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Stanford survived an upset scare from a persistent Iowa State team Sunday, battling all night long before emerging with a 87-81 overtime victory that sent the Cardinal back to Sweet 16.

Tara VanDerVeer's team missed the Sweet 16 last season, breaking a string of getting through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament 14 straight times. But now they are back, marking the program's 29th overall appearance in the round. Stanford advances to the Portland, Oregon, regional next weekend when it will face the winner of Monday's NC State-Tennessee game. 

Stanford star Cameron Brink, the Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year, fouled out late in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinal were bailed out by Kiki Iriafen, the conference's Most Improved Player, who took over and registered a career-high 41 points. She completed an impressive double-double by adding 16 rebounds. As if that wasn't enough, she sprinkled in four assists, one steal and three blocks. 

This game saw a total of 12 ties and 18 lead changes. Understandably, there was a lot of nervous energy at Maples Pavilion after Brink fouled out because Iowa State was not backing down. Stanford fans were energized again after Iriafen blocked a layup attempt by Cyclones freshman Audi Crooks with 1:50 left. She then picked up the defensive rebound that led to Brooke Demetre hitting the 3-pointer that put Stanford up 66-64 with 1:26 remaining in regulation. 

However, it was too early to celebrate as Addy Brown tied the game for Iowa State with a layup less than 20 seconds later. Demetre attempted another 3-pointer with under a minute to go but missed, and the Cardinal faithful held their breaths until Iriafen picked up a key defensive rebound. No one else scored for the rest of the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Iowa State's Emily Ryan hit a key 3, part of a career high 36-point night, but Demetre's 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining put the Cardinal up 83-81. Iowa State called a timeout but the Stanford defense remained strong and the Cardinal picked up the rest of their points from the free throw line. 

Seventh-seeded Iowa State might have fallen short, but they took the host No. 2 seed Cardinal to overtime. And Crooks' 40 points against Maryland on Friday, a freshman record in an NCAA Tournament game, will be the stuff of legend.