Jue. Abr 18th, 2024


STANFORD, Calif. — With the game tied late and a chance for Arizona to win on the road at No. 3 Stanford for the first time since 2001, Jada Williams got the ball off a dribble handoff, went between the legs with a dribble and let it go.

Her shot arched high and banked in to give the Wildcats the lead with 30 seconds to play in a stunning 68-61 victory over the Cardinal on Friday night.

«The bank was open,» Williams said. «That’s all I got to say. My teammates trusted me, and I had the green light.»

Williams scored 14 points in the last four minutes — including the winning 3-pointer — and led Arizona (15-12, 7-8 Pac-12) in scoring with 23 points. Esmery Martinez added 17.

The Wildcats had lost seven straight to the Cardinal (23-4, 12-3). They had just seven players dressed, were without leading scorer Kailyn Gilbert and coming off a triple-overtime win over Washington on Sunday.

The Wildcats snapped a 20-game road skid against the Cardinal. It was Arizona’s highest-ranked road win in program history, and fifth win over a top-5 opponent.

Stanford star forward Cameron Brink missed the game due to a non-COVID-19 illness.

«We walked in here and we knew that we could win,» Williams said. «No one believed in us. I bet no one in the whole country would say that Arizona would come in here and beat Stanford.»

Stanford had beaten Arizona in seven straight and 15 of the previous 16 meetings between the teams.

Arizona trailed 45-37 entering the fourth quarter, but took the lead on a jumper by Williams with two minutes to play.

«Stanford’s so good, and this is a really hard place to play,» Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. «I feel like we made it ugly. But we rallied and followed the game plan. And I think we gave ourselves a chance to win and we hit some shots down the stretch.»

Kiki Iriafen, who led Stanford with 21 points and 15 rebounds, tied the game with a layup with under a minute remaining until Williams knocked down her decisive 3-pointer.

Williams hit two free throws to put Arizona up by five as the Wildcats closed out the upset.

«It’s very disappointing,» Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. «They’re scrappy. They played very hard. And in the fourth quarter, especially took it to us.»

«The bank was open. That’s all I got to say. My teammates trusted me, and I had the green light.»

Arizona guard Jada Williams

VanDerveer added that turnovers hurt the Cardinal, with Arizona scoring 18 points off 16 Stanford giveaways.

Brooke Demetre, who started for Brink, had 15 points. Hannah Jump added 13.

The short-handed Wildcats hung tough with the Cardinal in the first half. The game was tied at 35-all in the third quarter before Iriafen scored eight points to spark a 10-2 run, helping Stanford take a lead into the fourth.

«We know everybody’s coming for us, and we always have to be on our A game,» Demetre said. «It’s a good reminder that we always have to play with urgency, and we got to play hard. We got to play like there’s a target on our back.»

The Wildcats entered the game with just one road conference win, and had not won away from home since the Pac-12 opener against Arizona State on Dec. 17.

The Cardinal, meanwhile, entered the day leading the Pac-12 by two games, but the loss opens up possibilities for three teams chasing them — No. 9 Oregon State, No. 7 USC and No. 11 Colorado.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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