Stanford has found its replacement for legendary head women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer in associate head coach Kate Paye.

The Cardinal confirmed the hiring on Tuesday via a press release. Paye was largely expected to replace the longtime head coach, as the college mentioned they were still negotiating Paye's contract when they announced VanDerveer's retirement.

In Tuesday's statement, Paye reported that she was "humbled" to have been tapped to lead the women’s program.

"Stanford University has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember and I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead its women’s basketball program," Paye said. "I’d first like to thank Tara, who has played such a pivotal role in my career for her friendship and guidance. It’s not what she’s done, but how she’s done it, that has had such a profound impact upon me."

A Woodside, California native, Paye played under VanDerveer from 1992 to 1995, taking home a national title her freshman year. After graduation, Paye briefly joined San Diego State as an assistant coach before making her professional debut with the ABL's Seattle Reign in 1996. After finishing her playing career with the WNBA's Seattle Storm, she joined the team’s coaching staff in 2007 and has been with the organization ever since, picking up another national title win — this time as associate head coach — in 2021. Paye's brother John played quarterback for Stanford from 1983 to 1986, while also serving as a point guard on the basketball team.

In her own response, VanDerveer said that she was "grateful" that Stanford picked Paye to follow in her stead. Last week, the decorated coach stated that this year would be her last after 38 seasons at the helm and three national titles under her belt.

"She has long been ready for this opportunity and is the perfect leader for Stanford at this time of immense change in college athletics," VanDerveer noted. "Kate was the choice for this job and I am confident she will achieve great success as head coach."

No. 6 Stanford staved off Duke last night in overtime, 82-79, courtesy of a career-high scoring night for Cameron Brink.

The star senior dropped 29 points for the Cardinal, nine of those points in overtime, to keep her team undefeated in nonconference play so far this season. Brink also collected 11 rebounds and 6 blocks and went 10-10 from the free-throw line to top off her high scoring night.

Kiki Iriafen also had a standout night for Stanford. She contributed 27 points and 9 rebounds in its gutsy overtime win.

“They gave us all we could ask for and more,” Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer said to the Associated Press. “This game was kind of a heavyweight fight and it was a grind-out game. These are the kind of games that will get us ready for the Pac-12 gauntlet.” 

After showing the Blue Devils everything she could do, Brink expected a warm welcome into the locker room from her teammates.

The 6-foot-4 forward leaped into the locker room and screamed. She closed her eyes and raised her arms to her chest. But the room was silent. 

So Brink bottled her excitement and began to walk to her seat.

Only then did her teammates relent, jumping up around Brink, shouting and showering her in water. The players laughed and celebrated their undefeated record. 

“We’re such a young team, getting a game like this under our belts shows us that we can fight through stuff,” Brink said.

Stanford’s roster will look a lot different this season, but Cameron Brink isn’t worried.

In fact, the senior says her team is in better shape than people might realize. The Cardinal lost several players to graduation, including standout guard Haley Jones to the WNBA Draft and Lauren Betts, the No. 1 recruit in 2022, to rival UCLA in the transfer portal.

The Cardinal won a national championship during Brink’s freshman year in 2021. That created high expectations for a program that, despite making nine Final Fours since 2008, hadn’t won a title since 1992. Then, Stanford went undefeated in conference play in 2021-22 before losing to UConn in the Final Four.

Last season was a disappointment for the Cardinal, as Ole Miss upset the No. 1 seed in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first time since 2007 that Stanford hadn’t made it to the Sweet 16.

That, followed by a slew of transfers, put Stanford and head coach Tara VanDerveer in an unusual position. Now, the storied program must contend with the impending demise of the Pac-12 conference. In the wake of multiple Pac-12 universities agreeing to join other sports conferences in 2024, due in large part to college football media deals, Stanford is in preliminary talks to move to the ACC.

Despite the continuously evolving offseason turmoil, the Cardinal are focused on the upcoming season after reloading with a solid freshman class, according to Brink.

“We’ve done a lot of rebuilding, but I could not be happier with what we have so far,” Brink said during WNBA All-Star weekend last month. “It’s still such early stages, but the freshmen are legit. I’m just so excited to see them grow.”

