Stanford 51 - UCLA 49
SEATTLE – What. A. Finish.
For the seventh consecutive year, Stanford is the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament champion, topping UCLA 51-49 in Sunday’s thrilling championship final at KeyArena.
The game boiled down to each team's final possession.
UCLA's Markel Walker made a layup that tied the score at 49 with :36 left on the clock. Stanford guard Amber Orrange brought the ball up the floor and drained 29 seconds off the clock before dropping in a twisting layup between two defenders to give Stanford the 51-49 lead.
Walker pushed the ball back up the floor, but her layup attempt rolled off the front rim and out of bounds with 0.2 ticks remaining. A last-gasp UCLA inbounds play landed in Nirra Fields' hands, but the freshman couldn’t get a shot off before time expired.
Game over - and another title for Stanford. But UCLA sure made them work for it, outrebounding the Cardinal 41-33 and dominating long stretches of the game.
"My heart just hurts for our seniors, because I felt like they gave so much of themselves out on that basketball game today," UCLA coach Cori Close said.
"It's hard for them not to be rewarded with the win at the end ... I thought if we got more possessions and more shots on goal that we would win, and I guess we were one possession short."
"Tournaments are won by guards, and Amber was the best guard on the floor," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Amber put our team on her back today."
Orrange's heroics filled the void left by Pac-12 Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, who picked up her second foul with 7:56 remaining in the first half and spent the remainder of the half on the bench.
UCLA took advantage of Ogwumike's time on the pine to roar back and outscore Stanford 21-12. The Bruins took the lead with 27 seconds remaining in the first half and headed to the locker room with the 27-26 advantage, marking the second night in a row that Stanford trailed at the half. It had happened just three times the entire regular season.
In the second half, the teams stayed within one possession of each other until a 5-0 UCLA run put the underdog up 42-35 with nine minutes remaining. Stanford answered with a 9-2 run over the next six minutes to bring the Cardinal back to a 45-44 lead at 2:59. Orrange accounted for six of those points.
Ogwumike never got rolling offensively and finished with a career-low three points while Orrange had a career-high 20. UCLA’s Walker led the Bruins with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Voted onto the all-tournament team were Orrange, Walker, Washington’s Jazmine Davis, Colorado’s Chucky Jeffery and UCLA’s Alyssia Brewer. Ogwumike was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.