Led by Jada Williams, Arizona shocks No. 3 Stanford on the road –

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STANFORD, Calif. – The last time Arizona (15-12, 7-8 Pac-12) won at Stanford was in 2001, 15 years before current head coach and alumna Adia Barnes took the helm. Friday night, the Wildcats broke their losing streak at Maples Pavilion to take down the No. 3 team in the nation 68-61 in front of a raucous crowd and with just seven active players.

“It’s just such a hard place to play and they are so good,” Barnes said postgame. “We know they’re shorthanded today….but there’s still a really good team, I think more loaded than we are. But we just rallied.”

Stanford (23-4, 12-3) played without the team’s leading rebounder and shot blocker, senior forward Cameron Brink who was out with a non-Covid illness.

The game began as a sluggish affair, with both teams struggling offensively and Stanford playing at a much slower pace than usual. It turns out that was part of Arizona’s strategy, to take the action down a notch and limit Stanford’s possessions. Assistant coach Salvo Coppa scouted the game and his plan worked as Arizona’s defense led to prolific turnovers by the Cardinal. However, after the first period, Stanford led 17-9 after taking just seven shots (making five) and sinking five free throws.

Arizona picked up the pace in the second quarter and outscored the home team 16-13. Stanford had a five-point lead, 30-25, heading into halftime. While the Cardinal outperformed the Wildcats in the third quarter, scoring 15 to Arizona’s 12, the visitors were red hot in the last ten minutes with freshman guard Jada Williams leading the way.

Entering the fourth quarter, Arizona trailed Stanford by 10, 47-37. However, after the Wildcats outpaced the Cardinal 22-12, the game was tied at 59 all with about two minutes left.

A pull-up jumper from Williams gave Arizona its first lead of the game. The momentum shifted and Williams led her team on a 9-2 run to end the contest. She finished with 23 points plus four rebounds. Fifth-year forward Esmery Martinez was also in double figures with 17 points plus nine rebounds. Fifth-year guard Helena Pueyo, who leads the Pac-12 in steals per game, also had key contributions with nine points, five rebounds, and five steals.

Barnes was proud of her whittled-down roster.

“It’s seven, but it’s a seven that really believes this is a team,” Barnes said of her septet that took down a top-five team.

For Stanford, junior forward Kiki Iriafen had a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. She also dished out four assists. Junior forward Brooke Demetre scored 15 points and pulled down five rebounds Graduate student guard Hannah Jump added 13 points.

Arizona’s road trip continues with a Sunday contest across the Bay at California while Stanford hosts Arizona State on the same day.

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