The Stanford Cardinals (28-2, 19-2 PAC 12) and Missouri State Lady Bears (23-3, 16-0 MVC) were two teams firing on all cylinders during the regular season and through the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. Winners of 18 games in a row, Stanford improved to 27-2, the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and ranked second in both the AP and Coaches polls. The Cardinals had defeated Utah Valley and Oklahoma State to reach the Sweet 16.
On the flip side, Missouri State entered the contest at 23-2, having won 73 of their last 82 games and allowed 55.9 points per game. Missouri State held UC Davis to 51 points in the first round and Wright State 39 points in the second round. The Lady Bears were making their second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.
Both schools very familiar with each other, with Stanford winning all three previous match-ups, including a 2019 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game in Chicago 55-46. This time around, all the marbles on the table with an opportunity to advance to the Elite 8.
On Sunday afternoon in the Alamo Region at the Alamodome, the Cardinals wasted no time jumping out to a double-digit lead at 15-5 with three and half minutes remaining. Stanford was shooting a sizzling 50 percent from the field and burying four triples. However, Missouri State charged back with a run to trim the margin to 23-15 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Cardinals offense continued to heat up with fast break points and driving the ball into the paint and low post. Kiana Williams and Anna Wilson combined to score 20 points as Stanford took a resounding 49-26 at halftime. The Cardinals connected on 7 of 16 three-pointers in the first half and got balanced scoring across the lineup.
“I think the biggest thing for us is we think about a quarter by quarter instead of the first and second half,” Anna Wilson said. “It helps us stay engaged in the game and making sure we want to focus on this quarter and want to win this quarter.” It’s competition for us to be our best, so even when the score has a large difference, we always want to be playing like we are down.”
There was no stepping off the gas pedal in the second half as Stanford outscored the Lady Bears 40-36 to cruise to the 89-62 win. Hannah Jump poured in 17 points for the Cardinals, Kiana Williams finished with 16 points, Anna Wilson supplied 13 points, and Haley Jones added 11 points. Elle Ruffridge led Missouri State with 18 points, while Abigayle Jackson contributed 11 points.
Stanford Head Coach Tara Van Derveer on the win, “We were able to get out on transition; I thought we had an absolute A game from Anna Wilson, Kiana was steady and different people came off the bench for us.” “I thought Haley(Jones) had some great passes, Anna(Wilson) had a nice steal, and I thought we shot the three-ball well to go 15 for 30, 46 percent as a team is awesome.” We did a great job of defending Brice Calip and Jasmine Franklin.”
“I think our team has been steady, we came into the season with confidence, and we played through the PAC-12.” “When you play against great competition and see the teams’ we bear, and that does give you confidence.” Our team enjoys playing with each other, and they’re great teammates for each other, which is special.”