No. 15 Stanford women defeat Washington
Lili Thompson banked in a long three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with 26.7 seconds remaining and the No. 15 Cardinal held off the Huskies 60-56 in Pac-12 women’s basketball on Friday night.
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW women vs. California,3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
For 34 seconds, Washington kept Stanford at bay.
The Cardinal, protecting a two-point lead with less than a minute remaining of what had been a back-and-forth Pac-12 women’s basketball game, even burned a timeout to regroup.
The set play didn’t work, and the ball spit back out to guard Lili Thompson with less than a second left in the shot clock. She fired up a shot from well behind the three-point line, it thudded off the glass – and the ball dropped through the net with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
“Sometimes, they’re just going to make tough shots,” UW senior Jazmine Davis said. “There’s nothing you can do about that. We tried as best as we could’ve done on defense, and sometimes you just get lucky.”
Thompson’s shot was a microcosm of Washington’s Friday night. The Huskies played even with the No. 15 team in the country for long stretches. They held the Cardinal to less than 33 percent shooting and used a balanced box score to offset a cold-shooting night from top scorer Kelsey Plum.
And they lost to Stanford anyway, falling 60-56 at Alaska Airlines Arena to fall to 1-2 in Pac-12 play.
The first half passed by in a rush of too-high passes and too-long jump shots. Stanford shot less than 23 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, yet Washington took a mere 24-22 lead into the break.
“The first half wasn’t pretty basketball, but you don’t play pretty basketball against Stanford in the Pac-12 this time of the year,” UW coach Mike Neighbors said.
Stanford (11-4, 3-0) opened the second half with nine unanswered points until Brianna Ruiz ended the run with a three-pointer. UW forward Aminah Williams followed with a pair of baskets, the second on a feed from Plum.
Plum, the second-leading scorer in Division I, was held nine points below her average with 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Stanford rotated defenders — throwing lanky Amber Orrange at Plum one possession, scrappy substitute Briana Roberson the next — preventing the Husky star from settling in.
But Plum was finally able to find the seams in the Stanford defense — getting into the lane, creating for herself and others off the dribble. Her three-pointer gave UW a 44-37 lead with just over 10 minutes to go.
Stanford countered with a 16-4 run. Thirteen of Thompson’s game-high 15 points and 12 of Orrange’s 14 came in the second half.
“We had moments that were really, really good,” Neighbors said. “And we had a little stretch there where it was really, really bad. They just got whatever they wanted.”
Bonnie Samuelson hit a three-pointer to make it 55-50 Stanford with 2:39 remaining, Davis answered with a triple of her own and Plum and Orrange traded buckets to set the stage for Thompson’s desperation bomb from the top of the key.
“For many, many years, you take a four-point loss to Stanford and people would’ve been getting into their cars, going we played them pretty close,” Neighbors said. “That’s a really good sign. I think our kids expect to win now.”
Williams, who had 12 points and 15 rebounds, echoed his sentiment.
“We expect to beat great teams,” Williams said. “Stanford is a great team, and we definitely don’t back down to anybody. Us losing to them in such a close game definitely doesn’t sit well with us.”