November 17, 2021

After Texas, A Hull of a Good Game for Haley Jones

Warren Grimes

Losing to Texas was not fun. 

Texas is a very good team that will make opponents suffer.  They got Stanford out of sorts, perhaps best exemplified by 4-27 shooting from the three point line.  That’s . . . uhm . . . 14.8%.

In a number of ways, the Texas game was similar to last year’s championship game against Arizona – except of course that Stanford won that one.  But quite predictably, Texas disrupted Stanford’s offense the same way Arizona did.  It was quickness and in your face player-to-player defense that produced way too many Stanford turn overs.  Add to that a critical 4th quarter rally that relied heavily on a substitute’s 4 for 4 shooting from the three point line.

Disappointing because Stanford played great defense, except against the substitute who burned them late in the game.

Disappointing because Stanford held a single digit lead throughout the game, until the last part of the 4th quarter.

Disappointing because Stanford couldn’t exploit its height and talent advantage in the paint. 

Disappointing because the game was at Maples.

It’s no secret that opposing coaches will seek to disrupt Stanford in much the same way that Arizona and Texas did.  Most teams will not have the talent to do that, but expect to see more of this from teams like Arizona, UCLA, South Carolina, and (fill in the blank). 

But now, it’s time to praise.

Two days after Texas, Stanford played a talented and well coached team from Portland.  Stanford won 77-55, but not without holding off a motivated Portland team that closed the margin to 10 points in the third quarter. 

Haley Jones excelled.  She got a triple double – 17 points, 12 boards, and 10 assists.  Jones was the first Stanford player to accomplish this in 19 years (Nicole Powell did it in 2002).  There were a number of highlights to Jones’ performance.  One was a “don’t-try-this-at-home” play that made the highlight reels.  Jones dribbled diagonally through the key and executed a no look lay in from the left side.  This happened fast – if you looked away, you missed it.  Amazing stuff.  She also had a block and two steals in 36 minutes on the court.

Other players deserve lots of recognition.  Lexie Hull played 34 minutes and contributed 7 points, 4 boards, and 6 steals.  Lexie was a real pain to Portland’s offense, but she had help.  Stanford had a total of 19 steals in the game.  A team record?

Lacie Hull had more minutes than her sister (36 of them).  She had ZERO points.  Indeed, Lacie did not even attempt a shot.  So what’s the big deal? 

Well the big deal is that when Lacie was in the game playing the point, the team played better.  Lacie, time and again, brought the ball up court against high pressure defense.  And she did it in style, with 5 assists and only 1 turnover.  On defense, Lacie had 4 steals and 2 blocks.

If Lacie can do this consistently, who cares whether she scores points.  I would not have predicted it, but  Lacie Hull may be the point guard of choice for this team.  If anyone can do the point guard stuff better than Lacie, they will have to be very good.

Aside from these three players, Cameron Brink made her presence known.  In roughly 20 minutes on the court, Brink contributed a team-high 21 points, often with an assist from her mates.  Unlike against Texas, the team was able to exploit its interior game.   The other starter, Anna Wilson, had 2 points and 3 boards in 22 minutes, but these numbers don’t adequately reflect her defensive presence. 

Two of Stanford’s freshman that did not see action against Texas played 10 minute plus segments against Portland, and made their presence known.   Brooke Demetre played 11 minutes and added 11 points on 5-6 shooting.  And Kiki Iriafen played 12 minutes and contributed 9 points and 2 boards.  Iriafen appeared to attempt a dunk that resulted in a turnover, but there seems little doubt that the dunk will happen before long. 

And now for a further look at Demetre.  She did not play against Texas, but is averaging 10 points a game, the fourth highest on the team, despite coming off the bench.  More still, Demetre is shooting at an 82% clip for the games she played, including 1 for 2 from three point land.  A few of these baskets were uncontested lay ups, but most were not.  Demetre has a wide shooting range, she gets her shots off quickly, and she shoots very accurately.    

Iriafen and Demetre have different skill sets, but I see them both getting major playing time as the season progresses. 

Next up, a tough visit to the Hulls’ home turf, against Gonzaga.

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