In one of its most competitive games in months, Stanford knocked off UCLA, 64-55, to win its 5th consecutive PAC-10 tournament title. Stanford trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half and trailed with under 6 minutes remaining, but pulled ahead of the second-seeded Bruins behind the stellar play of freshman guard Toni Kokenis. Kokenis, who came off the bench to play 23 minutes for the Card, led all scorers with 17 points on 78% shooting from the floor. The remainder of Stanford’s bench combined for 13 minutes, 0 points, and 0 rebounds.
Kokenis’s contributions were vital to Stanford’s success partially because the usual suspects for Stanford struggled against a Bruin team that is head and shoulders above every PAC-10 team besides Stanford, and will likely receive either a 2 or 3 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. The Ogwumike sisters could not repeat the exceptional performances they turned in on Friday, and combined for less than half of the scoring and rebounding production that they recorded against Arizona. Nneka finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds, while Chiney put up 8 points and 7 boards against the Bruins. Kayla Pedersen, who along with Nneka also played the full 40 minutes, scored 12 points, pulled down 6 rebounds, and tied fellow senior Jeanette Pohlen for a game-high 4 assists.
UCLA relied even less on its bench (23 total minutes) and got all but 2 of its points from the starting line-up. Guard Doreena Campbell led the Bruins with 16 points, while guard Darxia Morris and forward Markel Walker each had 12. UCLA junior forward Jasmine Dixon, who outperformed her teammates in the two previous meetings of Stanford and UCLA this year, scored 7 points and grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds.
Stanford beat UCLA in the conference tournament championship game last year, as well. UCLA finishes 0-3 this year against the Card, the only PAC-10 team that beat the Bruins this season.
Stanford will go into the NCAA tournament as a #1 seed and will play its first two games in Maples Pavilion, which will serve as a host site for the opening two rounds.