LOS ANGELES (AP) — Francesca Belibi tied a career-high with 20 points and had 13 rebounds, and Cameron Brink scored 17 points, leading No. 2 Stanford to a 76-48 win over UCLA on Thursday night.
Stanford (17-3, 8-0 Pac-12) has won nine consecutive games since its loss to top-ranked South Carolina in December.
“We know over the last two years that everything is really unpredictable and our team has the next woman up mentality regardless of who is out,” Belibi said. “My main goal was to make sure I’m rebounding and (the scoring) just kind of happened.”
The Cardinal, alone atop the Pac-12 standings, cruised to a 40-24 halftime lead, largely by shooting 50% (8 for 16) from beyond the arc. The Cardinal finished with 11 3-pointers in the game.
“I don’t think about streaks, I think about how we can keep improving,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We could be much more aggressive defensively and force more turnovers. We can run our offense better. But we have people that really play hard … I’m excited about how well we’re playing, but there’s obviously more we can do.”
Lexie Hull had a great start, scoring 11 of her 14 points in the first quarter, including three of her four 3-pointers in that stretch.
UCLA (9-7, 4-5) lost its third consecutive game after winning four in a row.
Stanford junior guard Haley Jones missed the game due to health and safety protocols, and Belibi got the start. Jones, who was the Final Four’s most outstanding player last year in leading Stanford to the national championship, is the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.6 points per game. Brink leads the team in scoring.
“This is a great team win for us,” VanDerveer said. “I thought Fran really stepped up big getting her double-double. We took care of the ball. We outrebounded (47-34) a team that rebounds really well. Cam (Brink) was really big, too, (shooting) 7 for 10. Thought we ran well. Lexie had her 3-point shot going. Total team effort. And Lexie did a really good job on the boards. Our rebounding was the key.”
UCLA guard Charisma Osborne scored a team-high 12 points.
Osborne will not be 100% the rest of the year, according to UCLA coach Cori Close, but she returned to the lineup after missing a game with a right knee injury and scored 12 points. She scored her 1,000th point a week ago against Arizona, but the milestone was overshadowed when she was carried off the court with that injury that, fortunately, wasn’t serious.
“Honestly, I’m just really happy to be back on the court with my team and just grateful I got the opportunity to play,” Osborne said.
Close was honored before the game with a plaque commemorating her being named the co-recipient of USA Basketball’s developmental coach of the year for leading the under-19 team to a FIBA World Cup victory.
Stanford: The Cardinal did whatever it wanted offensively, and that was without Jones and starter Hanna Jump. Jump was just coming back from health and safety protocols and didn’t play. It’s a testament to how deep Stanford is, and even without one of its stars Stanford cruised on the road. Things look good for Stanford in its attempt to win back-to-back national championships.
UCLA: The Bruins are now under .500 in the Pac-12. They hope to get healthy and have seven remaining games to improve their seeding for the Pac-12 tournament.
Stanford: Plays Sunday at USC.
UCLA: Hosts Cal on Sunday.
More 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