Stanford’s Belibi becomes third woman to dunk in NCAA game

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford’s Francesca Belibi became the third woman ever to dunk in the NCAA Tournament, slamming one down with one hand in the second quarter Friday night for the top-seeded, defending champion Cardinal in their first round game against 16th-seeded Montana State.

Belibi’s dunk marked the first by a woman in the tournament since Brittney Griner in 2013 and just the third overall along with Candace Parker’s feat in 2006. A 6-foot-1 junior who routinely dunks in warmups and practice, Belibi had a pair of slams last season — on Dec. 13, 2020, at rival California in Berkeley and again at week later at UCLA.

She blocked a shot at the 3-point line then drove the length of the floor and pounded it through the rim for her third career dunk, thrilling her teammates and earning a roaring standing ovation at the next timeout as she came off the floor.

Stanford began its title defense by holding the Bobcats scoreless in the opening 10 minutes for a 20-0 lead after the first. It marked the first time in the Cardinal’s storied history holding an opponent to no points in any period and just the second ever in the NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina did so against Texas in the 2021 tournament.

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More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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