Stanford, Brink fall victim to fouls and North Carolina St. in Sweet 16

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Stanford achieved its goal of getting out of Maples Pavilion but will go no further, as senior post Cameron Brink saw her career end in her hometown having fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

The No 2 seeded Cardinal lost 77-67 to No. 3 North Carolina State Friday night at the Moda Center in Portland, ending its season with a 30-6 record. The Wolfpack improved to 30-6 and will face either Gonzaga or Texas Sunday for the right to play in next weekend’s Final Four in Cleveland.

In search of its 23rd appearance in the Elite Eight, Stanford saw the game unravel in the third quarter as the Wolfpack worked on keeping Brink and Kiki Iriafen in foul trouble while the Cardinal struggled from the perimeter to stay even.

Stanford was just 4-for-22 from the 3-point line, with three of those from Hannah Jump. Two of those were in the first quarter.

Aziaha James led North Carolina with 29 points, including 16 in the third quarter, nailing three 3-pointers during that time period.

At the time of her disqualification, Brink had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots. Kiki Iriafen, in foul trouble early, led Stanford with 26 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes with Jump adding 13.

Trailing 60-49 with 8:10 to play, Brink picked up her fifth foul on a block and was done for the rest of the game. Not long afterward, Iriafen was whistled for her fourth foul with 6:47 to play down 63-50.

North Carolina State took charge with a 28-10 third quarter that left Brink with four fouls and Iriafen with three.

Suddenly, instead of in control, Stanford was in trouble with 55-47 deficit going into the fourth quarter.

The last tone came as Brink was diving for a loose ball with 1:14 left in the half.

James had a 16-point third quarter for North Carolina State to her 20 going into the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal scored the last six points of the half to take a 37-27 lead into halftime, with Brink hitting jumper with 1:23 to play for the 10-point margin.

Jump had 10 points, Brink nine and Iriafen eight in just six minutes while finishing the half with two fouls. Although Brink and Iriafen weren’t on the court that often in the first half, they combined for 17 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in the half.

Despite a cold start offensively, Brink had a well-rounded first half that included a 3-point shot from the top of the key, eight rebounds, three assists and five blocks. Two of her assists were kickout passes to Jump for 3-pointers, and the last one a perfect back cut pass to Elena Bosgana for a layup.

Defensively, Stanford held the Wolfpack to 12-for-36 shooting and 2-for-7 from 3-point land with Rivers the leading scorer with eight. The Cardinal also had a 27-16 rebounding advantage but was occasionally careless with the ball with eight turnovers to just two for North Carolina State.

The Cardinal moved the ball well offensively, with 15 of their 17 field goals coming on assisted baskets. Talana Lepolo had five assists in the first half.

Stanford led 12-11 after the first quarter, with Jump hitting a pair of 3-point shots — both on kickouts from Brink on the interior.

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