UCLA stuns top-seeded Stanford to reach Pac-12 tournament championship game
Stanford is still on track to claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament despite the loss on Friday.
Another top seed in the Pac-12 tournament has fallen.
UCLA stunned top-seeded Stanford 69-65 in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament on Friday night. The Bruins will now take on Washington State in the championship game on Sunday in Las Vegas.
The loss followed Washington State’s shocking upset of Utah on Thursday night, which likely ended the Utes’ quest at claiming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
HUGE UPSET IN VEGAS ‼️ pic.twitter.com/X8fDGNuneC
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 4, 2023
“We weren’t doing this to beat Stanford. We were trying to do this to be us and reach the championship game, and I think that mentality is different,” UCLA coach Cori Close said on the Pac 12 Network. “We believe in ourselves, we had to be hunters and we had the belief from the start that we earned the right to be here … We earned it, and we’ve gotta go take it.”
Stanford led throughout most of the game, and held a 16-point lead at its peak just before halftime. The Bruins, however, opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, and then held Stanford scoreless for more than three minutes to take their first lead since the opening seconds of the game on a Kiki Rice jumper.
Though the Cardinal made a pair of layups and two free throws in the final two minutes of the game, Rice and Charisma Osborne combined for nine points in that stretch to seal the four-point win.
“We really didn’t do what we needed to do in the second half,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said, via The Next Hoops’ Matthew Walter.
“We gave up too many threes and too many free throws. Overall we lost our momentum going into the second half.”
Rice led the way with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists for UCLA. Emily Bessoir finished with 14 points and six rebounds, and Osborne added 13 points.
Cameron Brink dropped 19 points and had 11 rebounds for Stanford in the loss, and Haley Jones finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. They were the only two to hit double figures for the Cardinal, who shot just 4-of-11 from behind the arc as a team. Despite the loss, per ESPN’s Charlie Creme, Stanford is still on track to claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.