CardinalSportsReport – Recap: #2 Stanford WBB faces tough test in narrow

On Sunday, #2 Stanford women’s basketball narrowly defeated rival Cal in Berkeley by a final score of 60-56. Stanford junior forward Cameron Brink led the way for the Cardinal with 25 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks while senior guard/forward Haley Jones had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists. Cal senior guard Leilani McIntosh was the top performer for the Golden Bears with 19 points and 3 assists. Stanford improves to 16-1 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12 while Cal falls to 10-5 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-12.

“I think it’s really a game that can be really good for our team in the long run,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said after the game. “It felt like a root canal in the short run, but first of all, I give a lot of credit to Cal, I think they were really well prepared and really kinda took us out of our comfort zone a little bit. But, Cam especially. We went inside to her, 25 points; we did a good job from the free throw line, we did a good job on the glass, we rebounded really well, I think our defense was pretty good.

“We took care of the ball in the second half, and this is kinda what the Pac-12 is gonna be like. It’s not gonna be a cakewalk and especially playing a team a second time and you can’t come in and just expect to not do the right things and I thought Brooke really helped us a lot. She had three assists, no turnovers, got the ball inside really well, and then just overall it was a tough game and our team found a way to win.”

“I think you know, obviously we played a lot better than we did the first time,” Cal head coach Charmin Smith said after the game. “I think this was us imposing our will and we just came up a little short. I think it was an effort to be proud of.”

The game got off to a slow start offensively after Stanford freshman point guard Talana Lepolo made a quick 3-pointer within the first minute of the game to give the Cardinal a 3-0 lead. The next score in the game would be a 3-pointer by Leilani McIntosh to tie it up 3-3 with 4:44 to go in the 1st quarter.

After McIntosh got her bucket, both teams finally started to get going offensively a bit as Stanford led 13-12 at the end of the 1st quarter. Haley Jones was leading the Cardinal with her 4 points and 3 rebounds as she was starting to find a rhythm. As for Cal, Leilani McIntosh and Claudia Langarita each had 5 points, doing their part to keep the Bears in the game.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, it was still a tight game as Stanford led 20-19. Jones (6 points & 6 rebounds) was already halfway to a double-double for the Cardinal while McIntosh was up to 7 points for the Bears. Stanford would then extend their lead to go up 26-19 with 2:19 to go, forcing Cal to call for time. Jones (8 points) was continuing to do her thing for the Cardinal while Cameron Brink was up to 7 points and 8 rebounds.

To Cal’s credit, they found a way to close the half on a 7-0 run to make it a tie game (26-26) at halftime. Rather than caving to the pressure of playing the number two team in the nation, Cal rose to the occasion and responded emphatically.

With 4:36 to go in the 3rd quarter, Stanford led 35-32. Brink and Jones each had 10 points for the Cardinal while McIntosh was up to 8 points for the Bears. Stanford was staying in front, but Cal was not going anywhere.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, Stanford led 47-43. Brink was really starting to get going with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Hannah Jump (7 points) was having a quieter night for the Cardinal, but she made a huge 3-pointer to give her team a four-point cushion going into the final quarter. This game was living up to its Battle of the Bay nickname.

“Well, everybody knows Hannah’s a great shooter,” VanDerveer said of Jump. “And they basically were all over her and which is what is expected. She did hit a nice shot on an o-board, she had three great assists, no turnovers; she was scrappy in there and was rebounding. And I think she needs help. I think other people have to step up for her and be able to spread the floor so they can’t just focus on her. So we have to find people that can help her, but also play defense and knock down shots. So, playing it both ends of the court.”

“Yeah, I think it was just a level of focus,” Smith said of how they defended Jump. “I think the last game we just were just kinda out of sorts and not really dialed in on the game plan. And I know you could see Jayda chasing her all around and it was one of those…

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