No. 2 Stanford women’s basketball (23-3, 14-0 Pac-12) overcame a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Oregon Ducks (18-9, 10-5 Pac-12) 66-62 Sunday afternoon. The victory extended the Cardinal’s conference winning streak to 29 games.
An administrative technical foul at the very start of the game sent senior guard Lexie Hull to the free throw line with a full 10 minutes still on the clock. Hull sank the shot to give the Cardinal an extremely early 1-0 lead. This would end up being Stanford’s only lead of the half.
The Cardinal started ice cold, missing their first seven attempts from the field. A layup from junior forward Fran Belibi and a mid-range jumper from Hull ended up being Stanford’s only field goals of the quarter. Junior guard Haley Jones and sophomore forward Cameron Brink got into foul trouble early and spent most of the quarter on the bench.
Offensive woes continued to plague the Cardinal at the start of the second quarter. After three and a half minutes of game time, freshman forward Kiki Iriafen made a layup, marking the team’s first score of the quarter.
Iriafen saw an increase in minutes with Brink in foul trouble, and she made her time on the court count. The freshman led the Cardinal with nine points at the half on 4-for-5 shooting.
Despite poor shooting, the Cardinal were able to stay in the game thanks to an all-around performance from sixth-year guard Anna Wilson. At the half, Wilson had five rebounds, two assists and a steal. She also hit a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five entering halftime.
Brink, Jones and Hull all picked up two fouls prior to the break. With three starters on the sideline, Stanford’s depth was on full display. Of the team’s 31 points in the first half, 14 came from the bench.
Brink opened Stanford’s scoring in the second half with her first basket of the night. Later, a Wilson 3-point play and a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Agnes Emma-Nnopu made up a 6-0 run in the final minute of the quarter. The Cardinal trailed 47-46 entering the final period.
Oregon attempted to put the game away, opening the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 56-46 lead. With eight minutes remaining, the Cardinal were in grave danger of losing their undefeated streak in Pac-12 play.
Enter Haley Jones.
After scoring only four points in the first half, the reigning Final Four Most Outstanding Player took over when her team faced a double-digit deficit. In one defining sequence, Jones blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound and went coast to coast for a layup to make it a one possession game.
Brink then made a layup to tie the game at 60, and Stanford never looked back.
With 36 seconds left, Jones made a circus shot as she fell towards the ground to give the Cardinal a 62-60 lead.
Hull and Emma-Nnopu made free throws at the end to seal the Stanford victory and extend the team’s conference winning streak. Emma-Nnopu, along with Iriafen, provided vital energy off the bench on both ends of the court and were essential to the comeback victory.
Stanford will look to continue its impressive conference winning streak on Thursday night when it hosts Washington State (18-8, 10-5 Pac-12) at Maples Pavilion. The game will feature the two top teams in the Pac-12 standings, and tipoff is set for 8 p.m. PT.