Scores

Final

Pittsburgh 53

(24-11, 10-6 Big East)

Stanford 72

(33-3, 16-2 Pac-12)

11:32 PM ET, March 29, 2008

1 2 T
PITT 28 2553
STAN 29 4372

Top Performers

Pittsburgh: S. Zellous 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

Stanford: J. Appel 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Appel scores 22 to help Stanford get past physical Panthers

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."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PITT
STAN
Points 53 72
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)
Largest Lead 2 19

Game Leaders

 
PITT
STAN
PointsS. Zellous 22J. Appel 22
ReboundsS. Zellous 5K. Pedersen 16
AssistsM. Winn 2C. Wiggins 4
StealsS. Zellous 2C. Wiggins 2

Series

DATEGAMELINKS
» Mar 29, 2008 @STAN 72, PITT 53Recap | Box Score