Stanford Tops Arizona in Pac-10 Quarterfinals

March 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Jayne Appel was double-teamed, so Stanford went deep.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 15 points, Lindy La Rocque added a career-high 12 and No. 2 Stanford took advantage of some solid long-range shooting to cruise past Arizona 77-46 in a quarterfinal game of the Pac-10 tournament Friday night.

Appel, Stanford's leading scorer with 15.4 points, was limited to four points on 2-of-7 shooting. With their post player receiving pressure, the Cardinal were able to hit open 3-pointers to beat Arizona for the third time this season.

'We came in expecting that they would double,' Appel said. 'We were looking to pass out right away. That was part of our game plan, to be prepared for that double team, so we were ready for them.'

La Rocque sure was.

The freshman, who matched a career high with four 3-pointers for the Cardinal (27-4), had nine points in the first half during a decisive 18-3 run that put Stanford ahead for good.

Stanford, the top seed in the tourney, will face UCLA, a 62-56 victor over Oregon State in Friday's second quarterfinal of the night, in a semifinal Saturday.

Jeanette Pohlen, who finished with 14 points, sparked the run with a 3-pointer at the 7:05 mark. La Rocque hit three consecutive 3s in that six-minute span and Pohlen capped it with a 21-footer to make it 37-14.

Stanford finished with 10 from behind the arc.

Baskets were tough to come by for the Wildcats (12-19), who couldn't overcome a 21-point halftime deficit. Stanford led by as many as 33 in the second when Ogwumike hit a layup with 2:23 remaining.

Courtney Clements had 14 points to lead Arizona, who were eliminated from the conference tournament before a semifinal for the fourth consecutive year.

'Whenever a team shoots that well, it's hard,' Clements said. 'We've been in games like this before where people have done stuff like that to us, but we've come back. I think, really, we beat ourselves.'

Arizona couldn't turn the corner in the second half and Stanford's 63 percent shooting in that period helped seal the win for the Cardinal, who have won 14 straight.

Defensive adjustments by the Wildcats opened up the lanes for Stanford, and the Cardinal took advantage.

'We weren't locating the baseline runners quick enough. The adjustments you make is to go man, and you try to do that and we gave up layups,' Arizona coach Niya Butts said. 'So they were either hitting 3s or getting to the basket with layups. Defensively, you have to be able to guard something and, tonight, we couldn't put either one together. They weren't missing.'

Ify Ibekwe, Arizona's leading scorer with 16.1 points per game, was held to five on 2-of-7 shooting by Stanford's aggressive zone defense.

'They wanted to prove a point tonight,' Butts said. 'I don't think we gave them the game we should have given them because we're certainly capable of more. It's tough to beat a team when you only score 46 points.'

The ninth-seeded Wildcats shot 28 percent from the field in the first and their starters put together 10 points in that half. That included three points from Ibekwe, who had her first bucket with 11:06 remaining.

'We just really felt that she was the key,' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. 'We had to work hard to deny her the ball, keep her off the block, and take advantage of the fact they played last night.'

Arizona got Stanford's attention when the Wildcats only lost to the Cardinal by three on March 5. Pohlen didn't want this one to be close.

'We knew that we were going to have to make some adjustments if we did play Arizona again. I think tonight shows how determined we were,' Pohlen said.

Appel rarely played in the second as VanDerveer turned the game over to her bench.

They didn't disappoint.

Freshman Sarah Boothe had a jumper at the 6:56 mark to give the Cardinal a 27-point lead and redshirt sophomore Melanie Murphy added a 3-pointer a minute later to make it 65-38.

Besides Appel, every starter but Kayla Pedersen scored in double digits. Pedersen finished with nine points and 14 rebounds while Jillian Harmon had 11.

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