STANFORD, Calif. (AP)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.
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.
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.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25