Stanford overcomes Iowa State in dramatic OT win, advances to women’s Sweet 16

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For the second-straight NCAA Tournament, the Stanford Cardinal faced a fourth-quarter deficit on their home court in the second round, staring down the possibility of a stunning upset.

As the Pac-12 player of the year Cameron Brink spent most of the night in foul trouble against No. 7 Iowa State, the No. 2 Cardinal turned to their other twin tower to carry them home. After being limited to five scoreless minutes off the bench in the 2023 loss to Ole Miss, Kiki Iriafen scored 41 points, tied for ninth all-time in a single NCAA Tournament game, and added 16 rebounds and four assists, leading Stanford to an 87-81 victory in overtime. The Cardinal advanced to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of No. 3 NC State versus No. 6 Tennessee.

There was nothing Iriafen couldn’t do. The conference’s Most Improved Player scored in every which way against Audi Crooks and the Cyclones. She drilled jumpers. She faced up from a distance and blew past her defender. She posted up and finished through contact. Iriafen was also massive on defense, forcing first-round darling Crooks into 3-of-21 shooting as Iowa State collectively shot 12-of-27 on layups.

Stanford needed everything out of Iriafen in a game that was in the balance for 45 minutes. Neither team led by more than two possessions after the first quarter. There were 12 ties and 18 lead changes, and Iowa State was up 1 with 33 seconds to play before a cold-blooded 3-pointer from Brooke Demetre proved decisive. Demetre collected the rebound after Addy Brown missed the potential tying bucket on the subsequent possession, and the Cardinal — and the nervous home crowd at Maples Pavilion — could finally breathe.

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(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

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