Women’s basketball preview: Looking ahead to last Pac-12 season

November is here, and for Cardinal basketball fans, that means seeing the powerhouse women’s basketball team back on the court. They started the season off on Wednesday, Nov. 1, in a debut game against Dominican University, which Stanford won 126-53.

The team features a number of household names in college women’s basketball, with three new faces joining them.

Coterm student Hannah Jump and senior Cameron Brink lead the team for another season. Jump, a fifth-year guard is coming off of her best season, starting all 35 games last year and maintaining a career-high 11 points per game. Last season, she was an All-Pac-12 pick, as well as ranked eighth nationally in 3-point percentage (44.1%, her career high) and ninth in 3-point field goals. She is one of 20 players on the watch list for the 2024 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which recognizes top shooting guards in women’s college basketball. 

Brink is also coming off of an incredibly successful year. As a junior, she played 34 games, starting in each, and led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. She was one of two players in the nation to average at least 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game, breaking her own record for career blocks.

Brink also set her own program records for both single season blocks and straight makes from the free throw line, with 118 and 48, respectively. Last year, she received WBCA Defensive Player of the Year, WBCA All-American and Associated Press All-America Second Team, among other accolades. As a senior, she has already received the Preseason All-Pac-12 and the Preseason Associated Press All-American. Currently, the senior is also on the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List. 

Juniors guard Elena Bosgana, forward Brooke Demetre and forward Kiki Iriafen are also ready to be back on the court. 

Bosgana appeared 28 times off the bench last season, averaging 3.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Demetre appeared in 34 games off the bench, and averaged 3.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. The forward ranked second on the team with 32 made 3-pointers (33% from deep) and was a two-time Pac-12 Champion. Iriafen’s sophomore year was also incredibly strong, starting in 27 games of the 35 she played. The forward ranked third on the team in rebounding and fourth in scoring, averaging 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and shooting 53.1% from the floor.

Alongside Bosgana, Iriafen also received the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll (2023). All three juniors were two-time Pac-12 champions. 

Sophomore guards Jzaniya Harriel, Lauren Green, Stavi Papadaki and Talana Lepolo return to Maples for their second year. Harriel appeared in 19 games off bench, the redshirt sophomore averaging 1.2 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game, totaling five 3-pointers for the year. Green made nine appearances off the bench, averaging 0.2 points, 0.1 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game. Papadaki appeared in 11 games, averaging 0.2 points, 0.2 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game. 

Lepolo appeared in 34 games, starting 31, and averaged 4.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. She had the sixth most assists by a freshman in program history, and made the third most 3-pointers of the team, with 25. As a freshman, she received a Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention and has received the Preseason All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention as a sophomore. 

The new faces on this year’s team are forward Courtney Ogden, guard Chloe Clardy and forward Nunu Agara. 

Prior to Stanford, five-star Ogden was rated as the 10th best player in the country by ESPN and made McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic All-American, among other accolades. Hailing from Georgia, she won a gold medal at the FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina in June 2022, averaging 2.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in five games. At high school, the forward played 94 games in four prep seasons, averaging 20.6 points and 8.8 rebounds. She led her team to the second round of Class AAAA state playoffs during her senior year, averaging 22.1 points on 48% shooting and 2.7 steals per game. 

Rated as the 39th best player in the country by ESPN, Clardy made the Jordan Brand Classic All-American and MaxPreps Arkansas High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year, among other awards. She finished with more than 2,500 points in her prep career and scored 20 points for the 6A state title in her final game. The freshman from Arkansas averaged 24.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.2 steals per game as a senior and led the team to a 28-5 record and state championship.

Agara was rated as the 37th best player in the country by ESPN and won a gold medal at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup in Hungary in July 2022. The Minnesota player averaged 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in seven games. She received the Jordan Brand Classic All-American, was a two-time player on the CCX Sports All-Area Girls Basketball Team and scored 10 points for Team USA at the Women’s Nike Hoop Summit in April 2023. 

Last year, the Cardinal’s season came to a close in the second round of the NCAA, but the new and returning players make it possible for the Stanford women’s basketball team to continue what they started. 

The freshmen and sophomores may take on larger roles in this upcoming season, with the 2023-24 roster being smaller than average and with only five upperclassmen. The returning four starters (Brink, Iriafen, Jump and Lepolo) also offer a chance for the Cardinal to have a new player starting for this final Pac-12 season. 

The team’s last Pac-12 schedule begins on Dec. 29 at Cal.