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No. 13 Stanford Tops Yale in First Game of California Trip

Megan Gorman (Photo by Steve Musco)
Megan Gorman (Photo by Steve Musco)

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STANFORD, Calif. – No. 13 Stanford (10-2) started hot and continued to apply the pressure in a 102-44 victory over Yale (8-4). This was Yale's first game of the season against a top-25 opponent. Stanford has won two national championships under Hall of Fame head coach Tara VanDerveer, and the team has reached at least the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine seasons. Stanford proved today why it is consistently among the nation's elite teams.

The Cardinal scored the game's first eight points and finished the first quarter leading 24-6. Yale took some time to adjust to Stanford's relentless defensive pressure and transition offense. The Bulldogs settled into a better rhythm by the second quarter but were still outscored 26-12 in the frame.

Stanford senior Karlie Samuelson started the second half with confidence, making three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the third quarter to stretch the Cardinal's lead, which was 83-31 heading into the fourth. Yale improved its play in the final period, being outscored 19-13, but Stanford's strong play earlier in the game was too much to overcome.

Samuelson led Stanford with 21 points in the game. Erica McCall, Brittany McPhee, and Anna Wilson joined her in double figures with 19, 15, and 11 points, respectively.

Freshman Megan Gorman led the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points, tying Samuelson for the game high. Gorman also finished with 7 rebounds.

Another freshman, Jessica Steffen, entered the game in the second quarter for her first game action at Yale after missing the first eleven games due to injury. She finished with 3 points and an assist in 10 minutes of play.

Afterwards, Steffen said, "Playing in my first college game was already exciting, but having the matchup be against Stanford made it surreal. Scoring my first collegiate points against such a nationally dominant team meant so much, and it was a blessing getting to have my family in the crowd watching. While the result wasn't what we wanted, I feel like we can learn a lot from how Stanford plays – their transition game is very fast and efficient, and I believe we're capable of emulating it in the future."

Sophomore Paige Vermeer also saw her first action of the season in front of friends and family near her hometown of Mountain View, California.

Senior Lena Munzer said after the game, "Once they started hitting a couple shots, we took a step away from our mindset of having a faceless opponent. We got a little scared. Passes that we could get away with against other teams, Stanford's going to make you pay for…They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of poise. They're a good team. You've got to give them a lot of credit."

Despite the loss, Munzer also looked back on the positives her team could take away from playing a team of Stanford's caliber. "Playing Stanford, this is a game that, back when I was ten, I would dream to be on this court, and I would do anything to be playing Stanford. I think sometimes we forget about that. Playing basketball, having a good time, that's when we're playing our best too."

Next up, Yale concludes its California trip with a game at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Dec. 31 at noon (3 ET).

 

Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity