No. 2 Stanford women rally to beat Oregon 66-62

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EUGENE, Ore.- Stanford snapped out of its funk against the Ducks just in time to stay unbeaten in the Pac-12.

Haley Jones scored 18 points and the second-ranked Cardinal rallied in the fourth quarter to remain undefeated in the conference with a 66-62 victory Sunday over Oregon.

Jones made a layup while falling to the ground and added a free throw with 36.4 seconds left to put the Cardinal up 63-60. Stanford (23-3, 14-0) hung on for its 15th straight win.

“We knew that we weren’t playing our best basketball, but we were able to snap out of it, focus on one another and stay tight,” said Jones, who had 10 of her points in the final quarter.

Te-Hina Paopao had 23 points, including four 3-pointers, for Oregon (18-9, 10-5).

Stanford extended its winning streak over Pac-12 opponents to 29 straight games, including the postseason. The defending national champions have won four straight against Oregon.

The Cardinal had clinched the team’s 25th overall Pac-12 regular season title on Friday with an 87-63 victory at Oregon State.

The Ducks led by as many as 10 points in the first half and went into the break up 36-31. Stanford closed within a point heading into the fourth quarter, but three consecutive 3-pointers, one from Sydney Parrish and a pair from Paopao, pushed Oregon to a 56-46 lead with 8:08 remaining.

Jones made a pair of layups to pull Stanford within 60-58 before Cameron Brink’s basket tied the game at 60 with 2:15 to go.

Jones’ falling-down layup and free throw put the Cardinal up 63-60, but Nyara Sabally made a pair of free throws to pull Oregon within a point. But the Ducks ultimately fell short.

“We didn’t give up. I’m really proud of our team’s resilience, our determination,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We just stayed with it.”

Oregon was assessed a technical foul before the opening tip because of the LED lighting on one of the basket stands working improperly.

The Ducks jumped out to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter in a game that was physical from the start. Oregon was hurt by six turnovers in the period, but held the Cardinal to 2-of-17 shooting from the floor.

The Ducks extended the lead to 23-13 on Paopao’s 3-pointer. An 11-4 run got the Cardinal within 34-31, but Paopao closed out the half with another 3.

Sedona Prince’s layup pushed Oregon’s lead to 43-35 in the third quarter and Stanford struggled to close the gap until Agnes Emma-Nnopu’s corner 3-pointer got the Cardinal within 47-46 going into the final period.

“Tonight’s game was fun. The energy was insane. Stanford is a great team, they have a lot of talent, they play really well together,” Prince said. “And we’re learning, we’re still young. We’re going to keep working.”

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: Stanford has won 12 straight road games. … Russell Wilson, the older brother of Stanford’s Anna Wilson, and his wife Ciara were at the game. Afterward, they chatted with VanDerveer outside Stanford’s lockerroom.

Oregon: Prince announced on social media on Saturday that she would return to Oregon for another season next year. She’ll also pursue her master’s degree. … On senior day for the Ducks, junior Sabally was honored, so she won’t be back for her final season with the Ducks.

ROUGH NIGHT

Kelly Graves was in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday night to watch his son start for No. 1 Gonzaga. Unable to get a flight that would get him back to Eugene for pregame, he made the seven-hour drive.

He joked on Twitter: “If you have my number, feel free to call me w/jokes, interesting anecdotes, etc any time throughout the night. Gotta stay awake!”

Graves broke down after the game, praising his staff for preparing the team and allowing him “to be a dad.”

UP NEXT

Stanford: Hosts Washington State on Thursday.

Oregon: Visits Colorado on Wednesday.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.