Cardinal Looks to Win Inaugural Pac-10 Title Against Sun Devils

March 4, 2002

Eugene, Ore. - Just like the regular season, Pac-10 teams are still trying to figure outStanford.

The second-ranked and top-seeded Cardinal (30-1) look to win the inauguralPac-10 championship as they meet Arizona State in Eugene, Ore., on Monday.

After winning their regular season conference games by at least 20 points,the Cardinal continued the trend in the Pac-10 tournament. They have won theirtournament games by a combined 51 points, beating UCLA 96-61 on Saturday beforeposting a 71-55 victory over Oregon State on Sunday.

Nicole Powell, the conference player of the year as a sophomore this season,has stepped up in the absence of leading scorer Lindsey Yamasaki, who will missthe tournament after undergoing an appendectomy on Tuesday. Yamasaki isexpected to play in the NCAA tournament.

Powell is averaging 26 points in the tournament. She scored scored 27 of hercareer-high 37 points in the first half as the Cardinal advanced to thechampionship game.

'Nicole was kind of the life jacket, keeping everybody afloat for the wholefirst half,' coach Tara VanDerveer said.

The Cardinal have won 22 in a row and are hoping to earn an automatic bid tothe NCAA tournament with a victory on Monday.

'Stanford's always been a strong team, and this year it seems like theycan't do anything wrong,' Oregon State center Ericka Cook said. 'I'm amazedat how they're playing. Stanford stands out compared to everyone else.'

The third-seeded Sun Devils (23-8) advanced to the title game with a 64-58win over Oregon on Sunday.

Amanda Levens scored 19 points against the seventh-seeded Ducks after beingheld to just 10 points on 1-of-11 shooting in Arizona State's 66-58quarterfinal win over Arizona on Saturday.

Arizona State, which allowed a league-best 58.6 points per game during theregular season, has won four of its last five.

The Cardinal won both games against the Sun Devils, 75-66 and 62-48 thisseason.

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