HONOLULU (AP) — American hung tough with No. 8 Stanford for about three quarters, but faded down the stretch.
Alanna Smith scored a season-high 25 points, and Stanford beat American 71-49 in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown on Saturday.
Dijonai Carrington added 13 points for the Cardinal (5-0), who never trailed and led by as many as 22 points.
American cut Stanford’s lead to five late in the third quarter, but was outscored 26-10 in the final period.
“They’re a very good team, they’re a (NCAA) tournament team,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said of the Eagles. “They played very hard, they were very physical I thought, so we did get off to a little bit of a slow start, but we’re going to have to come back (Sunday) and play a lot harder.”
Smith went 10 for 18 from the field, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers. The senior forward also had eight rebounds and four assists one day after being held to a season-low six points against Florida Gulf Coast Friday.
Carrington was 6 of 7 on field goals and recorded seven rebounds, and Nadia Fingall added 10 points and five boards. Kiana Williams had nine points and seven assists.
VanDerveer said Carrington’s energy on both sides of the floor were key when the Eagles got close in the second half.
“I thought Dijonai was a real big difference for us. She got that post-up, she got that offensive board, she made a free throw, she made that really nice pitch, so I thought she played really well. I’m very happy with how she’s playing,” VanDerveer said.
Elina Koskimies scored 13 points, Kaitlyn Lewis had 12 and Kaitlyn Marenyi added 11 for the Eagles (3-2).
Stanford shot 41.9 from the field to American’s 37 percent and won the rebounding battle, 40 to 25.
“There’s some shots that they made that they made that we just can’t guard, so you can’t get upset at our kids about that, but their length did cause us some problems,” American coach Megan Gebbia said. “I thought our defense, we came out and we know that we have to do that in order to compete with teams like Stanford, and so we held it together for about 30 minutes and then it just fell apart in the fourth.”
The Cardinal scored 21 second-chance points off of 15 offensive rebounds.
Stanford led 30-23 at halftime.
Stanford: The Cardinal were playing their second team coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in as many days. Their opponent Friday, Florida Gulf Coast, reached the second round of last season’s tournament, while American was ousted in the first round.
American: One day after shooting 36 of 40 from the free-throw line in a 69-57 win over Hawaii, the Eagles were 12 of 15 on free throws Saturday. For the season, they are 93 of 110 from the line (84.5 percent).
While both teams were playing their second game in as many days, American had about 15 hours to prepare for Stanford following its game against Hawaii Friday. Tip-off between the Eagles and Cardinal took place at noon.
“I think it was tough just because we’ve never done this before. We haven’t really played in that many tournaments where we’re playing two games in two days, so this will be a real challenge for us, I think, and just not having enough rest time and enough prep time,” Gebbia said. “I mean, I thought we did a good job with the time that we had, but I think we were tired and I don’t play a ton of people — I think I go about eight deep — so you could see like in the fourth quarter it wearing on us.”
Stanford forward Lacie Hull notched seven steals in 33 minutes Saturday, both career-high marks. She had just four steals on the season entering the contest. Hull’s twin sister, Lexie, has missed the last two games with a foot injury.
The Cardinal had a number of players take some bumps and bruises Saturday, including Carrington, Fingall, Williams and Maya Dodson. All of them were able to finish the game, much to the relief of VanDerveer.
“I think that’s good when you’re playing as many people as you do, then people have to step up, but hopefully we’ll be ready for tomorrow and our Pac-12 tournament is three games in three days so we need people to be ready to play that,” VanDerveer said.
American takes on Florida Gulf Coast on the final day of the four-team tournament Sunday.
Stanford will play Hawaii on Sunday, a team it has never lost to in nine previous meetings.
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