Resilient Card Fends Off Oregon
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — Down three key players who are quarantined and road weary, No. 1 Stanford needed every defensive stop down the stretch.
Haley Jones returned to her hometown and had 18 points and six rebounds, and No. 1 Stanford beat No. 11 Oregon 70-63 on Friday. The Cardinal were playing in Northern California for the first time in nearly a month.
Francesca Belibi's three-point play with 17 seconds remaining in the third capped a second decisive 9-0 run that period by the short-handed Cardinal (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12).
"It just meant a lot to me and the team," senior Anna Wilson said. "It's amazing to be down three people – three important people, too, whether it's a leader, a scorer, a 3-point shooter, rebounder — to not have those big pieces and understand that our team is playing for them and just how close our team is."
The game was played at Kaiser Permanente Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors' G League affiliate. Stanford played in Northern California for the first time since a win at rival California in Berkeley on Dec. 13, and the Cardinal haven't been able to play or practice on campus since Santa Clara County's restrictions on sports came down Nov. 28 and the team left town Dec. 2.
Stanford's run spanning the final two quarters reached 13-0 before Sydney Parrish's three-point play at 7:48 of the fourth. Parrish finished with 14 points.
Oregon (8-2, 6-2) lost again after it fell out of the top-10 with a home defeat to UCLA that ended the Ducks' nation's best 27-game winning streak. The Ducks had won the past three with Stanford but have never beaten a top-ranked team.
Maddie Scherr swished a long 3 at the first-quarter buzzer for a 20-16 Oregon lead, and the Cardinal trailed at halftime for the first time all season, down 33-32.
The Ducks lost for just the second time in the last seven meetings in the series after beating the Cardinal three times in 2019-20 — including an 89-56 rout in the Pac-12 tournament title game — but Oregon has never won four in a row against Stanford.
"I'm disappointed, quite frankly," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "I'm proud of the players for how we continued to battle. But I'm disappointed we lost the game. We've won this conference three times in a row. We expect to win."
Oregon junior transfer Taylor Mikesell was held to six points on 3-for-12 shooting and missed all three of her 3-point attempts.
Jones, the Pac-12 rebounding leader, also had two of her team's six steals. Senior point guard Kiana Williams struggled with her shot to finish 3 of 13 for 13 points, missing all six from deep, but converted 8 of 9 free throws.
Wilson added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinal, who committed 17 turnovers.
"That was the thing I was most disappointed about. We were too careless with the ball," coach Tara VanDerveer said.
Stanford announced it was without three players because of COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing following the Jan. 3 game at Arizona State.
Guards Lexie Hull and Hannah Jump and forward Alyssa Jerome were the three not on the bench or the court. The hope is they will return for practice next week and game next Friday at Utah.
"They're doing very well," VanDerveer said.
The Cardinal will remain in Santa Cruz through a practice Sunday then stay in San Mateo before departing Wednesday for Salt Lake City.
Oregon: The Ducks had their 13-game road winning streak snapped. It was tied with FGCU for the second-longest active streak in the nation behind South Carolina's 17. ... Oregon shot 39.4% and no team has shot better than 40% against Stanford this season.
Stanford: Oregon became the first opponent to score more than 61 points on Stanford — the Cardinal held opponents to 61 or fewer through their initial nine games for the first time since 1974-75 — and they had won each game so far by at least eight points for the first time since 2009-10. ... The Cardinal were coming off a program-record six straight true road games.
Stanford: The game with Oregon State that had been scheduled for Sunday was canceled because of COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing within the Beavers program. The Cardinal will play next Friday at Utah.
Oregon: Plays at Cal on Sunday.