Jones’ hot hand powers No. 2 Stanford past rival Cal 90-69

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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STANFORD, Calif. – Haley Jones hit her initial six shots and scored 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and four assists, leading No. 2 Stanford past California 90-69 on Friday in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both schools.

Hannah Jump knocked down five 3-pointers on the way to 17 points to emphatically bounce back after missing all five of her tries from long range in Tuesday’s 72-59 home win against No. 21 Creighton. It was her first game without making a 3 since an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game vs. Texas last March.

Cameron Brink had 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks while Kiki Iriafen added nine points and seven boards as Stanford (13-1, 1-0 Pac-12). The Cardinal got 26 points from the bench in its eighth straight victory since a 76-71 overtime setback to top-ranked South Carolina at home on Nov. 20.

Jayda Curry scored 20 points and Leilani McIntosh added 17 for Cal (9-3, 0-1), which came in averaging 76.1 points and allowing 83.8. The Cardinal haven’t given up more than 77 points to an opponent since the end of the 2019-20 season.

Pac-12 favorite Stanford has won the last eight meetings in the rivalry, which currently features all-time winningest women’s coach and Hall of Famer Tara VanDerveer of Stanford opposite former Cardinal star Charmin Smith beginning her fourth season in Berkeley.

BIG PICTURE

California: Cal has lost 12 of 14 to Stanford overall and eight straight at Maples Pavilion since a win here on Feb. 22, 2015. … The Bears made their final three field goals of the second quarter yet trailed 47-29 at halftime. … Former Cal and Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour was again here at Maples today. She retired this year.

Stanford: Brink has 43 blocks through the first 14 games. … Stanford has held 77 of its last 83 opponents to 41.8% shooting or below, with Cal finishing at 39%. … The Cardinal held a 25-10 rebounding advantage in the first half and 48-25 overall. … Stanford is 37-8 vs. Cal on its home floor. The Cardinal are 8-1 at home this season. … Stanford was 2 of 9 from 3-point range in the opening half then wound up 7 for 24.

UP NEXT

California: Hosts No. 18 Arizona on Dec. 31.

Stanford: Hosts Arizona State on Dec. 31.

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer tops women’s AP Top 25 appearances

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer stands atop The Associated Press women’s basketball poll with the most appearances all time, breaking a tie with the late Pat Summitt.

VanDerveer’s Cardinal remained No. 2 behind top-ranked South Carolina, giving her 619 weeks with one of her teams in the AP Top 25: 592 weeks with Stanford and 27 with Ohio State when she was in charge of that program. Summitt’s 618 weeks in the poll all came with Tennessee.

The Hall of Fame coach downplayed the achievement.

“Fortunate to be here for 36 years. We have great players and have been successful,” VanDerveer said. “I don’t pay attention to (records). People bring it up and I’m like `OK, great.”‘

Louisville fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2016, a span of 127 weeks. That was the fifth longest active streak. The Cardinals (5-4) started the season ranked seventh and have struggled to find consistency this year, dropping their last two games to Ohio State and Middle Tennessee.

They are the third preseason top 10 team to fall out of the poll, joining Texas (this week) and Tennessee (last week). Before this year, only 10 preseason top 10 teams had fallen out of the rankings at some point during the year since the AP Top 25 became a writers’ poll in 1994-95.

Even more rare has been a preseason top five school dropping out. Only five teams had done that prior to this year and none before January. Tennessee was the last to do it, starting the 2015-16 season at No. 4 before falling out of the rankings Feb. 22.

Now Texas and Tennessee are both out before the New Year.

“Two factors are at play here. One of them is more parity with more good teams,” said Rebecca Lobo, the former UConn star, ESPN analyst and Top 25 voter. “The other factor at play is the transfer portal. I think those three teams all have multiple players who start who weren’t in their program a year ago. It’s a reflection that you can’t just assemble teams and right away expect them to be good. I think all those teams will in the poll by the end of the season.”

Ohio State moved up to No. 3 after, the Buckeyes’ best ranking since Nov. 30, 2009, when they also were third. Indiana and Notre Dame round out the top five.