Stanford signed five-star guard Courtney Ogden, who averaged 21.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game during her senior season at Atlanta’s Westminster School. They also added two four-star players, forward NuNu Agara and guard Chloe Cardy.

Brink, the two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, says she’s been impressed with all three freshmen so far.

“They’re open to learning and are so coachable,” she said. “They have the best attitudes.”

The 21-year-old Brink will be tasked with leading a Stanford team this season against tough competition in the Pac-12 (while the conference still stands). Former teammate Betts’ transfer to UCLA turns the Bruins into a contender full of young talent, while USC landed top recruit JuJu Watkins and Arizona boasts another talented recruiting class led by three five-star recruits.

Colorado and Utah finished first and third in the Pac-12, respectively, last season and return most of their rosters. That includes Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissa Pili for Utah and NCAA Tournament standout Frida Formann for Colorado.

Despite the competition, Brink has confidence in her Stanford squad.

“We are going to be really good,” she said.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

As WNBA training camp begins, colleges are wishing their alumni luck. But Stanford women’s basketball missed one.

Stanford took to Twitter to applaud former Cardinal players who are participating in WNBA training camps, but the program did not include DiJonai Carrington. Carrington played for Stanford for four seasons before transferring to Baylor for her fifth season as a graduate transfer.

The Connecticut Sun guard seemed to laugh at the omission in a Twitter post. She then provided proof of her graduation from the university in response to those who seemingly didn’t believe her.

Fellow players, including WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes, backed her up.

“And did!!! Shame on you @StanfordWBB!” Swoopes wrote.

NaLyssa Smith, who played with Carrington at Baylor, called it “very weird” that her former teammate wasn’t included in Stanford’s well wishes.

“Very weird of y’all to forget @DijonaiVictoria,” she wrote. “But i feel like it starts with the coach, no coach is letting this happen to one of there players 2 years in a row.”

Smith then doubled down, calling it “childish” not to include Carrington.

“Transfer or not once you graduate from the school, you’re forever connected to the school,” she continued. “At the end of the day it’s just childish because they know what they’re doing.”

Former No. 1 recruit Lauren Betts is transferring to UCLA from Stanford, and the balance of women’s basketball power in California could be shifting with her.

With the transfer decision, the Bruins will have the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects from the 2022 class, with Betts joining Bruins guard Kiki Rice.

Rice made the Pac-12 all-freshman team in 2023, averaging 11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists en route to UCLA’s first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2019 — making it one round farther than Stanford, which lost in the second round. UCLA also upset Stanford in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

The addition of a 6-foot-7 center in Betts makes UCLA an even bigger threat in the upcoming season, particularly as seniors Charisma Osborne and Camryn Brown have announced they will be staying for a fifth year.

Osborne originally declared the draft but withdrew her name to stay with the Bruins. She has been a major part of the Bruins lineup, averaging 15.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season.

Additionally, the team will add McDonald’s All-American forward Amanda Muse as a highly-touted recruit.

Former No. 1 overall recruit Lauren Betts is leaving Stanford after one season for in-state rival UCLA, she announced Tuesday via Instagram.

The top recruit in the class of 2022, the 6-foot-7 center played just 9.6 minutes per game for the Cardinal this past season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds.

She entered the transfer portal in early April, several weeks after No. 1 seed Stanford’s shocking exit in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Two other Cardinal players also are in the portal: freshman Indya Nivar and junior Agnes Emma-Nnopu.

While Betts did not post on social media about her transfer, her mother Michelle Betts responded to a post about her daughter’s decision, referencing the plans of the Stanford coaching staff.

“None of you have any idea what they might have planned or not planned for Lauren,” Michelle Betts wrote in a post retweeted by Lauren.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow,” Lauren Betts wrote in her own post announcing her move to UCLA.

UCLA had recruited Betts during her career at Grandview High School in Colorado, as did South Carolina, UConn, Notre Dame and Oregon. While she ended up choosing Stanford out of high school, she’ll head down the California coast to UCLA to continue her career.

Twitter account College Transfer Portal first reported Betts’ transfer decision.

Not even an hour after she was drafted, Haley Jones received a taste of her busy WNBA life.

