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STANFORD (AP) — Stanford’s inexperienced persons were becoming a member of everyone else in begging Francesca Belibi to dunk all season, insisting they got here to university right here simply to look her do it.

Belibi obliged finally at the giant March Insanity degree, blocking off a shot on the 3-point line then riding the period of the ground to slam the ball house with one hand for her 0.33 occupation dunk. The play extremely joyful her teammates and the awestruck house crowd in the second one quarter of top-seeded Stanford’s 78-37 win towards Sixteenth-seeded Montana State on Friday evening within the first spherical of the NCAA Event.

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“It’s actually humorous as a result of I dunk always and after I glance again at footage everybody remains to be simply as excited as though it’s their first time seeing it,” Belibi stated. “So it’s actually cool to look that on their faces. They’ve been getting on me all 12 months about no longer dunking up to now. The inexperienced persons were like, ‘We got here right here for this so the place is it?’ So it was once actually cool to get it and make it occur and simply get engulfed. I felt actually liked.”

Belibi’s dunk was once the primary by way of a girl within the NCAA Event since Brittney Griner did it in 2013 and simply the 0.33 total along side Candace Parker’s feat in 2006. A 6-foot-1 junior who robotically dunks in warmups and follow, Belibi had a couple of slams closing season — on Dec. 13, 2020, at rival California in Berkeley and every week later at UCLA.

This degree is a bit other and some distance larger, with the Cardinal again on their acquainted house flooring within the event’s early rounds for the primary time in 3 years. Belibi’s teammates went loopy and the overjoyed lovers gave her a roaring status ovation throughout a timeout in a while in a while. She completed with 12 issues, 13 rebounds and two blocks in 14 mins.

“Tremendous pleased with Fran, I do know we have been tremendous hyped for her,” Hull stated.

Corridor of Status trainer Tara VanDerveer had one fear in a while: Belibi didn’t get again rapid sufficient and her defensive project scored a layup.

“I’m actually glad for her and the group was once loopy within the locker room for her,” VanDerveer stated. “… I’m satisfied Fran equipped a spark for us.”

In an identical style — simply with out the above-the-rim theatrics — Cameron Verge of collapse started the sport with two blocked pictures that ended in her personal layups at the different finish, and the sophomore superstar completed with 11 issues, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Stanford started a frightening name protection by way of successful its twenty first consecutive sport; its closing defeat was once 65-61 to No. 1 South Carolina on Dec. 21. The Cardinal (29-3) will play Sunday towards No. 8 seed Kansas (21-9), a 77-58 winner towards ninth-seeded Georgia Tech in Friday’s first sport.

Verge of collapse had 5 issues, 3 blocks and 5 rebounds earlier than the Bobcats (22-13) even were given at the board with their first issues early in the second one quarter as Stanford went directly to its third-largest event victory margin in program historical past.

Lexie Hull had 13 issues and 5 assists and Hannah Leap scored 15 for a balanced Cardinal group that went 16-0 throughout the Pac-12 common season and gained the convention event.

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Taylor Janssen scored 12 for the Large Sky Convention Event champions, who got here into the sport averaging 70 issues in step with sport however confronted a Stanford squad that hasn’t allowed any opponent to attain greater than 77 for the reason that finish of the 2019-20 season.

“That was once a primary,” Janssen stated of Belibi’s highlight-reel transfer. “I’ve by no means been a sport the place any person dunked, that was once actually cool.”

Montana State neglected its preliminary 21 pictures spanning the primary two quarters and trailed 23-0 earlier than Janssen’s layup on the 9:15 mark of the second one.

“For those who’re a No. 1 seed and let a group hang out the rest can occur,” VanDerveer stated. “You’ll’t let a group hang out so soar proper on them.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

The scoreless first quarter by way of Stanford’s protection is the primary within the Cardinal’s storied historical past for any length and simply the second one ever within the NCAA Event.

South Carolina did it towards Texas within the 2021 event.

“I believe in the midst of the quarter no longer essentially one thing, ‘Oh, we will do that this quarter’ however taking each ownership critically,” Hull stated of the defensive focal point.

BIG PICTURE

Montana State: The Bobcats, enjoying of their 0.33 ever NCAA Event, neglected their first 12 3-point tries and went 4 for twenty-four from deep total. … Montana State Seventeenth-year trainer Tricia Binford notched her fifteenth directly successful season. She referred to as it a perfect week for her group “getting higher.”

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Stanford: Lacie Hull had 4 of Stanford’s 16 steals. … The Cardinal held a 56-33 rebounding benefit. … Stanford scored seven issues off Montana State’s 5 first-quarter turnovers and compelled 17 in all whilst committing 16. … The Cardinal advanced to 15-1 at house this season.



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