Stanford Regional is next stop for Cardinal women's hoops

Stanford needed a wakeup call, which it got early enough to get itself together en route to a romp over 10th-seeded Florida State, 63-44, Monday in the second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament in Ames, Iowa.

The Cardinal (31-3) comes home for the Stanford Regional, which gets underway Sunday at Maples Pavilion. The rest of the bracket will be filled out Tuesday, with Stanford taking on the winner of No. 11 Florida and No. 3 Penn State.

"Before the game, right before tipoff, as a team we gathered and yelled 'Maples!' because we love Maples so much," Stanford All-American Chiney Ogwumike said. "If there's a game to play hard, it's this game because we want to get back there so bad. That was our purpose, to get back to our fans, to get back to our school."

Top-seeded South Carolina or No. 9 Oregon State and No. 5 Michigan State or No. 4 North Carolina will join the party.

The Seminoles scored the game's first seven points and held a 14-6 advantage with 12:33 remaining to play. That's the end of your Florida State highlights.

Over the next 15 minutes, covering both halves, the Seminoles were left wondering what hit them. Stanford went on a 30-2 run in that span, including runs of 16 in a row and 14 in a row.

Florida State, whish missed 13 consecutive shots at one point, went for broke from the opening tip-off and after a blazing start, sputtered to a halt the rest of the way.

The carnage after the first half? The Seminoles shot 25 percent (7 of 28) and was outrebounded, 19-13. Stanford, which shot 55 percent (12 of 22), committed six turnovers during the first eight minutes and one the rest of the half.

"Credit them; they came out strong," Stanford freshman Lili Thompson said. "Credit us for staying with it. This team is mentally strong and we're getting even stronger at the right time."

The Cardinal was up, 32-16, at halftime and needed less than three minutes to take a 22-point edge.

Ogwumike, who completed the last of her final exams on Thursday, gets to play at least one more game at home before her career transitions from college to the WNBA.

Ogwumike finished with 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Cardinal, while Mikaela Ruef holding Florida State's WNBA-bound Natasha Howard to nine points and seven rebounds. She missed all six of her first-half shots.

Thompson added 14 points and Bonnie Samuelson had 11, including three 3-point shots. Thompson was 2 of 3 from long range.

"I didn't have time to think about if I mess up," Thompson said. "I just kept thinking let's get back to Stanford."

The Cardinal began the game in a tightly packed 2-3 zone defense, challenging the Seminoles to shoot from the outside, which they did to the tune of 5 of 6.

Stanford extended the zone following the first timeout, and the Cardinal began to stifle the Seminoles. Florida missed all but one shot to end the half and was held scoreless for nearly 10 minutes.

"We didn't fall apart being down," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We were down 19 against USC and we came back and we won. I think that helped people's confidence. I told them keep playing, keep taking good shots. As long as we were taking good shots, rebounding the ball, the attitude of the team was so positive. They were playing hard for each other."

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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