UConn fell three spots to sixth with Virginia Tech seventh, the best ranking ever for the school. North Carolina and N.C. State were tied in eighth and Iowa State is 10th.

RANKED RAZORBACKS

Arkansas (10-0) vaulted into the poll at No. 21. The Razorbacks have a difficult month ahead with games against No. 18 Creighton and a tournament in San Diego that has Oregon, South Florida and Ohio State.

“I do think we know a lot about our team,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said.

He was also happy his team made the poll as every sports team on campus that has played this year has been ranked, including football, men’s basketball, soccer and cross country.

“We didn’t want to be the team that stops that streak,” he said..

FALLING LOUISVILLE

The Cardinals had been ranked ever week since Jan. 11, 2016. That was the same season they started the year at No. 8 before falling out on Nov. 30, the earliest a top 10 team had fallen out of the poll until last week. Things got better for Louisville as the Cardinals finished that regular season 24-6 and went 15-1 in the ACC.

HISTORIC WEEK

With Louisville, Texas and Tennessee all out of the Top 25, it marks only the second time in the poll’s history that none of those three teams were ranked. The only other time was the first-ever poll in 1976.

COMING AND GOING

Oklahoma and Kansas State also returned to the Top 25 this week, coming in at No. 23 and No. 24. Marquette dropped out after losing to Seton Hall.

Brink leads No. 2 Stanford women over No. 23 Gonzaga 84-63

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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STANFORD, Calif. – Gonzaga may be rolling out an injury-depleted roster, but the Bulldogs nevertheless left a lasting impression on their West Coast rival in Stanford.

And that leads the Cardinal to wonder if the two power programs might meet again on college basketball’s biggest stage come March.

“This is a team that is a Top-25 team,” Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I think if we can do it, they’re going to be in Seattle (for the NCAA Tournament).”

Cameron Brink had 14 points and a season-high 16 rebounds and Brooke Demetre made a career-high five 3s and scored 17 points, leading second-ranked Stanford past No. 23 Gonzaga 84-63 on Sunday.

The Cardinal (10-1) have now won five straight games after falling to top-ranked South Carolina in overtime on Nov. 20.

“I kind of call Brooke my secret weapon,” VanDerveer said. “She is a really special young lady, and when you have both Cam out there and Brooke, it’s a two-headed monster.”

“She has one of the highest releases I’ve ever seen, one of the quickest releases,” Brink said of Demetre. “She can shoot it, and we’ve always had confidence in her.”

Hannah Jump hit four 3s and scored 14 points, and Haley Jones had 12 points for Stanford.

Short-handed Gonzaga (7-2), limited to seven players because of illness and injuries, had won three in a row.

The Zags kept the pressure on Stanford early in the game, thanks to a 20-point first half from Kaylynne Truong.

Truong shot 4 of 9 from deep and finished with a career-high 22 points.

Brynna Maxwell contributed 19 points. Yvonne Ejim, Gonzaga’s leading scorer, was held to two points in the first three quarters but added six points in the fourth.

“We try to focus on a leading scorer and try to limit them,” VanDerveer said. “But you can’t just focus on (Ejim) because they’ve got Truong, they’ve got Maxwell. . I think we did a much better job (on defense) in the second half.”

STAT OF THE GAME

The Cardinal were able to pull away due to a strong game from beyond the arc, making 15 3-pointers on 15 of 28 (53.6%) shooting. A season-high eight different Stanford players made a 3, led by Demetre’s five and Jump’s four.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: Lost its fourth straight in the series with Stanford and dropped to 1-7 on the Cardinal’s home floor. The Zags haven’t won any matchups since a 79-73 victory at home on Dec. 2, 2018. … Despite playing short-handed, Gonzaga did not yield an easy win to its higher-ranked opponent, trailing by just one point after the first quarter before fading in the second half.

Stanford: Held a 37-23 rebounding advantage. … This win marked the beginning of a crucial stretch in the Cardinal’s season. Stanford’s next two games come against Tennessee – receiving votes in The Associated Press Top 25 poll – and No. 13 Creighton, followed by the start of Pac-12 Conference play against rival California on Dec. 23.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to McCarthey Athletic Center to start a five-game homestand, starting with a Tuesday matchup vs. Queens University of Charlotte.