After the Atlanta Dream selected her with the No. 6 overall pick, the Stanford star was speaking at her post-draft press conference when a reporter brought to her attention a social media post from Dream head coach Tanisha Wright.

“Hey Girl!! Just trying to reach ya to congratulate ya on coming to the A! #PickUpYourPhone @haleyjoness19,” Wright wrote on Twitter.

Jones laughed at the tweet, noting that she forgot to grab her phone when she went up to the stage after her selection.

“Oh my god. Hopefully she’s listening or going to see this interview. I’m so sorry,” she said. “I literally got called. Didn’t even think to grab my phone. I hugged my mom and dad, my brother. So when I get to my phone I will call her back immediately. 

“That is like the worst first impression to have is missing a call from your new boss. The second I get to my phone, no matter how many missed calls I have, missed texts, calling her immediately. But I hope she knows how excited I am to get to the A, make an impact, get to training camp, just get ready to work. I will tell her profusely all of that as soon as we get on the phone.”

The exchange was all in good fun. Wright later tweeted that the team will “make an exception today” for Jones. After all, it was a big night for Jones and the rest of the draftees. 

The 2023 WNBA draft is here, but some big-name prospects are not.

While many of the brightest stars in college basketball having declared for the draft, others have opted to return for another year, taking advantage of the extra year of COVID-19 eligibility. Just Women’s Sports takes a look at some of those who are running it back.

Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

Rickea Jackson became the first domino to fall in the list of players opting out of the 2023 draft, announcing her intention to return to the Vols before the NCAA Tournament even began.

Before her decision, she was projected as the No. 3 overall pick by Just Women’s Sports analyst Rachel Galligan, making her choice all the more surprising. But her return is big for Tennessee, as the first-team All-SEC selection led the team with 19.6 points per game while adding 6.2 rebounds per game.

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech

Kitley announced her decision to return in the middle of the national championship game, but it still counted as headline news for Virginia Tech fans.

A former five-star recruit and two-time ACC Player of the Year, Kitley led the Hokies in points, rebounds and blocks per game last season as Virginia Tech made its Final Four run. She’s also the all-time leading scorer in program history.

Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech

Georgia Amoore is another Virginia Tech senior who opted to run it back, meaning that three of the Hokies’ starting five players will take the court together next season.

Amoore had a standout regular season, averaging 16.1 points and 5.1 assists while leading the team to the ACC tournament title. She’s better against better opponents, making her decision to stay a good sign for the Hokies.

Charisma Osborne, UCLA

While Charisma Osborne opted into the 2023 WNBA draft, she later withdrew her name, instead electing to use her extra year of eligibility. As reported by the New York Times, she even was told by a WNBA coach that the decision to remain an extra year could be a smart move.

Osborne will provide a boost for UCLA, as she has averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game throughout her first four years with the Bruins. She also helped the team to a Sweet 16 appearance this year, and will link up with freshman point guard Kiki Rice next year.

Sedona Prince, TCU

Sedona Prince is another player who withdrew her name from WNBA draft consideration. Prince missed their redshirt senior season with an elbow injury and had planned to exhaust their remaining NCAA eligibility to pursue a professional career.

But those plans have changed, as Prince withdrew their name from the draft. She also entered her name into the transfer portal and is headed to TCU with two years of eligibility remaining.

Ashley Owusu, transfer portal

Despite reports that she might enter the WNBA draft, Virginia Tech shooting guard Ashley Owusu has opted to remain in the NCAA. But the former Maryland standout is once again in the transfer portal after spending the second half of the season on the Hokies’ bench.

Cameron Brink, Stanford

There was never a question about whether or not Cameron Brink would return for her senior season at Stanford, despite the fact that she is eligible for the 2023 WNBA draft by a single day. As Brink told reporters last October, college is “fun.”

“Why not stay?” she asked. “I think I want to stay just because I want to just continue to be a kid. Finish my degree in four years, not rush myself.”

Chaos was the theme of Sunday and Monday’s Round of 32 matchups, with Ole Miss topping No. 1 Stanford, Miami beating No. 1 Indiana and Colorado taking down No. 3 Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s how each of those underdogs got it done, and what their chances are as the bracket turns to the Sweet 16.

