Stanford Rolls In NCAA Opener
March 21, 2004
|NCAA First Round|
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Stanford Cardinal felt they deserved better than a No. 6 seed, and their opening-round performance in the NCAA tournament backed up their argument.
Nicole Powell had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Cardinal beat Missouri 68-55 Saturday night.
Stanford's Kelley Suminski was asked if her team proved it was better than a sixth seed.
'Yeah,' she said, 'and I think we need to keep on showing that for a few more games.'
Stanford (25-6), ranked 10th nationally, will face third-seeded Oklahoma in the second round Monday night. Eleventh-ranked Oklahoma beat Marist 58-45 in the first game at Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena.
Powell, who grew up in nearby Phoenix, scored 14 in the first half and took just one shot in the second, using a crossover move to create a 3-pointer that put Stanford up 64-37 with 6:35 to play.
'I was just trying to come out and be ready to go right from the start,' Powell said. 'We wanted to start the game well and I wanted to get after it right away.'
Powell was 3-for-5 from 3-point range with three steals and only one turnover despite handling the ball on virtually every Stanford possession.
'She looked very poised and she had some great passes,' said coach Tara VanDerveer, who earned her 600th career victory. 'She was very much in the flow of things and not trying to force things. She was really setting other people up, and they delivered for her.'
'Our defense was definitely the difference for us.'
Coach Tara VanDerveer
Stretch James scored 20 to lead the Tigers (17-13), the No. 11 seed. Two-time all-Big 12 player Evan Unrau scored 10, eight below her season average. Both were playing their final game for Missouri.
'The key to the game was the lack of offensive execution,' Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. 'We just couldn't hit the shots, and it was that way all night. We had some great looks at the basket, and we just couldn't knock them down.'
The Tigers shot just 31 percent overall, 27 percent in the second half.
'Our defense was definitely the difference for us,' VanderVeer said, 'getting our hands on the ball and being active.'
Powell dominated play in the first half as Stanford took a 35-22 lead at the break, but she didn't score as the Cardinal opened the second half with a 14-2 run to go up 49-26 on Chelsea Trotter's second rebound basket in a row with 14:20 to play.
Kristen Newlin's two free throws gave Stanford its biggest lead - 68-39 with 4:07 left.
Stanford is making its 18th NCAA tournament appearance and advanced past the first round for the fifth year in a row.
Powell had a steal and layup, then got an assist on Borchardt's 3-pointer in a 10-2 run that put Stanford up 26-17 on Azella Perryman's two free throws with 8:05 to play in the half.
The Tigers - one of seven Big 12 teams in the tournament - twice cut it to six, the last time at 28-22 on EeTisha Riddle's layup with 4:28 to go until halftime. Powell sank a 3-pointer and a 10-footer from the baseline in a 7-0 spurt that gave Stanford its biggest lead of the half, 35-22, with 1:27 to play.
In the first half, Powell had 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot.