Nov. 25, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Third-ranked Stanford (25-3, 16-2) took sole possession of the Pac-10 conference championship tonight with a sweep of Washington State (15-17, 3-15), 30-27, 30-23, 30-18, on Senior Night. Senior outside hitter Kristin Richards tied her season high of 21 kills against the Cougars with a .386 hitting percentage. Sophomore Cynthia Barboza and junior Franci Girard followed with six kills each. Senior Michelle Mellard also hit .625 with five kills.
Senior Nji Nnamani kicked off game one with a quick kill on the right side to begin a 6-1 Cardinal run, including kills by Mellard and Richards. Brittany Johnson recorded back-to-back aces to help the Cougars pull back within a point, but Stanford pulled out another 4-1 run on kills by Richards and senior Lizzie Suiter, 10-6. Junior setter Bryn Kehoe put the Cardinal ahead, 13-9, with a tip in the middle as Stanford gapped Washington State with two more kills from Mellard and Richards. Following a timeout, Tara West pounded a kill in the middle as the Cougars registered a 7-1 run to take the lead at 19-18. Suiter then collected a block in the middle to help the Cardinal remain within a point, but the Cougars held their lead on a block by Johnson and Cassie Roberts, 22-20. Stanford came out of a timeout with a 3-1 run on Cougar errors and a block solo by Nnamani to tie the game at 23. Mellard and Nnamani each collected a kill on the right side to help Stanford reclaim the lead, but Washington State hung tight with kills by West and Jackie Albright. Richards tied the game for the ninth time with a powerful kill on the left side, sparking a 4-0 run to end game one in Stanford's favor, 30-27.
The Cougars opened game two with a brief lead on a kill by Albright and a block solo by Johnson, 5-1. Richards pounded two kills from the left side, but Albright also tallied a kill on the left side to help Washington State maintain an 8-3 lead. Stanford used a 7-2 streak on kills by Suiter, Richards and Barboza to close in on the Cougars and tie the game at 10. Richards pounded another kill from the left side to help Stanford take the lead, 13-11. Albright followed with a kill in the middle and Johnson recorded an ace to tie the game at 14, but Richards notched a cross-court kill to keep the Cardinal in the lead. Suiter later downed a kill on an overpass and Mellard collected a kill in the middle to keep the game within a point, 18-17. Stanford used a 6-0 run to pull away from WSU, including three more kills by Richards and a massive ace from Barboza, 24-18. A serving error and a tip by Kehoe put the Cardinal ahead, 27-21, then Kehoe wrapped up game two with an ace, 30-23.
In game three, Girard collected a kill on an overpass, but the Cougars answered with three points in a row off of a kill by Johnson and an ace by Kelly Hyder, 3-1. Girard and sophomore Erin Waller pounded two more kills as Stanford used a 3-0 run to take over the lead, 4-3. Washington State answered with back-to-back points on a kill by Albright on the left side and a block by West and Corina Beyer, 6-5. Stanford later regained the lead on a net violation, 8-7, but the Cougars continued to fight with a kill by Adetokunbo Faleti. Kills by Girard and freshman Janet Okogbaa, as well as an ace by Kehoe, helped Stanford edge away from Washington State, 13-9. Okogbaa pounded a massive kill on the left side to spark a 3-0 run for the Cardinal, 16-10. A quick kill from Akinradewo on the right side later put Stanford up, 21-13, followed by a block by Akinradewo and Kehoe. The Cougars later inched back with a 3-0 run on kills by Faleti and Johnson, 23-17, but the Cardinal answered with back-to-back points, 25-17. A 4-0 on kills by Okogbaa and Girard and a block by Richards put Stanford near the win. Girard cinched game three for the Cardinal with a block in the middle, 30-18.
Kehoe tallied 40 assists against the Cougars, while Richards led the squad with three blocks. Barboza paced the team with 13 digs, followed by Kehoe with 12 digs and Richards with 10 digs.
The 2006 NCAA Tournament seedings, as well as the first and second round site locations, will be announced tomorrow between 12-12:30 pm on ESPN News.
GAME SCORES 1 2 3 TEAM RECORDSWashington State (0) 27 23 18 15-17, 3-15Stanford (3) 30 30 30 25-3, 16-2