No. 2 Stanford 70, No. 23 UCLA 46
When UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell played at Tennessee, the
Volunteers used to say they had to get to Stanford early in the
season because the Cardinal was just too good later on.
That’s still the case.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jayne Appel
added 15 points and No. 2 Stanford rolled to a 70-46 victory over
23rd-ranked UCLA on Sunday, winning its eighth Pac-10 tournament
championship in nine title-game appearances.
“That’s a really nice compliment,” Cardinal coach Tara
VanDerveer said about Caldwell’s comment. “Our team really
improves. They play hard for each other and they develop more
The Cardinal (31-1) earned the league’s automatic berth to the
NCAA tournament, where they’ll be appearing for the 23rd
consecutive year. They lost to Connecticut in the national
semifinals last year and to Tennessee in the championship game in
2008, last winning a national title in 1992.
“When it comes to tourney time, there is no excuse. We’re
ready,” said Appel, who had ice wrapped on both knees and her
She started after coming off the bench in two previous games
because of her sprained ankle. The senior center was named to her
third all-tourney team.
Stanford became the first Pac-10 team to go undefeated in 18
regular-season games and win the league tourney title, even if the
Cardinal looked sloppy at times with 15 turnovers.
“It’ll be really challenging to try to do this ever again,”
VanDerveer said, noting nine of her players are experienced
Ogwumike became the fifth player to be named league player of
the year and MVP of the tourney. She totaled 59 points in three
games, tied for second-most.
Three-time all-tourney selection Kayla Pedersen added 12 points
and 11 rebounds, and reserve Melanie Murphy had 10 points – eight
over her average.
All-tourney selection Jasmine Dixon scored 20 points before
fouling out with 5:18 remaining for the Bruins (24-8), who had
their 10-game winning streak snapped in losing to Stanford for the
third time this season and eighth overall.
“I don’t know why we came out so passive,” she said. “Usually
we’re aggressive and today I don’t think we were there
UCLA expects to land its first berth in the NCAA since 2006,
when the Bruins lost in the second round.
“This team has earned anywhere from a 5-6 seed,” Caldwell
said. “Hopefully, more than a six.”
The Bruins failed to convert off Stanford’s miscues.
“Our offense became very choppy and stagnant, and that hurt
us,” said Caldwell, the league’s coach of the year. “In the
second half, we played a little bit more inspired, but against
Stanford, you can’t pick 15 minutes here or there. They’re just too
VanDerveer, however, found enough she didn’t like about how her
“We left some plays on the table,” she said. “We didn’t
finish some point-blank layups. We had rebounds and people took the
ball out of our hands. We don’t have anyone breaking their arm
patting themselves on the back.”
Making its second appearance in the tournament final, UCLA had
held its previous 35 opponents under 50 percent shooting, but
Stanford bettered that in the first half alone.
The Cardinal shot 52 percent and scored 11 points off UCLA’s
nine turnovers. The Bruins managed just two field goals over the
final 6:33 and trailed 36-19 at the break.
“At times we were aggressive and when we were, we were
disruptive, but there’s no room for passiveness when you’re gunning
for a championship and we had very passive play,” Caldwell
Appel scored eight points as Stanford opened the second half by
outscoring the Bruins 20-16 to build a 56-35 lead, its largest
until the final 1:42.
From there, the Bruins went on a 10-2 run, including four free
throws by Dixon, to get to 58-45, the closest they came in the
second half. UCLA lost its second starter after Rebekah Gardner
fouled out with 9 1/2 minutes remaining and the Bruins down by
Stanford closed the game with eight unanswered points.