STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford is running a new offense with more ball screens and reverses. The Cardinal are still searching for a rhythm with different rotations and combinations.
Santa Clara shined using a similar system and gave a top program quite a push.
Hannah Jump scored 19 points with four 3-pointers, Kiki Iriafen added 16 points, and the second-ranked Cardinal held off Bay Area neighbor Santa Clara 82-69 on Wednesday night.
Fran Belibi contributed 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench as the Cardinal (9-1) won their fourth straight game since falling 76-71 in overtime to top-ranked South Carolina on Nov. 20.
“We’re playing a lot smarter,” Belibi said. “All of our guards are making really great decisions and we’re not really getting as many offensive fouls and those types of turnovers. I think that really helps us.”
Jump made 4 of 8 3s but Stanford finished just 6 for 22 from long range. Haley Jones added 14 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.
Olivia Pollerd scored 19 points with five 3s to lead scrappy Santa Clara (5-4), which had won three straight and four of five and hung tough with a top team in the country. The Broncos hit 13 3s and moved the ball well.
“When you make mistakes defensively they just make you pay,” Santa Clara coach Bill Carr said. “I think that’s the biggest thing we’re going to learn from tonight is when you go into a game and you have a game plan, you’ve got to try to stick with it for 40 minutes.”
Broncos freshman Tess Heal, one of four Santa Clara players from Melbourne, Australia, has earned West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week honors in as many offerings of the award so far this season. She had a tough night.
The 5-foot-10 guard shot 3 for 11 for six points facing a taller defender while Lara Edmondson scored 12 for Santa Clara, which was coming off a 71-58 win Saturday against previously unbeaten Washington to go undefeated at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
The Broncos’ reserves scored 23 points and Santa Clara matched Stanford on the boards until late in the third.
“We didn’t defend the 3-point line as well as we needed to,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “… I think there’s things that we can learn and we can do better and we’ll have to do better against Gonzaga.”
Iriafen made 5 of her first 6 shots as Stanford began 7 for 12 but the Cardinal then hit a stretch missing seven of eight and Santa Clara grabbed a 19-18 lead on Lexie Pritchard’s 3 with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
VanDerveer has received only three technical fouls her entire 44-year Hall of Fame career and she remembers each one of them vividly to this day — one at Idaho and two during her 37 seasons at Stanford.
She picks her moments and always has.
“One in Alaska, I was the coach at Idaho, they called over and back and we didn’t play over and back, that wasn’t our rule. And I pointed that out and they didn’t like me to point that out. I got one at Stanford early on down in UCLA,” she recalled before the game. “And I got one I went on the court because Candice (Wiggins) got clobbered. I just was worried about Candice. I went out right on the court, I was like, ‘She got clobbered and I’ve got to go find out how she is.’ Our players don’t get technicals either. I don’t want to lose a game by two and be blaming myself.”
Santa Clara: The Broncos had won the previous meeting in a 61-58 upset on Stanford’s home floor Nov. 23, 2015. Before that, the Cardinal had won seven straight in the series. … Santa Clara couldn’t establish a transition game and scored no fast-break points.
Stanford: Stanford committed just eight turnovers and held a 44-37 rebounding advantage. … The Cardinal won for the 14th time in the last 16 vs. Santa Clara and lead the all-time series 30-5 — and 16-3 at home.
Santa Clara: Hosts Oakland-based second-year program Lincoln University on Friday night.
Stanford: Hosts a second straight WCC opponent when No. 23 Gonzaga visits Sunday afternoon before the team’s two-break for final exams ahead of a Dec. 18 home date with Tennessee.
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
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