SAN ANTONIO — Kiana Williams scored 20 points while becoming Stanford’s career leader in made 3-pointers, and six teammates also hit from long range as the top-seeded Cardinal overwhelmed women’s NCAA Tournament first-timer Utah Valley 87-44 in the opening round Sunday night.
Stanford never trailed after Williams, who made 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, hit a 3 for the first basket in the opening minute and tied the school mark of 295 held by Candice Wiggins. Playing in her hometown and with her parents in the stands, Williams set the record with her second 3 midway through the first quarter to put the Cardinal up 18-3.
Lacie Hull added 12 points for Pac-12 champion Stanford (26-2), the No. 1 overall seed for the first time since 1996, plays Alamo Region No. 8 seed Oklahoma State in the second round on Tuesday. Ten different players scored points, and 10 got a rebound for the Cardinal.
Josie Williams had 18 points to lead Utah Valley (13-7), the WAC runner-up in the regular season that lost its first conference tournament game, represented the league in the NCAA Tournament because undefeated California Baptist was ineligible to advance while still completing the transition from Division II to Division I.
The Cardinal led by as many as 43 points while shooting 55.9% overall (33 of 59), and 45.5% on 3-pointers (15 of 33). Williams’ six were the most by a player since Bonnie Samuelson also hit six in the 2014 tourney against South Dakota.
Coach Tara VanDerveer’s 1,120th career victory – she passed Pat Summitt’s 1,098 earlier this season to become the winningest coach in women’s basketball – was the 90th NCAA Tournament win for the Cardinal, who are in their 34th tourney. Only Tennessee has more, appearing in all 39.
WIGGINS FOR WILLIAMS
Wiggins was a beloved guard who starred for the Cardinal from 2005-08 and carried the team back to the Final Four in ’08 for the first time in 11 years before losing to Tennessee in the championship game. She was happy for Williams surpassing her mark.
“She’s incredible. I have no words to describe … just that I’m so grateful that I got to work with her a few summers ago at Stanford camp,” Wiggins wrote in a text message to the AP. “Her and I have a major soul bond. Love and appreciate her so much!!!”
JUST GETTING STARTED
Second-year Wolverines coach Dan Nielson finished his 48th career game as a head coach. The former BYU associate head coach is a native of Round Rock, Texas, only about 100 miles from the Alamodome.
THEY WERE THE FIRST
There was never the threat of an upset to wrap up the first day of the women’s NCAA Tournament, but the Cardinal were the first No. 1 seed in the men’s or women’s tournament to against a No. 16 seed.
That was in 1998, when No. 16 seed Harvard had a stunning 71-67 win on Stanford’s home court. That was the only No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 until it happened to the Virginia men with a loss against University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in 2018.