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Scouting Stanford: Cowgirls have a big test in NCAA Tournament

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Baylor Oklahoma St Basketball

Oklahoma State forward Natasha Mack, right, shoots over Baylor center Queen Egbo, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP)

The final buzzer echoed around the stadium in San Antonio, Texas.

The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team had just completed a dominant performance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against 9-seed Wake Forest in the Alamo Region’s early game of the day.

The biggest win of their 2021 season included passing the test with flying colors, preserving the final moments of the season for at least a couple of days.

It took most of the day to learn the second-round opponent; Stanford played Utah Valley at 9 p.m. and looked convincing. The Cardinal ran wild, winning 87-44 while justifying their top seed title.

Stanford is not Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons posed a threat early on Sunday, but couldn’t sustain the effort longer than the first quarter. The Cardinal won’t make the same mistakes.

Stanford has made the Sweet 16 in every NCAA Tournament since 2007. They score more than 78 points per game, while allowing a mere 52.4.

The Cardinal have four players averaging double digit point totals. Kiana Williams leads Stanford with an average of 14.5 points, followed by Haley Jones 12.7 and Lexie Hull at 11.3.

A positive for OSU is that none of those three players are forwards. The Cowgirls will need to weather the storm if Stanford gets hot. Expect plenty of Natasha Mack possessions.

OSU will not have a size advantage. Stanford forwards include 6-foot-5 Ashten Prechtel, Cameron Brink, Maya Dodson and Alyssa Jerome who are all 6-foot-3 or taller.

Mack and Kassidy De Lapp will need to hold their own on the glass to keep the Cowgirls afloat. OSU forwards Bigue Sarr and Brittany Reeves might get extended opportunities if Stanford opts to go bigger.

The Cowgirls believe they are clearly under seeded. They will have the chance to prove it on Tuesday night.