The No. 6 Stanford Cardinal demonstrated why they are the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 Thursday night, cruising to victory, 84-60, against the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats. Stanford led the entire game and by as many as 37.
Cameron Brink and Haley Jones were the stars of the night contributing 18 points apiece and having an effective inside-outside game that Arizona could never find an answer for. Coming off the bench, Lauren Betts had her best game of the season with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists. She’s gotten an increased role in these last two blowouts and has not disappointed, shooting 85 percent from the field against the Wildcats and 83 percent against Washington State last Friday.
Cate Reese, Esmery Martinez and Paris Clark each scored ten points in the defeat, but there wasn’t much else positive for Arizona. The Wildcats shot poorly from three as a team (29.4 percent) and were out-rebounded 45-27 at home.
The pieces are coming together— Stanford Women’s Basketball (@StanfordWBB) February 10, 2023
Watch out, @laurenbetts12 is gaining steam!#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/jMxiskwcdK
Stanford came out roaring to start the game, immediately going on a 5-0 run and leading by double digits by the end of the first. The Wildcats did respond in the second. Martinez got going offensively and Madison Conner scored five points in the final 43 seconds to avoid disaster. By halftime, the deficit was only 11.
Then the third quarter happened.
The game had two places it could go. Easy Stanford win or Arizona entirely comes back and makes it interesting. The Cardinal decided to go with the former.
Stanford took complete control, with the trio of Jones, Brink and Hannah Jump dominating the first five minutes of the second half. After a Betts layup with 3:27 left in the third, the advantage ballooned to 27 and Arizona could never get back into the game. The rest of the quarter and game was a glorified practice run, as Stanford got another crucial road conference victory.
For the Cardinal, a dominant win like this solidifies that when they are clicking on all cylinders, they are worthy of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and have a puncher’s chance at the title. They have a stacked starting lineup and if they can stay out of foul trouble and get enough from their bench, they will be tough to beat.
Arizona has less to be enthusiastic about, but the Wildcats were close to their goal in the first half. It’s really that third-quarter tape they need to review and learn from. Shots didn’t fall and the rebounding was poor, allowing Stanford to close the door on a game that was becoming competitive. A little more attentiveness in the third and maybe things could’ve gone another way.
The Wildcats have a game against Cal on Sunday that should be a confidence booster. Cal has been struggling and is a sub. 500 team on the season. Stanford faces Arizona State next on Sunday. If the Cardinal come out with the same focus and energy they had for the Wildcats, it should be a leisurely Sunday matinee for Stanford.