Stanford Leads Pac-10 Into Sweet 16

March 20, 2006


(5) Utah 86, (4) Arizona State 65

Denson-14 pts/5-8 FG; Westerberg-12 pts/6 reb


(3) Stanford 88, (6) Florida State 70

Wiggins-34 pts/7 reb; Smith-22 pts/13 reb

(1) LSU 72, (9) Washington 49

Hicks-17 pts/8 reb; O'Neill-9 pts/5 reb


(1) Duke vs. (8) USC, 9:30 p.m. ET


(4) Purdue vs. (5) UCLA, 7 p.m. ET


TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Fifteen-point deficits are nothing to Utah.

The fifth-seeded Utes erased another one, this time in the first half, and went on to rout No. 4 seed Arizona State 86-65 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Kim Smith, four-time Mountain West Conference player of the year, had 25 points and nine rebounds and Utah (26-6) won its sixth in a row to advance to the round of 16 for only the second time in the program's history.

The Utes, who rallied from 15 down in the second half to beat Middle Tennessee in the first round, travel to Albuquerque for a Saturday night matchup against the winner of the Tuesday night game against No. 1 seed Ohio State and Boston College.

Amy Denson scored 14, Emily Westerberg 12 and Kristen Kovesdy 11 for the Sun Devils (25-7), who failed to repeat last season's regional semifinal appearance.

Shona Thorburn added 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Julie Larsen scored 19 for the Utes, winners of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Utah outscored Arizona State 34-13 over the last 10 minutes on a night that looked grim for the Utes after the Sun Devils opened a 34-19 lead.

But coach Elaine Elliott's team scored the last 15 points of the first half to tie it at 34.

Smith started the outburst with a 3-pointer. She and Larsen scored five apiece in the run. Thorburn sank a jumper to cut it to 34-33 with 34 seconds left. She had a chance to give the Utes the lead after being fouled with two seconds to go in the half. She made the first free throw to tie it but missed the second.

Utah's scoring streak reached 19-0 when Perry and Smith made the first two baskets of the second half to go up 38-34. The Utes went ahead 47-40 on Thorburn's uncontested driving layup with 10:34 to play.

Arizona State tied it at 52 when Kovesdy made two free throws with 8:50 to go.

But Utah scored the next six, four by Larsen, to trigger an 18-5 run. Larsen's' 3-pointer made it 70-57 with 4:18 left.

The Sun Devils, playing just a two-hour drive from their Tempe campus, scored the first seven points of the game and were up 13-2 after Kirsten Thompson's inside basket. The Utes cut it to 17-13 on Smith's inside basket with 11:44 left in the half.

But Danielle Orsillo's 3-pointer kicked off a 17-6 Arizona State run and the Sun Devils led 34-17 on Kovesdy's 3-pointer 6:44 before the break. The Sun Devils didn't score again in the half.

Utah freshman Morgan Warburton played the game wearing a special mouth guard and some of her front teeth wired together after taking a smack to the face in the Utes' first-round victory over Middle Tennessee.


DENVER (AP) - At this rate, Candice Wiggins will rewrite the record book at Stanford. Might bring a title or two back to The Farm, as well.

The sensational sophomore finished with 34 points and seven rebounds Monday night to lift the Cardinal into the third round of the NCAA tournament with an 88-70 victory over Florida State.

Wiggins, the two-time Pac-10 player of the year, put third-seeded Stanford (25-7) up by double digits with a 17-foot jumper to open the second half and three 3-pointers over the next 10 minutes.

After sixth-seeded Florida State (20-10) briefly cut the deficit below 10, Wiggins passed to Krista Rappahahn for an open 3-pointer that she hit, spotted up to make one of her own and sank two free throws to make it 78-62 with 3:30 left.

Game over.

By the end, Wiggins had surpassed 30 points for the fifth time this season and moved to 17th on Stanford's all-time scoring list with half her career yet to go. Her 19.5-point career average is nearly two points higher than the next player on the list, Jeanne Ruark Hoff (1978-83).

The Cardinal, seeking their first national title since 1992, advanced to the San Antonio Regional - the fourth time in five years they've made it this far. Next, they play second-seeded Oklahoma, an 86-70 winner over Brigham Young earlier in the evening.

Florida State, an up-and-coming program still looking for its first trip out of the first weekend, got a super effort from Shante Williams off the bench: She went 9-for-11 for 23 points. But starting center Britany Miller got in early foul trouble and finished with only six points, part of an evening in which the Seminoles were slowly and systematically overmatched.

Stanford's Brooke Smith finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jillian Harmon had 11. By the end, the Stanford band was taunting FSU, screaming 'It just doesn't matter,' and the FSU band was yelling back, 'Go do your homework' - all of it audible thanks to an unusually small crowd of 3,436 at the Pepsi Center. Earlier, Stanford's tree mascot got ejected for not leaving the court at halftime in a timely manner.

Coach Tara VanDerveer won her 659th career game and led Stanford to the round of 16 for the 13th time.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - LSU was at its best for less than 15 minutes Monday night - and that was enough to blowout Washington.

Seimone Augustus scored 26 points and top-seeded LSU broke open a tight game with a big second-half run, beating Washington 72-49 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Lady Tigers (29-3) advanced to their fourth straight regional semifinal and 10th overall, but that's not the goal this season for a program that reached the Final Four each of the past two years only to come up short of the national championship game.

They will play DePaul, a 71-67 winner over Tulsa, on Saturday in the San Antonio Regional.

Ninth-seeded Washington (19-11) tried to pull off a second straight upset to reach a regional semifinal for the fourth time in school history and first since 2001. The Huskies certainly gave the Southeastern Conference's regular season champs their best shot.

LSU outrebounded Washington 44-42 only after a late run on the boards in a physical game that sent players flying all over. They also shut out both Augustus and 6-foot-6 center Sylvia Fowles on the boards in the first half. That helped Washington lead 26-23 at halftime.

Even when LSU opened the second half with a 12-2 run, the Huskies wouldn't bow out easily.

Cheri Craddock hit a 3 followed by another 3 from Kristen O'Neill, and Cameo Hicks capped the eight-point spurt with a bucket at 14:01 that put Washington up 38-37. That was the Huskies' last lead as they failed to hit anything other than a pair of free throws until it was way too late.

Augustus scored 61 seconds later to put LSU ahead to stay, starting a 27-6 run that left the Lady Tigers up 64-44 late.

Scholanda Hoston added 13 points for LSU, and Fowles finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Augustus had nine rebounds.

Hicks led Washington with 17 points.

LSU opened up the game with an 11-2 run as Washington missed its first five shots. Then the Huskies started doing what they do best - crash the boards.

They wound up outrebounding LSU 28-16 through the first half. The Huskies went so hard after rebounds that Breanne Watson got her left arm caught under LSU guard Erica White's right arm, flipped completely over before landing on her back.

The Lady Tigers also went cold from the floor after hitting four of their first seven shots. LSU finished the half 4-of-22.

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