March 9, 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and second-ranked Stanford overcame its worst shooting of the season to beat Arizona State 52-43 Friday in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.
Ogwumike's younger sister, Chiney, added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the top-seeded Cardinal (30-1), who advanced to Saturday's title game at Staples Center in pursuit of their ninth tournament championship.
They won their 27th straight game, equaling the longest winning streak in school history. The Cardinal won 27 in a row last season before losing to Texas A&M in the national semifinals, and 27 straight in 2009-10 before being stopped by Connecticut in the national championship game. Their only loss so far this season was to UConn.
Stanford also extended its winning streak against conference opponents to 77 with a 13th consecutive win against the Sun Devils.
But the Cardinal hardly resembled their usually dominant selves, shooting a season-low 29 percent while missing all 10 3-pointers. Their 52 points just missed the record of 51 for fewest scored in a win.
Stanford led by 14 early in the second half, but saw its lead dwindle to seven with just under 7 minutes to go. Arizona State outscored the Cardinal 12-5, including five by Janae Fulcher and a 3-pointer from Olivia Major, to put pressure on.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike turned the ball over - one of 16 Stanford miscues - and Pickens scored on a fastbreak layup, cutting the Sun Devils' deficit to 42-36. They got within six twice more in the final 1:24, fouling Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who made six straight free throws to repel the threat.
The Cardinal were steady from the line, hitting 22 of 27 free throws and dominating the boards 48-28.
Arizona State wasn't much better, shooting 30 percent from the floor, but the Sun Devils had 13 steals and held their own in the paint, 22-20.
Stanford improved to 29-2 in the tourney that began in 2002.