Women: Stanford 52, Arizona State 43
By Lara Boyko
After fighting off a physically demanding No. 4-seed Arizona State (20-11, 10-8 Pac-12) team, No. 1-seed Stanford (30-1, 18-0) is the first team to advance to Friday's Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
"I am glad we are playing tomorrow," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "They had to work hard, battle and I'm proud of my whole team for staying with things when things were tough."
Stanford and Arizona State had three tied scores and two lead changes in the first five minutes of the game, but it was a 14-4 run over seven minutes that helped give the Cardinal its first double-digit lead. Despite being behind, Arizona State never lost sight of its brand of basketball and challenged Stanford with pesky defense. Stanford responded by staying poised and going back to the basics of good communication.
"I think Arizona State always plays aggressively," said Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike. "I'm really excited to come out of this game with a W, because it taught us a lot of things. Being able to communicate today was key, us being on the same page from the start to the end."
The second half was just as physical, as Arizona State played a complete 20 minutes. This limited Stanford to hitting four field goals for a 15.4 shooting percentage for the entire half and failing to score from the three-point line. Instead, the bulk of the Stanford points came from the free throw line where the Cardinal went 15-for-18.
"There were different phases of the ballgame where we actually went to a kind of desert-swarm type of a defense where we wanted to go after every pass that went into Nnemkadi (Ogwumike)," said Arizona State head coach Joseph Anders. "We were able to get her somewhat a little disjointed with that."
Stanford shot 29.4 percent as a team from the field and was led by double-double performances from the Ogwumike sisters. Nnemkadi finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Chiney finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Arizona State shot 29.8 percent from the field as a team and was let by Kali Bennett and Micaela Pickens who each scored 10 points.
Stanford will play the winner of the California vs. Washington State game in tomorrow's championship game.