Stanford Advances To Elite Eight With 72-53 Win Over Pitt

March 30, 2008

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Jayne Appel scored 22 points to lead second-seeded Stanford to a 72-53 victory over a tough Panthers squad Saturday night to advance to the finals of the Spokane regional.

Kayla Pedersen added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Stanford (33-3), which takes its 21-game winning streak into Monday night's regional final against Maryland (33-3). The top-seeded Terrapins beat Vanderbilt 80-66 earlier Saturday night.

'We knew it was going to be a 40-minute game. We stayed together, that was the biggest thing,' Wiggins said. 'We could look in each other's eyes and trust we were going to do a good job.'

Wiggins, the All-American who scored a career-high 44 points in the second round, scored just 14, on 5-for-13 shooting from the field.

'Our team really had to battle,' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. 'It wasn't pretty. It was a very physical game, but I am proud of how our team stepped up.'

Shavonte Zellous scored 22 points to lead sixth-seed Pitt (24-11), which trailed by one with 8 1/2 minutes left before Stanford pulled away. The Panthers tied a school record for wins and reached their first regional semifinals.

Wiggins didn't take a shot for the first 8 1/2 minutes and her first basket didn't come until 11:17 into the game. She missed five of her first eight shots while the Panthers continually pounced on her out of defensive switches through screens.

Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who scored 15 points - two short of her career high - then rescued Stanford with a jumper and then a 3-pointer. Wiggins recovered to make a smooth scoop shot in the lane after a ball fake to put the Cardinal up 56-46 with 6:25 left.

Pitt then went more than three minutes without a field goal as Stanford pulled away with free throws to make a close game look like a blowout.

Stanford had a decisive rebounding edge, 54-30. The Cardinal grabbed 37 of the first 57 rebounds, the 37th when Pedersen followed her own miss with a driving layup and 3-point play. That gave Stanford its biggest lead to that point, 45-37, with 11:42 remaining.

'They really took it to us on the inside,' Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. 'The rebounding was a huge factor in the game.'

Yet Pitt kept coming, closing to within 47-46 on Mallorie Winn's deep 3-pointer.

Then came the most inopportune of cold streaks for the Panthers.

'We just let them get away from us,' Zellous said. 'We let it slip through our hands.'

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