Brink’s brilliant triple-double block party paves the way to Stanford win

Jan. 30, 2023, 1:34 p.m.

Scores of fans lined up on the outside hallways of Maples Pavilion after the game between the No. 3-ranked Stanford women’s basketball team (21-2, 9-1 Pac-12) and Oregon (14-7, 5-5 Pac-12) — men, women and children alike, all eagerly waiting their turn to meet the Stanford players, each of whom was lined up along a makeshift long table in position and ready to sign autographs. Junior forward Cameron Brink and sophomore forward Brooke Demetre, fresh off a postgame presser, rushed to take their places at the table’s end, saving some of the best for last after his match versus Oregon, in which the Cardinal prevailed 62-54.

Brink and Demetre were essential to the Stanford win, bringing with them a stifling defense and some streaky runs, respectively, that helped dominate the Ducks.

The first quarter set the tone of the Cardinal defense for the rest of the game, with Brink’s looming presence neutralizing any attempt at coherent offense for Oregon. This was punctuated by a quick two-block-in-two-possessions sequence for Brink, the first half of her eventual four blocks for the period. On the offensive end, senior guard Hannah Jump came out firing on all cylinders, scoring the first 7 of 9 points for the Cardinal with an array of cuts and spot up J’s. With some crafty playmaking courtesy of freshman guard Talana Lepolo and senior guard Haley Jones, the Cardinal took a solid position, 14-7, with the Ducks shooting an abysmal 13% to end the period.

The remaining time of the half was defined by the Ducks scrambling to create offense that didn’t involve the paint, finding a way to create buckets from the 3-point line, albeit not many, hitting just 2-for-7 on the quarter. The Cardinal were unable to respond due to an inability to convert beyond the arc, at just 1-for-11 from the 3-point line. The game was still a rugged affair, with Brink’s shot blocking rendering the Oregon offense useless in the paint, and Stanford unable to get any shots to fall while challenged by the Ducks’ press halfway through the quarter. 

Come the second half, the Stanford offense was relatively stagnant, with the lead whittling down to its lowest point roughly halfway through the third period. Enter Demetre, who netted a beautiful 3-pointer immediately after being subbed in. She hit another less than a minute later and ended with 9 points in eight minutes, inspiring a third quarter run that eventually helped the Cardinal pull away. 

“You never know what the game needs. I always end up ready, and it ended up working out,” Demetre said after the game.

The Cardinal finished out the game in a controlling fashion in the fourth, maintaining their incredible defense with Jump, Jones and Brink holding it down for the team on offense.

While the Oregon team was a formidable foe on the boards, being the first team of the season to out-rebound the Cardinal, Stanford was electric on the defensive end, with Jones bringing down 13 defensive rebounds (with 16 total), and the team holding the typically high-scoring Oregon offense to a season-low of 54 points — a whopping 24 below their average — on a shooting tick of just 25% on the day.

Brink was the soul of the defense, transcending what it means to be a rim protector, becoming just the second female collegiate player in Pac-12 history to record a triple-double with blocks, as well as breaking the school record with a resounding 10 rejections, alongside 16 points and 11 rebounds.

“I’m riding a high right now, you know,” said Brink. “I’m really excited about [the triple-double]. I love blocking shots, it’s probably what I do best. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but I’m kinda glad it paid off.”

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer was a tad more grounded. 

“Cam is just scratching the surface of how good she can be … On a scale of one to 10, I mean obviously a triple-double is awesome, but she’s at a five of where [she] can be.”

Next up, the Cardinal travel up to Washington, where they face the Washington State Cougars on Friday at 7 p.m. PT.

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