Sports


Stanford women get a chance to avenge ASU losses

 

Amber Orrange scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, Lili Thompson added 14 and No. 19 Stanford held off a late charge from UCLA for a 67-62 win over the Bruins in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday at KeyArena in Seattle.

With the result, the Cardinal moves to 35-3 all-time at the conference's postseason event and 13-0 in quarterfinal action.

Stanford (22-9) will play its first game as the lower-seeded team at the tournament when it meets second-seeded Arizona State (27-4) in one semifinal on Saturday at 6 p.m.

No. 9 Colorado upset top-seeded Oregon State, 68-65, and will meet No. 4 California in the other semifinal. The Golden Bears beat Washington, 69-53.

Stanford lost twice to the Sun Devils this season.

"We were right there the last two times that we played them," Orrange said. "The first time they got up big and we came back in the second half. The other time we had the lead and we let it go. Everyone is excited. We'll go out and play hard."

It appeared as if Stanford would cruise to its 21st-straight triumph over UCLA when Briana Roberson made a layup with 11:12 to go that put the Cardinal up 53-41. But over the next 6:13, the Bruins went on a 15-3 run and pulled even, 56-56, with 4:59 left.

The game's fourth tie was short-lived. Orrange drilled a 3-pointer off an inside-out feed from Kaylee Johnson and then Johnson was set up for an easy layup after Taylor Greenfield drew a crowd driving left.

"I guess sometimes shots just don't go in," Orrange said. "We had a couple looks and the ball just didn't go in. Then they'd come back on the other end and score. So I think we just did a good job of staying together when they made their run and sticking with it."

Johnson nailed two free throws to push Stanford's lead back to five, 63-58, with 1:10 on the clock, but UCLA had one last rally. Monique Billings hit a jumper off a feed from Jordin Canada (0:43) and then Canada charged through traffic to convert at the rim and make it 63-62 with 22 seconds left.

Stanford, which made a season-high 91.7 percent of its free throws (11 of 12), drained its last four down the stretch.

Bonnie Samuelson hit two with 14 seconds remaining to push the Cardinal's advantage back to three (65-62). Paulina Hersler's 3-point heave with four seconds to go fell short for UCLA and Lili Thompson scored the game's final points on two more at the line.

"We knocked down some big shots and made some free throws down the stretch," Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. "Our team just stayed with it even though things were not clicking on all cylinders for a while there. The leadership that Amber and Lili showed out there was one of the main reasons why we won."

Erica McCall added 10 points and eight rebounds and Stanford came out victorious despite getting out-rebounded 48-34. UCLA pulled down 22 offensive rebounds and held an 18-6 edge in second-chance points.

Stanford was never up my more than three in the early going until an Orrange 3-pointer at 8:51 in the first half ignited a 15-4 Cardinal run that gave the team its first 12-point lead of the afternoon, 33-21. UCLA closed the half on a 7-0 spurt and trailed 33-28 at the break.

The Cardinal pushed its lead back to 12 in the second half (53-41), before the Bruins went on the aforementioned run to make things interesting in the end.

Stanford will be looking to defeat Arizona State for the first time in 2015 on Saturday. The Sun Devils are the first conference team to sweep the Cardinal in the regular season since UCLA in 1987-88.

"This is the first time that I can remember that we will be wearing a dark uniform in the Pac-12 Tournament, that we're the underdog and I like it," VanDerveer added. "I have a lot of confidence in our team. We just have to come out with a lot of intensity and a lot of focus, and when we have done that, we've done very well."

— Stanford Athletics

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