Former Stanford leading-scorer Kiki Iriafen is set to join star rising sophomore JuJu Watkins at USC next year, reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. 

The 6-foot-3 forward is coming off a breakout season with the Cardinal, where the then-junior led Stanford to the Sweet 16 with an average of 19.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Walking away with the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player award and a spot on the All-Pac-12 team, Iriafen entered the portal at the close of last season and was subsequently ranked second on ESPN’s 2024-2025 transfer ranking list.

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At USC, Iriafen will play out her senior year alongside the Women's Basketball Coaches Association’s 2024 National Freshman of the Year JuJu Watkins, forming what could be an explosive partnership for the Trojans as they look to build momentum going into next season. The Southern California side advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994 this year, ultimately falling to UConn in a heated 80-73 battle.

Iriafen wasn’t the only one making choices this past week. LSU guard Hailey Van Lith officially announced her own transfer to TCU on Friday, while Princeton standout Kaitlyn Chen committed to UConn for her final year of college eligibility. Other big names still weighing their options are Oregon State's Talia Von Oelhoffen and Raegan Beers, as well as UNC's Deja Kelly.

With conference realignment on the horizon and team fit a contending factor, the NCAA women's basketball transfer portal has been busier than ever. And while transfers can bolster many types of college programs, this particular offseason has seen talent-rich programs growing even richer.

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."

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer became the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history on Sunday.

The Cardinal defeated Oregon State 65-56, giving VanDerveer her 1,203rd career victory. She passed former Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I’m very appreciative of all the great players I’ve coached and the great places I’ve been and the attention this brought to women’s basketball,” VanDerveer said. “I’m not always really comfortable in the limelight, but I understand that that kind of goes with the job.”

Following the game, Krzyzewski congratulated VanDerveer in a statement, after having held the record since 2019.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for Tara VanDerveer, who is already one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of basketball. This is yet another milestone to add to an amazing legacy,” Krzyzewski said. “More important than all the astounding numbers and career accomplishments, she’s positively impacted countless lives as a coach and a mentor. Tara remains a true guardian of our sport.”

Whether or not VanDerveer holds on to the record will be determined by how long she stays coaching. UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma trails her by seven wins and is the third-winningest NCAA basketball coach. The deciding factor for who will finish on top could wing up being who simply stays in coaching the longest.

VanDerveer has been a head coach at the collegiate level since 1978. She began her head coaching career at Idaho before heading to Ohio State. She’s been head coach of Stanford since 1985, an astounding 38 seasons.

In that time, she’s won three NCAA tournament titles, including Stanford’s most recent in 2021. She’s coached the Cardinal to 13 Final Four appearances and 14 Pac-12 Conference tournament championships.

Already, VanDerveer has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. She also coached the 1996 Olympic women’s national team to a gold medal.

“I like to say that I’ve never felt that coaching basketball was a j-o-b, job,” she said. “I can’t wait to come into the gym. I love coming to practice, love coming to the games and it’s fun. I get to wear sneakers to practice and the games, and all of you, our fans, are so fantastic.”

Roughly 30 of her former players – including Jayne Appel, Jennifer Azzi, Ros Gold-Onwude and Chiney Ogwumike – were in attendance.

“I told our team, I said, ‘This is what feels like winning a national championship,'” VanDerveer said of the win in front of a home crowd. “You’re just so excited and you’re so happy. I would like to build on this and get better.”

Florida State women’s soccer won its fourth national championship — and third in the last six years — on Monday night, with a dominant 5-1 win over Stanford.

The five goals are the most in a women’s championship game since 2003, and the most that the Cardinal have allowed since 2000. Stanford hadn’t conceded five or more goals in a game since 1996, and the 2023 team had allowed just 10 goals all season.

With the win, Florida State (22-0-1) became the first undefeated NCAA women’s soccer champion since Stanford went 23-0 in 2011. The game also marked the first time in history two undefeated teams met in the women’s College Cup final.

Stanford became the first team to score on the Seminoles in the NCAA Tournament when midfielder Maya Doms broke through in the 52nd minute, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Florida State’s offensive onslaught.

Monday night’s College Cup final was billed as an offensive-defensive battle: Stanford entered the championship allowing just 0.42 goals per game this season, while Florida State had the top scoring offense in the country, with goals in 34 straight games.

