Lady Devils Lose in Pac-10 Tourney Final

Third time wasn't a charm after all. The Lady Devils fell to Stanford once again this season 62-55 at the Pac-10 Tournament Finals on Monday night. Stanford's win gives them an automatic NCAA bid. With a 28-4 ASU is headed to dance as well, but the loss will naturally affect their seeding.

The Cardinal's top player, Candice Wiggins, known to be a challenging competitor, once again lived up to her successful reputation. Scoring 20 points against the Devils, Wiggins affected their performance on offense and defense.

Scoring a mere 27% field goal accuracy in the first half, compared to Stanford with 46% accuracy, ASU failed to intimidate their top seated Pac-10 opponent.

Despite their consistency in regular-season games to capture an early lead, the Devils continually trailed behind the Cardinals throughout the first-half. Stanford was able to hold them from Kate Engelbracht's successful jumper at 7:09, until the final 21 seconds with two good free-throws by Co-captain Emily Westerberg. In this time their opponent scored 14 points to lead at half-time, 34-19.

Though the Devils pick-up some momentum in the second-half due largely to their game-on mentality, and slowly tightened the gap on the boards, time was not on their side.

Shooting 39% field goal accuracy ahead of Stanford, at 29%, the Lady Devils appropriately stuck with in it until the end. Offensively holding the Cardinals for almost three minutes mid-way through the half, the Devils continued to play catch-up. This included a successful lay-up by Danielle Orsillo at 10:53, followed by Reagan Pariseau's three-point shot 30 seconds later.

Despite both offensive and defensive challenges, the Devils finished with a season-high 32 rebounds. However, the Cardinals topped that with 45.

The Sun Devils' Westerberg scored a team-high 12 points, followed by Briann January with 11 points and Aubree Johnson retrieved eight rebounds.

Backing Wiggins for the Cardinals, Pac-10 freshman of the year Jayne Appel scored 17 points and had a game-high 15 rebounds, while Brooke Smith scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Stanford Cardinals have defeated the ASU Sun Devils in all three appearances this season and surely gave the Lady Devils a preview of the level of competition they may face in the later stages of March Madness.

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