The Bruins scored the final seven points of regulation to tie a game they had never led, 70-70, and send it to overtime. In the five-minute extra session, UCLA outscored Stanford 15-6 for an 85-76 victory in the championship game of the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament in front of
4,073 at HP Pavilion.
UCLA (20-10) gets the Pac-10's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford and Arizona State were the two top teams of the regular season. But UCLA with its terrific trio of perimeter players, Nikki Blue, Lisa Willis and Noelle Quinn beat the Sun Devils 60-59 on a shot by Quinn in the final seconds in the semifinals. And once they sent the championship game to overtime by scoring the last seven points of regulation, there
was a feeling that the Bruins
were a team of destiny. All you
had to do was look at thefrom Sports 1
stunned faces of Stanford fans. Or the deer-in-the-headlights look emanating from the Stanford players.
"There's no shame in losing to a team with three first-round draft choices," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.
"To their credit they really hung tough and made some shots. Their defensive intensity was outstanding. We had trouble running our offense, and that's a credit to their defense. We've got to learn from this and focus on the NCAA Tournament."
Stanford never trailed in regulation. UCLA tied
Brooke Smith scored first in overtime on an offensive rebound. UCLA then took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Lindsey Pluimer. Candice Wiggins tied the game at 76 with two foul shots with 1:59 left, fouling out Willis in the process.
But it didn't matter. Stanford had a hard time guarding Quinn all game. The 6-foot small forward hit a shot in the lane off a pass from Blue to put the Bruins on top for good. Stanford, relying almost entirely on two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year Wiggins, couldn't hit anything down the stretch. And UCLA pulled away by hitting shots from the foul line.
UCLA had a tournament-record 20 steals in its 80-63 win over Cal and 17 more in the semifinals against Arizona State. The Bruins recorded 15 more against Stanford. Willis had a tournament-record 19 steals over the three games.
Quinn led UCLA with 22 points. Willis had 20, Pluimer 16 and Blue 14.
Wiggins had 23 and Smith 22 for Stanford. Krista Rappahahn and Kristen Newlin each had 10.
Rappahahn broke the Stanford season record for 3-pointers when she made her second of the game, a shot from the corner with 8 minutes left. That gave Rappahahn 82 for the season. The previous record was 81 by Jamie Carey.
Stanford led throughout the first half with its biggest lead at 27-14. It was 31-25 at the half. The second half had a repeating storyline of UCLA making runs and Stanford answering.
Until the end.
Stanford (23-7) led 70-63 after Smith made two free throws with 1:29 left. Quinn scored on a layup and then on a three-point play to bring the Bruins within 70-68 with 45 seconds left. Stanford ran the clock down until Wiggins missed a 3-pointer. UCLA grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 16 seconds left.
Blue passed to Quinn in the lane, and Quinn turned around and scored.