Freshman Jody Brown registered a brace, while senior Beata Olsson had a goal and two assists. Onyi Echegeni — a senior midfielder and member of the Nigerian national team — and freshman Jordynn Dudley each recorded a goal and an assist in the win.

Dudley, who scored her 14th goal of the season on Monday, earned College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors, and junior defender Lauren Flynn was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. The title was the first for FSU second-year head coach Brian Pensky, who succeeded legendary coach Mark Krikorian.

The Seminoles are now second all-time in Division I women’s soccer history with four national championships, surpassing Stanford and trailing only North Carolina (21).

The 2023 NCAA College Cup kicks off on Friday, with Florida State, Clemson, BYU and Stanford battling for a spot in this year’s national championship game. In many ways, these final four teams follow the arc of the regular season. In total, the semifinalists have lost just five games and two of the teams are undefeated.

Outside of reigning champion UCLA’s shocking ouster in the first round of this year’s tournament, the semifinals are full of powerhouse teams featuring numerous players with professional careers in front of them.

Nearly every starter on these four teams has a shot at the pro level, and increasingly in both the NWSL and beyond, those opportunities are not reserved for graduating seniors. Here are a few of the upperclassmen (and one underclassman) worth watching in the semifinals, some more well-known than others but all serious professional prospects.

Jasmine Aikey, Midfielder, Stanford

Stanford briefly lost their way after winning the 2019 national championship, but in 2023, they’ve been rejuvenated by the success of their recent recruiting classes. Sophomore Jasmine Aikey, the only underclassman on this list, has turned heads on her way to being named a MAC Hermann semifinalist. She leads the undefeated Cardinal in goals (11) and assists (10). And in this year’s NCAA Tournament, she’s played facilitator, currently on a four-game streak with at least one assist.

Maya Doms, Forward, Stanford

Fifth-year senior Maya Doms is one of the final connectors between the 2023 Stanford team and the squad that won the 2019 NCAA championship in her freshman year. She’s captained the team since 2022, providing both the chance-creating talent and leadership qualities that have led the Cardinal to an undefeated season. She’s scored 10 goals and registered six assists in the Stanford attack, including a dramatic strike in overtime against Nebraska last week that sent her team to the College Cup. She also recently spent time with the USWNT U-23s, teaming up with a number of players already succeeding in the NWSL.

Onyi Echegini, Midfield, Florida State

Born and raised in England and already featuring for the Nigeria national team, including at the 2023 World Cup, senior Onyi Echegini should garner heavy interest across the pond after closing out her final year of eligibility. She’s scored 15 goals and contributed four assists for the Seminoles this season. She can make runs in behind the defense and make backlines pay from distance. Echegini’s pure striking ability and poise in front of goal is also among the best in the entire college system.

Taylor Huff, Midfielder, Florida State

Junior Taylor Huff, playing in her first season with the Seminoles after transferring from Tennessee, can sometimes fall under the radar, but she has been a consistent midfield engine since her arrival. She leads the team in assists with 13, keeping the Seminoles’ vaunted attack humming with ease. Florida State has executed two big wins so far in the NCAA Tournament, most recently with Huff opening the scoring in a 3-0 defeat of Pitt in the Elite Eight.

Makenna Morris leads Clemson in goals this season from defense. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Makenna Morris, Defender, Clemson

Don’t let senior Makenna Morris’s position fool you because she’s a proven goal-scorer. Doing it all for the Tigers, Morris has notched 10 goals this year, the second-most for a defender in NCAA history. And she didn’t reach that tally by taking lucky shots from distance. Morris has keen off-the-ball vision to find good positions in front of goal, and she’s just as capable of collecting and sinking a through-pass as she is defending on the other end. She’s the kind of fearless, multi-talented player who can propel a team to a title game.

Megan Bornkamp, Forward, Clemson

Senior Megan Bornkamp will also be crucial to the Tigers’ shot at their first-ever NCAA title game. Another player with USWNT U-23 experience, Bornkamp started her college career as a defender but has since flourished in the Clemson attack, most notably scoring the late equalizer in Clemson’s Round of 16 win over Georgia. She consistently produces high-quality scoring chances, and she has functioned as much as a playmaker as an out-and-out scorer in 2023.

