March 19, 2006
Box Score |
Cardinal NCAA Tournament Central
DENVER (AP) - Candice Wiggins popped out for 3-pointers, pulled up for jumpers and weaved through the lane for layups.
Southeast Missouri State didn't have an answer for the Pac-10's player of the year and now Stanford is headed to the second round of the tournament - again.
Wiggins picked apart Southeast Missouri State's defense for 21 points and Stanford dominated the lane at both ends, helping the Cardinal to an easy 72-45 victory Saturday night in the NCAA's San Antonio Regional.
Though sloppy at times - 17 turnovers - Stanford (24-7) played like a third seed should against a 14, putting the game away early and resting its starters down the stretch to move on to Monday's second round against Florida State.
The Cardinal has appeared in the NCAA tournament 19 straight times and reached the second round seven of the last eight years, including the last four. Stanford won NCAA championships in 1990 and 1992, reached the Final Four six times in the 1990s and has had a winning record in 27 of its 32 seasons.
Southeast Missouri State (22-9) had never won a conference title before this season, making its first NCAA tournament appearance this year by beating Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference championship to get an automatic bid.
The difference in the programs was apparent from the tip.
Stanford's Kristen Newlin and Brooke Smith dominated inside, blocking and altering shots at one end, powering through the paint for easy baskets at the other. Smith finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, helping Stanford to a 40-8 advantage inside.
In case that wasn't enough, Wiggins darted and dashed her way through the Redhawks' defense with relative ease, scoring 13 first-half points on a variety of layups, runners and jumpers. She finished 8-for-15 and had six rebounds.
The Cardinal opened the game with a 13-4 run, let Southeast Missouri State pull within five, then steamrolled the Redhawks with a 15-3 run to take a 37-24 lead by halftime.
Southeast Missouri State struggled offensively from the start, missing 23 of its 29 shots in the first half, including a breakaway layup by Katrisha Dunn midway through. The Redhawks shot 21 percent overall.
Southeast Missouri State did manage to chip Stanford's lead down to 37-29 in the first two minutes of the second half, but couldn't get any closer. Wiggins had seven points during a 13-0 run after that, capping it with a 3-pointer that put the Cardinal up 50-29.
Natalie Purcell led the Redhawks with 17 points.