(8) Ole Miss 54, (1) Stanford 49

The Rebels got the upset party started by defeating Stanford 54-49 on Sunday, and they did it with defense. Stanford never led and only tied the game once when Cameron Brink hit two free throws with 1:16 left to play, evening the score at 49. Ole Miss controlled the game by never letting Stanford get comfortable. The Cardinal turned the ball over 21 times, their second-highest mark of the season, including three turnovers in the final 21 seconds. Those last few possessions were crucial to securing the victory, but Ole Miss kept the pressure on all game.

The game also marked Stanford’s second-lowest points total of the season (before that, they recorded their fewest points and most turnovers in a loss to USC on Jan 15). Ole Miss also held Stanford to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and just 28.6 percent from the 3-point line. That 3-point defense has been the Rebels’ calling card all season, with the team holding opponents to 24.8 percent from beyond the arc. They did it to the extreme in the first round, limiting Gonzaga — who typically shoot an NCAA-best 40.5 percent from 3 — to a 1-for-17 performance.

As Ole Miss contested every shot, the Cardinal struggled to share the scoring load, with only Brink and Haley Jones reaching double figures. The Rebels’ high-pressure defense combined with timely 3-point shooting (5-for-11) allowed them to secure the upset.

Going forward

The Rebels take on Louisville in the Sweet 16 (Friday, 10 p.m. ET) and will rely on the same defensive formula. The Cardinals have skilled, experienced guards who should be able to handle the pressure, whereas Stanford’s primary ball-handler was freshman Telana Lepolo. Still, Ole Miss will be a hard out for anyone in the tournament since they are capable of rattling even the most experienced players. Louisville will have to control the ball and the tempo, while also limiting Ole Miss’ talented guard duo of Marquesha Davis and Angel Baker.

(9) Miami 70, (1) Indiana 68

The Hurricanes’ upset of Indiana was perhaps even bigger than Ole Miss’ win over Stanford. Here’s why: Ole Miss had to create extreme circumstances in which the Cardinal turned the ball over and couldn’t hit a shot in order to win. Miami, meanwhile, just did everything better than Indiana.

All season, the Hoosiers have been known for their post play thanks to the dominance of Mackenzie Holmes. The senior averaged 22.3 points per game while shooting an efficient 68 percent from the field. Holmes racked up 22 points in this game, but Miami still found away to exploit Indiana in the paint — on the other end of the floor. Lola Pendande (6-4) and Destiny Harden (6-0) overpowered the Hoosiers defense, finding a mismatch in whichever player Holmes wasn’t guarding. It allowed them to score 19 and 18 points, respectively.

In the backcourt, Miami also found a way to score when Indiana was not. The Hurricanes forced just seven turnovers, but they did keep the Hoosiers guards uncomfortable. They limited Yarden Garzon to 10 points, Chloe Moore-Mcneil to nine and Sydney Parrish to four. Meanwhile, Grace Berger scored 17 points, but did so on 6-for-16 shooting from the floor.

Going forward

Miami will be able to attack the paint in a similar way against Villanova (Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET), as the Wildcats don’t have size inside to defend Pendande and Harden. Sophomore forward Christina Dalce is their tallest starter at 6-foot-2, while Maddy Siegrist is next at 6-1. On defense, don’t expect the Hurricanes to stop Siegrist, a dynamic scorer who is averaging an NCAA-leading 29.2 points per game. But if Miami can limit the rest of Villanova’s lineup, then the Hurricanes will have a good chance at a victory. After that, things would get tougher, as No. 3 LSU or No. 2 Utah awaits the victor.

(6) Colorado 61, (3) Duke 53

A 6-seed over a 3-seed isn’t as big of an upset as a 9 or an 8 over a 1, but Colorado’s accomplishment is still a big deal, mainly because many experts across the country had the Buffs losing to Middle Tennessee in the first round. Instead, they beat Middle Tennessee and then topped one of the ACC’s best teams in Duke.

Duke’s Celeste Taylor was the best defender on the floor, finishing with 10 steals, 10 rebounds, eight assists and eight points. But as a team, Colorado got the better of the Blue Devils defensively. In the overtime win, the Buffs held Duke to 31.7 percent shooting from the floor and 21.7 percent from the 3-point line.

