STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Stanford was getting knocked around
inside -- and out -- for most of the game but the Cardinal (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) were never knocked out.
"Arizona State gave us everything we could handle," Stanford
coach Tara VanDerveer said following Stanford's 84-78 victory over
the Sun Devils (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) on Saturday. "We got outhustled on
plays and the rebounding situation is something we have to deal
with. But we have Candice and Brooke, and they led the way."
Candice Wiggins scored 33 points in helping the Cardinal (13-4,
8-1 Pac-10) rally from their biggest deficit of the season for
their seventh straight win. Brooke Smith added 19 points as the
Cardinal won their 42nd consecutive home conference game after
falling behind by 13 in the first half.
"There are always runs and spurts and once we got it going we
got a lot of confidence," Wiggins said. "I like it when a team
plays tight because it gives me an opportunity to get by quicker.
You have to take advantage of a team that climbs all over you."
Wiggins has scored 30 or more in four of her last six games, and
leads the conference with a 21.2 scoring average. Freshman Rosalyn
Gold-Onwude added three key free throws and two steals in the final
minutes, and led Stanford with five rebounds.
"I felt like I needed to do my part," Gold-Onwude said.
"Brooke told me, 'Come on, we need you,' so I started putting more
pressure on the ball. You have to take it to them first and not be
the reactor. I think we got a little stagnant in the first half."
Emily Westerberg scored a season-high 20 points to lead the Sun
Devils (14-5, 5-4), who lost their fourth straight on the road and
their fourth in six games overall. Kristen Kovesdy had 16 points
and 10 rebounds as the Sun Devils outrebounded Stanford 41-20, but
they also committed 25 turnovers. Jill Noe added 19 points.
Kovesdy, who recorded her fifth double-double of the season and
10th of her career, moved into seventh-place on the Sun Devils
all-time scoring list with 1,202.
"They have great post players and you obviously have to play
strong and hard on them," said Kovesdy, who made seven of her
eight shots and leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage. "We
really focus on rebounding. Candice is such a great player, and she
made some great shots. We need to work on our defense."
Stanford has won 26 of the past 29 meetings between the teams.
Arizona State has won once at Stanford -- in 1984.
Stanford sophomore guard Cissy Pierce served the final of her
two-game suspension for missing practice earlier in the week.
Back-to-back hook shots from Smith gave Stanford its first lead
since early in the game at 62-60 with 6:35 remaining. The Cardinal
maintained their slight margin the rest of the way.
After missing eight of her first 11 shots, Smith made four in a
row down the stretch.
"It takes a minute to adjust to their physicality, and I didn't
adjust quick enough," Smith said.
Both teams opened the game with full-court pressure, and the Sun
Devils countered by replacing their starting lineup in the first
four minutes to keep players fresh.
Kovesdy's inside jumper with 6:45 left in the first half capped
an impressive 21-5 run by Arizona State, including 12 unanswered
points, in giving the Sun Devils a 32-19 advantage. It was
Stanford's largest deficit of the season.
"We got hesitant down the stretch," said Sun Devils coach
Charli Turner Thorne, who played under VanDerveer at Stanford. "We
had a few too many turnovers and that's disappointing but we're
working on it."
The Cardinal rallied to within 36-34 before Danielle Orsillo
converted a rare four-point play.
Wiggins hit a short jumper in the final five seconds to bring
Stanford within 42-37 at halftime.