Haley Jones powers Stanford past upset-minded UC Davis, 67-55, with double-double

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Photos © Baranduin Briggs, all rights reserved.

STANFORD, Calif. – After a tough loss on the road against Texas before the Christmas break, Stanford (11-1) recovered from the defeat that cost the Cardinal the No. 1 ranking in the nation to take down a tough UC Davis (4-8) squad, 67-55, at Maples Pavilion Saturday afternoon. It took an excellent second-half effort highlighted by outstanding play from freshman guard Haley Jones to come away with the victory.

“I’m excited that our team really stepped up in the second half and played some defense,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said postgame. “You know, Davis came to play, and they have an excellent team. They worked really hard.”

The Aggies made it a difficult feat as they led for much of the contest, propelled by a flurry of three-point shots. The majority of those shots came from a last-minute starter, freshman guard Evanne Turner, who finished with a team-high 15 points plus six rebounds.

At the outset, Stanford only led by two, 19-17, to close out the first period. Turner was a perfect 4-4 from three-point land in the first quarter, topping all scorers with 12. With three treys in a row, she single-handedly put her team within two of the Cardinal at the end of the first ten minutes.

The three-points shots continued to be the charm for the Aggies in the second quarter when senior guard Katie Toole nailed one at 5:58 to give her team the lead for the first time. With Toole hitting her shots, along with offensive help from senior forward Nina Bessolo and junior guard Mackenzie Trpcic, UC Davis outscored the Cardinal 15-11 in the second period to go into halftime with a 32-30 lead.

The Aggies held Stanford to 30.8% (4-13) from the field in the second period and 0% from the three-point line. UC Davis also had seven second-chance points compared to zero by the Cardinal in the second quarter. Stanford did have a bright spot with freshman forward Fran Belibi’s defense as she earned three crucial blocks in the last minutes of the half.

Both teams started the third period in sloppy fashion with turnovers marring the pace of play. It was a turnover fest as Stanford collected four and UC Davis had three in less than a few minutes. However, paced by freshman guard Haley Jones, the Cardinal regained some semblance of composure to outscore the Aggies 16-9 in the quarter.

Jones was a force on both ends of the floor. After a layup at 8:16, she became the first Stanford player in double figures with 11 at that point. She had help from senior guard Anna Wilson who not only scored five points in the quarter but also helped on the defensive front. The home team’s defensive effort shut down UC Davis from the three-point line in the quarter. The improved defense coupled with the offense from Jones and Wilson set the stage for the Cardinal to put UC Davis in the rear-view mirror.

A jumper from Jones at 2:07 in the third period gave her team their first lead since early in the second quarter. After outscoring UC Davis 16-9 in the third quarter, Stanford entered the last period with a 46-41 lead and finished out by outpacing the Aggies 21-14 over the last ten minutes.

VanDerveer was impressed with the opponent’s three-point prowess. “They shoot the three-ball really, really well,” she said. “And I thought we did a much better job in the second half of limiting their threes.”

She also lauded Wilson’s tenacity against the Aggies.

“Anna Wilson played great defense for us too. So, our defense was what was a difference.”

Jones finished with a career-high of 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists.

“Haley made some really big plays for us,” VanDerveer said. “Some of our passes, were just like, awesome passes, I don’t know how many assists they gave her there, but she had some really nice passes and led the way on offense for us.”

Sophomore guard Lexie Hull earned 14 points and senior forward Nadia Fingall finished with 11 points. Wilson added a season-high nine points.

For UC Davis, Toole joined Turner in double figures with 13 while and Trpcic contributed 10 points along with six assists.

The Aggies head home to host William Jessup on New Year’s Day before beginning Big West play on January 9 at UC Riverside.

Stanford opens its Pac-12 slate Friday, January 3 hosting Washington State at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Two branches of VanDerveers’ coaching tree are set to face each other tomorrow. Stanford alumnae, California head coach Charmin Smith and Grand Canyon head coach Nicole Powell, go up against each other in a game at Berkeley at 7 p.m. PT. Both are also former WNBA players.

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