Stanford women beat Bulldogs in hoops tourney final

Alyssa Jerome helped Stanford hold Mississippi State to under 30% shootin in the second half. Photo by Erin Chang/

Neither Stanford nor Mississippi State will look upon the Great Victoria Invitational championship game with any real fondness.

The third-ranked Cardinal did well enough to sneak past No. 10 Mississippi State, 67-62, with Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer using situational substitutes to make sure the right people were in the game at the right time.

The Cardinal lost Kiana Williams to an apparent knee injury with 3:24 left in the game as she fell hard to the floor.

Williams favored her right knee as, unable to put weight on it, she was helped off the court. She later came back and sat on the bench with ice taped to her knee.

"We have a very young team," VanDerveer said. "People really stepped up and it was very exciting."

After Lexie Hull made two free throws with 11 seconds left, freshman Hannah Jump, who was in for her free throw accuracy, came out for the more experienced defender Anna Wilson.

Williams, whose jumper gave the Cardinal (8-0) a 64-50 lead with 5:10 remaining to play, is needed in crunch time.

That basket by Williams was the final Stanford field goal of the night. As Mississippi State (8-1) applied pressure to rally from the 14-point deficit, Stanford was turning the ball over and missing shots.

Haley Jones was 1 of 2 from foul line with 2:57 left and the Cardinal was held scoreless until Hull cemented it.

"It's really exciting just for me, being a freshman out there," Jones said. "I'm just learning so much from my teammates. What our freshman class is doing for this team right now, the impact that we're trying to make, we could not do it without our upperclassmen."

Defense and rebounding carried the day for the Cardinal, which shot less than 40 percent from the field and turned the ball over 20 times to Mississippi State's 6.

Stanford limited Mississippi State to 34.8% shooting, 29.4% in the second half. The Cardinal also had a 51-31 rebounding edge, with Jones, who scored a team-high 13 points, and Nadia Fingall each recording eight. Lacie Hull added seven. Lexie Hull had six to go with 11 points. Freshman Fran Belibi added 10 points.

Stanford are off for a couple of weeks before hosting Ohio State (4-3) on Dec. 15 and Tennessee (6-0) on Dec. 18.

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