No. 3 Stanford girls’s basketball (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) weathered a third-quarter onslaught and fought again to beat No. 17 UCLA (21-7, 10-6 Pac-12) 71-66 in a thriller at Maples Pavilion. On Senior Evening, graduating senior guard Haley Jones led the workforce to victory with 10 fourth-quarter factors on an emotional evening during which the house crowd celebrated the ‘Funky 4’: ahead Ashten Prechtel, ahead Fran Belibi, guard Hannah Bounce and Jones.
The primary quarter started with a pair of offensive lapses as junior ahead Cameron Brink turned over the ball earlier than sophomore ahead Kiki Iriafen’s uncharacteristically timid cross was intercepted. After the Bruins delivered the primary factors of the evening, freshman guard Talana Lepolo discovered Brink underneath the basket with an extended cross down-court. Brink drew the foul and scored each — the primary of her Stanford-record 15 made free throws — to tie the sport. The Bruins have been taking pictures poorly of their opening possessions and allowed Stanford the chance to amass a lead.
As each groups struggled to click on offensively amidst a slew of missed pictures, head coach Tara VanDerveer made a triple substitution with freshman guard Indya Nivar, freshman middle Lauren Betts and sophomore ahead Brooke Demetre all checking in. Betts’ introduction introduced a much-needed injection of physicality and power which rapidly yielded factors for the Cardinal. The six-foot-seven former primary recruit was too robust for her opponent, outmuscling her and scoring from inside the important thing. Though Betts was not as efficient on the defensive finish of the courtroom, she adjusted on the subsequent possession to stop a rating, earlier than as soon as extra bullying her defender and scoring the basket whereas drawing a foul.
“Lauren Betts got here in,” VanDerveer mentioned. “And performed rather well for us.”
Quickly after, Demetre scored the Cardinal’s first 3-pointer of the sport, prompting a big cheer from the house crowd. Within the ultimate minute of the quarter, Lepolo was left with an excessive amount of house from deep and duly hit the triple. UCLA was unable to make their ultimate possession depend and Jones secured the ball with seven seconds left. She patiently dribbled out to the sting of the important thing, earlier than driving in, checking, spinning and scoring because the clock expired. The primary quarter ended 19-11 in Stanford’s favor. Mid-quarter changes, significantly the introduction of Betts, proved instrumental as Stanford started to develop a lead after a decent opening jiffy.
Stanford exploded out of the blocks to begin the second quarter, constructing its first double-digit lead and forcing a Bruins timeout in simply 90 seconds. Jones scored two baskets earlier than fellow senior Belibi emphatically blocked a shot. After the timeout, the Bruins sustained an extended possession however missed 4 pictures because it failed to chop into Stanford’s lead. By means of 5 minutes of the quarter, UCLA was restricted to only one subject aim and 6 complete factors, owing to a mix of poor taking pictures and robust Cardinal protection. Offensively, Lepolo delivered along with her second and third 3-pointers in fast succession, the latter of which was arrange by an incredible display set by Iriafen. The primary half ended with Stanford up 39-26.
Within the second half, the Bruins put far more stress on the Cardinal and utilized the deep shot to great impact to erase its deficit. The third quarter began with an 8-0 UCLA run, as a stifling full-court press led to Lepolo’s cross getting away and permitting the Bruins to attain from deep — stealing again momentum.
Betts returned to the courtroom and someway discovered a solution to shoot whereas surrounded by three defenders; she scored and was fouled for a three-point play. After that temporary respite, the Bruins continued their resurgence, scoring 5 straight factors and coming inside one rating of the Cardinal. However Brink then delivered a step-back floater to finish the Cardinal’s scoring drought. In response, the Bruins noticed a 3-point try fall out and in as they continued to bombard Stanford with lengthy pictures.
A missed free throw by UCLA prompted raucous cheers, however seconds later, the gang hushed because the Bruins snatched upon the rebound, recycled the ball and swished yet one more deep shot to take a shock lead. This was adopted by Betts restoring Stanford’s benefit with one other robust lay-up. Every workforce then missed successive three-point makes an attempt as play turned a bit scrappy and hurried. Regardless of deafening chants of ‘DE-FENSE’ from the gang, the Bruins scored, earlier than Lepolo turned the ball over and watched gratefully because the quick break layup was missed. With 20 seconds left, UCLA had the ultimate play of the quarter, however their intricate passing show was intercepted by Bounce. Nivar lobbed an bold buzzer-beater too lengthy, and the quarter ended with the Bruins holding a precarious 51-50 lead.
“UCLA is a really proficient workforce,” VanDerveer mentioned. “They’re an NCAA workforce. However whether or not it’s UCLA, USC or Arizona – it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to play for 40 minutes.”
UCLA couldn’t add to its lead on the fourth quarter’s outset, regardless of a chronic possession. Brink drove the size of the courtroom and made a layup as she was fouled and despatched crashing to the bottom – Stanford led by two factors after her and-one. Fouls have been the distinction within the fourth quarter, as Brink alone drew 4 within the interval, whereas Jones had an extra three. UCLA continued to attain, though solely managed one three-pointer within the quarter, an indication that Stanford had lastly discovered a solution to nullify the Bruins’ major methodology of assault.
With Stanford holding only a three-point lead, Jones fell to the bottom and limped onto the bench in discomfort. She was again within the recreation quickly after, however not but transferring 100%. Each groups have been now within the bonus, so an innocuous sufficient foul on Jones allowed Stanford to tie the sport at 62. From there, VanDerveer deployed three ahead gamers — Belibi, Iriafen and Brink — in an try to overpower the opposition. This created house for Jones to attain a jumper, earlier than the Bruins retook the lead on their subsequent possession.
The Cardinal’s fortune modified when Brink missed a second free throw, however a lane violation was known as on the Bruins, permitting her to make it on her second try. From there, the Bruins’ guard mistakenly determined to shoot from deep; her airball fell harmlessly into the arms of Belibi. Jones then drove down the opposite finish and made no such mistake, coolly laying it as much as declare a three-point lead.
With 30 seconds to tie the sport, the Bruins contended with an imposing Cardinal protection and a crescendo of assist from the house crowd, prepared Jones and her teammates to victory of their ultimate regular-season recreation at Maples. The Cardinal held agency, as Demetre blocked the shot and the Bruins have been pressured to foul. Lepolo scored each free throws and the Bruins got here once more, however this time Brink was there to reject the shot. The sport ended 71-66 in Stanford’s favor as they closed out their dwelling season with a win.
After the sport, there was an emotional ceremony to honor the ‘Funky 4’ who’ve captivated Stanford’s followers for the final 4 seasons.
“I really like each recreation we win,” Jones mentioned. “Senior evening makes it further particular. Closing it out with the “Funky 4,” I might not think about it another manner.”
Subsequent up, Stanford travels to No. 21 Colorado (21-6, 12-4 Pac-12). Tip-off is slated for two:00 p.m. PT on Thursday.