Stanford women earn trip to Lexington Region semifinal
STANFORD — Alanna Smith scored 28 points with four 3-pointers, Brittany McPhee added 17 points and nine rebounds and No. 4 seed Stanford is headed back to the Lexington Region semifinals for a third consecutive March after beating scrappy 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 90-70 on Monday night.
Freshman Kiana Williams shined on the big stage for the second time in three days with 12 points and six assists for the Cardinal (24-10), on to the second weekend of the tournament for the 11th consecutive season.
Florida Gulf Coast (31-5) set the single-season 3-point record with 431, breaking Sacramento State's mark of 424 from 2014-15, but didn't have the depth or talent to keep up against a taller Stanford team that made it hard for the Eagles to do their signature move: drive and dish.
Stanford will take on No. 1 Louisville — the first matchup between the power programs — on Friday. Playing previously in Lexington, the Cardinal lost to Washington in the 2016 round of eight then advanced to the Final Four from that region last season.
China Dow found her shooting touch following intermission and hit the tying and breaking 3s in the third quarter as FGCU set the 3-point mark after the Eagles made nine in the first half.
Dow had 23 points, all in the second half, and six 3-pointers as the Eagles ran up their remarkable 3-point total for the season.
Yet Dow didn't have the kind of steady game she produced in a first-round win against fifth-seeded Missouri. She missed her first five field-goal tries, and four 3s, before she connected from deep with 7:39 left in the third for her first points. She hit again from 3 at the 6:16 mark of the third for the single-season record.
The Eagles, without a single 6-footer on the roster, won 11 of their final 12 games and 21 of 23.
Stanford shot 12 for 17 in the first quarter to take a 33-17 lead but went 3 of 11 for only 10 points in the second as their halftime lead was cut to 43-35.
This NCAA tournament is especially memorable for Val Whiting, who played on the only two Stanford national champion teams in 1990 and '92.
In late January, Whiting received her '90 championship ring back from a complete stranger — Julie Mayer Pedilini in Pennsylvania — after it had been lost for 20 years.
'Fab Four has been restored,' Whiting posted on Twitter with a photo of her rings. 'I not only found a lost treasure but now have a new friend.'
Pedelini was searching through her late father-in-law's things when she found the ring, which had a basketball and Whiting's initials. A quick Google search produced Whiting's linked in page, with a photo of the identical 1992 ring. Pedelini contacted her.
'Sometimes things happen for reasons we don't know,' Pedilini said in a Facebook post about her discovery at her mother-in-law's home in Delaware, where Whiting had once lived. 'It is kind of nice when those are nice things.'
Whiting and her ex-husband had once been in a near-fatal car accident and she believes the ring might have been in that car and later found.
Florida Gulf Coast its first 12 points all on 3s. The Eagles, with their #RainingThrees hashtag, finished another special season. They were in the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in seven years with Division I postseason eligibility and won an NCAA game for the first time since beating Oklahoma State in 2015.
Stanford is 36-4 in NCAA games at home in Maples Pavilion.