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Autumn Johnson | December 21, 2020

3 ways Stanford showed why it's the No. 1 team in the country in its top-10 win over UCLA

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No. 1 Stanford has held the top spot in the AP top 25 rankings since Dec. 7 as it continues to build on an undefeated 7-0 start.

In their latest test on Monday, the Cardinal proved they belong on the throne, defeating No. 10 UCLA 61-49 — with another dunk from Fran Belibi in the fourth quarter as a cherry on top. 

Here are three takeaways on how Stanford showed why it's the No. 1 women's basketball team in the country in this top-10 Pac-12 matchup.

Stanford dominates the rebounding game

The final rebounding numbers is the eye-catcher on the stat sheet as Stanford beat UCLA on the boards, 51-37.

The Cardinal converted 7-of-14 offensive rebounds into second chance points while the defensive rebounds margin was 37-22 in Stanford's favor.

Now through seven games this season, the Cardinal out-rebound their opponents by an average of +16.6. A lot of the credit goes to Haley Jones, who leads the team with 10.1 rebounds per game. UCLA's Michaela Onyenwere did a great job containing Stanford's Jones in the score column (eight points), but Jones still grabbed 15 rebounds. 

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The Cardinal's defense remains stifling

Stanford has held opponents to an average of 50.3 points through seven games and have an average margin of victory of 38.3.

Yet, UCLA gave the Cardinal their toughest challenge of the season as they remained close throughout Monday's matchup. UCLA faced just a five-point halftime deficit and never trailed by double-digits until the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal solidified the win with 2:19 minutes remaining with a Jones assist to Belibi and a Lacie Hull dagger 3 to put Stanford ahead 61-49. 

UCLA couldn't find an offensive rhythm, shooting 19-of-69 from the floor and 6-of-28 beyond the arc. Onyenwere was effective in the paint, putting up 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bruins. Emily Bessoir also chipped in 15 points.

UCLA Bruins huddle

But Charisma Osborne — UCLA's second leading scorer — didn't have a consistent shooting night, finishing with seven points. Osborne shot 3-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-6 on 3-pointers.

All 5 on the court set each other up for success 

Stanford gave many 2-game looks — being able to read the defense and find teammates cutting to the basket for an open look in the paint. With this chemistry, Stanford put up 34 paint points compared to UCLA's 22. Stanford shared the ball well with 18 assists. 

This was against a spot-on UCLA defense who forced the Cardinal into 16 turnovers. 

Three Stanford players scored in double digits as Belibi led the way with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Kiana Williams also chipped in with 10 points. Cameron Brink stepped up big in this matchup coming off the bench, just shy of a double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.  

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