Actually the game was no more physical than what the Cardinal see regularly from Arizona State and Cal. The Mountaineers' plan to get the sisterhood in foul trouble did succeed a bit (Nneka had three and Chiney four), but it didn't really matter.
What mattered was the Cardinal's unrelenting defense that held the Mountaineers to 31% from the field. The lasting image of today's game is white-uniformed players stifling blue-uniformed shot attempts — see the photos below.
Amber was the engine that drove the train on offense. She was the top scorer with 18 points (her career high) on a variety of drives to the basket, back-door cuts and pull-up jumpers. She had five assists with zero turnovers, grabbed seven rebounds (another career high) and added a steal for good measure.
Nneka kicked off the Cardinal's hot start with a fast break and layup off Toni's tip of a Mountaineer air ball. She had sixteen points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals. She made five field goals today, bringing her season total to 273 — just two short of the Stanford record held by Kate Starbird.
Chiney and her knee were ready to play. Perhaps her knee was bothering her a bit. She had only 13 points and six rebounds instead of her usual double-double – and three blocks.
Toni played her usual fine defensive game today — she stole the ball three times. Her shooting was a bit off, but she kept trying and scored a total of ten points, including one trey. She also had five rebounds and two assists with zero turnovers. Her assist/turnover ratio is up to 2.25, among the ten best in the nation.
Jos was strong on defense with seven rebounds and two blocks. On offense, she sank two long ones and scored a total of nine points.
Sarah was a major factor in disrupting the Mountaineers' inside game. She played 16 minutes and committed just two fouls. She also had two points, two assists, a rebound and a block.
Lindy scored on two lovely back-door cuts.
Next up: Stanford plays South Carolina in Fresno. Dawn Staley's Gamecocks earned their first-ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen with a 72-61 upset of Purdue.
Here are game reports:
- No. 2 Stanford Advances Topping West Virginia, 72-55 by Phil Kurz (Associated Press)
- Mountaineers Fall to No. 2 Stanford by Julie Brown (MSN SportsNet)
- Stanford Ends West Virginia's Season by Scott Grayson (West Virginia Illustrated)
- Stanford beats WVU at own game by Michelle Smith (espnW)
- Cardinal turns to Orrange for second round win from Palo Alto Online
A gallery of photos by Don Feria for Stanford Photo,
And photos by Steve Helber (Associated Press):