No. 6 Stanford (4-0, 0-0 Pac-12) kept its winning streak alive with a victory against Duke (3-2, 0-0 ACC) Sunday, another highly anticipated overtime matchup. Last week’s win against Indiana also helped the Cardinal return to the top 10 in the AP top-25 women’s basketball rankings, their usual place in-season.
Stanford’s offense began the game in full swing, breaking 20 points before Duke could reach a double-digit score. Junior forward Kiki Iriafen spearheaded this momentum, putting up her own 12 points in the first six minutes of the game — by which point, the Blue Devils hadn’t even put up 12 points total.
Senior forward Cameron Brink continued her pattern of early game perimeter activity, with her first shot of the game sunk from the arc — like in the Nov. 12 match against Indiana.
The Cardinal held a strong lead to close out the first quarter 30-17.
The second quarter was less productive for both teams, as the crowd at Maples witnessed various scoring droughts on both sides. The first make of the quarter came from Duke over a minute in, after a couple misses in the paint from Stanford.
“[In] the second quarter, Duke defensively [was] much more aggressive,” Iriafen said. “It was more physical [and] I couldn’t just have my way in the post … something that I could’ve done was use more pump fakes.”
Stanford was two-for-eight in the paint in the quarter, holding up a dwindling 43-35 lead at halftime.
“This is the first game that Cam and Kiki had to play 30 minutes,” VanDerveer said. “To understand how [to play] a very physical game, to play 30 minutes and be able to go hard and not get tired.”
In light of struggle in the paint, graduate guard Hannah Jump found her footing again on the perimeter, contributing 15 points from three.
Stanford’s offense continued its scoring drought in the third. The team went two-for-12 in the field, with a slate of free throws from Iriafen and Brink contributing six of its 10 total points in the period. Three triples and a pair of free throws from Duke’s guard Ashlon Jackson gave the Blue Devils their first lead in the match, ending the quarter 55-53.
The fourth quarter saw the tightest score margins yet, from Duke being up four, to Stanford up five. With two minutes left in the game, junior forward Brooke Demetre responded to a Blue Devil three-pointer with one of her own, keeping the teams neck and neck. Opposing forward Camilla Emsbo fouled Brink in the last 30 seconds, rewarding her with the necessary two points to keep the Cardinal in the game. Emsbo then gave Brink a taste of her own medicine, blocking the layup that looked to seal the match for the Cardinal. The two teams ended regulation at 71 all, sending the match into overtime.
Just when things began to heat up, Iriafen fell to the floor with an injured foot and freshman forward Nunu Agara picked up her fifth foul of the game. Unlike its prior matchups this season, Stanford had no room for error in the final minutes, as the team trailed Duke by a single possession.
Tied at 79 apiece, junior guard Elena Bosgana grabbed the most pivotal rebound in the game. While getting the offensive board, she was fouled and managed to bring Stanford ahead by one point in her trip to the free-throw line, making the score 80-79.
After the Blue Devils later missed a layup in transition, Brink was fouled, sending her to the line with two free throws. Brink’s perfect shooting from the foul stripe advantaged the Cardinal in OT, as her final two cemented a three-point lead over Duke: 82-79. On the next possession, the Blue Devils were unable to generate an open three-point shot, as Jackson had to hoist up a shot over Jump’s outstretched arms. The shot was no good, and Stanford secured a three-point victory over Duke.
VanDerveer said she appreciated this challenging matchup, as it allowed her team a preview for the season ahead: “There are things we can do better, but I’m really excited about how our team stuck together, battled and found a way to win.”
Sunday recorded yet another stellar performance for the Brink-Iriafen duo. Iriafen came just short of a double-double, with a career-high 27 points and nine rebounds. In the heat of foul trouble, Brink managed to put up a career-high 29 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks for the Cardinal.
“We’re such a young team. Getting a game like this under our belts shows us that we can fight through stuff,” Brink said.
The Stanford women’s basketball team looked ahead to a week in Henderson, Nev., with matches against Belmont on Wednesday afternoon, followed by the winner of Florida State vs. Northwestern on Friday.