6:00 PM ET, March 5, 2006
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 her contributions.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 half."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.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-57 (.404)||23-50 (.460)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-11 (.455)||3-8 (.375)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-15 (.600)||10-11 (.909)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|