Stanford women respond with big second half in Pac-12 win

DiJonai Carrington scored 21 of her 30 points in the first half. Photo by John P. Lozano/

DiJonai Carrington kept the sixth-ranked Stanford women's basketball team from getting blown in the first half. Nothing kept the Cardinal from roaring back in the second half.

Carrington scored 21 of her game-high 30 points through the first 20 minutes and Stanford rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat visiting UCLA, 86-80, in a Pac-12 Conference thriller Sunday.

Stanford, other than the junior guard from San Diego, was limited to 17 first-half points and trailed 43-31 with 3:08 remaining to play in the second quarter.

Thanks in large part to Kiana Williams and Alanna Smith, the Cardinal (12-1, 2-0) outscored UCLA (9-6, 2-1), 37-14, over the next 13:53 to seize control and move into a three-way tie for the Pac-12 lead following the first week of conference play.

"We had to battle," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We got up, we got down, we got up. It's a win we can really build on."

Stanford heads to Tempe for a conference game with Arizona State at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Cardinal played without junior forward Nadia Fingall, who will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an injury in the victory over USC. Maya Dodson also missed the game and Lexie Hull (0 for 4, 3 rebounds) saw her first action since the third game of the season.

Smith scored 24 points, had 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. She scored 21 in the second half. Williams added 21 points and had 10 assists for her first career double-double.

Carrington was one rebound shy of also netting a double-double as the trio became the first Cardinal teammates to all score at least 20 points in a game in nearly four years.

"When teams pressure us, I feel that's where I thrive," Carrington said. "Some shots weren't falling early but Alanna is going to score, no one can guard her. Kiana's shots were going to fall, I wasn't worried about that. But until that happens I felt someone else had to pick it up."

The third quarter belonged to Stanford, which went on an 18-3 run to open a 56-50 advantage with 6:08 left in the period. Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers and scored the final 11 points of the run. Carrington and Williams took care of the first seven.

"Winning is great but you have to do more that, you have to improve," Smith said. "I missed some open shots early that I usually make but I had teammates in my ear to keep shooting. When that happens, it's hard not to."

UCLA drew within 75-73 with 2:26 left to play but Alyssa Jerome, who started in place of Fingall, hit a 3-pointer to keep the Cardinal ahead.

The Bruins led at halftime, 45-38.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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