Brecken Mozingo, Midfielder, BYU

Senior Brecken Mozingo is the complete package of an attacking midfielder, leading BYU’s balanced attack with a whopping 14 goals and 15 assists this season. She’s the Cougars’ primary penalty taker, going 5-for-5 on the season, and she has shown a skill for reading the field with a calm mind. Mozingo notched a goal and an assist in BYU’s furious 4-3 comeback against North Carolina in the Elite Eight, and fans can expect to see her pulling the strings in the College Cup.

Olivia Wade-Katoa, Midfielder, BYU

Senior Olivia Wade-Katoa works alongside Mozingo in perfect tandem, contributing 12 goals and eight assists of her own in 2023. None were more crucial than her strike in the second-to-last minute of the Elite Eight, giving the Cougars their improbable 4-3 victory over the Tar Heels. Wade-Katoa has the mentality of a college veteran, coming in clutch multiple times this season to provide game-winning goals. Look for her to combine with Mozingo to try to launch BYU into their second title game in the last three years.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

The NCAA volleyball tournament has arrived, with Nebraska locking up the No. 1 overall seed.

The five-time national champion Cornhuskers lead a contingent of stacked No. 1 seeds, including 2021 title winner Wisconsin, nine-time champion Stanford and Pitt.

No. 2 seeds include Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and 2022 champion Texas, while Arkansas, Creighton, Purdue and Tennessee enter as No. 3 seeds. Rounding out the top four seeds are BYU, Florida, Kansas and Washington State.

A total of 64 teams will compete in the tournament. The field includes first-timers in Omaha, Coppin State, Wofford and Grand Canyon.

Penn State is in the tournament for the 43rd time. The Nittany Lions are the only program to appear in the tournament every single year. Nebraska and Stanford each have made 42 appearances and Hawai’i has made 41, while defending national champion Texas has made 40.

The SEC leads all conferences with eight teams, while the Big 12 has seven teams and the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five.

For the first time, the championship match will be televised on ABC, taking place at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 17.

Check out the full bracket here. The full schedule for first round matches – including time of matches – is here.

NCAA women’s volleyball tournament: Schedule

  • First and second rounds: Thursday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 3
  • Regionals: Thursday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 9
  • Semifinals: Thursday, Dec. 14 — 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Championship: Sunday, Dec. 17 — 3 p.m. ET on ABC

The 2023 College Cup is here, with three of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA soccer tournament making it through to the semifinals.

Top seeds Florida State, Clemson and BYU have reached the final weekend, as well as No. 2 seed Stanford. BYU advanced only after a shocking come-from-behind victory over perennial power North Carolina, which had taken a three-goal lead into the half. The Cougars responded, rattling off four unanswered goals to advance.

“I’ve never seen that in my life,” UNC coach Anson Dorrance said. “That was just an extraordinary comeback for a great team. They came after us.”

In the semifinal round, Florida State will face Clemson in a rematch of the ACC Tournament championship, which the Seminoles won 2-1. They also won their earlier meeting with the Tigers back in September. BYU will go up against Stanford in the other semifinal.

This year’s College Cup will take place in Cary, North Carolina, at WakeMed Soccer Park. The first semifinal will be played at 6 p.m. ET Friday, Dec. 1, with the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be televised on ESPNU.

The national championship will kick off at 6 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 5. The championship match also will be televised on ESPNU.

2023 College Cup: Schedule and results

Friday, Dec. 1:

  • 6 p.m. ET – No. 1 Florida State (20-0-1) vs. No. 1 Clemson (18-3-4)
  • 8:30 p.m. ET – No. 2 Stanford (19-0-4) vs. No. 1 BYU (20-2-3)

Monday, Dec. 4:

  • 6 p.m. ET – TBD vs. TBD

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.

A lot has changed for Haley Jones since she graduated from Stanford and was selected by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Draft.

She left California after “basically growing up on the beach,” as she describes it, and started a new life on the other side of the country. She swapped a regimented student-athlete lifestyle for a professional one with more responsibilities and more free time. And she’s learning to play a new role on a new team.

But one thing has stayed the same. On and off the court, Jones is still marked by versatility. She’s never liked being put in a box, and she still doesn’t.

“I still grind, I get in the gym, I do my thing,” she said. “But having that holistic view is just a piece that makes up who I am.”

That mindset has helped Jones approach basketball with joy and a relaxed attitude throughout her career, something she admits got lost during her first couple of months in the WNBA. The process of becoming a professional requires a big learning curve, and while Jones quickly adapted to her life off the court — getting into pilates and exploring Atlanta in her free time — the basketball aspect became a challenge.

