No. 9 Sun Devils Outlast Bruins in Pac-10 Tournament

March 3, 2007

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Emily Westerberg scored five straight points during a key second-half stretch to finish with 13, leading No. 9 Arizona State past UCLA 74-64 on Saturday and into the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament.

It was the 199th career victory for Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne, who will try for No. 200 on Sunday when her team faces 25th-ranked California, a 63-51 winner over Oregon in the first quarterfinal Saturday.

Briann January scored 18 points for Arizona State (27-3), which avenged a one-point loss to the Bruins in the semifinals of the conference tournament a year ago.

Westerberg also pulled down eight rebounds and reserve Kirsten Thompson added 14 points and five rebounds. Thompson had 10 points and four boards in the second half, and made five of five free throws in the Sun Devils' eighth straight victory. Arizona State shot 26-for-28 from the line.

Noelle Quinn scored 25 points and passed for six assists, Chinyere Ibekwe had 16 points and seven rebounds and Lindsey Pluimer 12 points for UCLA (14-18), which lost its final five Pac-10 games and six of seven. But the Bruins beat Washington State on Friday night to advance to Saturday's quarterfinal action.

Westerberg, who became the first Arizona State player to earn all-conference honors three times, hit two free throws with 6:01 to play.

After UCLA cut it to 40-35, Jill Noe hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 14:36 to play for Arizona State, but the Bruins didn't go away easily. They scrapped for every loose ball in the second half and matched the Sun Devils' intensity on both ends of the floor.

Tierra Henderson's layin with 11:36 remaining pulled UCLA within 45-41.

Arizona State overcame 23 turnovers, many of which came when the Sun Devils pushed the ball in transition. The Sun Devils, playing its signature swarming defense, beat UCLA for the third time this season after taking the first two meetings by a combined 51 points - including a 92-52 home win Jan. 18.

They have the longest unbeaten run of any conference team and increased their school-record total for wins. The previous mark was 25, done three other times.

Arizona State had held opponents to 37.6 percent shooting during its previous seven games, and the Bruins shot 45 percent.

The Sun Devils, who finished second to Stanford in the conference, are trying for their second Pac-10 tournament title after winning the inaugural event in 2002. Arizona State lost in the championship game to Stanford in 2005.

UCLA began the game 6-for-16 and was outrebounded 15-6 over the opening 15 minutes, but created better chances late in the half to stay within 30-27 at the break.

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