February 07, 2022

Stanford’s Silent Killers and Energizer Bunnies

 Warren Grimes

Stanford swept the LA schools this past weekend.  And they did it without Haley Jones (Covid Protocol absentee).

Is that a big deal?

Well, yes, it is. 

Haley Jones leads the team in assists (by a wide margin).

Haley Jones is a magnet for drawing fouls and consistently converts (shooting 86%).

Haley Jones is a key member of the “bring-the-ball-up-the-court” committee.

Haley Jones is the team’s second leading scorer and was the top scorer in 4 of the 8 January games.

Haley Jones is the second leading rebounder (8.2 per game, just behind Brink’s 8.5 per game).

Haley Jones is a strong defender and has the second highest blocked-shot total.

Haley Jones’ creative length-of-the-court drives score clutch points and demoralize opponents.

Candor requires that I also disclose Jones’ team-leading 57 turnovers, or 3.2 per game.  Turnovers notwithstanding, Jones can well be viewed as the single most valuable component in the Stanford machine.  This past weekend, playing without Jones, Stanford did not blink an eye, in part because Cameron Brink had a career weekend, and Fran Belibi ably slipped into the starting lineup with lots of points and rebounds.

To be sure, Jones' absence from the lineup likely influenced the statistics.  In LA, Stanford drew fewer fouls and converted on fewer of them.  Against UCLA, Stanford made only five of ten foul shots.  And turnovers?  Both UCLA (10 turns to Stanford's 8) and USC (17 turns to Stanford's 15) had more turnovers than Stanford did.  

Maybe statistics don’t adequately tell the story, because the Hull twins were silent killers in both contests.  The twins just keep going, and going, and going.  The Energizer Bunny confessed exhaustion, just from watching them.    

Against UCLA, Lexie had 14 points and 10 boards while playing for 36 minutes.  Look deeper -- she also had 5 assists and a steal.  Meanwhile, her sister Lacie played for 26 minutes, had 8 points, 7 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. 

Against USC, Lexie played a mere 30 minutes, but had 9 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, and 2 blocked shots.  It’s that deeper look at the statistics that shows what the twins do -- all the time, non-stop.  Lacie played for 27 minutes, also contributed 9 points and had 4 assists and 3 steals.   

Lacie Hull is the chairwoman of the bring-the-ball-up-the-court committee.  She can still score points, including three point shots against both UCLA and USC. 

If you want entertainment and non-stop action, just watch either of the twins regardless of who has the ball.  They are constantly moving, anticipating, staying focused and in the game.  The beauty of this is that they set a pattern for the rest of the team.    

The total commitment approach of Lexie and Lacie rubs off on others.  Cameron Brink’s passion for the game is visible to everyone.  In Brink’s case, her contributions show up easily in the statistics.  But a number of other players show the total commitment with less statistical showing; the mantra of the silent killer.  Anna Wilson belongs in this category.  So does Agnes Emma Nnopu and Alyssa Jerome, when she gets her occasional minutes. 

And then there’s the freshmen.  Someone like Kiki Iriafen may be a relatively silent killer for now, but not for long.  Her explosiveness on offense and on the boards is already apparent.  She enters the game not just in “junk” time, but in the first half when the game is still in doubt.  Iriafen had 7 points against USC.  Then there is Brooke Demetre, who really fits the role of a silent killer because she is quiet and unselfish on the court.  Demetre had some turnovers earlier in the season, but now seems comfortable in the offense.  Demetre is a very precise passer and can launch killer jump shots from near and far.  Against USC, Demetre had 6 points on 2 for 3 shooting from beyond the arc, and added two picture perfect assists to her mates cutting for the basket.  Both of these players would be starters and stars on most, maybe all, of rival Pac-12 squads. 

Energizers and silent and not so silent Hull protégés will be in demand for the upcoming three home matches in six days, against OSU, Utah, and Colorado.  But, for the real deal, keep your eyes glued on one of the Hulls for a few minutes.  Make sure you have fresh batteries.

1 comment:

craftsman said...


As always, you're right on it. No one can adequately estimate the value of the Hull's example, the effort, the focus, the intensity. It's hardwired into them and our younger players have to deal with them every day in practice and watch them in games. It becomes the Stanford way - much as it was with Jeanette, Jane, and Kayla. Taking no plays off. Going just as hard on defense as on offense. I think Hanna is a great example of someone who got it. She's re-created herself to be as good on defense as she is on offense and an all-around player on offense. That's the Hull-effect. You can see it in most of the younger players. And the Hulls keep getting better. Did only the seniors get an extra year of eligibility or did our juniors get another year as well?