STANFORD, Calif. — There are some games when Stanford finds its groove from the opening tip, methodically handles business, and the key thing coach Tara VanDerveer takes from a victory afterward was the opportunity to rest her regulars and find positives from the small strides.
Alanna Smith scored 11 of her 27 points in the third period and also grabbed 13 rebounds as No. 6 Stanford beat cold-shooting Washington 91-54 on Friday night for its 19th straight home victory.
"I was really happy with how our team came out tonight and I was really excited about how our bench finished," VanDerveer said. "I think the best thing is from my perspective, no one got in foul trouble, no one got hurt and no one played more than 30 minutes. I think we're just getting better and better."
Kiana Williams scored 22 points and knocked down four of 13 3-pointers by the Cardinal (15-1, 5-0 Pac-12), who beat Washington for an 18th straight time at Maples Pavilion.
"We're led by the best point guard in the league," VanDerveer said.
Smith shot 12 for 18 and has all five of her double-doubles this season over the past seven games.
Now, Hall of Fame coach VanDerveer will look for her 900th win in 32 seasons at Stanford when her team hosts Washington State on Sunday, having never lost to the Cougars.
DiJonai Carrington contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Stanford, off to the program's best start since beginning 22-1 in 2013-14.
Amber Melgoza was held to nearly 11 points below her average, scoring eight points and committing five turnovers for Washington (8-10, 1-5), which didn't have a double-digit scorer in losing for the seventh time in eight games. The Huskies shot 34.5 percent, going 8 for 26 from 3-point range.
The Cardinal made their initial five shots and jumped to a 12-2 lead and rolled.
Stanford has won 15 straight Pac-12 games at Maples and was the only conference team to go unbeaten at home last season.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARNESS GAME
On Sunday afternoon, Maples will host the school's first ever Human Trafficking Awareness Game. There will be public service announcements throughout, and an information table on the concourse to encourage further community engagement and action.
Smith took a class last quarter on human trafficking and Betty Ann Hagenau, Stanford's public address announcer who works in the anti-trafficking field, spoke as a guest lecturer. They discussed doing more.
Smith has not only recruited campus officials, fellow students and others to attend but will also take a featured part in an in-game video message.
"People were really excited to get on board," Smith said. "I'm just super happy that I can be a part of raising awareness for something like this."
Washington: The Huskies shot 4 for 11 in the opening quarter to trail 27-11. ... After forcing a season-high 18 turnovers in last Sunday's 58-43 home loss to Utah and holding the Utes to 1 for 17 on 3s, Washington was too overmatched against VanDerveer's deep Stanford team. Melgoza is 48 points from 1,000 for her Huskies career, and she would become the 28th player in Washington program history to reach the milestone. ... The Huskies lost 71-45 last January at Maples Pavilion and are 4-28 all-time on Stanford's home floor.
Stanford: Carrington has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five of her last eight games. ... Stanford shot 7 of 18 from deep in the first half then cooled off to finish 13 for 36. ... The Cardinal haven't lost to Washington at home since a 74-62 defeat on Feb. 18, 1999.
Washington: Visits California on Sunday in Berkeley.
Stanford: Hosts Washington State on Sunday with a 63-0 record against the Cougars.