No. 12 Stanford Sneaks Into Pac-10 Title Game

March 7, 2004

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

JOSE, Calif. - Nicole Powell had 18 points, 14 rebounds and sixassists, and Kelley Suminski had 18 points with five 3-pointers in No. 12Stanford's 70-66 comeback win over UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-10tournament Sunday.

Stanford rallied from 11 points down to beat the Bruins for the 11thstraight time and eliminated them from the conference tournament for the thirdstraight year.

The top-seeded Cardinal (23-6) will play No. 2-seeded Arizona for thechampionship Monday night. The Wildcats beat Washington 77-55 in the firstsemifinal for their sixth straight win.

After Powell hit two free throws to give Stanford the lead at 53-51 with7:10 left, 6-foot-5 freshman Kristen Newlin scored back-to-back baskets. Shethen made two free throws, blocked a shot and pulled down an importantdefensive rebound. She finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

Nikki Blue had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Bruins(17-12), who had won eight of their previous nine. UCLA went ahead 51-49 on arunner by Blue before Stanford answered with a decisive 13-5 run.

Freshman Noelle Quinn added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins, whowere swept in three games by Stanford this season.

Earlier in the second half, Stanford used a 12-2 run to trim the deficit.The Cardinal made three straight 3-pointers, two in a row by Suminski, and athree-point play by T'Nae Thiel to get back to 47-46 with 12:16 remaining.Suminski hit another from long range at 11:03 to tie it at 49, and finished5-for-7 from 3-point range.

After halftime, the Cardinal players ran quickly back onto the court wellbefore the Bruins to warm up - as if re-energized from the talk by 18th-yearcoach Tara VanDerveer. But it took a while for Stanford to get going.

On one possession early in the second half, the Cardinal missed threestraight long jumpers after keeping the ball with two offensive rebounds. AfterSusan Borchardt scored the first basket of the half for Stanford, UCLA scorednine straight, with Quinn making back-to-back transition layups to give theBruins their largest lead, 45-34.

The Cardinal were sloppy with the ball, couldn't establish their inside gameand were forced into low-percentage perimeter shots. They began the half1-for-9 but finished 22-of-56 (39.3 percent) from the field.

Borchardt started and played 32 minutes a night after straining her rightknee against California - the same knee she had surgery on two years ago.

The point guard's knee was wrapped and she seemed to favor it at times.Stanford struggled to move the ball in the first half and committed eightturnovers.

UCLA made 12 of its first 23 shots to take a 30-24 lead, and used a 17-5 runin just under seven minutes to erase a five-point deficit. The Bruins led 37-32at halftime after holding the Cardinal to 41 percent shooting and making 55.6percent.

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