HONOLULU — No. 8 Stanford eased its way to another win Sunday, but an injury to guard Anna Wilson late in its game against Hawaii weighed heavily on the team and its players.
Wilson, a junior guard and the sister of NFL star Russell Wilson, fell backward and hit a chair while playing defense according to Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. Wilson remained down on the court for about 20 minutes after getting hurt while medical personnel attended to her. They stabilized her neck before she was taken to a hospital.
While she was being treated on the court, the officials and coaches decided to end the game with 48.2 seconds left. The Cardinal won the game 81-59 in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
"Our number one priority is Anna Wilson's health and I think what happened is just unfortunate. In the last minute of the game, people are playing hard and there was nothing involved except for just an accident," VanDerveer said of the sequence in front of the Hawaii bench.
"She kind of got tripped up a little bit and fell back into the chair, so we're all very concerned about her health and pray for her to be healthy. She's a great young lady and for all of our team, it kind of dampens the three games that we played and obviously the game that we played today against Hawaii," VanDerveer added.
Wilson's mother made her way to the arena floor and was seen being consoled by VanDerveer while paramedics put her daughter on a gurney.
Tests came back clear for Wilson and she was set to join the team on their red-eye flight home Sunday night according to a university spokesman.
Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said she did not see the play that led to Wilson's injury, but expressed her concern for the Stanford player.
"You never want a player to get injured. I don't care how the tournament ends up, I don't care how that game ended, I think it was the right call to end the game," Beeman said. "Obviously we're concerned about her safety and that's all that I can say. We'll just keep her in our thoughts and prayers and hope that she's all right."
Alanna Smith scored a season-high 30 points and Dijonai Carrington added 12 for Stanford (6-0), which trailed for just 24 seconds early on in the contest and led by as many as 25 late.
Smith finished three points shy of her career high in points scored.
Makenna Woodfolk scored 16 points and Courtney Middap added 11 for the Rainbow Wahine (1-6).
Stanford held a 40-22 lead at halftime. It leads the all-time series against Hawaii, 10-0.
Stanford: The Cardinal played their third consecutive game without freshman forward Lexie Hull (leg injury), who has recorded the team's only double-double this year. Wilson has started the last three games in Hull's place.
VanDerveer said it was too soon to speculate on how Wilson's injury will affect the starting lineup.
"The number one thing is her getting better, but we have other people that any time someone gets hurt, someone has to step up. . We'll have to wait and see about where we go from here, but it's unfortunate. We're all concerned about her right now, but I think we're just waiting for good news and we can get excited about getting back and practicing and how well we did in the tournament," VanDerveer said.
Hawaii: Turnovers continue to be a thorn in the side for the Rainbow Wahine, who entered Sunday's game averaging 17 per game and minus 2.1 in turnover margin. They turned it over 19 times against the Cardinal, who returned the favor 13 times.
Hawaii took its only lead of the game on Amy Atwell's 3-pointer from the right wing that put the hosts ahead 8-6 with 4:43 left in the first quarter. However, it went scoreless for the rest of the period — while Stanford went on a 9-0 run — and missed a handful of easy buckets from close proximity.
"The number eight team in the country makes you do things you don't want to do. I thought that we opened up the game aggressive, we missed five layups in the first half and I thought that kind of dug us a hole," Beeman said. "Instead of being down maybe six (points) at halftime, I think we were down 15 to 18 and you don't come back on a team like Stanford — they're too well coached, they're too disciplined — and so we had dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole."
Stanford will return to the mainland after three games in the islands in three days and visit Gonzaga next Sunday.
Hawaii will go a span of nine days without playing a game before it hosts former Western Athletic Conference-foe Idaho on Dec. 5.