March 19, 2006
Denver, Colo. (AP) – With Stanford’s starters resting on the bench at the end of a first-round victory, the Cardinal should be fresh heading into Monday’s matchup against a Florida State team that can’t match its opponent’s NCAA tournament experience.
Third-seeded Stanford (24-7) moved into the second round for the fifth straight year with a 72-45 rout of Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. Star guard Candice Wiggins finished with 21 points and six rebounds in only 21 minutes for the Cardinal, who didn’t have anyone play more than 28 minutes.
Early on, it didn’t appear that an agitated Tara VanDerveer would be able to rest any of her players, as Stanford suffered through periods of sloppiness in the first half. The Cardinal was able to handle Southeast Missouri State mostly on talent, opening the game with a 13-4 run, letting the Redhawks pull within five and then steamrolling them with a 15-3 run to take a 37-24 lead by halftime.
Stanford’s coach, though, was furious with her team’s bad passes and poor shot selection in the first period.
“That did have me go ballistic,” VanDerveer said. “There were times I asked myself what were we doing and who was out there in those uniforms.”
Stanford’s defense, however, was the constant. The Cardinal forced Southeast Missouri State to miss 23 of its 29 shots in the first half and held the Redhawks without a field goal for one 14-minute stretch. Southeast Missouri State shot 21 percent (12-of-57) from the floor.
Wiggins, the Pac-10 player of the year, averaged 19.3 points during Stanford’s run to a regional final last season, and VanDerveer will be counting on her again as the Cardinal try to better that result in their coach’s 18th straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Sixth-seeded Florida State (19-9) doesn’t have nearly the tournament resume that Stanford does, as the Seminoles are playing in the NCAAs for only the sixth time. Florida State reached the second round for the second time in as many years Saturday with an 80-71 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Holly Johnson scored 25 points, Alicia Gladden added 20 and the Seminoles benefited from an injury to Lady Techsters guard Tasha Williams, who hobbled around with a sore left foot. Williams managed only eight points, more than five below her average, and was a step slow on defense.
Florida State outrebounded Louisiana Tech 48-37, took 12 more free throws than the Lady Techsters and shot 7-of-14 from 3-point range.
Johnson added 12 rebounds to extend her streak in double figures to 11 games.
“Holly has been that kind of player for us the last two years,” coach Sue Semrau said. “She’s always coming through with clutch shots.”
Monday’s winner will face second-seeded Oklahoma or seventh-seeded BYU on Saturday in the regional semifinal in San Antonio.