Stanford Rolls On With 100-71 Victory Over Arizona
by Lara Boyko
After a week off since their last conference game, one-seed and No. 2-ranked Stanford (28-2, 18-0 Pac-10) picked up where they left off with a 100-71 win over fourth-seed Arizona (21-11, 14-17 Pac-10).
"I think we were very anxious," said Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who finished with a season-high 32 points. "I think everyone's just really excited about tournament time. Everyone came out hard, and I think we were just really ready to go because [coach Tara VanDerveer] was telling us that this is a new season, and we need to define who we are."
Stanford defined who they are early on with a 13-3 run to start the first half.
"You can't say enough about their efficiency, offensively and defensively," said Arizona coach Niya Butts. "I definitely think that they're one of the top teams in the country. They're definitely hands-down the No. 1 seed and arguably the best team in the country."
Stanford finished the first half with a 45-24 lead and continued to pour on the points with a 15-8 run in the second half. While building big leads may be characteristic of Stanford, it was a halftime pep talk that helped keep them focused.
"We always go into the second half no matter what the score is thinking that it's zero to zero.," said Owumike. "We play like it is zero to zero. We never let the score affect us."
Stanford was led by the Owumike double-double sister act, as Nnemkadi finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds and sister Chiney finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
"Backing up on what coach Butts was saying, the sisters are really, really big post players," said Arizona's Soana Lucet. "It was pretty tough."
Arizona had four players finish in double figures with Lucet leading with 17 points and Ify Ibekwe finishing with 15 points.
Stanford will now face the winner of the second semifinal game between second-seed UCLA and sixth-seed California in Saturday's championship game, scheduled to tip at 11:30 am.