10:00 PM ET, February 9, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- With Stanford and UC Santa Barbara both finding it difficult to score, the coaches went to their benches for help. The 14th-ranked Cardinal got the spark it needed.
Jillian Harmon had 17 points and a season-high 11 rebounds to help Stanford beat the Gauchos 81-47 Thursday night.
Eziamaka Okafor matched her career highs with 14 points and eight rebounds as the Cardinal (17-5) won its fourth straight and 11th of 12 overall. Candice Wiggins, who averages 21.1 points a game, had 14 points in 24 minutes, and Brooke Smith added 10 points.
"I'm just glad we have players like Ezzie and Jill," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We missed a lot of easy shots in the first half. Maybe we didn't have our focus. Maybe I'm starting the wrong people. We went with people who gave us great energy."
Harmon, who has come off the bench the past four games after starting 16 of the first 18 games, recorded her second double-double.
"This was a team we haven't played over and over again so it was a nice opportunity," Harmon said.
Kat Suderman scored 15 points and had nine rebounds to lead Santa Barbara (11-9), which had its three-game winning streak stopped. The Gauchos have lost all six of their road games against non-conference opponents.
Suderman has started the past four games because of a back injury to Autumn Nichols. Gauchos leading scorer, forward Jenna Green, was limited to 17 minutes and missed her first eight shots before finishing with a season-low three points.
"We were strapped in the post," Gauchos' coach Mark French said. "We had to use one of our small forwards there and three days of practice doesn't make you a post player."
The Gauchos suffered through one of their worst shooting nights of the season and Stanford dominated the boards 56-30. The Cardinal grabbed 22 of the first 27 rebounds in the second half and put the game away with a scoring flurry ending the first half.
French, who turns 56 on Saturday, was called for a pair of technical fouls and ejected from the game with 17:22 remaining. He came onto the court during a dead ball and began screaming at official Clarke Stevens regarding a non-call.
Receiving the first technical seemed to infuriate French and he became even more demonstrative, drawing the second technical. It was his first ejection in 27 years as a head coach, the last 19 at Santa Barbara.
"I apologized to my team for my lack of discipline, and then I went on the radio and apologized there," French said. "It reflects poorly on the program and I think we have a good program."
Wiggins made three of the four free throws to put the Cardinal ahead 45-21. She missed the final attempt to end her consecutive streak at 22.
The game never got any better for the Gauchos, who were outscored 25-7 in the next 5 minutes.
"With her injuries, Ezzie is not really an experienced player but she brings the intangibles like hustle and energy," VanDerveer said. "She really gave us a spark."
Stanford opened a 12-point in the first 10 minutes but then hit a cold spell, going nearly 6 minutes without a field goal.
The Gauchos cooperated by missing 15 of their first 20 shots, with leading scorer Jenna Green missing all five of her attempts and then spending most of the first half on the bench with foul trouble.
Santa Barbara was within 21-13 with 6:28 left in the half before the Cardinal went on a 17-8 run to open a 38-21 halftime lead.