Jones says she came into training camp tense, and it took a while to shake that feeling.

“I’m lighthearted, I’m always this upbeat type of person and I like to play loose and free. That’s when I play my best,” she said. “But I think when I got to the league, I just started putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

Jones also faced outside pressure entering the draft, having to answer to critics who questioned some of the limitations of her game, including her 3-point shot. Jones averaged 21.9 percent from deep during her college career, going 3-for-32 during her senior season. So far in the WNBA, she’s gone 5-for-22 from the 3-point line.

“A lot of people did talk about what I can’t do, downsides of my game, whatever it may be,” Jones said on draft night. “I think people are going to pick and choose what to focus on, but I know what I bring to the table, and I’m excited to get to Atlanta and show them why they picked me.”

Once the season started, the sixth overall draft pick was playing with and against icons of the game, and she started to wonder where she fit in and even if she could match up at all. The entire team noticed. Rhyne Howard, who played in the USA Basketball system with Jones, and coach Tanisha Wright, who previously played in the WNBA and knew Jones had the talent to compete, rallied around the rookie. They gave her the space she needed to make mistakes and grow.

Jones remembers one game against Connecticut early in the season, when she had a bad first quarter that included turnovers on back-to-back possessions.

“I was about to have a breakdown,” she said.

Wright subbed her out, and Jones was ready to get an earful.

She didn’t get one. Instead, Wright told her to take a breath and get ready to go back in. That was it.

Jones responded by recording a team-high nine assists to help the Dream close out a road win.

Jones, the 2023 sixth overall draft pick, has gradually acclimated to WNBA life as a rookie. (Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

That moment helped, but it wasn’t the start of a complete turnaround for Jones. The season has been a learning process, especially as injuries have cycled Jones in and out of the starting lineup. But now, the 22-year-old guard says she’s starting to feel comfortable on a WNBA court.

“More recently, I’ve really started to feel more confident in my play, getting looser out there,” she said. “I’m figuring out what my role is.”

The Dream have played Jones exclusively at the point guard spot, a change from a college career that saw her playing all over the court. But according to the guard, the flow of offense isn’t much different.

“It’s different when I’m being picked up by like a 5-7 point guard the entire game,” she said. “But once we get into the halfcourt, I feel that same free flow that I felt in the past because of the way that our offense runs. I think anybody can really be in any spot.”

Jones is averaging 15.7 minutes, 3.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Dream, who are in fifth place in the WNBA standings at 15-14.

And while she continues to find her footing on the court, Jones has settled seamlessly into life in Atlanta. Like Jones herself, Atlanta has a lot going on. Every time she leaves her apartment, she stumbles upon something to do, like a farmers market and or a music festival.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s just a different atmosphere. There’s an energy like, it’s just a city full of people who are hustling. It’s fast-paced. There’s something going on every day.”

Jones has also continued her podcast with The Players’ Tribune, “Sometimes I Hoop,” which debuted during her senior year at Stanford. After a brief hiatus, the podcast returned with a two-part video documentary giving a behind-the-scenes look at Jones’ draft experience.

She’s also back interviewing fellow basketball players, hosting LSU’s Annesah Morrow as a guest on the show this week.

Jones resumed her podcast "Sometimes I Hoop" last month. (Courtesy of The Players' Tribune)

Jones has always been a person who wears many different hats, and every time she turns on the mic to record an episode, she tells herself, “Time to turn on my podcast persona.” It’s an easy switch, as Jones is a natural interviewer.

“Sometimes I Hoop” is technically a basketball podcast, but it wouldn’t be a Haley Jones project if it was limited to just one thing. Now that she’s a professional athlete, basketball has to be an even bigger focus than it was in college, so Jones uses the podcast as a tool of self-expression, while also giving insight into her peers.

“Now that I’m out of school, it gives me a creative outlet and creative space to still be in the basketball world, but to talk about different things,” she said.

She may be a professional now, but basketball still isn’t the only thing in Jones’ life, and she wants to keep it that way.

“The people in my inner circle have never put me inside a box,” she said. “Obviously I think I’m pretty good at basketball, and I hope other people do as well, but the people in my life have really empowered me to try different things.”

Life may be changing for Haley Jones, but she’s always going to stay the same.

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

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.