No. 2 Stanford women top Oregon St. 57-44 in Pac-12 quarters

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LAS VEGAS — Haley Jones scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 2 Stanford to a 57-44 victory over Oregon State on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

Stanford (26-3), which was 16-0 in conference play during the regular season, won its 18th straight game this season and has won 32 consecutive games against Pac-12 opponents, including postseason play.

The Cardinal, 51-6 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament, improved to 19-1 all-time in the quarterfinals. Stanford, which swept the regular-season series by 23 and 24 points, is 6-0 against Oregon State in the event.

After scoring just two points in the first half, on 1 of 8 (12.5%) shooting, Jones erupted to score 12 of her game-high tally in the third quarter on 5-of-7 shooting to help Tara VanDerveer’s squad pull away.

“Tara said at halftime that the shots I was taking (in) the first half were good shots, so I just kind of had to have confidence in that,” Jones said. “And my teammates instilled a lot of confidence in me that those are shots that are makeable and within the flow of the offense. I think things just started getting going in the third quarter.”

Anna Wilson scored 11 points, and Cameron Brink added 10 points and six rebounds to boost Stanford.

Oregon State (14-13) was led by Ellie Mack and Emily Codding, who each had 13 points. Talia von Oelhoffen added 10.

The Beavers shot just 29.6% from the field. Stanford, which has held 57 of its last 62 opponents to 41.8% shooting or worse, improved to 45-1 when holding its opponent to less than 40% shooting.

The Cardinal finished the game shooting a rather bleak 23 of 61 (37.7%) from the floor, but was 8 for 18 (44.4%) from 3-point range.

Stanford opened the game by dominating the first quarter, taking a 16-2 lead thanks to a hot hand from beyond the arc. Though the Cardinal shot just 37.5% (6 of 16) from the floor, they were 4 of 7 (57.1%) from 3-point range. Oregon State, meanwhile, went 1 of 10 from the field in the opening period.

“The first quarter was awesome,” VanDerveer said. “I thought people were really locked in defensively. And it helps our defense when our offense scores. … I was glad that our team just didn’t really relax and think the game was over because it’s a 40-minute game.”

As the Beavers showed in the second quarter.

After Lexie Hull’s 3-pointer to start the second pushed Stanford’s lead to 17, the Beavers found their rhythm on offense and used a 13-3 spurt to get within seven at 22-15. Wilson ended Stanford’s 0-for-7 drought with five quick points before von Oelhoffen’s half-court drain at the buzzer left the Cardinal with a 27-18 halftime lead.

“For our team, I loved the heart, I loved the fight,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “Obviously it was a tough first quarter scoring the ball. The difference was they made shots, we missed shots. I thought that was the only difference early. Then it was battling back from that point. And I thought our team showed their character today.”

FOR KATIE

The Cardinal players donned Stanford soccer shirts over their jerseys for warmups to honor former goalkeeper Katie Meyer, who was found dead in a campus residence, per school officials. Meyer, 22, was a team captain who made two key saves in a penalty shootout to help Stanford win the national championship in 2019.

KEEP IT LOW

The Cardinal are on a 51-0 run when holding opponents to less than 70 points.

“I thought it was a little bit like a heavyweight fight,” VanDerveer said. “These are two teams that know each other really well. They’re very talented. And I think we just had to step up defensively, which we did.”

BIG BROTHER RUSS

As he has every year during the postseason tournament, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson took his seat near the Stanford bench and sprung to his feet when his sister, Anna, drained the game’s first bucket from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: The Beavers, who ranked 11th in the Pac 12 with a minus-5.69 turnover margin, committed 10 turnovers before Stanford surrendered its first at the 6:07 mark of the fourth quarter. The Beavers committed 12 turnovers while Stanford set a conference tournament record for fewest turnovers in a game with three.

Stanford: With Colorado scoring an upset of No. 14 Arizona in Thursday’s first game, the Cardinal avoid the revenge-minded Wildcats, whom Stanford beat in the lone meeting during the regular season and in last season’s national championship. The Cardinal swept Colorado this season.

UP NEXT

Oregon State: With a NET ranking of 52, the Beavers hope their postseason continues in the WNIT.

Stanford: Plays in Friday’s semifinal against Colorado.

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.