Thomas Wolfe famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.” But he wasn’t talking about women’s basketball.
When Gonzaga hosts No. 8 Stanford on Sunday at 2 p.m., perhaps the biggest cheering section in the Kennel will be for two players for the opposing team.
Stanford freshman twins Lexie and Lacie Hull led Central Valley to an undefeated season, a historic run to a State 4A championship and a title at a national invitational postseason tournament last season.
CV capped off a 29-0 season by beating Hamilton Heights (Tennessee) Christian in the GEICO High School Nationals championship game, landing the Bears at No. 4 in the nation in the USA TODAY Super 25 national rankings.
Lexie was a two-time Gatorade state player of the year and Associated Press girls state player of the year last season. Lacie joined her sister on the AP all-state first team and was MVP of the state championship game.
Lexie started the first four games of the season for the Cardinal before missing the past three with a stress reaction in her foot and is doubtful for the game. Lacie has been a key contributor off the bench.
“We’re definitely excited for (today’s) game,” Lexie told SWX. “A lot of people we know say they’re coming.”
Lexie is averaging 10.7 points and leads the Cardinal in rebounds with seven per game. Lacie has 12 assists and 14 steals, averaging nearly 21 minutes per game.
“I’m excited to go back (home) and see everyone and play in front of friends and family,” Lacie told SWX.
Both Hull sisters praised the support they received in Spokane.
“The Spokane community following our high school team and Gonzaga shows the love they have for women’s basketball,” Lexie said.
Added Lacie: “We were blessed to grow up in such a great city that embraced their teams.”
Gonzaga freshman Melody Kempton (5.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is well familiar with the Hull twins, having competed with and against them while in high school at Post Falls.
Kempton, the four-time 5A Inland Empire League MVP and Idaho Gatorade player of the year her senior year, scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Region all-stars past the Hulls and the Metro all-stars 84-73 in the 24th annual Jack Blair Memorial game in June to cap the trio’s illustrious high school careers.
Through six games, Stanford averages 87 points to rank 11th in the nation, while giving up an average of 58.2 points per contest.
This is the 10th meeting between the schools, with Stanford enjoying an 8-1 record. The last time these teams met was eight months ago, an 82-68 win for the Cardinal in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford, the No. 4 seed, dominated the glass 42-27 and outscored the Zags 38-20 inside to advance to the second round. Laura Stockton finished that game with 14 points and four assists and Jessie Loera added 12 points.
Zykera Rice might help the Zags counter Stanford on the boards. The senior is averaging a team-best 8.4 rebounds while leading the Zags with 12.1 points per game. She ranks fourth in the West Coast Conference in rebounds per contest.
The Zags will also get a boost from Jenn Wirth, who sat out the first seven games with a broken finger sustained during the preseason. Wirth returned to the lineup Wednesday against Colorado State. The sophomore finished with two points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
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