Fran Belibi makes first career slam dunk

Dec. 13, 2020, 8:11 p.m.

With under a minute left in the first half, No. 1 Stanford led its rival from across the Bay 39-15.

Sophomore forward Fran Belibi picked off a sloppy pass from Cal’s Ornela Muca. No one from the Bears chased after her with any determination. Taking full advantage of the runway, Belibi dunked for the first time in her collegiate career.

Since her freshman season, the Belibi dunk has been a staple of Stanford’s pregame routine. Last year, there was some inconsistency. This year, Belibi’s hops have no bound.

With under a minute left in the first half, No. 1 Stanford led its rival from across the Bay 39-15. 

Sophomore forward Fran Belibi picked off a sloppy pass from Cal’s Ornela Muca. No one from the Bears chased after her with any determination. Taking full advantage of the runway, Belibi dunked for the first time in her collegiate career.

Since her freshman season, the Belibi dunk has been a staple of Stanford’s pregame routine. Last year, there was some inconsistency. This year, Belibi’s hops have no bound. 

As a sophomore, she became the first player to dunk in a high school girls’ basketball game in the state of Colorado. She, and Candace Parker, won the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All American Game. Parker played under Pat Summitt at Tennessee, the same coach Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer tied to become the co-winningest coaches in college women’s basketball. 

After the dunk, the Stanford bench went wild, but the response was otherwise muted in the empty Haas Pavilion. A minute later, when the half ended, Belibi celebrated with fellow sophomore forward Ashten Prechtel. 

Earlier in the year, Belibi dunked in practice and the team released the footage on Twitter. Of course, it blew up. VanDerveer approached Belibi just to say “that’s something I’ve never seen before, that was really cool.” 

“Hearing that from her was definitely something that’s really cool and something I’m for sure going to tell my kids way after this,” Belibi said. “Especially when she’s the GOAT.”

The GOAT tried to use the dunk to distract from her own accomplishment on the night: tying Summitt. 

“We’re going to be talking about her dunk instead of this,” VanDerveer said. 

“I’ll remember this night for the rest of my life and I’ll remember the dunk.” VanDerveer told her team. “It’s really fun to see the players on our team are so excited for her.”

Belibi was excited that the dunk came off her own defensive work and that her teammates out-hustled Cal down the floor in case of a rebound. Belibi had an all-around great game, which included 14 points, eight rebounds and 7-of-13 shooting. 

None of those shots, however, came from behind the arc. Belibi has yet to attempt a 3-pointer at the college level, and is the only player on her team to not attempt one this season after being one of just two without an attempt last year. 

“Everyone on the team has a green light and I don’t want to be that odd ball out,” Belibi said. “I think for the team it would be bigger news if I make a 3 in the game.”

According to VanDerveer, Belibi is nearing the green light. 

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a staff writer in the sports section. He is a Biology major from Berkeley, California. Please contact him with tips or feedback at dmartinezkrams ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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