Fingall helps No. 8 Stanford beat Florida Gulf Coast 88-65

HONOLULU (AP) — Stanford was able to overcome its best player being hampered by foul trouble with a career night from Nadia Fingall.

She scored a career-high 24 points and No. 8 Stanford pulled away from Florida Gulf Coast 88-65 in the opening day of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown on Friday.

The Cardinal (4-0) also got 17 from Kiana Williams and 16 from Dijonai Carrington.

Fingall shot 11 of 14 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Her previous high for points was 14 against Cal State Northridge, when she was a freshman during the 2016 season.

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Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer credited Fingall for increasing her offensive production with senior forward Alanna Smith saddled with foul trouble.

“This wasn’t Alanna’s best night so other people stepped us for her,” VanDerveer said. “I thought we had a great game from Nadia Fingall, she really stepped up and scored inside. I thought we got some really good play from a lot of different people.”

Smith, the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder and a preseason All-Pac-12 team selection, is on the watch lists for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, along with the Katrina McClain Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best forward. She entered the game averaging 17.7 points per game, but finished with just six points Friday.

Fingall did much of her damage from 12 feet and in against FGCU’s 2-3 zone defense.

“Yeah she did, right in the middle of that zone, over and over and over,” VanDerveer said. “She just went right over them, so that was great to have her score like that.”

FGCU coach Karl Smesko said the difference was Stanford was able to get too many open looks at the basket.

“They had a couple good quick hits against us to get layups and then they found their shooters in the second half and shot a great percentage from 3. We lost the shooters — that was people not recognizing the shooters in their zone — so we gave up too many open looks at 3, but give Stanford credit, after halftime they did a good job having better ball movement and getting the ball to shooters in the second half,” Smesko said.

Keri Jewett-Giles scored 17 points and Nasrin Ulel added 13 for the Eagles (2-2).

Stanford led at halftime, 38-34.

The game was a rematch of an NCAA Tournament game last March, in which Stanford defeated FGCU 90-70 in a second-round game at Maples Pavilion.

The Cardinal have won all three meetings against the Eagles.

BIG PICTURE

FGCU: The Eagles were held to a season-low 26.3 percent shooting (10 of 38) on 3-pointers. They have made at least one trey in 413 straight games. Last season they set an NCAA Division I single-season record with 431 made 3-pointers (of 1,190 attempted).

Stanford: It was the first game in eight days for the Cardinal, whose non-conference game against Ohio State Sunday was canceled after the Buckeyes opted not to travel to the west coast due to poor air quality from the Camp Fire, which is located about 200 miles northeast of the Palo Alto, Calif. campus and has been burning since Nov. 8.

TURNING POINT

FGCU cut it the Stanford lead to 39-38 with 8:46 left in the third quarter on Nasrin Ulel’s drive and bucket. However, the Cardinal went on an 8-0 run that included five points from Carrington to extend it to a nine-point advantage with 6:35 to play in the period. The Eagles never got any closer.

“I thought we had great energy and I thought we played really well for a good portion of this game and then unfortunately I thought our pace let down in the second half. When all of a sudden (Stanford) got a little bit of a lead, I didn’t think that we had the mindset or the attitude to fight to get back in it,” Smesko said. “I’m encouraged by about half of this game, because we played really well against a great team. We just gotta eliminate the other half.”

STAT OF THE NIGHT

After shooting 5 of 13 on 3-pointers in the first half, Stanford made 6 of 8 after the intermission and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc for the game. Williams made 5 of 8 from distance, one short of her career high.

“Our 3-point shooting was really good,” VanDerveer said. “Eleven for 22, you’d take that every game. I thought the key really was just people playing hard the whole game and doing a better job in the second half of taking care of the ball and making good decisions.”

UP NEXT

Florida Gulf Coast plays tournament host Hawaii Saturday for just the second time in program history and first since the 2011 season.

Stanford will face American Saturday in its first meeting against the Eagles, of the Patriot League.

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