On offense, Colorado had a major advantage with Quay Miller and Aaronette Vonleh. No one on Duke’s roster could handle Vonleh’s pure strength on the inside, leading to 12 points. The Blue Devils also didn’t have an answer for Miller, who at 6-3 can play inside or outside, creating a mismatch for whoever is guarding her. Miller finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the win.

Going forward

Next up for the Buffs is Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET). While Clark will undeniably be the best player on the floor, the Buffs can exploit the same matchup they did against Duke. Iowa will struggle to find a defensive game plan for Miller, and Iowa’s secondary scorer, Monika Czinano, will face an even tougher challenge against Vohleh and Miller on the inside. If Colorado is to win this game, they won’t do it by stopping Clark. Instead, they have to limit the rest of the Hawkeyes while exploiting their own defensive matchups.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

When Haley Jones was being recruited in high school, several coaches tried to dissuade her from picking Stanford.

“You’ll get a Stanford degree, but you’ll never win a national championship,” they told her.

What they didn’t realize is you don’t tell Haley Jones she can’t do something. Their attempts to bring her to their programs only solidified her decision.

“I think I can do both,” Haley told them.

So, Haley committed to Stanford. And with poise and determination, she got the title. She’s about to get her degree, and before going out, she wants one more championship with the Cardinal.

She never feared failure. Not then, not now. Not even when she was a little girl.

Her parents, Monique and Patrick, were both high school basketball coaches. Haley’s introduction to basketball came on the sidelines, where she would goof around with her older brother, Cameron.

Eventually, she graduated to participating in drills and watching intently as her parents drew up plays.

Then, one summer, Monique had her team playing in a tournament. They were short on players, so she asked the opposing coach if Haley could fill in.

He looked at the little girl and asked her: “Are you sure?”

By the end of the game, Monique’s high school players were chanting, “HA-LEY, HA-LEY, HA-LEY,” as she dominated the competition.

Haley showed a natural inclination for the sport at a young age. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

When the final whistle blew, the opposing coach approached Monique with a bewildered look on his face.

“How old did you say she was?” he asked.

Haley was 10.

It was then that Monique knew. Her little girl could handle anything.

Every day since then, Haley has approached her life, on and off the court, like she did that game: Like a 10-year-old giving buckets to a 17-year-old.

Without fear.


Haley’s childhood was centered on movement.

She had a never-ending supply of energy, so Monique and Patrick were always searching for ways to tire her out.

Monique remembers her husband researching trampolines when Haley was little. He knew it would be a good way for Haley to expend some energy, but he also wanted the safest option.

They settled on one that was enclosed, with high nets, so Haley couldn’t hurt herself. Patrick stuck it in the backyard where they could see it from the kitchen window. Then, in the evenings, they’d flip on the light and watch as Haley jumped for hours.

They also enrolled Haley in gymnastics, unaware that she would grow to be 6-foot-1, and the sport became Haley’s first passion.

But by the time she was 9, Haley already had size eight feet that barely fit on the balance beam. She knew she would have to give it up, but Haley didn’t simply quit. She went out a winner.

Haley always excelled at her tricks, but little mistakes kept her from taking first in her meets. Monique laughs when she recalls how Haley would run off the mat, forgetting to cap her routine with a salute, only to be reprimanded by her coach. She’d run back smiling, salute and run off once more.

So when it came time for her final meet, Monique expected more of the same. She and Patrick had to take Cameron to one of his many activities, so they asked Haley’s grandmother to accompany Haley to her last meet.

When it was over, Monique got a phone call from her mother-in-law. Haley had won the whole meet, then apologetically told her coaches that she would no longer be pursuing gymnastics.

“I went out as a state champion,” Haley says with a laugh.

And when her time in a leotard came to an end, Haley didn’t mourn its loss. Instead, she turned to other sports and activities: water polo, soccer, junior lifeguarding, swimming, golf, volleyball and, of course, basketball.

Patrick and Monique are high school sweethearts who met when Monique moved to California from Georgia. They both played basketball, and as their relationship progressed, so did their involvement in the sport. They worked together as high school coaches until Haley started ninth grade.

Through her parents, Haley became interested in the game on a level that transcended simply burning energy. By the time the 10-year-old was filling in during summer scrimmages, she was also a student of the game.

