|ESPN.com: NCAA Tourney 08||[Print without images]|
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Stanford guard Candice Wiggins, the three-time Pac-10 player of the year, crashed to the floor and into the base of the backboard. For a moment, she stayed down while Cardinal fans went ballistic on Pittsburgh's Taneisha Harrison, who did the decking.Then, Wiggins got up. Slowly at first; then with more resolve. Which is sort of what second-seeded Stanford did against a scrappy challenge from the No. 6 Panthers. Stanford, notorious of late for going belly-up come tournament time, proved it can win messy. It proved it can win with the greatest player in program history badly out of sorts. And it proved it can win a brawl. Stanford led by a mere point at halftime but asserted itself after the break, riding dominating rebounding to a 72-53 victory and an Elite Eight date with top-seeded Maryland, which overwhelmed Vanderbilt in the first game. How does a team overcome its senior star scoring just 14 points -- nearly six below her season average -- on just 5-for-13 shooting after she scored 57 points in the previous two tournament games? One way is to win the rebounding battle 54-30. "They really took it to us on the inside," Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. "The rebounding was a huge factor." While Wiggins struggled, the Cardinal's two bigs inside took over. Sophomore guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude also provided needed punch from the perimeter. Jayne Appel, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, scored 22 points and pulled down 13 boards, while 6-4 freshman Kayla Pedersen grabbed 16 rebounds and added 12 points. That pair also limited Pitt post Marcedes Walker to just two points and four rebounds. She entered the Sweet 16 matchup averaging nearly 14 points and 9.6 rebounds. Meanwhile, Gold-Onwude scored 15 points, hitting three of her four 3-point attempts. She averaged just 4.9 points this season, fewest among the starting five. At the break, however, nothing felt good for the Cardinal. They led 29-28, but the game was being played at Pitt's pace, and Panthers guard Shavonte Zellous was a whirling dervish, scoring 15 of her 22 points.
|Jayne Appel scored 22 points to help lead Stanford to the Elite Eight.|
Ted Miller covers college sports for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ted at email@example.com.