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No. 2 Stanford drops Arizona 72-52 in quarterfinal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 25 points and No. 2 Stanford got a second-half boost from injured star Jayne Appel in a difficult 72-52 victory over Arizona on Friday in the Pac-10 tournament quarterfinals.

Jeanette Pohlen scored 15 points on five 3-pointers for the Cardinal (29-1), who won their 20th straight and advanced to face California in Saturday's semifinals.

Yet the mighty Cardinal had trouble shaking the Wildcats (14-17), who only dressed eight players and had to win a play-in game Thursday.

Stanford led 43-40 with 13:21 to play when coach Tara VanDerveer finally used Appel, who has a sore right ankle that kept the All-American center out of last week's win over Cal. The Cardinal immediately scored eight straight points and made a 19-6 run.

Appel had seven points and three rebounds in her 10:06 of playing time — a far cry from her school-record, 46-point performance in last season's NCAA regional final, but more than enough to finish off the Wildcats.

Ogwumike, the sophomore selected the Pac-10's player of the year, added 10 rebounds while finishing five points shy of her career high. Kayla Pedersen had 11 points, 11 rebounds and five assists despite the senior's 4-for-14 shooting, while Pohlen made just one turnover in 37 minutes.

Ify Ibekwe had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Davellyn White added nine points and eight rebounds as the Wildcats lost for the sixth time in seven games despite hanging in for much of the afternoon. Arizona played well against Stanford this season, also leading at halftime in a loss at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 30.

Stanford has won six Pac-10 tournament titles and is heavily favored again after an 18-0 roll through its conference schedule, the much-decorated program's fifth perfect regular-season run through conference play. No Pac-10 team has ever followed up a perfect regular season with a tournament title, although this is only the 10th tournament for a conference that didn't have a postseason event for most of its existence.

Yet the Wildcats' feisty effort should remind the Cardinal not to get too comfortable on top.

Stanford missed its first six shots, eventually taking a 10-point lead in the first half but never pulling away. Arizona made a 9-3 run in the second half to cut the Cardinal's lead to three points, but Appel's arrival immediately changed Stanford's approach, creating open shots for her teammates and slowing down the Wildcats' offense.

Several Arizona students tried to take advantage of the empty sections of seats behind the baskets at USC's Galen Center by running back and forth wildly through the empty rows while the Cardinal shot free throws. It didn't work all that well: Stanford made 17 of its 20 free throws.