March 17, 2007
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Smith/Wiggins All-America page
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Stanford protected its home floor - and the Cardinal didn't even need a huge day from star Candice Wiggins.
Brooke Smith made her first 10 shots on the way to a season-high 29 points, Cissy Pierce hit two early 3-pointers, and the Cardinal breezed into the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 96-58 victory over Idaho State on Saturday.
Smith and Pierce immediately took the pressure off Wiggins, scoring their team's first 22 points to help second-seeded Stanford (29-4) jump to a big first-half lead it never relinquished and set up a second-round date in the Fresno Regional with Florida State for the second straight March.
Wiggins still finished with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal, and Smith shot 13-for-17 and also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Cardinal, who beat the Seminoles 88-70 in the 2006 second round, thrived in the familiar confines of Maples Pavilion with a loud, pro-Stanford crowd on their side that makes playing on The Farm so difficult for visiting teams. Stanford improved to 20-3 in NCAA games played on campus.
Pierce finished with 14 points after making her first four shots in the Cardinal's 10th straight victory, while Smith didn't miss until trying a 3 from the top of the arc with 16:52 remaining. Stanford showed no signs of rust in its first game since winning the Pac-10 tournament March 5.
Natalie Doma scored 32 points on 12-for-25 shooting, making 6 of 13 shots in the opening 20 minutes while the rest of her teammates went 4-for-22 - and the 15th-seeded Bengals (17-14) couldn't recover after falling into a big hole. Doma, a 6-foot-3 junior center, scored in double digits for her 47th straight game.
Stanford, coming off its school-record seventh straight Pac-10 title, won its NCAA opener for the ninth straight year since the Cardinal were a top seed in 1998 and got shocked 71-67 at home by 16th-seeded Harvard.
Now, Stanford plays again Monday hoping to avoid what happened here four years ago: a heartbreaking second-round loss to Minnesota that kept the Cardinal from playing in the regional they hosted the next week.
Stanford used a 21-2 run midway through the first half to build a 39-16 lead and shot 54 percent in the first half for a 45-24 lead at the break. The Cardinal's accuracy early forced the Bengals to switch from a man-to-man defense to zone and that didn't help much.
Wiggins, the junior two-time Pac-10 player of the year who Idaho State coach Jon Newlee called the "best guard in America," missed her first three shots before hitting the first of her four 3-pointers at the 6:36 mark of the first half - then she had another basket the next time down.
Wiggins returned from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury to score 65 points and shoot 14-for-25 on 3-pointers in Stanford's three wins in the Pac-10 tournament, including a career-best and tournament-record eight 3s in a semifinal win against Southern California.
But it was Smith - a senior transfer from Duke who returned to play for Stanford close to her family in nearby Marin County - who starred in this one.
Jeni Boesel, the lone senior for Big Sky champion Idaho State, was held to nine points on 3-for-11 shooting (1-of-6 on 3s) in her final college game. No. 15 seeds are 0-53 all-time in the tournament and the Bengals fell to 2-19 against the Pac-10.
NOTES: Stanford, playing in its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament and 21st overall, improves to 47-18 all-time in such games ... The Cardinal is one victory away from notching its seventh 30-win season in school history ... Jayne Appel tallied three blocked shots in the contest, matching the single-season school record of 58 that was first established by Cori Enghusen in 2001-02 ... Stanford's 96 points are a season-best ... Brooke Smith registered a season-high 29 points, connecting on 13-17 from the field to go along with nine rebounds ... Cissy Pierce, making her 16th start of the year, poured in 14 points for her first double-figure scoring game since Jan. 25 at Arizona. Pierce scored 10 points in the first five minutes of the game ... Stanford improves to 10-0 in Saturday games ... Natalie Doma scored 32 points for Idaho State, becoming the first opposing player to pour in at least 30 points against the Cardinal since California's Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 30 on Jan. 14, 2006 ... Morgan Clyburn tied a career-high with six points in four minutes ... Stanford's first half point-total of 45 was one shy of the season-high mark of 46, established against Santa Clara back on Nov. 29 ... The Cardinal held a commanding 53-20 edge on the boards. The +33 rebounding margin ranks tied for seventh all-time in tournament history ... Melanie Murphy became the last Cardinal player this year to attempt a three-pointer when she misfired at the 10:14 mark of the second half ... Stanford has racked up at least 20 assists in a game 10 different times this year ... Idaho State entered today's game averaging 80.2 points per game. On Saturday, the Bengals were limited to 58 points and made just 33.9-percent from the field ... Stanford squares off against Florida State on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.