Toni Kokenis served warning to any team unlucky enough to draw Stanford in its bracket when the NCAA women's basketball tournament field is unveiled tomorrow night: the Cardinal's reserves can beat you, too. Kokenis, a freshman, came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points to lead No. 2 Stanford to a 64-55 win against UCLA in the championship game of the Pac-10 women's basketball tournament.
Nneka Ogwumike added 15 points for the Cardinal, which overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to capture its fifth straight Pac-10 tournament title. After Stanford took an early 5-0 lead, the Bruins turned up the defensive pressure. While Stanford settled for outside shots, UCLA, led by Doreen Campbell's 16 points, managed to penetrate for easy looks. With the Staples Center crowd behind them, the Bruins used a 21-5 run to take a 30-21 lead, and all of the momentum, into the break.
The Bruins led by 11 early in the second half when Jeanette Pohlen hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Kokenis converted a steal into a layup to pull Stanford to within striking distance. Later in the half, Kokenis scored 10 consecutive points, including two 3-pointers, to turn a one-point deficit into a 57-48 lead with 2:54 to play.
Kokenis was the only Cardinal reserve to play more than 6 minutes. Kayla Pedersen, Nneka Ogwumike, and Pohlen played all 40 minutes. Pohlen scored only 8 points on 2-for-10 shooting. Chiney Ogwumike, who was limited to 26 minutes by foul trouble, also had 8 points.