March Madness: Stanford star Cameron Brink misses NCAA opener against No. 16 Sacred Heart with illness

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Stanford star Cameron Brink missed out to start the NCAA tournament.

Brink missed No. 1-seeded Stanford’s opening game in the tournament on Friday due to a non-COVID-19 illness, the school confirmed. However, the cardinal had no problem without him. They went past No. 16 Sacred Heart 92-49 on Friday evening in the Seattle 4 Region.

Specific details about Brink’s illness are not yet known, and it is unclear how long he will be sidelined. He is considered day-to-day. Brink didn’t practice Thursday, and he confirmed he’s dealing with a stomach bug that’s been going around the team in recent days in a post on Instagram.

Brink is averaging a team-high 14.9 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Cardinals this season. She also averaged 3.4 blocks per game, second best in the country behind St. Louis’ Brooke Flowers.

Stanford finished the season with an overall record of 28–5 and clinched the final No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, despite losing two of their last three games. The Cardinal overtook No. 2 Iowa in the Seattle 4 region for that final spot, and were joined by South Carolina, Indiana and Virginia Tech on the 1-seed line.

Sacred Heart entered Friday’s game with a record of 19–13. The Pioneers, who opened the season losing eight of their first nine games, defeated Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference Tournament championship game to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.

While Brink’s absence will be felt if it extends past Friday, Stanford pulled off a 43-point victory over the Pioneers. Haley Jones dropped a team-high 17 points and six rebounds while shooting 7-of-12 from the field for Stanford, and Francesca Belibie added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Cardinal shot just 50% from the field, trailing Sacred Heart 57–28.

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They will face either Ole Miss in the second round on Sunday.