Stanford’s returning Final Four Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones will face Arizona at Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday for the first time since the Cardinal survived with a 54-53 national championship win over the Wildcats 300 days previously.
Jones had 17 points and eight rebounds in the victory on April 4 at San Antonio.
On Friday night at Palo Alto against Arizona State, Jones had a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) in the second-ranked Cardinal’s 78-50 win.
Tara VanDerveer’s team is on a seven-game winning streak and is 15-3 overall and 6-0 in the Pac-12.
Staying on 🔝.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 29, 2022
Next up: a rematch with the No. 8 Wildcats (15-2, 5-2) on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tucson time from Maples Pavilion.
When interviewed by the Pac-12 Network after the win over the Sun Devils, Jones said Stanford is “really excited” to face Arizona again.
“How many times does a national championship play in the same conference the next year?” she said. “So we’re really excited to play them. We know they’re a great team.”
Also, how many times does a player refer to an opposing coach by their first name? Jones obviously has a mutual-respect relationship with Adia Barnes.
“They’re going to come out with great energy; Adia coaches a great team,” Jones said. “They’ve got great players, so it’ll be a really good game. We’re really excited to get after it just like we did tonight.”
Stanford will come off a dominant performance against the Sun Devils that included 51.7 percent shooting from the field with four players scoring in double figures. In addition to Jones, Francesca Belibi and Kiki Iriafen had 12 points and Cameron Brink had 11. Brink also produced seven rebounds.
The Cardinals forced Arizona State into 20 turnovers resulting in 19 points.
Stanford also outscored the Sun Devils 44-10 in the paint.
“I think we’re moving the ball really well,” Jones said. “I think we’re really good at finding the hot hand. Kiki gets it in the end and she starts getting buckets. We’re gonna feed her. We’re going to feed the beast. Cam started off that third quarter hot (seven points) so we’re gonna keep feeding Cam.
“Whoever’s hot, we’re really good at finding that hot hand, moving the ball and just kind of finding people where they want to be.”
The game Sunday will be televised on ESPN2 and will broadcast on radio at KTUC (1400-AM).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.