MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Alanna Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Karlie Samuelson hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, and No. 2 seed Stanford survived a spirited upset bid to beat No. 15 seed New Mexico State 72-64 on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament.
Playing nearly 1,800 miles from home due to a scheduling conflict at Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal (29-5) looked lost most of the afternoon, trailing the Aggies (24-7) by as many as nine early on.
Smith finally gave them their first lead midway through the third quarter, and Brittany McPhee gave Stanford the lead for good when she began pouring in baskets midway through the fourth.
The Cardinal held on down the stretch to narrowly avoid becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose in the opening round. They advanced to play No. 7 seed Kansas State or No. 10 seed Drake on Monday.
McPhee finished with 16 points for the Cardinal. Erica McCall added nine points and 11 boards.
The undersized Aggies had their 17-game win streak snapped despite a big performance from Brooke Salas, who had 26 points. Moriah Mack added 15 points and Brianna Freeman had 10.
It was evident right from the start that Stanford was in for a rugged matchup. The Aggies made five of their first six shots, were 14 of 25 from the field at halftime — a mark dragged down by six Stanford blocks — and drained five of their first seven 3-pointers.
The final minute of the first half was indicative of the rest of it: The Cardinal committed a shot-clock violation, fouled the Aggies' Tyler Ellis, then failed to get a rebound when she missed the second free throw, allowing Zaire Williams to hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
That gave New Mexico State a 38-31 halftime advantage.
But the Cardinal, so poised in March, managed to wipe it out in the third quarter. Samuelson kept hitting 3s and the Pac-12 champs finally began to use their size advantage, taking their first lead when Smith got loose for a basket inside to make it 43-41 with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Still, the Aggies were clinging to a 49-48 lead after the third quarter, and it began to look more and more possible that the Cardinal — the only No. 1 seed to ever lose an NCAA Tournament game — would also become the first women's team to lose its opener as a No. 2 seed.
But after struggling all game, McPhee scored to make it 54-55 with 7 1/2 minute left, then added a three-point play a couple minutes later. She added a couple of free throws down the stretch as the Cardinal put the game away.
New Mexico State hung tough with one of the nation's top teams in its third straight NCAA trip, proving perhaps that the selection committee made a mistake with its seeding.
Stanford won despite committing 16 turnovers, thanks in part to 50 percent shooting in the second half. The Cardinal shot just 34 percent during the first two quarters.
Stanford faces the Wildcats or the Bulldogs on Monday night.
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