Stanford routs Arizona State in Pac-12 semis, heads to title game for 15th time in 17 seasons
SEATTLE – The No. 2 seed Stanford Cardinal had no trouble putting away No. 6 Arizona State, 58-46, in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament Saturday night at KeyArena.
The Cardinal went for the jugular with top-notch defense to limit the Sun Devils to just three points in the first quarter compared to Stanford’s 13. It was the lowest output in a quarter for ASU all season.
“We came out very aggressively offensively and knocked down big shots for us” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said about her team’s effort. “Worked hard at the defensive end.”
The Cardinal went into the break with a 32-18 lead. The 18 points was the lowest point total for ASU this season.
Stanford’s effort put ASU in a hole that they could not climb out of even with a late game 18-2 run. With numerous players contributing to their offense, Stanford presented a stiff challenge to the Sun Devils’ defense. Five different players contributed the first five goals for the Cardinal. Thirteen Stanford players saw action in the game.
Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne pointed out some specific reasons on how hard it was to face Stanford.
“It is their length and their size and they’re physical. But they’re just scout specific. They do a good job. They chased Courtney Ekmark all over the court. She wasn’t going to get a good look. Kianna [Ibis], our leading scorer, they’re doubling her on every touch. They just do a great job keying in on your top scorers and trying to make other people beat you.”
Freshman guard Kiana Williams led the Cardinal with 24 points. Junior forward Alanna Smith added 13 points.
Sophomore guard Kiara Russell paced Arizona State with 12 points. Junior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman contributed 10 points plus seven rebounds.
Stanford will face Oregon in the title game. It will be the first-ever final for the Oregon Ducks. The Cardinal head to the tournament final for the 15th time in 17 seasons.
Stanford beat Oregon in the only meeting between the two teams this season. The Cardinal won that contest on the road, 78-65. It was Oregon’s only home loss of the season.
“It’s going to be a grind out game and a battle,” said the freshman Williams about facing the Ducks in the title game.
VanDerveer calls playing Oregon “the ultimate challenge.”
“I think that they’re a legitimate Top 10 team, and we’ll have to play very well to beat them again.”
The final is set for 6 p.m. PT and will be televised on ESPN2.
- Sunday’s game will be the eighth No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed matchup in tournament history. Stanford has appeared in all 7 prior games (6-1).
- The attendance of 6,889 is the second highest for a tournament semifinal round (8,384 last season at KeyArena.)
- ASU’s .310 field goal percentage was its second lowest of the season (13-42), with the 13 made the fewest (18, twice).
- Stanford’s Kiana Williams led her team in scoring for the second straight tournament game with 24 points (18 vs. USC). She set career bests for: field goals made (9), FG % (.818) and 3-point field goals made (6).
By the Numbers