In the evenings, Monique and Patrick would sit at the dinner table drawing up plays, and Haley and Cameron would join. They used a specific teaching style: “Say it, see it, do it,” that allowed their kids to fully grasp whatever concept the two were working on. They taught them things like Read and React and the Princeton offense.

Then, when Haley got to basketball practice, she wanted to polish her new skills. But her parents never dumbed anything down for their kids.

“You think we are going to lower the hoop? No ma’am. There is no lower the hoop,” Monique says. “You’re strong enough, you’re going to work on this.”

Haley, pictured with her mom Monique, was full of energy as a child. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

They practiced right-handed layups, left-handed layups, free throws, 3-pointers, dribble moves. Anything and everything that Haley could learn, she did with ferocity. And when Monique was short on players, it was always Haley she called on to fill in.

She remembers watching Haley run her team’s offense when she was in elementary school. Haley dribbled across halfcourt and proudly called out the set, her little-kid voice echoing throughout the gym.

Haley spent a lot of her time training with the high-school girls even though she couldn’t actually compete with them. At 10, she was already better than girls who were years older than her, and by middle school, Haley was well on her way to competing with USA Basketball and becoming the country’s top high school recruit.

The discrepancy between Haley’s talent and her teammates’ was obvious, but she never cared.

In middle school, Haley attended a small, Catholic school. Her eighth-grade class had 16 students — eight boys and eight girls — and in order to field a basketball team, all eight girls had to play. Some of them had never touched a basketball before.

One girl had a habit of tying her shoes while her team was in the middle of a fast break. Haley would call out to her, never in anger but with encouragement: “Come on,” she’d say, “You can do this!”

In those games, it was Haley’s mission to get every player a basket. Sometimes she’d have to grab six offensive rebounds on one possession, but to her, that was no trouble.

“She would literally be spoon-feeding her teammates under the basket,” Monique says with a laugh.

Despite appearances, Haley was already a fierce competitor. But she knew there was a time and a place for it.

Going at someone who wasn’t on her level, or screaming at teammates who’d never played basketball before didn’t make sense. Haley knew how to turn it on and off.

Unless someone tried to take advantage of one of her teammates. Then it was game on.

“If someone is trying to get their shine by taking on the complete underdog, then Haley is going to completely go after you,” Monique says.


By the time Haley was 16, every college in the country wanted her on their team. Today, positionless basketball is more commonplace in the women’s game, but back then, Haley was being heralded as one of the first truly positionless players.

At 16, she was already changing the game.

“She’s like a unicorn in women’s basketball,” says roommate and former Stanford player Jordan Hamilton. “She can play one through five, and she’s a great basketball player because she doesn’t put herself in a box.”

Nowadays, if you watch Stanford, every time a player subs in, Haley looks to the bench to find out what role she will be taking on in the current lineup. With one substitution, Haley can go from running the point to posting up inside.

If there was one word to describe Haley Jones, “versatile” might be it. And not just because of what she does on the basketball court.

Since she was little, Haley was never concerned with specializing. And even when the world was looking at her as the best basketball player in the country, Haley didn’t see herself as a basketball player.

The idea that there is more to her life than what she does on the court is freeing to Haley.

“I never get caught up in one thing,” she says. “If I play a bad game, I’m never like, ‘I need to lay in my bed for two days because I’ve got nothing.’ It’s like, OK, the ball didn’t go in. But you have practice tomorrow and you can get it together tomorrow.”

Haley says she “hates losing more than she loves winning,” but she doesn’t let losses define her. Still, there are some that have stuck with her.

There is still minor annoyance in her voice when she brings up the fact that she never won a state championship as a high school basketball player (apparently the third-grade gymnastics title wasn’t quite good enough).

And Stanford’s loss to UConn in last year’s Final Four hurts her. The Cardinal missed out on a chance to compete for another title after one of their worst shooting performances of the season resulted in a 63-58 loss. They made just 34.8% of their attempts while shooting 17.4% from the 3-point line and 61.5% from the free-throw line.

Haley uses Stanford's loss to UConn in the 2022 Final Four as motivation. (Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Haley still remembers her interview with Holly Rowe at halftime of that game.

