8:30 PM ET, January 7, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Candice Wiggins wasn't intimidated by Arizona State's success against ranked teams.The freshman guard had season highs of 31 points and six assists, leading No. 8 Stanford to a 68-57 victory over the Sun Devils (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 21 AP) on Friday night.Wiggins also matched her personal best with six steals, turning five into rally-killing layups."I depend on my defensive ability," Wiggins said. "It's awesome. I didn't even really realize it. You know, you're in the flow of the game and you're taking the shots that they give you and that I've practiced."Coach Tara VanDerveer learned years ago not to underestimate Wiggins."She came to our basketball camp, and we ran her through drills all day long, and then at night she would tear up the counselors," VanDerveer said. "So she's used to playing against big, strong bodies and against older players."Brooke Smith added 10 points for Stanford (12-2, 4-1 Pac-10) and T'Nae Thiel had nine points and nine rebounds.Emily Westerberg had a career-high 22 points for the Sun Devils (10-4, 2-2), and Kylan Loney added 14.Arizona State, which has upset then-No. 11 Georgia and then-No. 8 Connecticut this season, came in with a 10-game winning streak at home but Stanford never trailed after seizing the lead late in the first half. Wiggins had 18 points before the break to help the Cardinal take a 38-31 halftime lead.In the second half, the Cardinal used a 8-2 run to open up a 13-point lead. Smith made a hook shot early on, Wiggins scored twice on layups and Thiel made a putback for a 46-33 lead.The Cardinal then went more than 6 minutes without a field goal, allowing Arizona State to close within 49-45 on Kristen Kovesdy's hook shot with 10:27 left.Wiggins helped Stanford regain some breathing room when she pulled up for a 14-foot jumper with 9:41 left, and the Sun Devils got no closer than five points after that."We fought back," Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "Had we made a few shots down the stretch, we could have got it. But to be in that situation -- you know, to not come out and control things, we're really disappointed."Wiggins had six points in 58 seconds during a pivotal first-half run. The two teams traded the lead seven times in 4½ minutes, with neither team leading by more than a point before Wiggins broke a 21-all tie with a driving layup with 7:36 to play. She followed that with two midcourt steals for layups and the Cardinal led 27-21 with 6:38 to go.The Sun Devils got within 30-28 on Westerberg's 10-footer with 3:12 remaining, but the Cardinal finished the half with an 8-3 spurt that included four more points by Wiggins."Obviously, we didn't dig in on balls," Loney said. "We knew that their guards were going to be putting their shoulder down and going into you, and we didn't adjust. We have to be smarter than that. We can't let a girl score half their points on our home court."
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