11:32 PM ET, March 29, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- For once, it wasn't easy for Candice Wiggins and Stanford.Then again, against rugged Pittsburgh it never is.Jayne Appel scored 22 points to bail out roughed-up teammate Wiggins and lead second-seeded Stanford to a 72-53 victory over a tough Panthers squad Saturday night to advance to the finals of the Spokane regional.Kayla Pedersen added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Stanford (33-3), which takes its 21-game winning streak into Monday night's regional final against Maryland (33-3). The top-seeded Terrapins beat Vanderbilt 80-66 earlier Saturday night."We knew it was going to be a 40-minute game. We stayed together, that was the biggest thing," Wiggins said. "We could look in each other's eyes and trust we were going to do a good job."Wiggins, the All-American who scored a career-high 44 points in the second round, scored just 14, on 5-for-13 shooting from the field."Our team really had to battle," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It wasn't pretty. It was a very physical game, but I am proud of how our team stepped up."Shavonte Zellous scored 22 points to lead sixth-seed Pitt (24-11), which trailed by one with 8 1/2 minutes left before Stanford pulled away. The Panthers tied a school record for wins and reached their first regional semifinals.Wiggins didn't take a shot for the first 8 1/2 minutes and her first basket didn't come until 11:17 into the game. She missed five of her first eight shots while the Panthers continually pounced on her out of defensive switches through screens.The play that epitomized her night -- and much of Stanford's until late -- came with 7:46 left when she drove on Zellous and pulled up for a jumper. Zellous slammed Wiggins and her shot to the floor for an emphatic block and then taunted the star with a yell and head nods while Wiggins lay prone and stunned.With 2:10 left and Stanford comfortably in front, Wiggins got slammed again, on a breakaway layup attempt. Taniesha Harrison slammed her into the bottom of the basket standard. Wiggins got up holding her left hand as Stanford's crowd booed loudly."Really, I had a lot of steam ahead. I did not think she was going to come close, otherwise I wouldn't have gone for the basket like that," Wiggins said outside her locker room immediately after the game, talking quickly and obviously still upset."Maybe [it was] out of frustration on her part. It was really pretty scary."Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who scored 15 points -- two short of her career high -- then rescued Stanford with a jumper and then a 3-pointer. Wiggins recovered to make a smooth scoop shot in the lane after a ball fake to put the Cardinal up 56-46 with 6:25 left.Pitt then went more than three minutes without a field goal as Stanford pulled away with free throws to make a close game look like a blowout.Stanford had a decisive rebounding edge, 54-30. The Cardinal grabbed 37 of the first 57 rebounds, the 37th when Pedersen followed her own miss with a driving layup and 3-point play. That gave Stanford its biggest lead to that point, 45-37, with 11:42 remaining."They really took it to us on the inside," Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. "The rebounding was a huge factor in the game."Yet Pitt kept coming, closing to within 47-46 on Mallorie Winn's deep 3-pointer.Then came the most inopportune of cold streaks for the Panthers."We just let them get away from us," Zellous said. "We let it slip through our hands."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||18-60 (.300)||26-61 (.426)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-20 (.200)||3-11 (.273)|
|FT Made-Attempted||13-20 (.650)||17-25 (.680)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|