PALO ALTO, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – Alanna Smith had 23 points and 14 rebounds, helping second-seeded Stanford overcome a slow start and advance to the Sweet 16 for a 12th straight year by holding off No. 7 seed BYU 72-63 in a physical second-round NCAA Tournament matchup Monday night.
Smith found her shooting stroke in the second half playing her final game at Maples Pavilion while Kiana Williams added 13 points for the Cardinal (30-4). Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer called on her team to relax in the second half and Stanford began clicking to win its season-best 11th straight game. The Cardinal move on to face 11th-seeded Missouri State on Saturday in the Chicago Regional semifinals.
DiJonai Carrington scored 14 of her 19 points in the second quarter for Stanford, whose win gave the Pac-12 Conference five teams in the Sweet 16 for the second time — also in 2017 — with the Cardinal joining Arizona State, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA. This is the fourth straight year at least four Pac-12 teams made it to regional semifinals.
The Cardinal pulled away using a 16-0 run in the third quarter as scrappy BYU (26-7) missed 10 straight shots during that decisive stretch. The Cougars went ahead 35-34 on a 3 by Shaylee Gonzales with 7:50 left in the quarter before the Cardinal took charge.
Gonzales scored 32 points for the West Coast Conference champion Cougars, who received a spirited pep talk from Hall of Fame quarterback and former BYU star Steve Young during this tournament run.
Brenna Chase, averaging 12.9 points as the team’s third-leading scorer, missed her first eight shots before two late 3s and wound up with eight points.
Stanford matched up well with 6-foot-7 Sara Hamson in the post. Hamson had four blocked shots in the first-round win against Auburn but just one Monday.
The Cardinal began 5 for 19 to 5 of 15 by BYU, with Stanford freshman Lacie Hull finishing the night 0 for 8 and missing all seven from deep. Twin sister Lexie started 0 of 4 before a baseline 3 at the 7:26 mark of the third. Williams connected from deep at 6:34.
Smith missed her first five 3-point tries before connecting from the baseline with 2:22 left in the third and finished with three 3s.
Carrington took a hard, face-first fall when tripped by Gonzales driving to the basket with 5:05 left in the first half but was fine.
The teams had played just once in the past 27 seasons, a 55-52 BYU victory on Nov. 13, 2006, in the preseason Women’s NIT at Maples.