No. 6 Stanford finally home, avenges earlier loss to Buffs

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STANFORD, Calif. — Finally playing back on campus after more than two months as nomads, Stanford hardly delivered its best game.

The Cardinal still won on their home court in Maples Pavilion, and that meant a lot.

Fifth-year senior Anna Wilson had 11 points and four steals with her Seattle Seahawks quarterback big brother Russell Wilson’s cardboard cutout watching alongside one of Stephen Curry above Stanford’s bench, and No. 6 Stanford returned home at last and held off Colorado 62-54 on Friday night.

“I thought we had a really good game from Anna Wilson, both defensively, offensively,” coach Tara VanDerveer said.

Kiana Williams added 16 points and converted two key free throws with 1:18 remaining as the Cardinal withstood a late Colorado rally finally playing their first game on campus at Maples Pavilion since the Nov. 25 season opener against Cal Poly. Restrictions on sporting events and practices forced by an emergency directive from Santa Clara County that came down Nov. 28 forced Stanford to live out of hotels until this week.

“It’s hard to compare this season to any other season because we’ve been through a lot. It’s been challenging but it’s made us closer,” Lacie Hull said. “A lot of positive emotions. We came home and that was really huge for us. Being able to unpack our suitcases was incredible.”

Colorado, which trailed 49-26 heading into the final quarter, rode its defense to hold Stanford without a field goal over the final 8:53 of the game during which the Cardinal were 0 for 6. The Buffaloes outscored the Cardinal 28-13 in the fourth.

“We weren’t moving the ball well,” said VanDerveer, who pointed to 15 turnovers and untimely fouls as a problem.

Stanford (16-2, 13-2 Pac-12) avenged a 77-72 overtime loss on Jan. 17 in Boulder, the team’s first defeat when it was ranked No. 1 before falling to UCLA the next game.

The Cardinal played three “home” games at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz at the home of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate.

“I was thrilled for them to be able to be home,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. “I’m sure there was energy, sleeping in your own bed and playing in your own gym is huge.”

Buffaloes senior Mya Hollingshed fouled out with 2:22 to play after scoring 16 points for cold-shooting Colorado (6-9, 4-8), which shot 36% and lost its third straight game since stunning Stanford and also had two contests postponed during that span.

Stanford made 5 of its initial 7 shots to jump ahead 10-2 and only kept pushing until letting Colorado back in the closing minutes. The Cardinal made just 7 of 26 3-pointers – 2 for 9 by Williams – and leading scorer Haley Jones struggled with her shot going 2 for 10 from the floor to finish with five points – nearly 10 below her average.

“That first half was too big of a hole to get out of,” Payne said.

NOMADS

The Cardinal’s trips included spending Dec. 2-12 in Las Vegas, Dec. 12-16 in Berkeley, and Dec. 16-21 in Los Angeles, followed by a short holiday break spent in San Mateo County before a visit to Arizona on Dec. 27, returning to the Bay Area from Jan. 3-5 then practices and games in Santa Cruz Jan 5-10 and again Jan. 19-24 after the Utah-Colorado trip.

“It has been a long road to get to this point,” VanDerveer said.

BIG PICTURE

Colorado: Colorado missed 12 free throws, going The Buffaloes began 3 for 14 and 1 of 7 on 3s to fall behind 24-9. … Colorado dropped to 0-6 on the road. … The team shot 4 for 17 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 38-30.

Stanford: The Cardinal had never lost to Colorado before the last meeting – and before Friday’s lopsided victory four of the previous five matchups had been decided by single digits with two of the last three going to OT. … Stanford has only been swept by a Pac-12 opponent in the same season four times since 2010. … After facing four ranked teams in the previous seven games the Cardinal are now in a stretch of seven against unranked teams.

UP NEXT

Colorado: Completes the Bay Area trip at California in Berkeley on Sunday afternoon.

Stanford: Hosts Utah on Sunday afternoon.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.