Alanna Smith has been there before. Newcomer Kiana Williams plays like she's been there. Together they were unstoppable, leading Stanford to an 82-68 victory over Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament Saturday inside Maples Pavilion.
Williams showed no trepidation in driving the lane or pulling up for a 3-pointer. Her court vision seems to take in the hot dog vendors along the mezzanine level, meaning she sees everything and reacts to situations as those she's envisioned them a hundred times over.
"I was just out there having fun with my team," Williams said. "Just executed our game plan and knocked down shots."
That belief in herself and the confidence she gets from her teammates has helped Williams reach an elite level much like freshman Deajon Davis has for the Stanford men.
"I talk to him when I see him," Williams said. "We are really close ... but not too close."
Williams scored 21 points and added a couple of rebounds, assists and steals. She shot 8 of 16 from the floor and was even better from 3-point range, from where she sank five of eight attempts.
Williams ranks second all-time on the freshman 3-point list with 69 3-pointers this season. Jamie Carey tops the list at 88.
"I am really happy and proud to see Kiana flourishing right now," Smith said. "I think she's an amazing player and I'm excited for her future."
Smith matched Williams' production, scoring 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting (3 of 6 from long range), six rebounds and four blocked shots. Smith has blocked 60 shots this season, putting her into the top 10 of single-season blocks, two shy of matching Chiney Ogwumike for the seventh-best season.
Senior Kaylee Johnson, who fouled out on a dubious call, grabbed eight rebounds and is tied with Erica McCall for seventh all-time at Stanford with 976. She also blocked three shots to move into a tie with Kristen Newlin (163) for fifth all-time.
The No. 4 seed in the Lexington Regional, Stanford (23-10) will play No. 12 Florida Gulf Coast (31-4) in Monday's second round contest at 6 p.m. FGCU, who leads the nation with 414 3-pointers, upset fifth-seeded Missouri 80-70 to advance. Stanford moved into a tie with West Virginia for 61st place with 235 3s.
"We really had to work hard to be sitting in this situation so we're playing Monday night," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Florida Gulf Coast is a really unorthodox team and we're going to be very challenged."
Florida Gulf Coast does not have a single 6-footer on the roster.
"They put it right on their shirt, they shoot 3s," VanDerveer said. "The thing I hope is Steve Kerr will take a couple of those shooters and have them play for the Warriors on Monday instead of against us."
Stanford began to pull away late in the third quarter and overcame a tough shooting performance by Brittany McPhee, who had 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. She also contributed 11 rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals.
"I think Brit just tried so hard to win the game," VanDerveer said. "Maybe her shot wasn't going down but she found other things to do. Her rebounding was great."
DiJonai Carrington had 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.