TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Ninth-ranked Stanford played a superb first half. Unfortunately, coach Tara VanDerveer is looking for a complete game.
Brooke Smith had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 9 Stanford to its 15th straight victory, 86-76 over Arizona on Thursday night, when the Cardinal led by 19 at halftime and were dominating inside the paint and getting open 3-point attempts.
Instead of putting Arizona away, the Cardinal let the Wildcats cut a 22-point lead to seven with 6:40 left in the game.
"I thought it was looking like a good situation at halftime, maybe we just didn't come out with the aggressiveness we needed," VanDerveer said. "As a team we need to put together two halves. We have to set our own standard, and not play based on what is happening in the game. I don't think we did that."
Stanford made the plays down the stretch, however, and finished with five players in double figures.
Jayne Appel scored 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting for the Cardinal (17-3, 10-0). Candice Wiggins added 18 points, Cissy Pierce had 15, and Kristen Newlin had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"The first half was one to forget, but the second half was one to remember and something to build on," Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini said.
Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona (7-15, 1-9) with 13 points and Jessica Arnold added 11.
Hollingsworth's 3-pointer with 6:40 left got the Wildcats to 71-64.
But Wiggins hit a 3-pointer and a layup after getting a loose ball under the bucket to put Stanford ahead by 12 with 5:24 remaining.
"Candice is not going to let her team down," VanDerveer said. "We really depend on her to get us going."
The Wildcats came within 80-72 with 2 minutes remaining, but Appel put the game away with a mini-hook to put Stanford back up by 10 with 1:04 left.
Arizona used full-court pressure to rattle the Cardinal at the start of the second half, outscoring Stanford 22-10 to close to 54-47 on Arnold's driving layup with 11:32 remaining.
"They had nothing to lose. They are down by 10, shoot it up," VanDerveer said. "It starts going in and they get the crowd going. We didn't defend as well as we needed to."
Stanford built its big first-half lead by turning it up a notch midway through the half, making 11-of-15 field goal attempts to go ahead 42-22 with 2:30 left following a layup from Smith.
Arizona had cut the lead to 13-12 on a jumper by Burns, but a 3-pointer from Michelle Harrison and six straight inside points from Appel gave Stanford a nine-point burst that started the Cardinal's hot streak.