Stanford: After a two-week break for final exams, the Cardinal will continue their seven-game homestand vs. Tennessee on Dec. 18.

South Carolina, Stanford top women’s Top 25; IU, UNC jump up

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina remained No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll Monday after a chaotic week that saw half of the top 10 teams lose at least one game.

The Gamecocks again were the unanimous choice, receiving all 29 votes from a national media panel after edging No. 2 Stanford in an overtime thriller Sunday. South Carolina has now won 16 consecutive games against ranked teams dating to a 2021 loss in the Final Four to Stanford, which remained second in this week’s poll.

UConn moved up two spots to third after beating then-No. 3 Texas and 10th-ranked N.C. State last week. Ohio State is fourth and Iowa State is fifth.

There have already been eight losses by teams ranked in the first 10 this season, the most before Thanksgiving since 2000 according to ESPN. Of the eight losses, three have come against unranked teams. Seven top 10 teams lost before Thanksgiving last year.

Huskies coach Geno Auriemma sees losses by the top teams as a good thing for the sport.

“It’s great sign for women’s basketball, I think that now you can’t just walk into the gym and you know, roll it out there and go, `Yeah, well, we’re a top 10 team in the country, and we can just roll over (you). Just because you’re unranked,”‘ he said. “I think those days are over.”

Auriemma sees the trend continuing as the season progresses.

“I think if this keeps up, that’s the kind of thing that’s made March Madness,” he said. “The madness that is on the men’s side, right. And we need some of that madness on the women’s side. More of it.”

Indiana jumped six spots to No. 6 while Notre Dame, North Carolina, Iowa and Louisville round out the top 10.

The Longhorns have dropped three consecutive games and fell 16 spots to 19th in one of the biggest falls since the AP Top 25 became a writers’ poll in 1994-95. Tennessee, which is 2-3 for the first time since the 1981-82 season, dropped 12 spots to No. 23.

The Lady Vols lost two games last week, including falling to UCLA in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Bruins vaulted into the poll at No. 19.

Like many teams across the country, Texas and Tennessee welcomed in a few new players from the transfer portal and it takes for them to adapt.

“You’ve got a lot of teams now that because of the transfer portal, they’re getting really good players. But they’re trying to learn how that new school plays, what the standards are,” said Louisville coach Jeff Walz, who has two transfers of his own. “And it makes it different, in my opinion.”

Kansas State entered the poll at No. 25 after beating then-No. 4 Iowa last week. Oklahoma and Nebraska fell out of the poll.

TOPPING RANKED TEAMS

The Big East improved to 6-0 against Top 25 opponents this season. UConn and No. 16 Creighton each have two while No. 23 Villanova and Marquette each have one. The Golden Eagles are just outside the Top 25 this week.

RISING HEELS

North Carolina moved up five spots to eighth, its best ranking since 2015 when the Tar Heels were also eighth. They are playing in Oregon on Thursday in the Phil Knight Invitational and then either Iowa State or Michigan State on Sunday.

FEAST WEEK

Many of the top women’s teams are playing in tournaments around the country as well as Mexico and the Bahamas this week.

No. 17 San Diego State beats Stanford for first time, 74-62

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
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STANFORD, Calif. – Jaedon LeDee scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half and No. 17 San Diego State beat Stanford for the first time, 74-62 on Tuesday night.

The Aztecs (3-0) never trailed to improve to 1-4 in the series.

“We play pretty hard against anybody we play,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “I told them that we’re on a really hard five-game stretch – BYU at home, Stanford at home and then three in Maui. Let’s see how we do, if we’re ready for that kind of challenge.”

Lamont Butler had 11 points and six assists and Keshad Johnson added 11 points for the Aztecs.

Spencer Jones led Stanford (1-2) with 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Harrison Ingram had 11 points.

“We knew coming in it would be a battle and we’d have to play our A game to be able to get there,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “I don’t think we played our A game but I also think that they certainly deserve a lot of credit for playing really well.”

