Hoosier takedown: Women’s basketball upsets No. 9 Indiana

Whether it was the home court advantage or the underdog mentality, No. 15 Stanford women’s basketball (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 9 Indiana (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon, 96-64. Maples witnessed an uproar as the two top-25 teams faced off in their first matchup at Maples Pavilion since 2001. 

This game is one of few in recent years where Stanford entered the match as the underdog. “We want teams to keep sleeping on us,” said senior forward Cameron Brink. “Since my freshman year we’ve always been top-5, so it’s fun to hunt instead of being hunted.” Stanford achieved its third-highest point total against a top-10 team since the ’99-2000 season.

In the first three minutes, junior guard Elena Bosgana knocked down two perimeter shots, putting up the first points of the game. Brink followed with eight more for the Cardinal, contributing two three-pointers of her own. 

The second quarter was the highest scoring for Stanford, with junior forward Kiki Iriafen spearheading the 28-point explosion. The Los Angeles native recorded 12 points and five rebounds in her seven minutes played, picking up three offensive boards for second-chance layups.

“I think I am biased, but Kiki is definitely the most improved player in the country from last year to this year,” Brink said.

The Cardinal were a threat from the perimeter, totaling eight in the half. Though freshman forward Nunu Agara proved to be an aggressive contributor in the paint, her first points of the game resulted from a contested triple. 

Overall, Stanford’s offense was a well-oiled machine, with the team reaching a near 30-point lead heading into halftime: 54-26.

The second half was just as productive for the Cardinal, proving the job was not finished yet. The guards got some action in the paint, with various layups and jumpers to keep Stanford ahead. 

In the fourth, the freshmen contributed almost half of Stanford’s total — Agara with six and freshman guard Chloe Clardy with four.

“The freshmen are not freshmen … I think they’re just playing great,” said coach Tara VanDerveer.

The Cardinal broke a 30-point lead against their top-10 opponent, closing out the match with a 96-64 win. The offense had a united front against Indiana, passing the ball out when heavily guarded and setting up its elite perimeter players for open shot attempts.

“This was a good test for our team and we passed it with flying colors … what I saw out there today was unselfish basketball,” VanDerveer said.

Brink and Iriafen concluded the game with a double-double each, proving to be a pivotal duo in Stanford’s success on both sides of the court.

“I think it’s incredible,” Iriafen said about playing with Brink. “This is our first year on the floor together at the same time. I think we just balance each other out. We have great energy. We kind of just play off each other. We’re always looking for each other.”

Brink contributed 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks, surpassing 300 career blocks. She also maintained 100% FT, shooting 6-for-6 from the foul line.

Iriafen produced 20 points and 11 boards, eight of which were defensive. Both players played a part in holding Indiana’s Naismith POY watchlist member Mackenzie Holmes — a player who has averaged 16.5 points her entire college career — to just eight points.

Three more Stanford players recorded double-digit score contributions: 13 from Agara, 12 from Jump and 10 from Bosgana. 

Bosgana is growing into her role as a primary player for the Cardinal, contributing three defensive rebounds and two assists as well. 

“Elena played behind people a lot, whether it was the twins [Lexie and Lacie Hull] or Hannah on the wing or other people, but she’s just going to take advantage of her time,” VanDerveer said.  “She’s going to get better and better.”

Stanford’s bench was electrifying both on and off the court. With every shot made, especially three-pointers, players would get rowdy for their teammates and showcase the strength of the bond they share. The bench contributed 28 points in Sunday’s Hoosier takedown.

The Cardinal looks ahead at two more non-conference games at home before heading to Nevada for a Thanksgiving tournament. Next up is a match against Cal Poly (1-2, 0-0 Big Sky) on Thursday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.

Originally posted 2023-11-13 09:17:31.