STANFORD, Calif. (AP)Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer had hoped to find her starters some rest and give the reserves extended minutes ahead of conference play. That looked possible until Creighton got going in the second half.
Haley Jones had 16 points and eight assists in 37 minutes, freshman Talana Lepolo scored a season-best 17 and No. 2 Stanford beat 21st-ranked Creighton 72-59 on Tuesday night for its seventh straight victory.
Cameron Brink added 14 points and 16 rebounds in the final non-conference game for the Cardinal (12-1) ahead of their Pac-12 opener Friday at Maples Pavilion against rival California.
”I was really anxious to try to get some people some minutes that hadn’t played maybe in the Tennessee game to give them an opportunity, and maybe we just lost our focus a little bit,” VanDerveer said. ”I have to do a better job of making sure we keep our rotation where they’re not making the mistakes that we did.”
Lauren Jensen scored 18 points to lead cold-shooting Creighton (8-3), held to 36% from the field in the first meeting between the programs.
Emma Ronsiek added 11 points for the Bluejays, who have dropped three of four. They were coming off an 83-75 loss to No. 17 Arkansas in which Creighton went just 8 of 35 on 3-pointers and then fell five places in this week’s AP Top 25.
Stanford made five of its first seven shots to jump ahead in a hurry 13-5, with Lepolo making her initial three 3s. But the Cardinal hit a field goal drought of nearly six minutes, missing seven straight shots during a 2-for-12 stretch in the fourth quarter as Creighton threatened.
VanDerveer was pleased with the defense setting the tone in the first quarter, along with Lepolo’s hot hand on a night when Hannah Jump didn’t hit from deep.
Lepolo figured Creighton’s scouting report was ”to leave me” open.
”I see T staying and working every single day,” Jones said of Lepolo. ”On the first skip (pass), I said, `Shoot the ball!”’
Bluejays leading scorer Morgan Maly – who along with three others at 6-foot-1 are the team’s tallest players – was held to nine points on 3-for-14 shooting, 3 of 10 from deep.
Creighton went without a field goal for 3:20 in the second quarter after a 3-pointer at the 9:49 mark by Maly, who was averaging 17.7 points per game.
Creighton: This has been quite a non-conference stretch of big tests for the Bluejays, who face three straight ranked opponents – with UConn up next – and four in six games overall. … Creighton, which used a late 8-0 run to make things interesting, shot 20 for 56 overall and 9 of 31 on 3s (29%). … The Bluejays outrebounded Arkansas 46-36 but were pounded on the boards in this game, 15-2 in the first quarter, 26-8 by halftime and 50-25 overall. … Creighton limited its turnovers to six, four through three quarters.
Stanford: The team’s lone defeat was a 76-71 overtime loss Nov. 20 to No. 1 South Carolina, the defending NCAA champion. … Jump went 0 of 5 from long range in her first game without making a 3 since an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game vs. Texas last March. … Stanford took charge with a 27-point first quarter. … The Cardinal went 0 for 5 from deep in the second quarter. … Brink, who matched her career high with six blocks in Sunday’s 77-70 win against Tennessee, swatted two more to give her 41 through the first 13 games. … Stanford got better all-around production a game after the players other than Brink, Jones and Jump shot just 6 for 24.
Creighton: Hosts No. 9 Connecticut on Dec. 28.
Stanford: Hosts Cal on Friday afternoon.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25