Smith, Williams lead No. 7 Stanford women past UC Davis
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — In May, Tara VanDerveer brought UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross and top assistant Joe Teramoto to campus for a third time to teach the Cardinal the Princeton offense. They spent seven hours instructing the Hall of Fame coach, who then treated them to a night in San Francisco for the big assist.
Six months later Stanford used all of that knowledge to beat the Aggies.
Kiana Williams had 14 points and three assists playing 18 minutes, leading No. 7 Stanford past cold-shooting UC Davis 71-43 on Wednesday night in both teams' season opener.
"I told Jen before the game, 'If we play well it's a credit to you,'" VanDerveer said. "... I almost felt like I was playing my sister. We're learning from the best."
Williams, Stanford's sophomore point guard who averaged 10.4 points last season, drove for two early layins while leading an up-tempo Stanford offense that struggled to consistently make shots but overmatched the Aggies to pull away in the second half after building a 12-point halftime lead.
Alanna Smith added 16 points in 15 minutes of action for Stanford as the always-evolving VanDerveer began her 33rd season coaching the Cardinal.
"We don't want to depend on one player," Smith said of Stanford's depth.
UC Davis senior Morgan Bertsch scored 16 points with five rebounds but had six turnovers for the two-time defending Big West Conference champion Aggies, who reached the Elite Eight of the Women's NIT last season and will look to build on that momentum.
They shot just 14 for 62 — 22.6 percent — and 8 of 31 from 3-point range while being outrebounded by Stanford 50-25.
UC Davis began 5 for 15 from the floor, 3 for 9 from deep, while Stanford missed its initial seven 3-point tries before Williams connected at the 7:34 mark in the second period. The Cardinal wound up shooting 42.6 percent.
"We need to take care of the ball better, we need to shoot a better percentage," VanDerveer said. "I think we're a much better shooting team than that."
Stanford has freshman twins Lacie and Lexie Hull. UC Davis has twins, too, senior sisters Karley and Kourtney Eaton.
Lexie Hull started and had 11 points and 11 rebounds in her collegiate debut, receiving an unsportsmanlike foul call upon review in the second quarter for making contact with Bertsch under the basket. Lacie scored two points on 1-for-5 shooting.
"That foul when you're playing as hard as you can things like that are going to happen. You have to move on," Lexie Hull said.
Kourtney Eaton was held to three points on 1-for-9 shooting while committing four turnovers.
UC Davis: Davis was outscored 19-10 in the second quarter. ... Bertsch needs 28 points to break Carol Rische's career school scoring record of 1,711 established from 1979-83. ... Gross is 0-7 against Stanford.
Stanford: This marked the earliest first game in program history. Stanford had played on Nov. 9 four different times. ... The Cardinal improved to 33-12 all-time in season openers and has won 20 straight home openers. The Cardinal are unbeaten in 10 matchups vs. UC Davis during VanDerveer's tenure.
UC Davis: Opens the home schedule Sunday by hosting Pacific.
Stanford: Hosts Idaho on Sunday as VanDerveer faces a school where she previously coached for two seasons to begin her career from 1978-80. Stanford will also host Ohio State, where VanDerveer coached before coming to The Farm, on Nov. 18.