No. 12 Stanford Advances To Pac-10 Semis With Win Over Cal

March 6, 2004

Updated Release

AP Sports Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nicole Powell already does just about everything for 12th-ranked Stanford. Now she might have to be the primary point guard.

Powell had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the Cardinal into the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament with an 80-55 victory Saturday night over rival California.

Point guard Susan Borchardt strained her right knee in the second half and her status for Sunday wasn't immediately known. It's the same knee she had surgery on before. Borchardt will be evaluated by team doctors Sunday.

'She's a big part of our team and it creates an opportunity where other people are going to have to step up,' Powell said. 'I handle the ball a lot anyway so that won't be an issue. I'll make the adjustment.'

Top-seeded Stanford, which won its fourth straight Pac-10 regular-season title in a tie with Arizona, debuted in the quarterfinals after receiving a first-round bye. The Cardinal (22-6) will play Sunday against the winner the late game between Arizona State and UCLA.

Sebnem Kimyacioglu added 15 points for Stanford, making five of eight 3-point attempts.

Nihan Anaz scored all of her 12 points in the first half for Cal, which shot 41.3 percent and committed 20 turnovers. Anaz attempted only two shots in the second half. LaTasha O'Keith and Leigh Gregory added 11 points apiece for the ninth-seeded Golden Bears (12-17).

Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said before the tournament began that her team needed more from Powell, but also stressed the importance of keeping her star forward fresh for the postseason run.

Powell also had three steals and a blocked shot in 32 minutes.

'That was pretty good,' VanDerveer said of Powell's playing time. 'The key for us is to rest her.'

VanDerveer, in her 18th season at Stanford, needs one win to reach 600 victories.

On one play early in the second half, Powell dribbled along the perimeter with three defenders around her as the shot clock was running out. She missed a 3-pointer then chased down the long rebound and scored on a short jumper.

Then, with about 10 minutes left, she fell and grimaced as she stood up after slightly twisting her left leg. Powell immediately left the game and was checked on by the trainer.

Borchardt, who replaced Powell, went down about a minute later and was helped to the locker room. Powell checked back in with 9:15 remaining.

Borchardt got a standing ovation when she returned to the bench with 5:54 left, her right knee wrapped and iced.

Powell, the 6-foot-2 conference player of the year, is averaging a double-double with 20.1 points and 11.4 rebounds.

Cal, which held its shootaround outdoors at a nearby park earlier in the day, was swept by Stanford during the regular season - losing by a combined 18 points.

The Bears beat Oregon on Friday night in arguably their best game of the season. After watching a nearly flawless performance, coach Caren Horstmeyer said she was 'speechless' for the second straight day. On Thursday, she was chosen as the Pac-10's coach of the year.

Cal finished a tumultuous season that included the shocking death of junior reserve forward Alisa Lewis from bacterial meningitis Jan. 19.

'I think ending this year is probably the toughest ever for me as a coach,' Caren Horstmeyer said.

Powell scored Stanford's first four points of the second half, and T'Nae Thiel then had seven straight in a 13-2 run that quickly turned what had been a close game into a blowout. Thiel scored all 13 of her points after halftime, shooting 6-for-8 in the second half.

Cal shot 42.3 percent in the first half and held Stanford to 39.3 percent. The Cardinal led 32-29 at the break.

The Bears finished with only eight assists a night after Anaz had 10 of her team's 22 assists.

'I just think we had a bad second half,' Horstmeyer said. 'I think we got worn out. ... We just didn't have that same pop and zip we had last night.'

Powell was 3-for-8 with eight points in the first half.

Stanford redshirt freshman Eziamaka Okafor scored her first career basket with 28 seconds left in the game after missing almost two full seasons with injuries.

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