No. 2 Stanford trounces K-State 69-48 to reach Sweet 16
The Cardinal (30-5) had no problem dealing with the Wildcats (23-11) or their home crowd, which spent much of the game sitting in silence. Stanford roared to a 39-21 halftime lead and never looked back in advancing to face No. 3 seed Texas on Friday night in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Cardinal beat the Longhorns 71-59 when they met in early November.
Kindred Wesemann had 11 points and Breanna Lewis was held to nine in their final game for the Wildcats (23-11), who have not advanced past the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend since 2002.
Neither senior star could get on track after combining for 39 in the opening round.
Speaking of the first round, the Cardinal needed to rally from nine down to win beat No. 15 seed New Mexico State. It was an ugly, disjointed performance that led Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer to muse afterward that nearly two weeks off may not have been good for them.
Two days off seemed to suit the Cardinal much better.
They quickly shook loose of the Wildcats with hounding defense and pinpoint perimeter shooting, using a 13-0 run late in the first quarter and early in the second to take a 28-12 lead. And when McPhee hit a 3-pointer moments later, she had nearly as many points (13) as the Wildcats (14).
Kansas State went on a brief run to trim its deficit to 34-21 with 2 minutes left before halftime, but Nadia Fingall's basket in the paint and McPhee's fourth 3 of the half restored order.
The Wildcats had six turnovers in the first quarter and nine by halftime, while the Cardinal had already built a 20-9 rebounding advantage by that point — despite having no advantage in size.
Stanford's lead swelled to 47-24 before the Wildcats managed their first basket of the third quarter with 4:11 remaining. Kansas State proceeded to run off nine straight points in its best stretch of the game, but Karlie Samuelson's 3-pointer got the Cardinal back on track.
They coasted through the fourth quarter and right into the Sweet 16.
Kansas State has made strides in three years under Jeff Mittie, but the Wildcats' coach still has never made it to the tournament's second weekend. The Wildcats have been bounced in the second round the past two years, and five of his teams at TCU were eliminated in the same round.
Stanford missed out on having home games the opening weekend because of a conflict at Maples Pavilion, but it ultimately didn't matter. Now, the Cardinal head to a neutral floor as they attempt to reach the Final Four for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
The Cardinal head to Lexington to face the Longhorns.
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