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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

NC State sends Stanford women, Cameron Brink packing in Sweet 16

Stanford forward Cameron Brink looks down Friday as the Cardinal lost to the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center in Portland.  (Tribune News Service)
By Jerry McDonald Bay Area News Group

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 to No. 3 North Carolina State 77-67 on Friday night at the Moda Center in Portland, ending their season with a 30-6 record.

The Wolfpack (30-6) will face No. 1-seeded Texas on 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 to keep up from the perimeter.

Stanford was just 5 for 25 from the 3-point line, with three of those makes coming from Hannah Jump. Two of those were in the first quarter.

“We’re not at our best without Cam and Kiki on the court,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I’m proud of our effort. We just didn’t get it done.”

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

By the time she fouled out, Brink had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots.

Iriafen, in foul trouble early, led Stanford with 26 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes, and Jump added 13.

“I’m obviously sad,” Brink said. “But I had such an amazing career, so it’s bittersweet, for sure.”

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

North Carolina State took charge in the third quarter, outscoring Stanford 28-10 as Brink had four fouls and Iriafen three.

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

The last whistle 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 and had 20 points going into the fourth quarter after a four-point first half.

“We were going to her every possession,” North Carolina State coach Wes Moore said. “When you realize a player is on a roll like that, you’ve got to keep going to her.”

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

Jump had 10 points, Brink nine, and Iriafen eight in just 6 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 offensive start, 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 was a perfect back-cut pass to Elena Bosgana for a layup.

Stanford held the Wolfpack to 12-for-36 shooting from the field and 2 for 7 on 3-pointer, with Rivers the leading scorer with eight.

The Cardinal also had a 27-16 rebounding advantage but were occasionally careless with the ball, with eight turnovers to just two for North Carolina State.

(1) South Carolina 79, (4) Indiana 75: The top-seeded Gamecocks led by as many as 22 points, but still had their perfect season in jeopardy late in Albany, New York.

Mackenzie Holmes cut South Carolina’s lead to two points with 1 minute, 8 seconds remaining, but Rven Johnson ensured the Gamecocks would prevail with a 3-pointer on the next possession.

(3) Oregon State 70, (2) Notre Dame: Timea Gardiner and Raegan Beers kept the Beavers’ dream season going, as the two forwards combined for 39 points and 24 rebounds to power OSU past the Fighting Irish in Albany.

– The Spokesman-Review staff contributed to this report.