Addressing her as “Miss Holly,” Haley didn’t hold back.

“We just played our worst half of basketball all season and we are only down one,” she said.

Haley went into the locker room and relayed the same point to her teammates.

“I’m like, ‘Ladies, that sucked, and we are down one point. If we play 1% better, I bet we can pull it off,’” she recalls. “But they rose to the occasion and we didn’t. And that made it tough to swallow.”

There’s so much to learn from losses, Haley says.

After losing her final game in high school, she used it as motivation heading into her freshman year at Stanford. Last year’s tournament loss taught her to never let the buzzer sound on regrets.

“Personally, I felt like I had more to give, whether that had been defensive aggressiveness, diving on the ground for loose balls, playing through contact,” she says. “I felt like I had more in the tank. This season, I’m leaving it all out there.”

It’s already been a challenging season, with seven Pac-12 teams earning bids to the NCAA Tournament, setting a new record and showcasing the depth of the conference. Last year, Stanford went into March Madness after going undefeated in conference play and winning the Pac-12 tournament. This time around, Stanford dropped three games in conference (to USC, Washington and Utah) and exited the Pac-12 tournament early, with a semifinal loss to UCLA.

Coach Tara VanDerveer and Haley have similar approaches when it comes to the challenges of losing. There is more to be gained than lost in a defeat.

“I feel like we are really ready for the tournament because of the great competition in the Pac-12,” Vanderveer said during a SiriusXM radio interview on Tuesday.

The difficult conference slate created more opportunities for growth, and that’s something Haley will never shy away from.

In high school, she commuted nearly an hour from their home in Santa Cruz to Archbishop Mitty in San Jose. It was the best opportunity for her to learn and grow as a student and a player, so she took it.

When she got to Stanford, Haley latched onto the older, more experienced players. She learned everything she could from people like Anna Wilson and Nadia Fingall, both of whom she still seeks out for advice today.

Wilson taught her about hard work, perseverance and playing with passions. Fingall was the motherly figure on the team, always making sure the younger players had rides when they needed them and someone to talk to if they were homesick.

Now, Haley talks about Wilson and Fingall in the same way Haley’s teammates talk about her. And in her four years, Haley’s natural leadership skills have grown even stronger.

“She always knows what a person needs,” Hamilton says. “So if she has a teammate that needs extra study sessions, she’s going to go with her. If there is a teammate who needs to see her lead by example, you’ll see her coming out of practice with bruises from diving on the floor.”

Jones and Stanford teammate Hannah Jump (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Haley gets a lot of that from her parents, who are educators by nature and by trade. And part of teaching is learning how to approach each person. Haley uses different leadership styles depending on which teammate she’s interacting with. Some like it when she gets in their face, others need a more gentle approach. Haley is open to anything. Whatever is best for them and for the team works for her.

She is also big on feedback. If she and a teammate don’t connect on a pass during practice, there is no moving on to the next play and forgetting about it. Haley wants to know why it happened.

“Did I throw it too high? Too far? Too hard? How can we make it work next time?”

It’s never, “You messed up;” it’s, “How can we fix this together?”


A perfect day for Haley must have three things: a new food, a new activity and stimulating conversation.

Like exploring a new dumpling spot in San Francisco, and then falling on her butt while roller-skating. She’ll end the day talking to her favorite people. No small talk, though — Haley wants to know about existential crises and how people choose to exist in the world.

Her life is all about learning.

“All my hobbies revolve around me trying new things,” she says.

Lately, Haley has gotten into baking. She makes chai banana muffins and has perfected a cinnamon roll recipe so good that she says her mom stole it.

She journals at night, and her favorite part of the day is her skincare routine. In school, Haley’s favorite class is Arabic — though her mom jokes it’s just because she can say whatever she wants without her parents catching on.

Recently, Haley has started to expand the business side of her life as well.

She hosts a podcast with The Players Tribune, called “Sometimes I Hoop,” where she has guests from her friend and South Carolina player Aliyah Boston, to Monique and other basketball moms. Haley is studying communication, with the hope of going into broadcasting someday.

And like most things in her life, Haley has a talent for it.

There aren’t many things she’s bad at. Bowling comes to mind, though that’s only partly true because, according to Hamilton, Haley can get on a roll where she scores only strikes and spares.

