No. 4 seed Stanford women’s basketball (25-9) beat No. 13 seed Cal State Northridge 73-60 to advance to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament, where it will play No. 5 seed Oklahoma.
The game also marked head coach Tara VanDerveer’s 800th win at Stanford. She is the 10th coach in both men’s and women’s college basketball to reach the 800-win milestone at a single institution.
A three by senior forward Bonnie Samuelson put Stanford up 18-5 with 13:15 to go in the first half. Soon afterward, the Matadors brought the game within 10 and then went on a 13-0 run to go up 25-22 in the final minutes of the half.
The Cardinal managed to regain their lead with a jump shot from senior forward Taylor Greenfield at the 1:41 mark. Two more lead changes put Stanford up once agains as the half dwindled down, but a layup with three seconds left gave CSUN a 1-point lead going into intermission — the 12th time Stanford had been down at half this season.
Ashlee Guay’s 15 first-half points accounted for more than half of the Matadors’ scoring, while only Samuelson and Greenfield notched more than 5 points in the first half, with 9 and 6, respectively.
Despite a rocky first half, Stanford played much better basketball on both sides of the court in the second period.
A layup by Janae Sharpe early in the second half put Northridge up by 6, 36-30, but this lead was the most the Matadors would see for the rest of the game.
Stanford went on a 24-4 run, which included a seven-minute period when CSUN went scoreless and ended in a 14 point lead, its largest of the night. Part of CSUN’s scoring troubles could be attributed to the ineffectiveness of Guay, who started the half with a three but did not score again until the 3:34 mark.
As Stanford got its offense flowing, Greenfield scored 10 of her 19 points in that seven-minute stretch, while sophomore guard Lili Thompson and sophomore forward Erica McCall also made key contributions.
Greenfield’s stellar play against CSUN marked a continuation of her emergence as a scoring powerhouse during the Pac-12 tournament. In fact, over the past three games Greenfield has notched 56 combined points.
“I was stoked for the game,” Greenfield said, “and I knew in order to win I would need to have an impact in some way, and it happened to be scoring. It felt great.”
The Cardinal shot 59 percent in the second half, cut down on turnovers and played overall better defense to gain the 45-31 advantage over the Matadors in the second half.
Guay’s layup with 1:48 left made it a two-possession game, yet the Cardinal went 13-1 from the line to ensure that they would come out with the win.
Four Stanford players — Greenfield, Thompson, Samuelson and McCall — ended the game in double digits with 19, 17, 14 and 10 apiece.
Thompson had a slow first half before being benched after drawing her second foul with 12:16 left in the half, yet she went 4-of-6 from the field and scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half to help the Cardinal regain their lead.
“Being on the bench for most of the first half gave me an opportunity to look at the way the game was flowing, and once we did get down by six, but I knew we’d be able to come back,” Thompson said. “We changed up some of the things we were running and refocused on defense. So it wasn’t necessarily worry; I just wanted the team to refocus. I think we did that and picked our energy back up.”
Next up for the Cardinal is Oklahoma (21-11), which crushed No. 12 seed Quinnipiac, 111-84. The Sooners shot 55.6 percent from the field and 44.8 percent on threes, and six of their players notched double-digit points.
Oklahoma, which went 13-5 in the Big 12, shared some regular-season opponents with Stanford. The Sooners beat Washington, which Stanford beat twice, and went 2-1 against Texas, which defeated the Cardinal in overtime.
Stanford will play Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday at 3:30 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.