The game was over as soon as it began, with Stanford steamrolling past Portland 87-47 on Sunday night. It was a complete game by the Pac-12 favorite, with four players scoring in double digits and every member of the team getting time in the game.
The game was close only briefly when Stanford led 11-7 with 4:04 left in the first. The Cardinal then went on a 10-0 run and never looked back. They were dominant in all facets of the game. They dominated the boards 42-23, forced 15 turnovers and blocked seven shots. Cameron Brink, the NCAA leader in blocks, accounted for five of them, including a powerful one to end the first quarter where she rejected Maisie Burnham.
Haley Jones finally had a Haley Jones game, scoring in double digits, going 7-of-8 from the field and grabbing seven rebounds. It was only a matter of time before she was back to her career averages, and, unfortunately for Portland, that happened on Sunday.
With the lead getting as large as 42, Stanford could empty the bench and minimize starter minutes, which was much needed given that the Cardinals played four games in seven nights. They did exactly what title favorites should do against weaker opponents — come out aggressively and close them out early so the starters can rest.
Not much Portland can take away from this game other than they are miles away from Stanford. This doesn’t have to be a devastating realization, as both teams have very different goals. One wants to win the NCAA championship and the other would just love to be invited to the dance.
When you lose by 40, it’s hard to say anyone had a good game, but if you want to find a positive in the game, Liana Kaitu’u is it. She came off the bench and scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting and went 7-of-8 at the free-throw line. She has shined in this role for all three games this season. She looks like the best player Portland has coming off the bench.
Portland will face off against San Diego State next on Friday in what appears to be an even matchup of two 2-1 teams. Stanford will go up against Cal Poly on Thursday, looking to extend its winning streak to five as it focuses on its road back to the Final Four.