After enduring a pretty stout test from Oklahoma State in the second round, the Stanford Cardinal are now set to face Missouri State in a Sweet 16 matchup in the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday afternoon.
Stanford surged in the 2nd quarter against Oklahoma State on Tuesday, which cancelled out some struggles in the other three quarters as they downed the Cowgirls 73-62. After the game, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer called out lax officiating in the tournament, saying a permissive approach to physical play was hurting the quality.
“An overly physical game takes away from the strength of women’s basketball, which is our athleticism, our fluidity of the game, what I call beautiful basketball,” VanDerveer said.
“If you’re allowing defenses to just cling on you, to body you, and people are flying all over the court, then I think that’s a problem. I think it is important to have aggressive basketball without it being so physical that it takes away from the strength of women’s basketball.”
Missouri State are in the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive tournament, aiming to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2001. They beat Stanford’s sorta-neighbor UC Davis in the first round, before downing Wright State in the second round, so for a No. 5 seed, their road has been pretty easy. Until now.
Still, while Missouri State doesn’t have the same household name recognition of many other women’s basketball programs, they are a legit mid-major power and can’t be taken lightly. Like Stanford, they have only lost two games this season, and may prove to be a tougher matchup than initially expected.
Having said all that, Stanford are favored in all their games for a reason. They’ll hope to make quick work of the Bears and book their ticket to the Elite Eight.
How to Watch Stanford vs. Missouri State:
When: Sunday, Mar. 28, 12 p.m. PT
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
How to watch: ABC, FuboTV