Stanford Cruises Past Arizona To Pac-10 Semifinals
March 4, 2006
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Brooke Smith had one of her best all-around games this season to help No. 13 Stanford cruise to a 77-50 victory over Arizona on Saturday night and advance to the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
Smith had 11 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and two steals for the Cardinal (22-6).
Candice Wiggins added 16 points before cutting her lower lip early in the second half and leaving the game. The sophomore star, who already is a two-time Pac-10 player of the year, played only 25 minutes as the Cardinal won their fourth straight overall and ninth in 10 games.
Freshman Rosalyn Gold-Onwude added 15 points for the Cardinal, who are coming off their school-record sixth straight regular-season Pac-10 title.
Stanford was set to play the winner of Saturday's late game between Washington and Southern California on Sunday for a berth in Monday's championship game. The Cardinal have won the last three conference tournament titles.
No. 11 Arizona State advanced to the other semifinal with a 74-66 win over Oregon State earlier Saturday and will play UCLA on Sunday. The Sun Devils are the only team other than Stanford to win the conference tournament, beating the Cardinal in the 2002 final.
Stanford won its sixth straight against the Wildcats in what has become a heated rivalry in recent years, even after the September death of Arizona star and leader Shawntinice Polk.
The team's lively, beloved 6-foot-5 center died in September after collapsing at the McKale Center. She was 22, and this would have been her senior season.
Arizona (8-22) hasn't won in the series since an 88-83 home victory on Feb. 5, 2004. The Wildcats kept the game close early but couldn't stay in it after the Cardinal used a big run to end the first half and didn't let up the rest of the way.
Ashley Whisonant had 17 points for the Wildcats, who went 0-9 to end the regular season, but bounced back to beat Oregon 64-57 in the first round of the tournament Friday night.
Arizona's Natalie Jones went hard to the floor with 17:55 remaining after a collision with Smith. Jones had to be helped off the court but later returned.
The Cardinal won the first meeting against the Wildcats by 31 points at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 19, then Stanford took the second game by 11 in Tucson last month.
Stanford used a 19-7 run over the final 7:06 of the first half for a 36-24 lead at the break after the game had been tied at 17.