The Stanford Cardinal made quick work of Utah Valley University Sunday in the 1st round of the 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament, routing the tournament debutant 87-44 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The No. 1 seed, Stanford led wire-to-wire and absolutely dominated their opponent, which wasn’t altogether surprising but good to see from a team looking to make a championship run.
Stanford got off to a hot start, with Kiana Williams breaking a Stanford school record for all-time 3-pointers made in the 1st quarter, moving ahead of Candice Wiggins.
They finished the 1st quarter with a 29-9 lead, Utah Valley using a zone defense that just did not slow down the Cardinal.
It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter, with Stanford posting their best lead of the season, heading into the halftime break at 53-20 ahead, the Cardinal posting a staggering 57 percent shooting percentage from the field overall and 3-point range. Williams paced all scorers in the first half with 17 points, and Tara VanDerveer went 12 deep with her rotation to give her team minutes.
No surprise, Stanford seemed to take their foot off the gas a bit and Utah Valley gave it their last good effort to mount a comeback to start the 3rd quarter, and the Wolverines did pick up their game somewhat. But Stanford really never relinquished control of the game and before long they were extending their lead even further. Stanford lead 71-32 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
There was a concerning sight midway through the 4th quarter, with Anna Wilson appearing to turn her ankle and immediately grabbing it after hitting the floor. She walked off on her own power but exited the game and didn’t return, although the game was well in Stanford’s control by that point.
The Utah Valley player who found some run was center Josie Williams, who posted 18 points for the Wolverines. Kiana Williams led all scorers with 20 points and really didn’t play in the 4th quarter, while Lacie Hull (12 points), Hannah Jump (10 points) and Cameron Brink (10 points) were also in double-digits. Haley Jones notched a career high with seven assists in the game.
The Cardinal are scheduled to be back in action Tuesday against Oklahoma State, the No. 8 seed. One game down for Stanford in the tourney, but they hope this big win is just the beginning of a long run in San Antonio.