Stanford junior Chiney Ogwumike poured in 25 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for her second double-double in as many nights to pace the top-seeded Cardinal to a 61-47 victory over Colorado in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday in Seattle, Wash.
The nationally No. 4-ranked Cardinal trailed by one at halftime but went on an 18-5 run over an 8 1/2-minute span in the second half to pull away. Stanford will face UCLA in the championship game on Sunday at 5 p.m. (ESPN2). The Bruins upset No. 2 seed Cal, 70-58, in the other semifinal on Saturday at KeyArena.
Ogwumike achieved her 26th double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone, but finished the night one board shy of back-to-back 20-20s.
Stanford's Amber Orrange contributed 13 points and four steals, while Mikaela Ruef added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Colorado senior Chucky Jeffery led the Buffs with 19 points.
The first half saw Stanford struggle to finish at the rim as it hit just nine of 32 attempts (.281) from the field. Colorado's one-point lead at the half marked just the fourth time Stanford trailed at the break all season.
CU opened the second period with a quick three, but then managed just nine points over the next 14 minutes. Stanford put up 26 points in that same span.
"Clearly the ball didn't go in the basket as much as we'd like, but this is how March is," Ogwumike said. "The game is physical. You have to stay with things, and I think that was a big test today.
"We struggled at moments, but at the same time, I think we responded well," Ogwumike continued. "We just stayed together. And that's how teams win in the tournament."
When Stanford faces UCLA in Sunday's championship game, the Cardinal will be in pursuit of its seventh consecutive tournament title and its 10th overall in the tournament's 12-year history. The Cardinal handled UCLA by a combined 37 points in their two meetings this season. Stanford's last loss in the conference tourney came to UCLA in the 2006 final.
''Playing against UCLA we know they have a very big, very physical team, but we have a big physical team too,'' said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ''I think we match up well with them and we know we have to play very well.''
Third-seeded UCLA, which was swept by Cal during conference play, never trailed in the game as it shot a jaw-dropping 49 percent on the night. Markel Walker (23), Jasmine Dixon (15), Alyssia Brewer (14) and Atonye Ngyingifa (12) all scored in double digits. Dixon also added 12 rebounds to achieve a double-double.
UCLA coach Cori Close was understandably pleased with her team's effort against a "formidable" opponent.
"This win means a lot to us because they are such a formidable opponent, and we've respected them all year," Close said. "They really handed it to us down at our place, and they just are a really good basketball team that has represented our conference extremely well all year long. And we will support and root them on through a big NCAA tournament run."
UCLA shot 56 percent (15-27) in the first half. Second-seeded Cal, on the other hand, played frantically and made just five of 25 first-half attempts. The Bears missed all 11 three-point attempts. UCLA went into intermission with the 35-14 advantage.
It was more of the same in the second half: UCLA's shots kept falling, and Cal's didn't.