TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- A spectacular second half is sending the
Stanford women to the semifinals of the NCAA Midwest Regional.
The Cardinal outscored Oklahoma 45-21 in the final 20 minutes --
including a 22-0 outburst -- en route to a 68-43 second-round
blowout of Oklahoma on Monday night.
"Stanford was terrific in the second half," Oklahoma coach
Sherri Coale said. "They were as good as any team in the country,
if not better. If they play two halves like that, there's no reason
they can't win a national championship."
Nicole Powell had 23 points and Kelley Suminski added 19 for the
Cardinal (26-6), who play No. 2 seed Vanderbilt in the regional
semifinals Sunday on Oklahoma's home court in Norman.
Stanford, Pac-10 tournament champion and regular-season
co-champ, is ranked 10th nationally but was only the No. 6 seed in
the Midwest, a fact that outraged coach Tara VanDerveer and
motivated her team to one-sided victories over Missouri and
Oklahoma in Tempe.
"We had a great weekend, and we played two teams from
supposedly the best conference," Stanford's Susan Borchardt said.
"To beat two Big 12 teams, we're very excited, and we're looking
forward to the opportunity in Norman."
Oklahoma (24-9), the Big 12 tournament champion, was the No. 3
seed but 11th in the national rankings. The Sooners had won five in
a row, and trailed only 23-22 at halftime.
"At halftime, we decided we were being too passive
offensively," Sumanski said. "In the second half, we started
being more aggressive. We were really penetrating and going inside,
and that was the difference for us."
Powell, who grew up and was a high school star in nearby
Phoenix, put it more simply.
"I didn't want it to be over yet," she said.
Stanford shot 58 percent (15-for-26) in the second half,
including 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
"I hope we have a better half ahead, but it was a great half
for us," VanderVeer said. "It was our will. Our team really
wanted to keep it going."
Powell also had 11 rebounds, seven assists and no turnovers --
giving her one turnover in two games in Tempe. Suminski was
7-for-10 shooting, 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. Susan Borchardt scored
all nine of her points in the second half on 3-of-4 shooting on 3s.
Chelsea Trotter added 10 points, all in the second half.
Dionnah Jackson was the only Oklahoma player in double figures
with 15 points. The Sooners shot just 30 percent (15-for-50), 28
percent in the second half.
The Cardinal opened the second half with a 16-4 outburst to go
up 39-26 on Suminski's 3-pointer with 15 minutes to play. Caton
Hill's 3-pointer cut the lead to 41-34 with 12:24 to go, but the
Sooners went the next 6:44 without a score.
Trotter scored eight in Stanford's big run, sparking it with an
inside basket and ending it with a putback that put Stanford up
63-34 with 5:57 remaining.
"We were really patient on offense," Powell said. "We knew we
wanted to get good shots, and we were knocking them down."
Borchardt had two 3-pointers during the run, and Suminski scored
eight. Hill finally ended the Oklahoma drought with an inside
basket with 5:40 remaining.
"They made us pay for every mistake we made," said Hill, who
finally ended the Oklahoma drought with an inside basket with 5:40