Two things were notable about No. 4 Stanford’s 92-57 women’s basketball victory over Santa Clara on Sunday, which served as the Cardinal’s final warmup before Friday’s game against No. 1 Baylor in Hawaii.
The first significant fact was that guard Toni Kokenis again was not in the starting lineup and again played only limited minutes. She has been bothered by an illness that kept her out of the Cardinal’s two exhibition games and limited her to 14 minutes in the opening win over Fresno State and 11 minutes in Sunday’s victory at Santa Clara.
Kokenis was an all-conference player last season, and the Cardinal needs her speed and aggressiveness to have a chance against Baylor. She took just two shots on Sunday and made both.
Kokenis’ place in the starting lineup was taken by sophomore Jasmine Camp, essentially giving the Cardinal two point guards in the starting lineup, along with Amber Orrange.
The other issue of significance is that 6-2 sophomore forward Erica Payne was in the starting lineup. That was no doubt in response to the Cardinal’s rebounding woes against Fresno State, when the Bulldogs collected 25 offensive rebounds. Payne is more of an inside player than small forward Taylor Greenfield, who started the opener.
Adding credence to the fact that Tara VanDerveer wants to beef up her rebounding was that 6-5 freshman Tess Picknell joined Kokenis as the first subs off the bench, both entering the contest five minutes into the game.
Pinknell had one block and four rebounds in her 14 minutes of action, but she also committed four fouls in that short stint, making you wonder whether she can help against Baylor’s 6-8 Brittney Griner.
The Broncos had only eight offensive rebounds, so the Cardinal did a better job of rebounding than it had in the opener. Stanford had just nine offensive boards, but the Cardinal players didn’t have many opportunities for second chances because they made better than 63 percent of their shots.
Chiney Ogwumike and Joslyn Tinkle were the major offensive forces in the game, just as they were in the opener. Ogwumike had 22 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes, and Tinkle collected 19 points (on 9-for-11 shooting) in 28 minutes.
Also of significance is that Orrange had 18 points, matching a career high. She is primarily a playmaker (she had six assists with two turnovers), but she needs to be more of a scoring threat than she was last season. She certainly has the skills to score by finishing on penetration moves, but she also hit her only three-point attempt, which is significant.