Stanford Crushes Cal 64-44, Closes in on Conference Championship
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Given all that Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer has accomplished during her 31 years at the school, her players will get a rare opportunity to make history when the Cardinal tries for their fourth straight Pac-10 Conference tournament title.
Second-ranked Stanford will attempt to become the first Pac-10 team to go undefeated in the regular season and win the league tournament championship on Sunday.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 18 points and 10 rebounds as top-seeded Stanford routed Cal 64-44 in the semifinals on Saturday.
'To have the opportunity to be her first team to go undefeated and to win the Pac-10 tournament, I think would be something none of us would ever forget and it would add to the legacy Tara has built at Stanford,' said Stanford senior Jayne Appel.
The Bears also lost leading scorer Alexis Gray-Lawson, who was taken away on a stretcher after landing awkwardly on her head with 5 minutes left. With Cal trailing by 26, Gray-Lawson landed backwards and her head hit the court after she her shot was blocked by Michelle Harrison. The senior lay motionless on the court for about 15 minutes before being transported to a hospital.
Cal coach Joanne Boyle said Gray-Lawson was talkative and alert before leaving on a stretcher and that she would be undergoing precautionary tests.
She was averaging 17.9 points coming into the game for the Bears (18-13), but finished with just four on 2-for-10 shooting.
'Just to see her laying down on the floor, it was kind of scary,' Cal guard Natasha Vital said.
The top-seeded Cardinal never trailed and have reached the tournament championship game every year since it started in 2002.
Rosalyn Gold-Onwude added 10 points for Stanford (30-1).
Gennifer Brandon had 10 points and nine rebounds for fourth-seeded Cal.
The Cardinal advanced to play the winner of the game between second-seeded UCLA and third-seeded Southern California in the finals Sunday.
Stanford will be trying for its seventh Pac-10 tournament championship in nine tries and its fourth straight.
VanDerveer has led Stanford to two NCAA championships, seven Final Fours and 18 Pac-10 titles.
The Cardinal built on their 16-point halftime lead by outscoring the Golden Bears 16-5 to start the second half. With the victory, the Cardinal continued their dominance of the Golden Bears, having now won 36 of the last 39 meetings.
'Our team came out, we were very focused and worked very hard defensively,' VanDerveer said. 'We did a better job in the second half of rebounding and we got out running.'
Stanford won both regular season meetings against Cal by an average of 18 points. The Cardinal methodically pulled away from Cal by taking advantage of its size inside.
Ogwumike, who was the conference's player of the year, scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half - including a catch-and-shoot jumper off an inbounds pass with two seconds left.
The Cardinal shot 51.7 percent from the field and scored 20 points in the paint to take a 35-19 halftime lead.