SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The points kept piling up, the
3-pointers kept finding their mark, and Lisa Willis kept going at
Arizona State on both ends with little idea of the significance of
Noelle Quinn sank two free throws with 28.9 seconds left before
Arizona State turned the ball over on its final chance, and UCLA
shocked the 11th-ranked Sun Devils 60-59 on Sunday to reach its
first Pac-10 tournament championship game.
Willis scored 20 of her 27 points in the second half and Quinn
finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two assists and
two blocks for the Bruins (18-10), who snapped Arizona State's
school-record 10-game winning streak with a sensational second
"I was in a daze the whole second half," said Willis, who also
made six steals to give her 13 in two tournament games. "Until I
looked at the stat sheet, I didn't know what I did. I just tried to
do whatever it took to get the job done. We just had to pick it up.
We did not want to go home tonight."
Kristen Kovesdy's two free throws with 1:12 remaining put
Arizona State ahead 59-58, then Quinn calmly knocked down two to
give the lead back to UCLA.
"When I'm at the free-throw line, it's just me. There's no
defense and no pressure," Quinn said. "I just remember to take my
time because I knew those were important free throws."
The Bruins were outrebounded (36-30) and outshot (45.1
percent-40.4) but made enough hustle plays when it mattered and
forced 26 turnovers.
Arizona State is still set to receive an at-large bid into the
NCAA tournament after reaching the round of 16 last season for the
first time in 22 years. The Sun Devils are the only team other than
Stanford to win the conference tournament title, beating the
Cardinal for the inaugural 2002 championship.
Kovesdy scored 18 points, including eight during Arizona State's
10-0 run to end the first half and Emily Westerberg had 12 points
and four assists for the sloppy Sun Devils, who were frustrated
with their defense against Willis.
"Lisa Willis hit some tough shots and took over a little bit,"
Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "I knew the more
aggressive team was going to win, and I'm disappointed it wasn't
us. We'll use it as fuel for the fire."
UCLA began the second half with an 8-0 spurt, getting
back-to-back 3-pointers from Willis to pull within 28-27. She hit
another 3 with 15:22 remaining to give UCLA a 32-31 lead and
finished 5-for-9 from long range -- making four 3s in the Bruins'
41-point second half.
UCLA advances to play Monday night against No. 13 Stanford, a
73-44 winner over Southern California in Sunday's late game.
Top-seeded Stanford split two regular-season meetings with the
Bruins this season.
The Sun Devils had to rally from a 16-point deficit to beat
Oregon State in Saturday's quarterfinals. Despite Sunday's result,
they're headed for a seventh straight postseason berth and probably
their fourth NCAA tournament bid in six years.
Willis defended the inbound play in the closing moments against
Arizona State freshman Briann January, whose pass to Westerberg was
low for a turnover off her teammate's foot.
"Willis is a great on-ball person," January said. "We
definitely got a taste of the intensity people are going to bring
from now on."
Arizona State and UCLA split their two previous meetings this
season, with each winning on its home floor. Arizona State won all
three matchups last season, including in the conference tournament.
"It was big time," UCLA coach Kathy Olivier said. "Both teams
were competing at the highest level. In the second half, we came
out with a different focus. We told ourselves, 'We've come this
far, we're not going to sit down and die now."
The Sun Devils started the game 1-for-5 with three turnovers and
struggled to move the ball against UCLA's pressure defense. But the
Bruins also had their problems, going 6-for-16 early and being held
to 19 points -- a season-low for a half. They were held scoreless
over the final 5:39 and Arizona State led 28-19 at the break.