No. 11 Stanford women rally in 2nd half to beat UCLA 79-70
LOS ANGELES (AP) Stanford's 3-point shooting has bailed the Cardinal out time and again this season.
It was especially good in the second half against UCLA.
Briana Roberson scored a career-high 21 points in her first start of the season and No. 11 Stanford rallied in the second half to win 79-70 for the Cardinal's 19th straight win against the Bruins.
Bonnie Samuelson added 21 points, including four 3-pointers, and Amber Orrange had 20 points before fouling out late for the Cardinal (14-5, 6-1 Pac-12). Roberson, a sophomore from nearby Fullerton, came in averaging 5.8 points. Kaylee Johnson had 10 points and a career-best 17 rebounds.
Stanford shot 58 percent from long-range in the second half, making seven 3-pointers. Five of them came in a big run that started the half.
''The team did a really good job of finding each other,'' Roberson said. ''We did a good job just breaking down the defense.''
Nirra Fields scored 22 points for the Bruins (8-10, 3-3), who fell to 0-7 against ranked teams this season and 0-14 against Top 25 teams since beating No. 10 Oklahoma last season. Jordin Canada added 14 points.
''In the second half they asserted their aggression,'' UCLA coach Cori Close said about the Cardinal. ''They came out incredibly focused in the second half. They knew exactly what they were looking for.''
Stanford was coming off a 60-57 loss to No. 13 Arizona State last weekend that ended its seven-game winning streak. The Cardinal have struggled early in games recently and the same thing happened against the Bruins, who led the entire first half.
That all changed in the second half, when Stanford improved its shooting to 52 percent.
''I wish we were more a first-half team sometimes,'' Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said.
The Cardinal had five 3-pointers in a 21-6 run that opened the half and gave Stanford a 58-46 lead. Orrange hit two treys in a row and Bonnie Samuelson added another before her sister Karlie Samuelson made two straight 3s to close the spurt.
''We did a really good job starting the second half running the floor and Amber did a good job reading the screens,'' Bonnie Samuelson said. ''Bri and Amber were really pushing the ball. We were able to get some buckets in transition. We came together after halftime and said we're going to board really hard and run.''
UCLA played catch-up the rest of the way. The Bruins closed within six on four straight points by Canada with 2:16 to play. But they were forced to foul down the stretch, when the Cardinal made 7 of 8 free throws to end the game.
''It was very physical,'' said Canada, a freshman playing Stanford for the first time. ''We were hustling for every possession, we just didn't come up with it.''
The Cardinal were held to 39 percent shooting and made just 4 of 14 3-pointers in the first half. UCLA scored the game's first eight points before Stanford tied it up. The Bruins responded with an 18-5 run, including 10 points by Fields, to take their largest lead, 26-13.
The Cardinal closed their deficit to 31-27 with a 14-5 run. UCLA went 3 of 7 from the free throw line over the final 4:11 of the half while Roberson scored seven of Stanford's final 10 points to trail 40-37 at the break.
Stanford: Leading scorer Lili Thompson, who averages 15.2 points, was held to one point after going 0 for 6 from the floor. ... Roberson started in place of Karlie Samuelson. ... It's the first time since 2009 that Stanford doesn't have at least a share of first place in the Pac-12. That was also the last time that the Cardinal fell out of the top 10 in the AP rankings.
UCLA: Freshmen Canada, Recee Caldwell, Lajahna Drummer, Monique Billings and Kelli Hayes, along with junior Kacy Swain, were all suspended for the first half of last weekend's win against USC for violating curfew. Half of the Bruins' active players are freshmen. ... Caldwell was on crutches after tearing ligaments in her right knee. She will have surgery in the near future and be out at least two months.
BATTLE ON THE BOARDS
The Cardinal controlled the boards, 43-36, led by Johnson, who had 15 on the defensive glass.
''I'm disappointed in our ability to rebound the ball and come up with loose balls,'' Close said. ''They were quicker to the ball. If you want to upset a good team like Stanford you have to control those things. We were late to the ball.''
Stanford turned things around from the loss to Arizona State, when the Cardinal got outrebounded by 22 and by 15 on the offensive glass.
Stanford has five losses, more than it had in any of the past five seasons. The Cardinal haven't lost more than five games since 2006-06, when it dropped eight.
Stanford: At Southern California on Sunday.
UCLA: Host California on Sunday.