Pac-10 Goes 3-0 to Start 2006 NCAA Tourney

March 18, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE REGIONAL

(4) Arizona State 80, (13) Stephen F. Austin 61

Kovesdy-22 pts/11 reb; Thompson-12 pts/6-13 FG

SAN ANTONIO REGIONAL

(9) Washington 73, (8) Minnesota 69

Plouffe-15 pts/6 reb; Watson-14 pts/9 reb

(3) Stanford 72, (14) SE Missouri State 45

Wiggins-21 pts/7 reb; Smith-14 pts/11 reb

Sun., March 19

ALBUQUERQUE REGIONAL

(10) California vs. (7) St. John's, 12 Noon ET

BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL

(8) USC vs. (9) South Florida, 9 p.m. ET

CLEVELAND REGIONAL

(5) UCLA vs. (12) Bowling Green, 2:30 p.m. CT

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State was too big and too deep for Stephen F. Austin on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament.

Playing on the home court of arch-rival Arizona, the fourth-seeded Sun Devils routed the Ladyjacks 80-61 to advance to a matchup Monday night against No. 5 seed Utah in the second round of the Albuquerque Regional.

Kristen Kovesdy, the Sun Devils' 6-foot-3 senior center, scored 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Her backup, 6-6 freshman Kirsten Thompson, added 12 points. Aubree Johnson was the only other Arizona State player in double figures with 10. Amy Denson added nine points and 10 rebounds.

Eleven players scored for the Sun Devils (25-6), all in the first half.

LaToya Mills had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Stephen F. Austin (23-8). Anitria Mosley added 16 points for the Southland Conference regular season and tournament champions, making their 18th NCAA tournament appearance but first since 2002.

Arizona State, ranked 15th nationally, never trailed in winning for the 11th time in its last 12 outings. The lone loss came to UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament on March 5.

The Sun Devils, who advanced to the regional semifinals a year ago, shot out to a 19-4 lead behind the inside dominance of Kovesdy and Thompson. The Ladyjacks never got closer than 13 again.

Kovesdy's inside basket on a pass from Briann January put Arizona State ahead 33-12 with 5:55 to go in the half.

Mills' driving basket 4:13 before halftime capped a 7-0 Stephen F. Austin spurt that cut it to 33-19, but Arizona State outscored the Ladyjacks 13-4 the rest of the half. Johnson's 3-pointer at the buzzer put the Sun Devils ahead 46-23 at the break.

Kovesdy scored 12 in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting, all from close range. Thompson and YoVanna Rosenthal added eight first-half points apiece.

The overmatched Ladyjacks shot 28 percent in the first half (9-for-32) and were outrebounded 30-13.

Arizona State led by as many as 28 in the second half and finished with a 52-26 rebounding advantage.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Kristen O'Neill scored four points in the final minute, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 56.6 seconds left, and Washington beat No. 25 Minnesota 73-69 Saturday.

Ninth-seeded Washington, which won its first NCAA tournament game since 2003, advances to play either No. 1 seed LSU or 16th-seeded Florida Atlantic in the second round of the San Antonio Regional on Monday night.

It was an exceptionally close second half, with neither team leading by more than four points for the final 15:14. O'Neill's 3 snapped a 67-all tie. Minnesota had a chance to send the game into overtime trailing 71-69, but Brittney Davis turned the ball over on a drive with 5 seconds left.

Andrea Plouffe led Washington (19-10) with 15 points, while O'Neill finished with 10. Breane Watson had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Cameo Hicks scored 10.

Kelly Roysland scored a career-high 23 points for Minnesota (19-10), which lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in six trips. The Golden Gophers had reached the regional semifinals in each of the past three seasons.

The loss ends a four-year run of 20-win seasons for Minnesota.

Washington grabbed a season-high 23 offensive rebounds and held a 50-38 rebounding advantage.

The Huskies hung in the game in the first half thanks to their rebounding. Washington shot just 34 percent from the floor, but had 13 offensive rebounds and a 9-0 run midway through the half, and trailed just 34-32 at halftime.

Roysland scored 14 points in the first half to lead the way for Minnesota.

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DENVER (AP) - Candice Wiggins popped out for 3-pointers, pulled up for jumpers and weaved through the lane for layups.

Southeast Missouri State didn't have an answer for the Pac-10's player of the year and now Stanford is headed to the second round of the tournament - again.

Wiggins picked apart Southeast Missouri State's defense for 21 points and Stanford dominated the lane at both ends, helping the Cardinal to an easy 72-45 victory Saturday night in the NCAA's San Antonio Regional.

Though sloppy at times - 17 turnovers - Stanford (24-7) played like a third seed should against a 14, putting the game away early and resting its starters down the stretch to move on to Monday's second round against Florida State.

The Cardinal has appeared in the NCAA tournament 19 straight times and reached the second round seven of the last eight years, including the last four. Stanford won NCAA championships in 1990 and 1992, reached the Final Four six times in the 1990s and has had a winning record in 27 of its 32 seasons.

Southeast Missouri State (22-9) had never won a conference title before this season, making its first NCAA tournament appearance this year by beating Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference championship to get an automatic bid.

The difference in the programs was apparent from the tip.

Stanford's Kristen Newlin and Brooke Smith dominated inside, blocking and altering shots at one end, powering through the paint for easy baskets at the other. Smith finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, helping Stanford to a 40-8 advantage inside.

In case that wasn't enough, Wiggins darted and dashed her way through the Redhawks' defense with relative ease, scoring 13 first-half points on a variety of layups, runners and jumpers. She finished 8-for-15 and had six rebounds.

The Cardinal opened the game with a 13-4 run, let Southeast Missouri State pull within five, then steamrolled the Redhawks with a 15-3 run to take a 37-24 lead by halftime.

Southeast Missouri State struggled offensively from the start, missing 23 of its 29 shots in the first half, including a breakaway layup by Katrisha Dunn midway through. The Redhawks shot 21 percent overall.

Southeast Missouri State did manage to chip Stanford's lead down to 37-29 in the first two minutes of the second half, but couldn't get any closer. Wiggins had seven points during a 13-0 run after that, capping it with a 3-pointer that put the Cardinal up 50-29.

Natalie Purcell led the Redhawks with 17 points.

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