5:00 PM ET, February 2, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Tara VanDerveer constantly reminds her Stanford players they must keep their conference title hopes alive. Despite dropping their first two Pac-10 games, the Cardinal are right back in the mix as usual.Candice Wiggins scored 31 points to boost her school-record total to 2,253 and No. 7 Stanford completed a sweep of the Los Angeles schools with a 75-62 victory over UCLA on Saturday, avenging a loss last month in the teams' Pac-10 opener."Every game for us is playing for the Pac-10 championship. It will be exciting to see how our team responds," VanDerveer said. "This was a big win for us."Stanford had its 10-game winning streak in the series snapped with that 69-56 defeat on Jan. 4 -- and the Bruins are the last opponent to sweep the two regular-season meetings between the schools when they did it in 1987-88.With Wiggins leading two big runs and standout freshman Kayla Pedersen scoring at will inside, it wasn't going to happen this time on the Cardinal's home floor in Maples Pavilion."We were definitely looking forward to this week ever since we got to airport in L.A.," Wiggins said. "It was huge to show our growth and what we learned from those two games and our mistakes. ... We've been in situations far worse than this. We all felt the sting of that loss."Pedersen had a career-high 28 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists, four blocked shots and three steals, shooting 13-for-18 from the field for Stanford (19-3, 9-2), which is chasing its eighth straight Pac-10 championship.After UCLA pulled to 33-28 with 19:02 to play, Wiggins took over yet again. She scored 11 straight -- including two free throws after a technical foul on UCLA coach Kathy Olivier at 16:01 -- and then dished out an assist to Pedersen during a 23-3 run."I feel like we've been up here so many times, but they're a team of runs at home," said Olivier, noting her technical came at a bad time. "They're going to have their runs. Just make sure we put a stop to their runs early. That second run, we couldn't put a stop to it."Wiggins finished with five assists and two blocks and received a warm ovation when announced before the game, two days after the senior guard broke Kate Starbird's career school scoring record.Wiggins was cheered again when she took a short break with 9:13 left after sinking two free throws. She was 11-for-12 from the line for the day.Now, she's taking aim at Lisa Leslie's Pac-10 record of 2,414, now needing only 161 points to tie.Wiggins scored five straight points and nine total -- Pedersen had the other two -- during an 11-0 run late in the first half to turn a 20-19 deficit into a 30-20 Cardinal lead, and they held a 33-24 halftime advantage."I think they had a little chip on their shoulder from L.A., going 0-2 down there," UCLA forward Lindsey Pluimer said. "They're hard to beat at home."Pluimer scored 16 points and Erica Tukiainen had seven of her team's first nine points but wound up with just 11 for UCLA (11-11, 6-5), which played without 6-foot-6 sophomore center Moniquee Alexander because of concussive symptoms sustained in Thursday night's 67-53 loss at California (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP). She took an elbow to the jaw and was scheduled to be re-evaluated and perhaps back in practice Monday.Regina Rogers, a 6-3 freshman, started in Alexander's place and was blocked by Jayne Appel on the Bruins' first possession of the game.She picked up two quick fouls after halftime, getting whistled for her fourth with 18:29 left, and had two points on 1-for-7 shooting and two boards before fouling out.Appel grabbed 16 rebounds and had five blocks but shot 3-for-10 for nine points -- missing 6 of her first 7 field-goal tries -- after going 9-for-10 in Stanford's 77-51 victory against Southern California on Thursday.Wiggins and Pedersen, the leading contender for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors, were each whistled for questionable offensive fouls in a short span in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Pedersen scored the next time down at 12:10, the first of five straight field goals she made for the Cardinal."I just wanted to come out there and be the aggressor, not let them push me around," Pedersen said. "They're a physical team and I don't like people pushing me around."