Powell leads Stanford with 17 points, nine boards

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Stanford Cardinal felt they deserved
better than a No. 6 seed, and their opening-round performance in
the NCAA tournament backed up their argument.

Nicole Powell had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as
the Cardinal beat Missouri 68-55 Saturday night.

Stanford's Kelley Suminski was asked if her team proved it was
better than a sixth seed.

"Yeah," she said, "and I think we need to keep on showing
that for a few more games."

Stanford (25-6), ranked 10th nationally, will face third-seeded
Oklahoma in the second round Monday night. Eleventh-ranked Oklahoma
beat Marist 58-45 in the first game at Arizona State's Wells Fargo

Powell, who grew up in nearby Phoenix, scored 14 in the first
half and took just one shot in the second, using a crossover move
to create a 3-pointer that put Stanford up 64-37 with 6:35 to play.

"I was just trying to come out and be ready to go right from
the start," Powell said. "We wanted to start the game well and I
wanted to get after it right away."

Powell was 3-for-5 from 3-point range with three steals and only
one turnover despite handling the ball on virtually every Stanford

"She looked very poised and she had some great passes," said
coach Tara VanDerveer, who earned her 600th career victory. "She
was very much in the flow of things and not trying to force things.
She was really setting other people up, and they delivered for

Three other Stanford players reached double figures. T'Nae Thiel
scored 14 points, and Susan Borchardt had 13, shooting 3-of-5 on
3-pointers. Suminski added 10 points.

Stretch James scored 20 to lead the Tigers (17-13), the No. 11
seed. Two-time all-Big 12 player Evan Unrau scored 10, eight below
her season average. Both were playing their final game for

"The key to the game was the lack of offensive execution,"
Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. "We just couldn't hit the shots,
and it was that way all night. We had some great looks at the
basket, and we just couldn't knock them down."

The Tigers shot just 31 percent overall, 27 percent in the
second half.

"Our defense was definitely the difference for us," VanderVeer
said, "getting our hands on the ball and being active."

Powell dominated play in the first half as Stanford took a 35-22
lead at the break, but she didn't score as the Cardinal opened the
second half with a 14-2 run to go up 49-26 on Chelsea Trotter's
second rebound basket in a row with 14:20 to play.

Kristen Newlin's two free throws gave Stanford its biggest lead
-- 68-39 with 4:07 left.

Stanford is making its 18th NCAA tournament appearance and
advanced past the first round for the fifth year in a row.

Powell had a steal and layup, then got an assist on Borchardt's
3-pointer in a 10-2 run that put Stanford up 26-17 on Azella
Perryman's two free throws with 8:05 to play in the half.

The Tigers -- one of seven Big 12 teams in the tournament -- twice
cut it to six, the last time at 28-22 on EeTisha Riddle's layup
with 4:28 to go until halftime. Powell sank a 3-pointer and a
10-footer from the baseline in a 7-0 spurt that gave Stanford its
biggest lead of the half, 35-22, with 1:27 to play.

In the first half, Powell had 14 points, six rebounds, three
assists, three steals and a blocked shot.