Ole Miss, the Cardinal are set up for a revenge season. The 2021 NCAA Champions are in an unfamiliar position as underdogs, but they don't seem phased by the new territory. They lost key talent from the WNBA Draft and transfer portal, but Stanford has the pieces to make a run in March.

The Cardinal are led by Hall Of Fame Coach, Tara Vanderveer, who is among the greatest to coach the game. They lost their point guard, Haley Jones to the WNBA and backup center Lauren Betts to UCLA via the transfer portal. However, they have enough talent to mitigate their losses. Led by All-American Senior forward Cameron Brink, she is poised to lead in their bounce back season. She improved her game in the off-season playing 3-on-3 in the summer Olympics, while also bringing home a gold medal. So far for the Cardinal she is averaging 19.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game. She protects the paint at an elite level which gives Stanford the ability to thrive playing a 2-3 zone defense.

Another senior on Stanford is star sharpshooter Hannah Jump. She averages 11.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and has shooting splits of 41.5/38.5/77.8% this season. When the ball is dumped down low to Brink, she is usually double-teamed, in which case she can attack the basket or kick it out to Jump for a wide open three. The rest of the starters consist of Talana Lepolo, Elena Bosgana, and Kiki Iriafen. Iriafen and Bosgana have taken the biggest steps up from last year to this year, making Stanford dangerous to go against. Bosgana, like Jump, is another shooter who has capitalized on her ability. She is averaging 8.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and she's shooting 31.4% from beyond three-point land. Iriafen pairs with Brink to form one of the best front court duo's in the country. The junior has taken a massive step from her previous season averaging 17.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and shoots 59% from the field. Although Brink's achilles heel is getting into foul trouble, Iriafen is a player Vanderveer can trust to sustain the Cardinal in Brink's absence. When both of them are on the court, they will give their post defenders nightmares as conference play gets underway.

Key players off the bench that separate Stanford from the Pac include Brooke Demetre, Nunu Agara (NEW-NEW UH-GAR-UH), and Courtney Ogden. Demetre is an X-Factor off the bench averaging 6.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, while shooting 45.3% from the field and 33.3% from three. The rest of the conference had a great year last year as a whole, and has added so much talent in the offseason. In the Pac-12 this season, they are viewed as the underdogs in a conference they seemingly run year-in and year-out. However as their time in this historic conference comes to a conclusion, they want to show the rest of the nation they are still the queens of the court.


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