Stanford's Dynamic Duo look to go out as National Champs

Stanford's Dynamic Duo look to go out as National Champs

The Stanford women's basketball team has historically been a powerhouse in college basketball, boasting 27 Pac-12 titles in 38 seasons. In the past three years alone, head coach Tara VanDerveer has led her teams to the Final Four twice, including winning the national championship in 2021.

This year's team also harbors championship aspirations. The 2023-2024 team is led by two standout players, senior forward Cameron Brink and fifth-year forward Hannah Jump, who are both hoping to end their Cardinal careers with another national championship.

Brink, a native of Beaverton, Oregon, plays more of a center position with her towering 6'4" frame. She has the agility, speed, and shooting ability to post up and score inside or hit a mid-range jumper. Brink is also a defensive force, blocking shots and deterring opponents from attempting to score inside the key. Last season, she was honored as the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year, just one of the 23 career accolades she has accumulated during her four years as a Cardinal.

If she declares for the WNBA draft, Brink would easily be a top-five pick, if not the number one overall pick, with her skill set and ability to take over a game. She is currently averaging 17.7 points per game, second behind junior forward Kiki Iriafen, and leads the team in rebounding with 11.3 rebounds per game, along with 96 blocks on the season.

Jump, a San Jose native, is the leading three-point shooter for the Cardinal, with 64 three-pointers made this season. She broke the school record with her 313th three-pointer against UC Davis on December 20, 2023. "There's a lot of great shooters that have played at Stanford, and it really is an honor to follow in their footsteps. Every time we play, we play for them as well," Jump said after setting the new school record.

Jump also won the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year last season and has earned nine career accolades during her time on the Palo Alto campus. She will be heading to the WNBA after this season, which is definitively her last. Jump's three-point shooting ability should also garner her a selection in this year's WNBA draft, as most teams lack a perimeter shooting specialist.

What truly defines these two athletes is the bond they've established with each other both off and on the court. Their relationship dates back to their freshman year when they ended up as roommates. "We were freshman year roommates because of the Covid pandemic," said Brink. "Usually at Stanford, you are paired with someone random. Honestly, we didn't get along all the time. But we really have grown to be like sisters. I can always trust Hannah to tell me what I don't want to hear, what I want to hear, and she's just such a phenomenal person on and off the floor. Hannah is just the salt of the earth."

Jump echoed that sentiment, saying, "Me and Cam played club basketball together, so we knew each other coming into Stanford. Honestly, I can't give you a pinpointed moment, but we've just grown so close over the past few years."

Jump also appreciates how Brink's presence on the court allows her to get wide open from beyond the arc because of all the attention Brink draws from multiple defenders trying to contain her. "Playing with her is so fun," Jump continued. "Like she said, she draws three people over to defend her, so that helps me on the court as a shooter. She is so fun to play with, so energetic, always bringing positive energy, and on and off the court, she is just a joy to be around."

When asked to pick a favorite moment they have shared with one another during their friendship, Brink fondly remembered how Jump was there for her during her difficult freshman year due to the Covid pandemic. "I would say being roommates. As a freshman, the Covid year was really hard on me. Hannah was someone I could really turn to for advice or anything. She was really there for me through that really rough year. She is so selfless. She is just a great friend, teammate, everything."

Jump reflected on the everyday activities that friends do when they are together off the court that have meant the world to her. "I would say honestly, the little moments between practice, classes. Whether we're going to get coffee or jamming to music in the car. Like just those little moments away from basketball that I think mean the most to me," Jump said.

Both Brink and Jump were honored in a ceremony on Senior Day after their 81-67 win over Arizona State this past Sunday at Maples Pavilion. Brink was joined on the court by her parents, Michelle and Greg, as well as her godmother, Sonya Curry, the mother of NBA and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

Sonya and Michelle, who were college roommates at Virginia Tech (as were Greg and Dell Curry, Steph's dad, who were college basketball teammates at Virginia Tech during the same time), both spoke to the crowd and expressed how proud they were of Cameron and the person she has become both off and on the court.

Jump, who was born in Warrington, England, was joined by her parents, Danny and Ann-Marie, and her aunt (Danny's sister), who flew in all the way from England to watch her play her final home game at Stanford. Danny spoke about how much he's seen Hannah grow into the player she's become.

Both ladies each took the mic to address the crowd that stayed after the game to honor the two Stanford legends. Brink was overcome with emotion during her speech, realizing the moment of her final home game was done, in which she set a career high with seven assists to go along with her 14 points, nine rebounds, and six block shots in 23 minutes, becoming just the second player since 1990-2000 with a stat line of that nature in less than 30 minutes, joining the great Breanna Stewart.

The team, which clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular season title with USC losing to Utah moments after their win, has two more regular-season games on the road before the final ever Pac-12 Conference tournament begins on March 6th in Las Vegas. Stanford will most likely be a number one seed once the NCAA tournament rolls around, and they are likely to host two more games, so it's possible it was not the last time we will see #22 and #33 on the court at Maples Pavilion.

Whatever the fate for the Cardinal at the NCAAs, both Brink and Jump are leaving as champions, with their collegiate careers in the rear-view mirror, ready to start their new professional ones just on the horizon. "I'm just really sad that this is our last time being teammates. Hopefully not forever," Brink said.

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