Cardinal bounce back from worst loss under VanDerveer

LOS ANGELES — Alanna Smith and the Stanford Cardinal showed they were able to rebound from their worst loss under longtime coach Tara VanDerveer.

Smith scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season to lead the 10th-ranked Cardinal to a 65-51 victory over UCLA on Friday night.

“It’s a statement,” said Smith, referring to Friday’s reaction to the Cardinal’s 40-point loss to No. 3 Oregon on Sunday. “We lost but we’re not down and out for the count. We’re clawing our way back.”

The Cardinal came into the game with three losses in their previous five games but were able to bounce back on the road. They nearly squandered a 16-point halftime lead before clinching the game in the fourth quarter.

UCLA got to within 44-42 on Michaela Onyenwere’s layup before Stanford scored 10 straight to put it out of reach. Kiana Williams, who scored 15 points, scored the first five points during the run.

“We had to battle. They took us out of what we wanted to do but we adjusted and made some big shots,” VanDerveer said.

DiJonai Carrington added 13 points for Stanford (20-4, 9-4 Pac-12).

Onyenwere led the Bruins (15-10, 9-4) with 21 points and Kennedy Burke added 12. UCLA shot 28 percent from the field (19-for-69) and was 2-for-12 on 3-point attempts.

VanDerveer and UCLA coach Cori Close credited Stanford’s zone defense for the Bruins having their second-worst shooting game of the season.

“We weren’t crisp. It has been a long time since someone has zoned us to that type of level,” Close said. “We didn’t create easier catches through ball movement which slowed us down.”

UCLA scored first eight points and led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter before Stanford took control in the second to take a 35-19 lead at halftime. The Cardinal were 10-for-13 from the field in the quarter and started off with an 11-0 run. They closed the half by scoring the final 13 points, holding the Bruins without a point in the final 5:04.

After Alyssa Jerome’s layup put the Cardinal up 37-22, the Bruins scored 14 straight points to get to 37-36 with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter. Smith’s 3-pointer ended UCLA’s run.

Joe Reedy is an Associated Press writer.

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