Cardinal advance easily to Pac-10 semifinals

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Tara VanDerveer considered one of the biggest successes in Stanford's 16th straight victory the fact she could rest her starters for long stretches.

Such is the thinking of a coach hoping to make a deep NCAA Tournament run this month -- because every ounce of extra energy can help.

Jayne Appel had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead Stanford (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) past Oregon State 64-41 on Saturday in the second round of the Pac-10 tournament.

"For the first game of the tournament we came out and did a great job," VanDerveer said. "We got the ball in to Jayne. Probably one of the best things for us was that we were able to kind of shuffle people in and out and rest Candice. Except for J.J. (Hones), I did not play anyone over 30 minutes."

Pac-10 freshman of the year Kayla Pedersen added 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbed seven boards. Conference player of the year Candice Wiggins contributed 11 points and five assists.

"My defender was guarding Jayne," Pedersen said of the constant double-teams on Appel. "They were leaving me open, so I better hit that shot."

The Cardinal (28-3), who haven't lost since Jan. 6 at Southern California, will play in Sunday's second semifinal against UCLA.

Hones dished out six assists in her first Pac-10 tournament game. She missed the final six weeks last season following knee surgery. She penetrated and found Appel and Pedersen at every opportunity.

Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner was asked afterward about how daunting the task is to stop Stanford's talented post players.

"Pretty difficult," Wagner said and left it at that.

Brittney Davis scored 18 points to lead eighth-seeded and overmatched Oregon State (11-19), which shot 31 percent and was outrebounded 39-31. Davis, a junior guard, returned two games ago after missing four straight games with a right knee injury.

"It was a quest," she said of playing again this season. "I worked hard to get back. I missed it for four or five weeks."

Wiggins became the conference's career leading scorer last weekend at Washington State, passing Lisa Leslie. Wiggins' accomplishment was recognized before introductions; she smiled while continuing to warm up for the game.

Stanford has won eight straight Pac-10 regular-season titles but Wiggins won't consider her career complete unless she helps end the Cardinal's 10-year Final Four drought. They haven't been since 1997.

Stanford used a 7-0 spurt after halftime to put the game out of reach.

"In the second half, we did a better job taking care of the ball," Wagner said. "But we really struggled to score against their size. Their pressure really bothered us."

Junior forward Jillian Harmon was back in uniform for Stanford but didn't play for the seventh straight game because of a stress reaction in her right foot. VanDerveer hasn't ruled out using Harmon during the tournament. Her presence would provide the Cardinal with depth.

"Jill says she feels great," VanDerveer said. "That's Jill -- of course she wants to play. We're not going to rush her."

The Cardinal made seven of their first nine shots, jumped to a 17-11 lead and got eight early points from Appel. Oregon State pulled within 22-16 but was then held scoreless for 6:06 following a basket by Davis with 7:31 remaining in the half, helping Stanford to a 34-18 lead at the break. The teams combined to take five first-half free throws.

The Cardinal hold a 41-6 advantage in the all-time series.