#8 Stanford Women's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Stanford Cardinal
Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #1 Pac-12
Coach Tara Vanderveer did one of her best coaching jobs last season for Stanford as the Cardinal still played their way to the Lexington Regional Final before losing to Washington 85-76 after having upset Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. With nine returning players, led by senior Erica McCall, Stanford should be right in the mix once again to return to the top of the Pac-12 Conference if they can carry over the improved offensive play that they showed against Notre Dame and Washington in the NCAA Tournament. 
2015-16 Record: 27-8, 14-4
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tara Vanderveer
Coach Record: 828-174 at Stanford, 980-225 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Lili Thompson, Guard, 14.7 ppg
Kailee Johnson, Forward, 2.9 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Erica McCall, Senior, Forward, 14.9 ppg
Karlie Samuelson, Senior, Guard, 9.8 ppg
Kaylee Johnson, Junior, Forward, 6.1 ppg
Brianna Roberson, Senior, Guard, 5.8 ppg
Brittany McPhee, Junior, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Alanna Smith, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 ppg
Marta Sniezek, Sophomore, Guard, 2.9 ppg
Shannon Coffee, Sophomore, Center, 1.8 ppg
Alexa Romano, Sophomore, Guard, 0.7 ppg
Key New Players
Anna Wilson, Freshman, Guard
Nadia Fingall, Freshman, Forward
Mikaela Brewer, Freshman, Guard
Dijonai Carrington, Freshman, Guard
The experienced backcourt of Karlie Samuelson and Brianna Roberson is going to a very important key to success this season for the Cardinal. Samuelson is one of the best three-point shooters in all of women’s college basketball as she connected on 47.3 percent of her shots last season from behind the arc. Roberson brings experience and ball handling to the table as it will be up to Roberson to keep the offense flowing smoothly and get the ball to scoring threats like McCall and Samuelson. Nadia Fingall will lead a loaded incoming freshmen class, which includes Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s little sister Anna Wilson, that will make Stanford even more athletic at both ends of the court. As always, the Cardinal play a great out of conference schedule starting with a battle against Texas on November 14th in Palo Alto. Gonzaga visits Maples Pavilion on November 18th and then a month later Stanford will play their game against Tennessee in Knoxville.  The conference schedule is fairly balanced as the Cardinal only play UCLA and Washington once while playing Arizona State and Oregon State twice. If the offense becomes more consistent and can avoid prolonged struggles against quality opponents, then Stanford should be right there again as a Pac-12 Conference title contender and a threat to go very deep in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.8 (88th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.0 (29, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.6 (58, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 33.8 (6, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (56, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (17, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (188, 9)
Rebound Margin: 5.5 (45, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (48, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (50, 2)
Madness 2017 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#16 Erica McCall
Madness 2016 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#21 Nadia Fingall
#24 Dijonai Carrington
#33 Anna Wilson