The Washington women’s basketball team has said enthusiastic home crowds at Alaska Airlines Arena give them a big boost.
The Huskies rewarded those fans, who did not sit during the final minutes of Sunday’s game against No. 2 Stanford, with a day they will likely remember for quite a while.
That’s because Washington took down the powerhouse Cardinal 72-67 with a fourth-quarter rally in undoubtedly the biggest win in coach Tina Langley’s two seasons at UW.
“That was a lot of fun,” Langley said. “It’s always fun to coach these young women and I am just really proud of who they are and the effort they give every day.”
Washington came back from six points down in the final quarter (59-53) and took its first lead of the quarter at 67-65 with 1:50 remaining on a layup by Elle Ladine, who scored a game-high 21 points off the bench.
The UW defense did the rest, holding Stanford scoreless for more than three minutes before the Cardinal finally scored with three seconds left. By then, the outcome was decided.
It was the third straight win for Washington (13-9, 5-7 Pac-12) and it finished off a weekend sweep of the Bay Area schools after beating California 70-54 Friday.
Stanford fell to 22-3 and 10-2 in the Pac-12.
It was Washington’s first win over a ranked team since the 2019-20 season and its first win over Stanford since 2016. No wonder the crowd was so excited.
“I’ve never had a crowd like that before,” said Washington forward Dalayah Daniels, who had 15 points and seven rebounds.
The crowd was reported at 4,317, with many staying long after the game to celebrate with the team.
“Oh my gosh, I cannot thank them enough, just for being there for us, literally from day one,” said Haley Van Dyke, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. “I think they see our potential and they just kept showing up for us, and it just means so much.”
It was one thing for Washington, which entered the game last in the Pac-12 in scoring at 62.62 points per game, to get its offense going against California, the 11th-place team in the Pac-12.
But to keep it going against Stanford, which boasts one of the nation’s top defenses, is a bigger deal. Much bigger.
The 72 points were the most Stanford has allowed in regulation all season, and only No. 1 South Carolina, which beat Stanford 76-71 in overtime in November, has scored more.
“I’m not surprised,” Van Dyke said of the offense clicking. “I’m really just so proud of how hard we’ve been working the past couple of weeks. I think we’ve really just locked in.”
For the first few minutes, Stanford looked nothing like the No. 2 team in the nation.
But after apparently falling behind by six points to Washington midway through the first quarter, the Cardinal turned things around quickly.
Stanford trailed 8-2 on the scoreboard with 5:33 left in the first quarter, having made one of its first five shots and having committed three turnovers.
The Cardinal responded with nine straight points before a media timeout. The Huskies, already reeling, got some bad news during the break.
UW’s fourth basket, which had given it an 8-2 lead, was taken away after officials determined on review that it came after the shot clock had expired.
Stanford scored the next four points before UW finally ended the run.
The Cardinal led 17-8 after one quarter and stretched the lead to 11 points (29-18) midway through the second quarter. It looked like the Huskies were in trouble, but then their shots started falling and falling.
UW scored 21 points in the final 5:50 of the quarter. The Huskies ended the half on a 10-0 run in a span of 2:01, and when Daniels made a layup at the halftime buzzer it gave Washington a 38-34 lead.
It was a 30-point second quarter for the Huskies, nearly half of their game average. Stanford entered the game allowing teams to shoot a conference-low 32.7%.
Washington shot 53.6% (15 of 28) from the field in the first half, 57.1% (4 of 7) from three-point range and had as many points as Washington State scored all game in its 71-38 loss to Stanford on Friday.
Washington, helped by four offensive rebounds in the first two minutes of the third quarter, opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 44-34 lead.
Stanford responded by scoring the next nine points, but didn’t regain the lead until Cameron Brink’s three-point play with 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter gave it a 54-53 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Cardinal quickly stretched the lead to six points but it was all UW from there.
The Huskies had been close against ranked teams several times this season, which Langley noted afterward.
“When you’re so close, so often, at some point you’re going to have learned enough along the way to get that win that you need,” Langley said.
And Sunday was that day.
Starting forward Lauren Schwartz left the game late in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury, but returned late in the game.
* Reserve guard Hannah Stines, who left Friday’s game with a lower-leg injury, did not play Sunday. A team spokesperson said Stines is day to day.
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