Jones keeps No. 2 Stanford rolling in 97-74 win over Cal
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford’s Haley Jones sees herself as a high-risk, high-reward player, although she realizes some of that may have to change.
“I think I need to lower the risk factor,” Jones said, as her coach Tara VanDerveer sat beside her quietly agreeing.
Jones had seven turnovers but scored eight of her season-high 26 points as part of a big run coming out of halftime, and No. 2 Stanford rolled past California 97-74 on Friday night.
Fran Belibi added a season-high 20 points and six rebounds to help the Cardinal (14-3, 5-0 Pac-12) to their seventh straight win over the Golden Bears. Hannah Jump scored 21 points.
“Haley’s amazing,” Belibi said. “She starts out and gets the basket big for us. It really helps for her to be hitting her high-post shot then people have to step up, now I’m open. It just made it easy down there for me.”
Freshman Jayda Curry had a season-high 30 points for Cal (9-5, 0-3), becoming the first Bears player in more than two years to score that many.
The teams play one another again Sunday.
“For us to come out against the No. 2 team in the country and fight the way that we did, I’m really proud,” Cal coach Charmin Smith said. “It’s tough against a team like that when they get a little bit ahead. But we’ll learn from it and we get to run it back again on Sunday.”
Coming off one of her worst shooting games of the season when she went 2 of 7 against Utah, Jones got rolling early, then helped Stanford break the game open in the third quarter on its way to a season high for scoring. She sank four free throws, made a driving layup and then followed up her own miss. Lexie Hull followed with a 3-pointer to cap a 24-5 run and give the Cardinal a 66-47 lead.
“We talked about how we had to have more effort defensively,” VanDerveer said. “They’re a very quick team, their perimeter attacks really well. We just had to make a better effort and I think our team did.”
Jones shot 9 of 13, went 7-for-7 on free throws and grabbed 10 rebounds despite sitting out most of third quarter in foul trouble.
“I really like it when Haley’s aggressive and attacking the basket,” VanDerveer said. “She’s a tremendous talent.”
Stanford has won six straight since losing to No. 1 South Carolina 65-61 on Dec. 21. The defending national champs ran their conference winning streak to 20 games.
Cal, which had four of its last five games postponed due to COVID-19 issues, was playing for the second time since Dec. 31.
Jones had nine points in the first quarter but Stanford’s defense set the tone early with four steals to help the Cardinal to an early 10-point lead.
Cal got back in it behind the speedy backcourt tandem of Curry and Leilani McIntosh.
The Bears shot 75% (12 of 16) in the second quarter, appeared to lose some steam when McIntosh appeared to injure her ankle after scoring seven straight, then took their only lead on Curry’s 3-pointer late in the quarter.
FANS, TARA BOBBLEHEAD COMING TO MAPLES
The game between the Northern California rivals was the last of four without fans at Maples Pavilion. Due to pandemic restrictions that took effect Jan. 4, only families of the players were allowed to attend games. Stanford’s home game against Arizona State on Jan. 28 will be the first with fans in more than three weeks. Two days later against No. 10 Arizona, some spectators will receive a VanDerveer bobblehead.
California: The Bears missed six of their first seven shots and went nearly five minutes without a basket in the first. They looked crisp and tied the game at halftime before getting blown out in the second half. Curry is an explosive talent who is one of the best young players in the Pac-12.
Stanford: Whatever message VanDerveer sent at halftime was received loud and clear by her players. Stanford was much more crisp in the second half and never gave Cal a chance to get close after the big run in the third quarter.
Cal hosts Stanford at Haas Pavilion on Sunday. The two teams have split the last four games in Berkeley.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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