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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 15, 2010

Stanford claims Pac-10 crown

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Stanford forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, the MVP, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 70-46 win over UCLA.

ALEX GALLARDO | Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES When UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell played at Tennessee, the Volunteers used to say they had to get to Stanford early in the season because the Cardinal was just too good later on.

That's still the case.

Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jayne Appel added 15 points and No. 2 Stanford rolled to a 70-46 victory over 23rd-ranked UCLA yesterday, winning its eighth Pac-10 tournament championship in nine title-game appearances.

"That's a really nice compliment," Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said about Caldwell's comment. "Our team really improves. They play hard for each other and they develop more confidence."

The Cardinal (31-1) earned the league's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, where it will be appearing for the 23rd consecutive year.

"When it comes to tourney time, there is no excuse. We're ready," said Appel, who had ice wrapped on both knees and her right ankle.

She started after coming off the bench in two previous games because of her sprained ankle. The senior center was named to her third all-tourney team.

Stanford became the first Pac-10 team to go undefeated in 18 regular-season games and win the league tourney title, even if the Cardinal looked sloppy at times with 15 turnovers.

"It'll be really challenging to try to do this ever again," VanDerveer said, noting nine of her players are experienced upperclassmen.

Ogwumike became the fifth player to be named league player of the year and MVP of the tourney. She totaled 59 points in three games, tied for second-most.

All-tourney selection Jasmine Dixon scored 20 points before fouling out with 5:18 remaining for the Bruins (24-8).

Appel scored eight points as Stanford opened the second half by outscoring the Bruins 20-16 to build a 56-35 lead, its largest until the final 1:42.

No. 11 Texas A&M 74, No. 12 Oklahoma 67: Tyra White carried Texas A&M in the first half and Danielle Adams scored 17 of her 19 points in the second, helping the 11th-ranked Aggies hold off No. 12 Oklahoma at Kansas City, Mo., for their second Big 12 tournament title in three years.

White had all of her 16 points in the first half and Texas A&M (25-7) relied on Adams in the second to answer every Oklahoma charge, giving the Aggies a good shot for at least a No. 2 seed when the NCAA brackets are announced today. Adaora Elonu added 10 points and hit two big free throws for Texas A&M in its third straight conference title game.

The Sooners (23-10) shot well in the first half, but the four-time tournament champions missed too many shots at the rim in the second to keep up. Amanda Thompson had 20 points and 19 rebounds, and Danielle Robinson scored 18 for the Sooners.