Haley Jones of the No. 1 seed Stanford Cardinal neared triple-double territory with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, leading the defending champs to a 72-66 victory over the No. 4 seed Maryland Terrapins that placed them in their third straight Elite Eight Friday night at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash.
Jones, a junior, was uncharacteristically hot from three early to give her team some juice and the Cardinal must have felt relatively comfortable until Maryland gradually grew closer late in the fourth.
Senior Lexie Hull, who dropped 36 points in the second round, added 19 points, nine boards and three helpers to the winning cause and teammate Cameron Brink was good for 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks before fouling out with 4:10 to go.
Stanford went on a 9-1 run from 3:07 in the third to 1:47 in the third to go up 59-33. Hull scored seven points on the run and Jones capped it with a layup in transition. Maryland then cut it to 16 with a 10-0 run that featured a Chloe Bibby three to open the fourth. The Terps took too long to cut it to nine, which they did with 1:34 to go.
Diamond Miller, who started the game 1-of-7 from field and 0-of-3 from three, made a mid-range shot followed by a step-back three to cut Maryland’s deficit to 41-28 and get her team pumped up. However, she would pick up her fourth foul at the 6:41 mark of the third and Stanford followed that with a 6-0 run to go up 50-30.
Miller averaged 23.5 points through the first two rounds of the tournament. She fouled out with 5:15 to go in the contest.
Stanford went on a 9-0 run from 3:44 in the second to 1:20 in the second to go up 36-19. The Cardinal led 39-23 at the break.
Maryland struggled to get any closer than eight in the first half of the second quarter. Brink scored the first five Cardinal points of the frame and her team maintained a 27-16 lead at the 5:20 mark.
Jones was just 9-of-35 from three entering the contest, but went 2-of-2 in the first 2:58 to put Stanford up 6-2. That opened the door for the Cardinal to feel momentum throughout the opening frame. Jones made a pretty pass to Anna Wilson for a layup on a backdoor cut that made it 12-6 Cardinal and Fran Belibi turned a block into a near-dunk lay in that put the favorites up 18-8. Stanford led by a quarter-high 12 (22-10) entering the second.
Maryland was led by Angel Reese’s 25 points and nine rebounds.