San Diego State had a 10-0 run early to open a 17-5 advantage and led by 17 in the first half.

Stanford closed the half on a 6-0 spurt to cut it to 41-30. The Cardinal later had a 10-2 run to get within six with 10:10 remaining, but the Aztecs answered with a 16-6 surge to put it out of reach.

“We kind of jumped on them in that first half a little bit and then they kind of fought back, as I thought,” LeDee said. “We knew that they were going to fight back. They’re at home. They’re talented. It’s just a little adversity for us. But we just kept wearing them down.”

San Diego State scored 21 points off 17 Stanford turnovers. The Aztecs shot 51% from the field, making 8 of 21 3-point attempts.

“I was most pleased that our point guards had 12 assists and one turnover,” Dutcher said. “That kind of play from the point guard position will get you wins.”

BIG PICTURE

San Diego State: The Aztecs were victorious in their first road game of the season, fighting off every Stanford run in the second half. San Diego State displayed its depth and balance offensively, along with its usual tenacious defense. The Aztecs showed why they were picked first in the preseason Mountain West poll.

Stanford: After winning their opener, the Cardinal have lost back-to-back games against Wisconsin and San Diego State. Stanford fell behind early and was never able to get closer than six points in the second half, struggling to solve the Aztecs’ stout defense.

TIP-INS

Haase remains one win shy of 100 at Stanford, falling to 99-92. His overall record is 179-145. … Former NFL quarterback Alex Smith attended the game and served as an honorary Stanford captain.

UP NEXT

San Diego State: Faces Ohio State on Monday in the Maui Invitational.

Stanford: Hosts Cal Poly on Friday night.

AP Top 25: No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 Stanford showdown set

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South Carolina passed its first test of the season and now the top-ranked Gamecocks have a tougher challenge: a visit to No. 2 Stanford on Sunday.

South Carolina remained the unanimous choice as the top team in first regular-season Top 25 women’s basketball poll from The Associated Press. Texas, Iowa and UConn round out the first five in the poll released Monday.

The Gamecocks (3-0) beat then-No. 17 Maryland 81-56 last week, setting up the showdown with Stanford.

It will be the 63rd meeting between the top two teams in the women’s AP Top 25 and the seventh time it has happened in November. The last 1-2 matchup was also South Carolina-Stanford with the Gamecocks beating the Cardinal by four points last Dec. 21, rallying from an 18-point deficit. The No. 1 team holds a 39-23 advantage in the meetings.

“I call it a win-win. Because no matter what happens in the game, you’re gonna learn more about your team, people have to do the right thing,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “It’s sort of like a tournament game, I mean, 1-2 matchup, it’s awesome.”

Before Sunday’s game, Dawn Staley’s squad will play at Clemson on Thursday. Stanford hosts Cal Poly on Wednesday night.

Ohio State made the biggest leap in the new poll, climbing six spots to No. 8 after upending then-No. 5 Tennessee in its season-opener last week. The Lady Vols fell to 11th.

Louisville and Iowa State were sixth and seventh while North Carolina State and Notre Dame round out the top 10.

Villanova entered the rankings for the first time since 2018 at No. 24 after knocking off then-No. 24 Princeton. The Tigers fell out of the poll. Utah came in at No. 25, replacing 23rd-ranked South Dakota State, which lost to Creighton.

CROSSING THE CENTURY MARK

LSU has scored over 100 points in each of its first three games. The 343 points combined is the most in the first three games of a season by any team in the past 20 years.

“The non-conference schedule was done before we knew we had Angel Reese and all these transfers coming in here,” LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. “The good thing about right now is we’re building confidence. Making mistakes in a game that can be corrected when the SEC does come around.”

It’s the second time the school has had three straight 100-point games matching the mark set during the 1995-96 season. The Tigers have a chance to break that on Wednesday when they host Houston Christian in a matinee game.

RARE LOSS

Tennessee’s loss to Ohio State was the first time since 2008 that a top-five team was beaten in its first game by either an unranked team or a team outside the first five in the poll since No. 3 Maryland lost to unranked TCU, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The top five teams had gone 69-0 in those games until last week.