Three down and three to go in pursuit of national title No. 3. Next up: The Elite Eight.
Four players scored in double figures as the second-ranked Stanford women’s basketball team continued its march through the NCAA Tournament by crushing 20th-ranked Missouri State 89-62 Sunday in the Sweet 16 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Cardinal (28-2), winners of 18 straight and the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, will face the winner of Sunday’s Oregon-Louisville game in Tuesday’s Alamo Region championship game for a spot in the Final Four. It is Stanford’s 21st Elite Eight appearance and second straight.
Stanford had more athleticism, superior height and tremendous depth to overpower the Lady Bears (23-3), who had won 19 straight and went unbeaten (16-0) in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Sophomore guard Hannah Jump led the Cardinal with 17 points, while senior guard Kiana Williams, who entered the game averaging 19.8 points in her previous four games, had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Anna Wilson added 13 points, six rebounds and three steals, while sophomore guard Haley Jones had 11 points and eight rebounds. Freshman forward Cameron Brink was again a force inside, blocking five shots in just 9 minutes played as Missouri State was repeatedly denied in the paint.
Senior guard Elle Ruffridge led the Lady Bears with 18 points, while senior forward Abi Jackson added 11 points. Senior guard Brice Calip, Missouri State’s top scorer at 13.8 points per game, had nine points, including just two in the first half.
Stanford continued its terrific 3-point shooting in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal connected on 15 of 32 3-pointers (47 percent). That performance comes after going 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) in the first round vs. Utah Valley and 13-of-25 (52 percent) in the second round against Oklahoma State.
Sunday’s meeting was a rematch of the 2019 Sweet 16 between the schools, which Stanford won 55-46. Missouri State has nine players still on its roster from that game.
For the first time in the three NCAA Tournament games, Stanford found itself trailing. Missouri State scored the first basket of the game with 8:21 left in the first quarter, but Williams scored seven points during a 15-1 burst that put the Cardinal in control 15-3 with 3:53 remaining in the quarter.
Stanford led 23-15 after the opening 10 minutes and 49-26 at halftime. Missouri State shot just 25.8 percent (8 of 31) in the first half as opposed to 43.9 percent (18 of 41) for the Cardinal. Stanford also forced nine first-half turnovers.