Women’s basketball topples Cal

Jan. 22, 2022, 12:14 p.m.

No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball (14-3, 5-0 Pac-12) continued Pac-12 play on Friday night, hosting Cal (9-5, 0-3 Pac-12) at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal defended their home court, defeating the Bears by a score of 97-74.

The win marks Stanford’s sixth straight since a Dec. 21 loss to No. 1 South Carolina. The winning streak includes victories over Pac-12 rivals No. 22 Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington State.

The Cardinal got off to a quick start on Friday behind strong offensive performances from junior guards Haley Jones and Hannah Jump. Jones scored on Stanford’s first two possessions of the game, and Jump knocked down a pair of 3-pointers shortly thereafter. When the first quarter buzzer sounded, the two had accounted for 15 of Stanford’s 20 points.

On the defensive end, the Cardinal did not concede any easy shots. For the quarter, they held the Bears to just 30% shooting from the field while forcing eight turnovers.

Stanford held a comfortable 20-10 lead after the one quarter of play, but the second period would tell a different story. Cal exploded for 32 points — the most any team has scored against the Cardinal defense all season.

Freshman guard Jayda Curry paced the Bears in the second quarter. After a 0-for-4 shooting start in the first quarter, she went 5-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range. Curry tallied 13 points in the quarter as the Bears tied the game at 42 heading into halftime.

A bright spot for Stanford in the second quarter was junior forward Fran Belibi, who scored 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field.

Head coach Tara VanDerveer emphasized defensive effort during the halftime break.

“We had to make a better effort,” VanDerveer said postgame. “And I think our team did.”

Indeed, Stanford came out of the locker room with a burst of energy on both the offensive and defensive ends. The Cardinal posted stellar shooting numbers across the board in the third quarter — 64.3% from the field, 60% from three and 100% from the line — as they registered a season-high 33 points while holding Cal to a mere 13.

Heading into the fourth, the game was nearly out of reach for Cal, as Stanford held a 20-point lead. The Cardinal offense continued to thrive, even as VanDerveer emptied her bench.

In the end, Stanford’s second half propelled them to a convincing 97-74 win.

Three Stanford players cracked 20 points for the game. Jump scored 21 on 5-for-9 shooting from behind the arc, and Belibi scored 20, the majority of which came inside the paint.

But it was Haley Jones who led the Cardinal in scoring.

“I think of myself as very high-risk high-reward,” Jones said postgame. “So I think I just need to lower the risk factor.”

Jones’ stat line — 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven turnovers — reflected her exciting, high-risk style of play throughout the game.

Stanford will play Cal again on Sunday, this time at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. A key to Stanford’s success will be containing Curry, the four-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week who scored 30 points on Friday.

“Playing against her the first time will help us see what she likes to do,” VanDerveer said. “We just have to work harder against her. I don’t think there’s a magic potion that we can take between now and [Sunday].”

Tip-off against the Bears is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT Sunday.

Gavin McDonell is a former managing editor of the sports section. He is a junior from San Francisco, California who is studying Economics and Mathematics. His rooting interests include the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Max Homa and of course, the Stanford Cardinal. Contact him at gmcdonell 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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