Updated at: 03/10/2013 8:39 PM
By TIM BOOTH
(AP) SEATTLE - Amber Orrange capped a career-high 20-point performance scoring on a spinning drive with 8.3 seconds left, and No. 4 Stanford won its seventh-straight Pac-12 Conference tournament title rallying past No. 14 UCLA 51-49 on Sunday night.
Orrange carried the Cardinal (31-2) while star Chiney Ogwumike struggled through one of the worst games of her career. Ogwumike failed to score over the final 38 minutes of the game and finished with a career low three points. Thanks to Orrange, Stanford was able to make up for the lack of scoring.
Orrange scored 10 of Stanford’s final 12 points as the teams exchanged lead seven times in the second half. Orrange’s drive pulled Stanford even at 47 with 1:38 left. Mikaela Ruef’s basket with 50 seconds left gave the Cardinal the lead and after Markel Walker scored for UCLA, Orrange spun through two defenders for the winning score.
Walker led UCLA (25-7) with 16 points. The Bruins lost to Stanford in the title game for the third time in four seasons.
UCLA found a way to stymie Ogwumike after she scored 48 points combined in her first two tournament games, but the Bruins didn’t have answers for Orrange.
The sophomore made 9 of 15 shots and was the only Stanford player in double figures. Ogwumike grabbed 10 rebounds, but didn’t score after hitting a free throw with 18:07 left in the first half.
Atonye Nyingifa added 10 points for UCLA, but the Bruins couldn’t overcome shooting just 28 percent, including missing their first 12 shots of the game and digging an 11-0 hole.
Orrange carried the Cardinal offense scoring six straight points early in the second half, mostly on drives to the rim, but Stanford still found itself down 39-35 with 11:40 left after Nyingifa’s first basket of the second half. Ogwumike got open in the paint, but the pressure from Brewer and others forced her into a traveling call and after a Stanford timeout, Alyssia Brewer scored on a pick-and-roll with 9:02 left to give UCLA its largest lead at 42-35.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer burned another timeout and Ruef snapped a 4-minute drought for the Cardinal, only to see Kacy Swain flash open in the lane for a layup and a 44-37 lead with 7:07 left.
Joslyn Tinkle hit two free throws and Orrange followed with another basket to trim the deficit to three. UCLA missed three shots on its next possession before Orrange’s steal and layup to get within 44-43. Walker missed twice around the basket and Orrange finally came out of the scrum, but was forced to burn Stanford’s final timeout with 3:24 left. Orrange was fouled on a drive and hit both free throws to give Stanford its first lead since 31-30.
It didn’t last long. After trading misses, Walker converted a driving three-point play for a 47-45 lead, only to see Orrange answer on a driving layup with 1:38 left. Fields missed an open jumper and Ruef gave Stanford a 49-47 lead on a desperation fling with 50 seconds remaining. Walker answered driving past Ogwumike for a left-handed scoop with 36 seconds left. Orrange began her winning drive with 11 seconds left and spun through the defense for a double-clutch shot. UCLA didn’t call timeout and Walker drove to the basket, her shot bouncing around and off. Brewer got the offensive rebound but couldn’t get a putback attempt up and was knocked out of bounds. After review 0.2 seconds were put on the clock, but UCLA couldn’t get an attempt off.
UCLA had its six-game win streak snapped and lost to Stanford for the 16th straight time.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)