The last time that sophomore forward Haley Jones played Oregon State, she suffered an injury that knocked out the second half of her freshman season. At that time, Jones could most accurately be listed at guard, and her absence meant that Stanford played a version of hero ball with then-junior guard Kiana Williams on offense.
This year, Jones erased the bad memories. Jones and Williams shared the scoring load, alongside three other teammates in double figures — including two off the bench. No. 5 Stanford (18-2, 15-2 Pac-12) found another level, going on runs of nine, 11 and 19 to beat Oregon State (6-6, 4-6 Pac-12) in Corvallis, 83-58.
“A great team win,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer.
After a first half in which she was “a little casual” with the basketball, turning the ball over three times to just two points, Jones made the second half her own and took the team with her. Stanford’s only turnover in the second half was a shot clock violation, as the team set a new season low with five turnovers in the entire game, compared to 19 assists. Jones finished with a double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“She really tightened things up in the second half, took the ball to the basket and had some nice finishes,” VanDerveer said. “She’s a very young player but she is very intelligent. She is one of the smartest players out there. She really sees things really well.
“I think that’s a little bit of reflection — both her parents are coaches,” VanDerveer continued. “She really understands the game of basketball. So with her vision and her strength, she’s making some great plays for us.”
Jones was not alone. Williams was right behind with 16 points, six rebounds and a season-high eight assists. Her goal remains set on San Antonio and the NCAA tournament, where Stanford is competing for a No. 1 seed.
“She wants that so bad,” VanDerveer said of Williams. “Sometimes she’s too hard on herself. You can’t be a perfectionist if you’re a basketball player. You’re going to miss half your shots.”
“[Williams] is our concertmaster,” VanDerveer added.
Fifth year guard Anna Wilson once again impressed with her defense. VanDerveer pointed out that Oregon State’s leading scorer, guard Aleah Goodman, scored 12 points, but had to work for every shot on an inefficient 5-of-16. After keeping pace in the first half, Oregon State scored just 18 second half points — six in the fourth.
Sophomore guard Hannah Jump continued to justify her minutes. Her plus-27 was a game high, and she scored 11 and shot 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. In just 14 minutes, freshman forward Cameron Brink netted 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, a borderline dominant performance held back by fouls.
“Once she figures that out, she’s going to be really really good,” VanDerveer said.
All of those lines set the stage for senior forward Alyssa Jerome to set a career high with 14 points in her 27th career start, but just second of the year.
“She comes to practice every day practicing hard and she’s making these shots in practice,” VanDerveer said. “I have confidence in Alyssa, you know, Cam gives you a different dimension, Fran gives you a different dimension, so does Haley and Ashten but tonight was Alyssa’s night. I thought she really responded to the, you know, the opportunity.”
“A lot of players would be upset about ‘I’m not starting’ or ‘I’m not playing as much as I want,” she added. “[Jerome] has been a great leader and has a great attitude and everyone is really excited for her in the locker room.”
“The biggest thing for me is just always trying to stay ready,” Jerome said. “It’s definitely an adjustment coming off the bench… We have so many great players on our team and I’m always so excited when people play well. And then when I’m out there you know I have to play well because my teammates are playing well too.”
Jerome went 5-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-5 from deep. As a team, Stanford had its best three-point shooting percentage of the season: 48.1%. VanDerveer and Jerome both attributed that improvement to the return to campus after months on the road.
“Honestly, it’s been really great to be back at home at Stanford and be in Maples,” Jerome said. “A bunch of us are getting in extra shots and I think that you could kind of see that translate.”
Everyone contributed on Saturday to a statement win. Stanford won on the boards, in the paint and on the fastbreak.
“Our depth is something that we really take pride in,” Jerome said. “Someone takes over and then someone else takes over and it’s really exciting and fun to play on a team like that.”
Stanford will be back in action Monday at 4 p.m. PT in Eugene.