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

Stanford missed star Cameron Brink 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. The Cardinal didn't have any issue without her, however. They rolled past No. 16 Sacred Heart 92-49 on Friday evening in the Seattle 4 region.

Specifics regarding Brink’s illness are not yet known, and it’s unclear how long she will be sidelined. She is considered day-to-day. Brink missed practice Thursday, and she confirmed she is dealing with a stomach bug that has been going around the team in recent days in a post on Instagram.

Brink has averaged a team-high 14.9 points and 9.5 rebounds this season for the Cardinal. She’s also averaging 3.4 blocks per game, which is the second-best in the country behind Saint LouisBrooke Flowers.

Stanford finished with a 28-5 overall record this season and took the final No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament despite losing two of its last three games. The Cardinal edged out No. 2 Iowa in the Seattle 4 region for that final spot, and joined South Carolina, Indiana and Virginia Tech on the 1-seed line.

Sacred Heart entered Friday’s game with a 19-13 record. The Pioneers, who opened the season losing eight of their first nine games, beat 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 cruised to the 43-point win 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 Belibi added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Cardinal shot just shy of 50% from the field, and out-rebounded Sacred Heart 57-28.

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