The Stanford Cardinal’s march in the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament continues, after their calmly dispatched Missouri State 89-62 in the Sweet 16 Sunday in San Antonio, Texas.
Missouri State had the same number of losses this season coming in as Stanford, two apiece, but Stanford showed their full dominance against the mid-major program, with Hannah Jump leading the team in scoring on the day with 17.
The teams were tight to start and the buckets didn’t fall, each team finally getting a basket just inside of four minutes played. But the Cardinal started to pull ahead from there, getting out to an 11-3 lead to open the game.
Fran Belibi got some early minutes off the bench and found success going up against Missouri State’s bigs.
But Missouri State rallied a bit and the teams finished the 1st quarter with Stanford ahead 23-15.
The second stanza became a block party for Stanford, with Cameron Brink and Ashtyn Prechtel denying Missouri State several times. Stanford then pulled ahead again, exceeding their previous lead to go up by 20 points, and then some, as they went into the locker rooms with a commanding 49-26 lead. Kiana Williams and Anna Wilson paced the scorers in the first half with 10 points apiece.
It was more of the same in the 3rd quarter, with Missouri State trying to keep up but Stanford just dominating pretty much all aspects of the game. At one point, Prechtel and Missouri State’s Jasmine Franklin got tangled up on a box-out, and tempers nearly flared, but the refs got a handle on the situation and prevented a scuffle.
But in terms of buckets the Cardinal were dominant once more and ended up with a 71-37 lead, nearly doubling up the Bears through 36 minutes.
Both teams took some intensity out of their games in the 4th quarter, although both teams played hard throughout. But Stanford were just much sharper in all aspects of their game — defense, rebounding, 3-point shooting, play in the paint. Missouri State did outscore Stanford in the 4th quarter, 25-18, after the Cardinal totally dominated in the previous three quarters.
Four Stanford players — Jump, Williams, Wilson and Haley Jones — reached double figures in points, and it was another balanced team performance.
Stanford will take on the winner of Louisville-Oregon in the Elite Eight on Tuesday. Just a few more games to the ultimate prize, and Stanford are looking good, but the next game is going to be another big step up.