March 13, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Top-seeded Stanford eliminated upstart Arizona with a 77-46 victory, Friday evening in the quarterfinal round of the 2009 State Farm Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Galen Center.
After two hotly-contested games during the regular season, including a three-point game just two weeks ago in Palo Alto that saw the Wildcats threaten to pull the upset, the defending NCAA runner-up this time looked like a team poised to make another deep tournament run.
For the third time this season, Jeanette Pohlen was a thorn in the side of Arizona head coach Niya Butts as she hit 4-of-5 three-pointers in the first half to account for all of her 14 points. She combined for 14 three-pointers in three games against the Wildcats, making it the fifth time the Cardinal have eliminated the Wildcats from the event.
Were it not for the early offense of Ashley Frazier, Arizona (12-19) might have faced more than an early five-point deficit. She started 3-for-4, including an early three-pointer, while Stanford (27-4) used a 12-6 rebounding edge and forced six turnovers to counter a 5-for-16 (.313) start for its 14-9 cushion at the 11:06 mark.
That would be as close as the Wildcats would get the rest of the game as their offensive woes caught up to them. Arizona made just 1-of-7 shot attempts and scored just three points over a 7-minute stretch to see the Cardinal build a 25-12 lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the Wildcats as the Cardinal effectively ended the game with a 12-0 run late in the first half. After Courtney Clements ended the previous drought with a jumper, Lindy LaRocque and Jeanette Pohlen each hit consecutive three-pointers, respectively, to build a 37-14 advantage with 1:05 remaining.
The Cardinal made a point to limit the touches of Ify Ibekwe early on and it paid dividends. The Cats’ leading scorer attempted just two field goals in the first half and hit 1-of-2 free throws after scoring 23 points against Washington State one day earlier.
Ibekwe finished with just five points after sitting most of the second half with four fouls and eight rebounds, leaving her with 336 for the season and just three shy of the single-season record of 339 set by Shawntinice Polk in the 2003-04 season.
Though Stanford was just 13-of-35 (.371) from the field in the first half, the Cardinal hit on 7-of-15 (.467) from three-point range. They also used their considerable size advantage across the board to dominate the glass to a 29-10 count. Arizona, meanwhile, made just 6-of-21 shots (.286) and committed nine turnovers before the break.
Arizona finished the game 18-of-56 (.321) from the field and was just 2-of-11 from three-point range. The Cardinal completed their domination of the glass with a 49-26 final tally with Kayla Pedersen leading the way with 15 boards to couple seven assists.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike led all scorers with 15 points for Stanford while LaRocque added 12, all from beyond the arc, and Jillian Harmon chipped in with 11 points. Pohlen also added six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
If anything, the Wildcats can take away the fact that freshman guard Courtney Clements has emerged as a true scoring threat for the Wildcats. She finished with a team-high 14 points while Frazier added 13 points, two assists and two steals. Amina Njonkou finished her Arizona career with four points and three rebounds while Beatrice Bofia had two points and three boards. Sarah Hays did not score in her final game with the Cats.