Top-seeded and fourth-ranked Stanford will meet No. 3 seed UCLA for the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament championship at 8 p.m. Sunday after the Cardinal Saturday night held off fourth-seeded Colorado, 61-47 . Earlier Saturday, UCLA led by as many as 26 points in throttling No. 2 Cal 70-58 at KeyArena.
The Cardinal (30-2) won its 16th game in a row behind another power performance from Chiney Ogwumike, the Pac-12 player of the year who had 25 points and 19 rebounds. But it was the defense that shut down the Buffaloes in the second half after they held a 28-27 lead at halftime — the first halftime deficit for Stanford since losing to Cal Jan. 13.
Stanford clobbered Colorado twice in January, but a 10-game winning streak advanced Colorado to the No. 4 tourney seed. Chucky Jeffery led the Buffs with 19 points but was bothered by Stanford’s defense, missing 15 of 24 shots.
Stanford, which played its 11th top-25 team in the No. 18 Buffs, is after its seventh consecutive Pac-12 tournament title.
UCLA 70, Cal 58
The only game of the tourney so far that didn’t go to form was the Bruins’ shockingly easy time it had with the Bears, the tourney’s No. 2 seed and fifth-ranked team.
The Bruins are in the conference final for the third time in four seasons. UCLA lost to Stanford in 2010 and 2011. The Bruins have been eliminated by Stanford in the tournament four times since beating the Cardinal in the 2006 final.
The Bears not only lost the game but any hope of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Cal beat the Bruins twice during season, including a 79-51 rout at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA was up at half 35-14, the fewest points Cal has scored in a half this season.
Markel Walker made 10 of 13 shots and finished with 23 points. Jasmine Dixon had 15 points and Alyssia Brewer 14.
Cal shot 20 percent in the first 20 minutes, including missing all 11 three-pointers. They finished shooting 29.5 perdent (18 of 61) from the floor.