No. 2 Stanford pushes pace in 2nd half for 93-69 win vs FGCU
HONOLULU (AP) — Haley Jones had 24 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 2 Stanford pull away from Florida Gulf Coast 93-69 on Friday in the first round of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
The Cardinal (6-1) got back in the win column five days after losing to top-ranked South Carolina. Jones had 14 points by halftime and finished 12-of-18 shooting from the field. She also had three assists and a steal.
“Haley took over the game in a really good way and it was great for her to do that,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “Haley had some great plays, she scored at the basket, she worked really hard, she was a leader out there. I thought she played really well, but other people stepped up for us, too.”
Stanford shot 52.1% overall and was 13 of 16 from the free-throw line. Kiki Iriafen scored 16 points and tallied 11 rebounds and Cameron Brink added 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Cardinal led just 41-37 at halftime.
Tishara Morehouse paced the Eagles (4-1) with 26 points. Uju Ezeudu had 10 of her 13 points in the first half.
“I thought we played three quarters really well. We hung in there, we were only down eight (points) going into the fourth quarter, but they’re physical and big and they wore us down and they really took advantage of the fourth quarter,” FGCU coach Karl Smesko said, adding later, “We needed one incredible fourth quarter and unfortunately they were the one who had an incredible fourth quarter.”
The Eagles jumped out to an early 12-6 lead after they drained 3-pointers on four of their first five possessions.
“We had to play better defense. They’re a really good team and they have a great system and they buy into it and they play hard, “VanDerveer said. “Really, I mean, it was a two-point game, two-point game, four points and then the fourth quarter was when we opened things up and I think that was our depth.”
Jones noted that the Cardinal expected FGCU to hit its share of shots from distance, saying it was a matter of “learning to weather those storms, which I think we did a great job … I think we came out hot and we understood the assignment.”
FGCU: The Eagles have led the nation in 3-pointers made per game in four of the last five years. Its average of 11.5 made 3-pointers per game entering Friday ranked second in the country and they finished 13 of 46 attempts from beyond the arc.
Stanford: The Cardinal committed two costly and uncharacteristic end-of-game mistakes against South Carolina last weekend. Stanford finished strong this time, outscoring the Eagles in the final quarter 32-16.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Stanford capitalized on its height advantage over the Eagles, who do not have a player listed over 6 feet. The Cardinal held a 56-22 edge for points in the paint and dominated the rebounding battle, 58-21.
SHE SAID IT
Stanford’s last game was before a sold-out crowd of more than 7,200 fans at Maples Pavilion. This time, they took to the court at the Stan Sheriff Center before a modest crowd of about 100 for a game that tipped off at noon local time.
Not that it mattered much to Jones.
“You know, after Thanksgiving there might be a little more stuffing in the stomach and things like that, but I think that we prepare the same way,” Jones said. “We came out with a lot of energy. It was a very different type of team and a different atmosphere but I don’t think that affected our play that much.”
FGCU: Plays tournament-host Hawaii on Saturday. It will be the second meeting between the teams in eight days; the Eagles won 65-45 on Nov. 18.
Stanford: Faces Grambling State on Saturday for just the second time in program history. The Cardinal won 82-43 on March 16, 1996.