Balanced effort from No. 15 Stanford holds off No. 22 George Washington and Jonquel Jones

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PALO ALTO, Calif. – For its home opener, No. 15 Stanford (3-0) withstood a monster performance by one of the best players in the nation and defeated No. 22 George Washington (2-1) 84-63 Saturday at Maples Pavilion. A balance of experienced of upperclassmen and young players was key in beating the Colonials. However, the Cardinal were in a deficit after the first quarter due to the scoring prowess of GW senior forward Jonquel Jones.

The win marked Stanford’s first victory over another ranked team this season. The 3-0 start is the first for the Cardinal since 2011-12.

“GW has an excellent team, we’re very excited about this win,” said Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer postgame. “Everyone saw one of the top players in the country, with No. 35 Jones who basically, singlehandedly was taking it at us in the first half.”

In the first ten minutes, Jones shot at a blistering pace, accumulating 15 points and seven rebounds (6-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line). Heading into the second period, her team led 19-15.

The tables turned dramatically in the second quarter when Stanford managed to slow Jones’ offensive output, limiting her to just five points, a feat VanDerveer attributed to junior guard Karlie Samuelson’s defense.

During that period, junior guard Lili Thompson started the scoring in Stanford’s 22-9 run that ended in the first double-digit lead for the Cardinal. However, it was the efforts of freshman forward Alanna Smith that kept the Colonials at bay early in the second quarter.

After junior guard Karlie Samuelson made a fast break layup from a steal by Thompson to tie the game up at 19 all, Smith made Stanford’s next two shots to hold off a comeback led by GW sophomore forward Kelli Prange. With a three-point shot from Jones midway through the quarter, the Colonials led again by one, but the advantage was short-lived.

In the last four and a half minutes of the first half, Stanford outscored GW 21-4, led by Samuelson and junior forward Erica McCall. The Cardinal went into the locker room with a 16-point lead, 46-30.

“The second quarter was how we want to play,” said VanDerveer, “just really get out and run and move the ball and that’s something that we’re working on real hard.”

GW went toe-to-toe scoring-wise with Stanford in the third quarter, as both teams put up 15 points each, but the home team kept their 16-point lead. In the last period, Stanford outscored GW 23-18 for a 21-point victory. The Colonials were without Jones in the last 1:33 as she fouled out.

Thompson paced Stanford with 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and no turnovers. She was also 6-of-6 from the free throw line. McCall had an impressive double-double of 18 points and ten rebounds. VanDerveer praised her output, “she’s playing great, a double-double machine.” Samuelson added 17 points and Smith finished with 10 points. Sophomore forward Kaylee Johnson had 10 rebounds to go along with her three points and three blocks. Six of her rebounds came in the second half.

Even with four players in double figures, VanDerveer said “I think we can get better contributions from more people.” However, she praised the production of Smith, especially her second quarter output.

“Alanna is a great freshman for us. She loves to score,” said the Cardinal coach about the newcomer from Melbourne, Australia. “She came in and she hit some big points for us. It’s all new for her. When she’s out there, I think the pace is a little faster sometimes than what she is used to, it’s a little more physical than what she’s used to.”

VanDerveer also gave credit to her upperclassmen, McCall, Thompson and Kailee Johnson for helping Smith out in the transition from playing overseas to college ball in the U.S.

For the visitors, Jones’ stat line featured 27 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. She scored 20 of her points in the first half. Junior forward Caira Washington was also in double figures for GW with 10 points plus nine rebounds. She came into the game as GW’s leading scorer and rebounder (22.0 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game). Graduate student Lauren Chase contributed nine points, four assists and two steals.

The Colonials continue their five-game road trip at Fresno State on Monday at 7 p.m. PT. The game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network. They finish up their travels at the Lone Star Showcase in Cedar Park, Texas from Nov. 26 to 28. They will face Houston, Iowa and Wright State.

Stanford remains at home and hosts Santa Clara at 7 p.m. PT on Monday. The game will be broadcast via a Stanford live stream. The Cardinal will be wearing Nike N7-inspired turquoise uniforms to honor Native American Heritage Month.


  • Representatives from the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks were in attendance including executive vice president/general manager Penny Toler and head coach Brian Agler.
  • Lili Thompson made three of the Cardinal’s nine 3-pointers and scored 20-plus for a second consecutive game.
  • Erica McCall recorded her third straight double-double to open the season. In the past decade, only Chiney Ogwumike has had a better start to a year for the Cardinal. Ogwumike had four straight double-doubles to start the 2013-14 campaign.
  • McCall and Karlie Samuelson were perfect in the first half. The two combined to go 10-of-10 from the field for 24 points.
  • The win was the Cardinal’s largest over a top-25 opponent since beating No. 14 Penn State by 25 in the NCAA tournament on March 30, 2014.
  • George Washington started 8-of-18 from the floor and was led by a 15-point, seven-rebound first quarter from Jonquel Jones.

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