The Stanford Cardinal, seeded second in the Chicago Regional and playing on its home court on Saturday evening in Palo Alto, Calif., wasted little time putting away the No. 15 UC Davis Aggies 79-54 in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinal (29-4), runner-up in the Pac-12 Conference this season after going 15-3, won their 10th straight game in advancing to face No. 7 BYU on Monday. The Cougars defeated No. 10 Auburn 73-64 earlier Saturday.
It was also the Cardinal’s second win of the season over the Aggies. On its home court on Nov. 7, Stanford began its season with a 71-43 victory over the Aggies.
Alanna Smith, who entered the game leading the Cardinal at 19.6 points a game, scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Kiana Williams was right behind with 19 points and five assists, and DiJonai Carrington added 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Morgan Bertsch, the Aggies’ leading scorer at just over 20 points a game, poured in a game-high 25, and Sage Stobbart finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Nina Bessolo scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Williams scored seven points as Stanford opened the game on a 15-0 burst. UC Davis didn’t get on the board until Bertsch scored on a layup with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Aggies (25-7), who went 15-1 in winning the Big West Conference, had their 16-game winning streak snapped.
Despite UC Davis’ slow start, Bessolo scored seven points in about a two-minute span late in the first quarter as the Aggies cut the lead to 21-9, but Stanford scored the next eight points to end the quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Smith with three seconds left.
The Aggies had the lead to within 15 briefly in the second quarter, but the Cardinal coasted in the second half, its lead never below 20 points.
Stanford shot 49.2 percent from the floor, including 10 of 23 on 3-point attempts, while UC Davis shot only 29.1 percent overall, including 7 of 27 from behind the arc.
—Field Level Media