The senior finds joy in music and associates different songs with different moments in her life. Gospel music means cleaning. That’s what played growing up when her mom knocked on Haley’s bedroom door, vacuum in hand. When she hears Stevie Wonder, Haley thinks of her dad — his music of choice during car rides to games or events.

Curating playlists for friends is one of her love languages, but singing is something she’s actually bad at.

“I’m tone deaf,” Haley says with a laugh.

But she only knows that because she’s tried it. That’s another thing about Haley. She lives without fear of failure. And that has led her to discover so many passions, and so many talents.

That’s a big reason why Haley picked Stanford.

“I’m not going to play basketball for 50 freaking years, and who would want to?” she says with a laugh. “There are so many things I’d love to do and love to try. I don’t want to get caught up in just one thing.”

Through all her new experiences, there is one thing Haley refuses to do, and that’s be disingenuous. From her “winning hair,” as she calls it— Haley wore the long, bouncy tendrils when Stanford won the title in 2021, so now she keeps it all season — to her social media accounts, Haley is proud to be authentically herself.

Haley with her NCAA championship ring
Haley and brother Cameron (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

She won’t take an NIL deal or a partnership if “the vibes are bad,” or if she gets the sense that a company just wants to use her name but doesn’t want to hear her input. And her social media strategy is the same as it was when she first created accounts in her early teens.

“I don’t curate my content,” Haley says. “For me, when I think about when I first got social media when I was in seventh or eighth grade, it was a place for me to connect with my friends and show them what I was doing. And as social media grew, I think that kind of left for a lot of people, but I’ve tried to keep it as the main reason I use it.”

She also knows that part of being a basketball player today is having a platform and using it. For Haley, that means representing young Black and biracial kids, particularly young girls. It’s a big responsibility, but one she takes great pride in.

It’s a part of her life she’s long been aware of. Patrick is white and Monique is Black, so as soon as their kids were old enough to understand, they started having conversations about race and society.

“Haley loves her dad and takes pride in her dad,” Monique says. “She embraces that she is a biracial, mixed female, but, when society looks at her, they see a Black female. And that means she has to work twice as hard.”

Haley with her family: father Patrick, mother Monique and brother Cameron (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

It also means less room for mistakes, something Haley feels every time she posts on social media.

“I understand that the way I am taken is going to impact how these young Black kids behind me are taken,” she says. “That is a big weight on my shoulders, but it’s one that I invite and embrace.”


Haley’s older brother, Cameron, has always been her fiercest supporter. When they were growing up, kids would try to make fun of him by pointing out that Haley was the athlete of the family.

He didn’t care.

“Yeah she is,” Haley remembers him saying. “And you’re jealous.”

Then, when they got to high school, none of Cameron’s friends watched girls’ basketball. He changed that quickly by bringing them to all of Haley’s games. Now, as an assistant coach at Colorado College, he hosts Stanford watch parties for his players, so they too can see the wonder that is Haley Jones on a basketball court.

Haley has always known that no matter what was going on in her life, Cameron would have her back. She may be fearless, but he’s also her safety net.

On Feb. 20, Haley celebrated Senior Night at Stanford with a signature performance, scoring 18 points, grabbing six rebounds, recording three steals and blocking a shot.

Cameron flew in from Colorado Springs for the occasion.

Haley had no idea he was coming. When she laid eyes on her brother, she started to cry.

And he wasn’t the only one who showed up for her.

Her best friend flew in from UCLA. Cameron’s friends from high school, who all grew to love Haley like their own little sister, were there, too. Even her kindergarten teacher showed up.

In total, 150 people were in the stands, just for her.

“She’s touched so many people,” Monique says.

Haley had 150 people come out to support her on Stanford's Senior Night this year. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

In four years at Stanford, Haley has won a national title, and in the next month, she hopes to win another. She’s been a starter and a key contributor in all four seasons, doing a little bit of everything for the Cardinal.

She’s helped bring positionless basketball to the forefront of the women’s game, and in April she’s projected to be a top-five draft pick in the WNBA.

Her already long list of accomplishments is just the beginning.

There’s nothing she won’t try, and nothing she can’t do.

That’s the power of Haley Jones.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.