March 22, 2005
Box Score |
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
FRESNO, Calif. - Stanford recently had the pleasure of a pep talk from Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, whose daughter is a freshman on the team.
"He talked about focus. He talked about championship behavior and championship thinking," senior Azella Perryman said.
The Cardinal took his message to heart.
Brooke Smith scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures and top-ranked Stanford cruised to an 88-62 victory over Utah in the second round of the Kansas City Regional on Monday night to set up a possible date with Connecticut in the regional semifinals.
The three-time defending NCAA champion Huskies, seeded third, will play Tuesday against Florida State, with the winner advancing to face second-seeded Stanford on Sunday in Kansas City.
"We're really excited about what's to come," Smith said. "What's really great about us right now is we're not expecting to win, but we're excited to win."
The Cardinal won handily without a huge contribution from star freshman Candice Wiggins for a change.
Sebnem Kimyacioglu had 13 points, Perryman and Kelley Suminski scored 12 apiece and Susan King Borchardt added 11 points and five assists as Stanford won its 22nd straight in Tara VanDerveer's 600th game coaching the Cardinal (31-2).
"We had huge contributions from different people," VanDerveer said. "This is a big win and we're really excited to be going to Kansas City."
Wiggins, the first freshman to earn Pac-10 player of the year honors, scored her only points of the first half on a steal and layin at 7:17 to give the Cardinal a 24-17 lead. She finished with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, only the fourth time this season she didn't reach double digits.
Smith and Perryman keyed a first-half spurt as Stanford methodically pulled away to build a 37-24 halftime lead behind 53.8-percent shooting. Utah (26-8) never got closer than 11 points in the second half.
"They just answered. They answered everything," Utes coach Elaine Elliott said. "We couldn't defend them. That's the story."
Utah's Kim Smith broke the school's single-season scoring record with a layup on the Utes' first possession after halftime. She needed nine points to surpass Deb Asper's mark of 594 points set in 1982-83. Kim Smith, who scored in double figures every game this year, finished with 20 points and ended her junior season with 606.
Stanford improved to 8-0 against Utah and beat the Utes for the second time this season after a 63-57 win in Salt Lake City on Nov. 19 in the season opener for both schools.
Borchardt didn't play in the last meeting because of an injury and Brooke Smith, a transfer from Duke, played only 20 minutes. Borchardt, married to Utah Jazz center Curtis Borchardt, lives in Salt Lake City and plans to attend Utah to get her master's degree.
The Cardinal, who used a 31-3 second-half run to bury neighbor Santa Clara 94-57 in the first round Saturday, are trying to reach their first Final Four since 1997. They fell one shot short in a 62-60 loss to Tennessee last season in the final eight.
Wiggins had 24 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the first meeting against Utah, which hasn't been to the regional semifinals since 2001. Elliott hoped to contain Wiggins, but her team lost track of everyone else.
"A goal of ours was to limit her points," Utah guard Shona Thorburn said. "We did that, but someone else from their team stepped up when they needed to. That's what good teams do."
Stanford got 48 points from four seniors, not including forward T'Nae Thiel. She was available after recovering from a partial fracture in her left foot, but didn't play. That way, she'll be re
"The fifth senior didn't have to play, which was critical for us," VanDerveer said.
Five Stanford softball players made the 3-hour trip after practice and wore basketball hats. They were due back on campus for weights Tuesday morning.
Utah's rowdy mascot was removed from the floor during the first half for repeatedly entering the stands after being warned. The scoop from "Swoop" - he didn't appreciate being a banned bird in such a big game. That's what happens when you stick your beak where it doesn't belong. He spent the second half signing autographs.