No. 3 Cardinal Down ASU, 62-48

Jan. 26, 2002

By RICK EYMER
Associated Press Writer

STANFORD, Calif. - With everyone except Lindsey Yamasaki struggling on offense, No. 3 Stanford turned to defense.

Yamasaki scored 23 of her season-high 27 points in the first half as Stanford won its 12th straight game, 62-48 over Arizona State on Saturday.

'I was just trying to take what they threw at me,' said Yamasaki, who has scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games this year. 'When I'm playing against bigger people, sometimes it's easier to get my penetrattion going and use my agility.'

Nicole Powell added 13 points as Stanford (20-1, 10-0 Pac-10) beat the second-place Sun Devils at home for the 18th consecutive time. The Cardinal have been held to fewer than 62 points just once this season.

'We were just trying to stick with it,' said Powell. 'We just tried to take care of the ball.'

Betsy Boardman scored 15 points to lead the Sun Devils (16-6, 7-4), who lost for the first time in 16 games when allowing 67 points or less.

'When you struggle offensively like we did, you just keep shooting,' said Boardman, who was 3-of-12 from the field. 'If it's not going in, you have to come back defensively.'

Amanda Levens, Arizona State's leading scorer at 18.8, was held to a season-low six points on 1-of-14 shooting, including 0-7 from long range.

'She was the focus our perimeter defense,' said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. 'We put several people on her and played it smart.'

Levens has been slowed by a left ankle sprain sustained in a game against Washington on Jan. 10.

'She's not 100 percent, but she's one of the toughest players I've ever coached,' said Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'She got good looks. Everybody got good looks. Some days they just don't go down. We're not going to shoot that bad again, I guarantee it.'

The Sun Devils were held to a season-low 26.3 percent.

Stanford, which leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense, has held its last 10 opponents under 40 percent.

'We're working very hard on defense, forcing teams to take low percentage shots,' said VanDerveer. 'It was evident today. Our defensive effort was excellent.'

Arizona State, held to its season low, began the day leading the Pac-10 in fewest points allowed per game. Stanford leads in scoring offense and largest margin of victory.

'We didn't do a lot of things offensively that would have made life easier,' said Turner Thorne.

Stanford recorded its 13th 20-win season in the last 15 years.

Arizona State, which has been ranked as high as No. 21 this season, gave Stanford one of its toughest conference games in their last meeting. The Sun Devils led by 12 points, Stanford's biggest deficit of the season, before losing by nine on Dec. 21.

Stanford scored 10 straight points to take a 14-6 edge, and led the rest of the way.

The Cardinal scored the first eight points of the second half while holding the Sun Devils scoreless for over seven minutes, opening a 43-23 edge.

The Sun Devils closed to within 54-46 when Levens made a pair of free throws with 2:56 remaining, but Powell _ who left the game momentarily after getting hit in the right eye _ hit a 3-pointer from the corner 26 seconds later.

Yamasaki, who didn't score in the final 18 minutes of the game, matched Arizona State's first half total herself as she scored 23 points, including a basket at the buzzer which gave Stanford a 35-23 first half advantage.

Yamasaki, who scored 17 of Stanford's final 18 points in the half, made nine of her first 13 shots. She was briefly forced out of the game because of a cut on her right knee after being fouled, missing a free throw opportunity.

Stanford's Lauren St. Clair, who sat out Thursday's game against Arizonawith sore ribs, made her first start of the season.

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