Pitt Women Eliminated By Stanford

The Pitt women's basketball team wanted to make Candice Wiggins struggle, and for the most part of its NCAA matchup with Stanford it did.

But that wasn't enough for Pittsburgh to pull off an upset.

Jayne Appel scored 22 points to bail out roughed-up teammate Wiggins and lead second-seeded Stanford to a 72-53 victory over a tough Panthers squad Saturday night to advance to the finals of the Spokane, Wash. regional.

Kayla Pedersen added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Stanford (33-3), which takes its 21-game winning streak into Monday night's regional final against Maryland (33-3). The top-seeded Terrapins beat Vanderbilt 80-66 earlier Saturday night.

"We knew it was going to be a 40-minute game. We stayed together, that was the biggest thing,'' Wiggins said. "We could look in each other's eyes and trust we were going to do a good job.''

Wiggins, the All-American who scored a career-high 44 points in the second round, scored just 14, on 5-for-13 shooting from the field.

"Our team really had to battle,'' Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "It wasn't pretty. It was a very physical game, but I am proud of how our team stepped up.''

Shavonte Zellous scored 22 points to lead sixth-seed Pitt (24-11), which trailed by one with 8 1/2 minutes left before Stanford pulled away. The Panthers tied a school record for wins and reached their first regional semifinals.

Wiggins didn't take a shot for the first 8 1/2 minutes and her first basket didn't come until 11:17 into the game. She missed five of her first eight shots while the Panthers continually pounced on her out of defensive switches through screens.

Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who scored 15 points -- two short of her career high -- then rescued Stanford with a jumper and then a 3-pointer. Wiggins recovered to make a smooth scoop shot in the lane after a ball fake to put the Cardinal up 56-46 with 6:25 left.

Pitt then went more than three minutes without a field goal as Stanford pulled away with free throws to make a close game look like a blowout.

Stanford had a decisive rebounding edge, 54-30. The Cardinal grabbed 37 of the first 57 rebounds, the 37th when Pedersen followed her own miss with a driving layup and 3-point play. That gave Stanford its biggest lead to that point, 45-37, with 11:42 remaining.

"They really took it to us on the inside," Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. "The rebounding was a huge factor in the game.''

Yet Pitt kept coming, closing to within 47-46 on Mallorie Winn's deep 3-pointer.

Then came the most inopportune of cold streaks for the Panthers.

"We just let them get away from us," Zellous said. "We let it slip through our hands.''

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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